8 Verses from the Dalai Lama to Train the Mind
The Dalai Lama Langri Tangpa (1054-1123) wrote The Eight Verses for Training the Mind (Lojong Tsik Guiema) over 800 years ago. With his words, he offers us ways to neutralize the negative thoughts and behaviors that lead to pain and suffering.
“Any man could, if he were so inclined, be the sculptor of his own brain.”
Santiago Ramón y Cajal
These eight verses encourage us to enjoy our emotional and physical health as much as possible.
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.
Every being is valuable, above any interests, feeling, or reality. By cultivating love and compassion toward the world, we guarantee ourselves internal peace, healthy emotions, and love for nature.
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.
We must develop our capacity to be empathetic and altruistic with our environment. The key is to work with our inner self, overcoming bad attitudes when we lose something. Everything in life is a lesson.
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.
Being aware of ourselves and knowing ourselves deeply allows us to dissolve passionate feelings or tumultuous actions. What we need to work on most is anger, which is based on fear. This is undoubtedly the most dangerous and destructive emotion. We must work hard on our ability to control it.
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.
Just as we learn from negative emotions, we can learn from and appreciate people who are taken over by those feelings. Observing short-tempered people is a great way to test our emotional progress.
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.
Each of us controls our own silence and words. Our self-esteem is beyond the grievances that surface from jealousy and envy. Moreover, our capacity to forgive helps us go a step further in our emotional maturation.
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.
Our patience is put to the test when a friend does not properly appreciate what we have to offer them. Such is human nature and we ourselves can understand that better than anyone.
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.
Giving the best of ourselves and sharing our best qualities with those around us will help us to understand the mental states and virtues of others.
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.
What happens to us in life is generally ephemeral and fleeting. So, being aware of the illusory nature of human interests will help us shed the things that surround us, and stop clinging to the things that weaken our spirits.
Source: Rigpa Translations, 2012 Eight Verses of Training the Mind, Lotsawa House, S.S. the XIV Dalai Lama.