Scientific Brains Letting It Go

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche translated today’s  Lojong slogan as “Abandon Any Hope of Fruition.”[1]   Most other Lojong commentaries translate this slogan with simpler language such as “Give Up Hoping for Results”.[2]   I don’t know if Trunga Rinpoche meant to recall the Divine Comedy, but this translation seems to allude to the inscription at the entrance to Hell:  “Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here”. Perhaps he was intending to give the slogan a greater resonance for his Western audience.

The Lojong slogan itself comes in the sixth (of seven) section of the slogans.  These specify a variety of commitments on how generally to comport oneself in the world with self-control and moderation.

The sense of this slogan is first, don’t hope for results/fruition from one’s Lojong practice, but also from one’s efforts in general.  Lojong is a set of mind training techniques to develop one’s’ understanding of, and living of, Emptiness.   It is in fact a technology, but one that short circuits instrumentality.

As  discussed in my previous post, Heidegger points out that the move from craft based technology to modern technology involves a move from Revealing to Enframing.  The mental technology of Lojong preserves the Revealing function, but adds what we might call a Deframing function.  Modern technology Enframes even its makers, Humans, into its Standing Reserve. Lojong however is a technology that deconstructs, Deframes instrumentality itself freeing us from the hope and fear of results/fruition.

Lojong is a piece of Tibetan Buddhism.  Robert Thurman has called the synthesis that is Tibetan Buddhism an “Inner Modernity” that created a rationalized “technology of life, death and reincarnation”.[3]

That is to say, the science of letting it go.

[1] Trungpa, Chogyam Training the Mind, Shambhala Publications

[2] Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche Enlightened Courage Snow Lion Publications (translated by Padmakara Tranlation Group)

[3] Thurman, Robert Essential Tibetan Buddhism Castle Books (p.37-40),

 ←    Scientific Brains Binging It Forth

Space is Seen

For about 2 years now I’ve been reading, rereading, looking at with various levels of confusion the Final Exposition of Wisdom by Jeffrey Hopkins.  Most of the book is extended excerpts from 3 of Tsong-Ka-Pa’s major works, with extensive footnotes and a final essay by Hopkins.  Hopkins acts as an editor and translator, but the bulk of the book is from Tsong-Ka-Pa’s works.

Tsong-Ka-Pa was the last of the three masters (Padmasambhava and Atisha being the other 2) that taught and developed the “spiritual synthesis of Tibetan Buddhism”* over the course of about 730 years.  He founded the Gelugpa school to which the Dalia Lama belongs.

Only recently I realized that several times in the book Tsong-Kha-Pa quotes a passage from the Verse Summary of the Perfection of Wisdom.  (There are a number of Perfection of Wisdom Sutras, this one being considered one of the earliest.  The Heart Sutra is the most famous.)

The One-Gone-Thus teaches that one who does not see forms,
Does not see feelings, does not see discriminations,
Does not see intentions, does not see
Consciousness, mind, or sentience sees the dharma.
Analyze how space is seen as in the expression
By sentient beings in words, “Space is seen.”
The One-Gone-Thus teaches that seeing the dharma is also like that.
The seeing cannot be expressed by another example.

Somehow, understanding that I had been reading the same passage, in different contexts for almost 2 years without understanding the degree of repetition, without understanding the centrality of the passage, seemed significant.

Until it didn’t.

*Essential Tibetan Buddhism, Robert Thurman p.35