Eight Verses of Training the Mind of Geshe Langri Tangpa — Complete Concise Path of the Bodhisattva

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    Geshe Langri Thangpa Himalayan Art
    Geshe Langri Thangpa.

    The Eight Verses of Training the Mind by Gesha Langri Thangpa is the most concise teaching on Lojong, or “training the mind,” in Mahayana Buddhism — and at the same time, in eight precise verses are a profound and layered teaching.

    “The main point this verse emphasizes is to develop an attitude that enables you to regard other sentient beings as precious, much in the manner of precious jewels.” — His Holiness the Dalai Lama. [1]

    These verses are a complete “path” — complete teachings on the two aspects of Buddhism: Compassion and Wisdom. The first seven verses focus on Compassion and only the eighth verse is focused on “Wisdom.” This may seem odd, at first, since this is “training for the mind.” Yet, like carefully constructed Sadhanas — or practice texts — the first seven verses on Compassion lay the foundation for Wisdom. Wisdom cannot arise in absence of Compassion. Compassion always arises from Wisdom. In Vajrayana, this is symbolized by the iconic “vajra and bell” — representing compassion and wisdom. By tradition, these meditational implements are never separated, except when we hold the Bell in our left hand and the Vajra (dorje) in our right. [For a feature about the Vajra and Bell, explaining all the symbolism, see>>]

    • Event Notice: For information on a teaching on the Eight Verses of Training the Mind — available in person at Gaden Choling in Toronto, or via Zoom — on June 27, 2023 at 6:30pm EDT, at Tickettailor>>

    His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, in his commentary on the eight versus introduced the first verse this way:

    “In on sense, we can say that other sentient beings are really the principal source of all our experiences of joy, happiness, and prosperity, and not only in terms of our day-to-day dealings with people. We can see that all the desirable experiences that we cherish or aspire to attain are dependent upon cooperation and interaction with other sentient beings. It is an obvious fact. Similarly, from the point of view of a practitioner on the path, many of the high levels of realization that you gain and the progress you make on your spiritual journey are dependent upon cooperation and interaction with other sentient beings. Furthermore, at the resultant state of buddhahood, the truly compassionate activities of a buddha can come about spontaneously without any effort only in relation to sentient beings, because they are the recipients and beneficiaries of those enlightened activities…” [1]

    Another way of synopsizing the Eight Verses is


    Eight Verses of Training the Mind

    by Geshe Langri Thangpa [2]

    1. By thinking of all sentient beings
    As more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel
    For accomplishing the highest aim,
    I will always hold them dear.

    2. Whenever I’m in the company of others,
    I will regard myself as the lowest among all,
    And from the depths of my heart
    Cherish others as supreme.

    3. In my every action, I will watch my mind,
    And the moment destructive emotions arise,
    I will confront them strongly and avert them,
    Since they will hurt both me and others.

    4. Whenever I see ill-natured beings,
    Or those overwhelmed by heavy misdeeds or suffering,
    I will cherish them as something rare,
    As though I’d found a priceless treasure.

    5. Whenever someone out of envy
    Does me wrong by attacking or belittling me,
    I will take defeat upon myself,
    And give the victory to others.

    6. Even when someone I have helped,
    Or in whom I have placed great hopes
    Mistreats me very unjustly,
    I will view that person as a true spiritual teacher.

    7. In brief, directly or indirectly,
    I will offer help and happiness to all my mothers,
    And secretly take upon myself
    All their hurt and suffering.

    8. I will learn to keep all these practices
    Untainted by thoughts of the eight worldly concerns.
    May I recognize all things as like illusions,
    And, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage.



    [1] Training the Mind: Verse 1 — Commentary by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, found here>>

    [2] From Lotsawa House | Rigpa Translations. Revised 2012.

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    Lee Kane

    Author | Buddha Weekly

    Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
    Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.

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