Lojong Series

Lojong is a mind training practice in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition based on a set of aphorisms formulated in Tibet in the 12th century by Chekawa Yeshe Dorje. The practice involves refining and purifying one’s motivations and attitudes. The fifty-nine slogans that form the root text of the mind training practice are designed as a set of antidotes to undesired mental habits that cause suffering. Visit HERE for more information.

Note: The slogans and their commentary come from Pema Chodron’s, “Compassion Cards, teachings for awakening the heart in everyday life”. Find the cards HERE. 

Using my Freed Painting technique to render my interpretation of each of these ancient slogans is a thrilling opportunity to blend new with old. Each painting is meant to be contemplated, an opportunity for the viewer to assess and consider each painting and its relation to its slogan in a new way.

Never has a viewer had the opportunity to walk around a painting. Existing in three-
dimensional space, each painting exudes a sense of liberation, yet each descends to touch the earth, grounding them, linking each with both heaven and earth.

The Lojong series paintings are the most poignant example of the difference between Traditional Painting and Freed Painting.

Lojong 1

Lojong slogan #1 states, “First, train in the preliminaries”. The preliminaries are known as the four reminders. In your daily life try to:

1) Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of life.
2) Be aware that life ends; death comes to everyone.
3) Recall that whatever you do, whether virtuous or vicious has a result; what goes around comes around.
4) Contemplate that if you are focused on self-importance or thinking about how you are good or bad, you will suffer. Obsessing on what you want and avoiding what you do not want does not result in happiness.

I represented this slogan using four differently colored iridescent strands, one strand for each “preliminary”. Iridescent paint has a luminous, ethereal quality that I thought best rendered these four elevated aspirations. 

Painting completed 8-24-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 2

Lojong slogan #2 states, “Regard all dharmas as dreams”. Whatever you experience in your life is like a passing dream. Although you may think things are solid, they are like passing memories. You can experience this open quality during meditation practice; hate, love, and all the rest are not solid. Although the experience can be vivid, it is just a product of your mind, nothing solid at all. 

I represented this slogan using a web-like structure of clear/transparent strands. Each strand is like a dream, seemingly real, but their transparent quality reveals nothing at all.

Painting completed 8-17-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 3

Lojong slogan 3 states, “Examine the nature of unborn awareness”. Look at your mind, at simple awareness itself. “Examine” does not mean analyze, it means looking and seeing if there is anything solid to hold onto. Our mind is constantly shifting and changing. Just look at that!

This painting is a metaphorical representation of the slogan. I used a clear central strand to symbolize the “mind”. Splattered along the length of the strand are splotches of radiant iridescent colors symbolizing “thoughts”. When you view this painting, you are viewing a mind and its train of thoughts.

Painting completed 12-15-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 4

Lojong slogan #4 states, “Self-liberate even the antidote”. Do not hold on to anything, even the realization that there is nothing solid to hold on to.

I represented this slogan by producing a long narrow transparent sheet of paint. In this instance, the transparent sheet acts as something that is “there” and simultaneously, “not there”. Nothing to look at all. . .Like the realization that there is nothing solid to hold on to.

Painting completed 12-13-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 5

Lojong slogan #5 states, “Rest in the nature of alaya, the essence”. In the Buddhist tradition, alaya refers to the universal soul. There is a resting place, a starting place that you can always return to. You can always bring your mind back home and rest right here, right now, in present, unbiased awareness.

I represented this slogan using a super pearl white paint that, in my mind, conveys serenity, blissfulness, heaven. A strand extends along the ground, linked to the earth connoting Gaia, home. It intersects with another strand that reaches for the heavens. . . Alaya.  Heaven and Earth are linked/bound together. 

Painting completed 11-1-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 6

Lojong slogan #6 states, “In post meditation, be a child of illusion”. When you finish sitting meditation, if things become heavy and solid, be fully present and realize that everything is pliable, open and workable. This is instruction for meditation in action, realizing that you don’t have to feel claustrophobic because there is always lots of room, lots of space. 

I rendered this slogan by making a large “U” shaped strand representing a claustrophobic receptacle, but the strand is transparent, so in this case, it is just an imagined barrier to openness, pliability and space that is true reality.

Painting completed 12-21-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 7

 Lojong slogan #7 states: “Sending and Taking should be practiced alternately. These two should ride the breath”. This is instruction for a meditation practice called tonglen. In this practice you send out happiness to others and you take in the suffering that others feel. You take in with a sense of openness and compassion and you send out in the same spirit. People need help and with this practice we extend ourselves to them.

I represented this slogan using one continuous strand (the breath) made up of two different colors. One side of the strand represents inhalation, which in this case is the ragged blackness of others suffering. The other side of the strand represents exhalation, conveyed through the joyful pink color.

Painting completed 11-5-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 8

Lojong slogan #8 states, “Three objects, three poisons, and three seeds of virtue”. The three objects are: friends, enemies and neutrals. The three poisons are: craving, aversion and indifference. When you feel craving, you own it fully and wish that all beings could be free of it. When you feel aggression or indifference you do the same. In this way what usually causes suffering, what poisons us and others, becomes a seed of compassion and loving kindness, seeds of virtue. 

I represented this slogan in the following way: The “objects” are symbolized as a green strand for “friends”, a red strand for “enemies” and a grey strand for “neutrals”. Next are the poisons: A black strand for “indifference”, a brown strand for “aversion” and a crimson strand for “craving”. Lastly are the three seeds of virtue which are three strands of varying shades of gold. Finally, I tied all the strands together in a knot to symbolize the link each strand has with every other. 

This slogan is inspirational to me because it is about a transformative process. Our lives are learning opportunities if we are observant and honest. Every day is an opportunity to become a better person. This slogan reminds me/us of that.

Painting completed 12-20-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 9

Lojong slogan #9 states, “In all activities, train with slogans”. Recalling any of these slogans “on the spot” can dissolve our self-centeredness and unkindness. 

I represented this slogan with a long, transparent strip symbolizing purity of intent and the numbers 1 – 59 in gold symbolizing the highest aspiration of each of the 59 slogans.

Painting completed 12-27-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 10

Lojong slogan #10 states, “Begin the sequence of sending and taking with yourself”. Whatever pain your feel, take it in, wishing for all beings to be free of it. Whatever pleasure you feel, send it out to others. In this way, our personal problems and delights become steppingstones for understanding the suffering and happiness of others.

Lojong Painting #7 informed my structuring for this painting. One long strand representing the breath, inhalation and exhalation. Instead of black on one side, I used grey. I imagined taking in (inhaling) grey smoke (pain). On the other side, the strand begins white at the top, as if I have filtered out the soot (grey) and am exhaling purity that transforms into joy at the bottom represented by the color pink.

Painting completed 11-11-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 11

Lojong slogan #11 states, “When the world is filled with evil, transform all mishaps into the path of bodhi”. Whatever problems occur in life, instead of reacting to them in the usual habitual way, you could transform them into the path of the bodhi heart. That is to say, you could awaken your compassionate and open heart. Use the tonglen approach and breath in the pain of the situation, wishing that all beings could be free of it, then breath out and send loving kindness to all suffering beings, including yourself!

I represented this slogan by using a single white strand symbolizing the open, compassionate heart, the bodhi heart, the out breath of loving kindness. The black signifies the evil in the world, what we must inhale and transform.

Painting completed 11-16-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 12

Lojong slogan #12 states, “Drive all blames into one”. This is advice on how to work with your fellow beings. Everyone is looking for someone to blame and therefore aggression and neurosis keep expanding. Instead, pause and look at what is happening to you. Are you holding on to your view so tightly that it is causing you to get worked up and suffer? If so, work on cooling that reactivity rather than escalating it. This approach reduces suffering, yours and everyone else’s.

I represented this slogan using three varying colors of red symbolizing heat, anger and aggression. The three strands begin in divergent spots on the ground. In the case of this painting, the ground represents the place of base desires where blame and anger live and breed. The strands ascend and at a point, join and braid themselves into a single strand. . . One blame.

 Painting completed 11-5-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 13

Lojong slogan #13 states, “Be grateful to everyone”. Others will always show you where you are stuck. They say or do something and you automatically react in a familiar way: shutting down, speeding up, or getting all worked up. When you react in a habitual way, with anger, greed, and so forth, it gives you a chance to see your patterns and work with them honestly and compassionately. Without others provoking you, you remain ignorant of your painful habits and cannot train in transforming them into the path of awakening. 

This slogan reminds me of the saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”. Everyone we meet is a teacher if we are open and aware and honest and willing to grow. I represented this slogan by using thirteen strands. Despite its “bad” reputation, I like the number thirteen because it is the number of transformation, change. In this case, change from reacting in a habitual way to a more compassionate way of reacting. I also used radiant pearlescent and golden colors for each strand to symbolize the opportunity for growth each person we meet offers us.

Painting completed 12-9-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 14

Lojong slogan #14 states: “Seeing confusion as the four kayas is unsurpassable shuntyata protection”. Through meditation practice you begin to realize that: 

1) Your thoughts have no birthplace, they pop up out of nowhere. This is called dharmakaya.
2) Thoughts are nevertheless unceasing. This is sambhogakaya.
3) They appear but are not solid. This is nirmanakaya.
4) Putting it all together, there is no birth, no dwelling, no cessation. This is svabhavikakaya.
This understanding gives the unsurpassable protection of realizing what is called shunyata or complete openness. There is nothing solid to react to. You have made much ado about nothing! 

I represented this slogan by producing four transparent strands symbolizing each of the four kayas listed above. In this case, I used transparent medium to convey the concept of lack of solidity.

Painting completed 12-13-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 15

Lojong slogan #15 states, “Four practices are the best of methods”.
The four practices are:
1) Accumulating merit through words/actions that reduce self-absorption and creates more space in your heart and mind.
2) Laying down evil deeds through honest and joyful self-reflection.
3) Acknowledging the dons by welcoming mishaps because they wake you up.
4) Acknowledging the dharmapalas by expressing your gratitude to those who protect the teachings and help you and humanity to wake up. 

I represented this slogan by using four strands of differently colored hues of gold. United in their precious nature, yet each is priceless in its individuality.

Painting completed 11-3-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 16

Lojong slogan #16 states, “Whatever you meet unexpectedly, join with meditation”. The unexpected stops your mind. Rest in that place. When thoughts start again, do tonglen, breathing in whatever pain you may feel, thinking that others also feel like this and gradually becoming more and more willing to feel this pain with the wish that others won’t have to suffer. If it is a “good” shock, send out any joy you may feel, wishing for others to feel it also. Meeting the unexpected is also an opportunity to practice patience and non-aggression. 

In this painting I used the color grey, a blending of darkness and light to represent the tonglen process. Many (short) strands cross the main vertical strand like unexpected interruptions.

Painting completed 11-5-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 17

Lojong slogan #17 states, “Practice the 5 strengths, The condensed heart instructions”. The 5 strengths are:
1) Strong determination to train in opening the heart and mind.

2) Familiarization with practices such as tonglen, that help you do that.

3) The positive energy within you that manifests itself as a yearning to practice and wake up.

4) Realizing that clinging to your ego causes suffering. Rejoicing in self-reflection, honesty and in seeing where you get stuck.

5) The aspiration to relieve suffering in this world.

I represented this slogan using five strands of varying deep red hues, one for each quality of strength noted above.

Painting completed 11-11-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 18

Lojong slogan #18 states, “The Mahayana instruction for ejection of consciousness at death is the five strengths: How you conduct yourself is important”. When you are dying, practice the five strengths (based on becoming very familiar with them while you are alive). 

1) Strong determination: Open and let go when the appearances of this world start to dissolve.
2) Familiarization: Practice opening and letting go throughout your life so you will not panic as everything is dissolves at death.
3) The positive seed: Trust that you have the innate ability to let go and to feel compassion for others.
4) Reproach: Realizing that this limited identity is not solid and is dissolving. Do not indulge in trying to keep it from falling apart.
5) Aspiration: At death, aspire to spend all your future lives in the presence of your teachers and to do your best to benefit others forever.

Slogan #18 is linked to slogan #17. It is like the second chapter of the story. Because of this bond, I (again) used five strands of varying red colors to represent each of the “strengths”. Red, in this case, is the color of strength.

Painting completed 12-10-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 19

Lojong slogan #19 states, “All Dharma agrees at one point”. The entire Buddhist teachings (Dharma) are about reducing self-absorption. This relinquishment promotes happiness in you and all beings.

I represented this slogan by using a multitude of paint tendrils that sprout from the central main strand and then entwine and return back to the central strand – “agreement at one point”. The blue color exudes coolness and calm.

Painting completed 8-24-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 20

Lojong slogan #20 states, “Of the two witnesses, hold the principal one”. The two witnesses of what you do are others and yourself. Of these two, you are the only one who really knows exactly what is going on, so work with seeing yourself with compassion but without self-deception. 

I represented this slogan with a continuous strand that has a grey half and a transparent half. The grey half symbolizes the neutrality of “others” because they don’t know the whole story. The transparent clarity of the other half symbolizes yourself because you are the only one that knows the real story. The full length of the strand represents the “story”, whatever it may be.

Painting completed 12-25-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 21

Lojong slogan #21 states, “Always maintain only a joyful mind”. Constantly apply cheerfulness. If for no reason than because you are on this spiritual path. Have a sense of gratitude for everything, even difficult emotions, because of their potential to wake you up. 

I think a pink chain represents this slogan nicely. Pink is the color of joy and the chain is not a form of bondage, rather the concept is turned on its head, each link symbolizing a joyous thought/action linked to another and then another and so on. A chain of cheerfulness.

Painting completed 12-14-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 22

Lojong slogan #22 states, “If you can practice even when distracted, you are well trained”. This slogan is self-explanatory, whatever circumstances you encounter, if you are well trained in meditation, you won’t get swept away by emotions. Instead, they will focus you, and your awareness increases. 

I represented this slogan by using a clear central strand that acts like a spine of stability, while red shapes, symbols, strands emerge from and encircle the central strand-like distractions.  Despite the distractions, the clear spine strand does not divert from its path from the ground up into the heavens.

Painting completed 8-24-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 23

Lojong slogan #23 states, “Always abide by the three basic principles”. The three basic principles are:

1) Keeping the promises you made if you took refuge vows and bodhisattva vows. When we take the refuge vow, we vow to take refuge in the Buddha, as an example of how to open and let go, the dharma (Buddha’s teachings) as instructions on how to do this, and the sangha, the community of those who are also on this path. When we take the bodhisattva vow, we vow to awaken in order to help others to do the same.
2) Refraining from outrageous conduct or not engaging in what is called “bodhisattva exhibitionism”.
3) Developing patience in both difficult and delightful situations.

I represented this slogan by using three different hued strands of gold. Gold, being of high value, symbolizes each strand related to each principle. 

Painting completed 11-12-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 24

Lojong slogan #24 states, “Change your attitude, but remain neutral”. Work on reversing your caught up, self-important attitude and remain relaxed in the process. Instead of always being caught in a prison of self-absorption, look out and express gentleness to all things. Then, just relax.

I represented this slogan by producing a single strand with a distinct color break between black and white. It is like looking to your left and seeing yourself caught up in self-absorption, (symbolized by the color black), and then turning your head and looking to the right and seeing yourself expressing gentleness to all things (symbolized by the color white), and relaxing! It IS that simple and profound.

Painting completed 12-20-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 25

 Lojong slogan #25 states, “Don’t talk about injured limbs”. Don’t build yourself up by talking about other people’s problems.

I represented this slogan by using a single long black strand that I folded in half and then wove them together, not so much like a braid, more like a ladder. The black color represents negativity and the ladder represents a structure that can be climbed both up and down. You can go down and bad mouth people or you can climb up to a more positive realm.

Painting completed 11-14-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 26

Lojong slogan #26 states, “Don’t ponder others”. Don’t ponder others’ weak points, becoming arrogant about your own accomplishments.

I represented this slogan by producing a central grey strand with grey branches symbolizing neutrality. That is what we are being taught here, releasing arrogance and superiority and maintaining evenness, balance, neutrality. The crimson balls at the ends of the branches are the arrogance and superiority that we hang on to and must work to unload.

Painting completed 12-20-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 27

Lojong slogan #27 states, “Work with the greatest defilements first”. Gain insight into your greatest obstacles: pride, aggression, self-denigration and so forth and work with those first. Do this with clarity and compassion.

I represented this slogan by using many black strands all wrapped up around the main central strand. Each strand is a different defilement wrapping itself around the central core, the self. Polluting it. Each must be pried open and be faced with clarity and compassion in order to grow, evolve. 

Painting completed 11-18-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 28

Lojong slogan #28 states, “Abandon any hope of fruition”. The key instruction here is to stay in the present. Do not get caught up in hopes of what you will achieve and how good your situation will be some day in the future. What you do right now is what matters. 

Like Tonglen, this slogan is challenging for me because I am a great ruminator, rehashing past mistakes and conjuring hopes for the future. For that reason I produced a pile of clear strands laying on the floor, never to touch the heavens. The clear strands symbolize purity (of intention), but they are forever bound to the earth, grounded, present. It is an important reminder that I/we need to stay. . . here.

Painting completed 12-27-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 12″

Lojong 29

Lojong slogan #29 states, “Abandon poisonous food”. You can use these slogans to build up your ego. For instance, you refrain from talking about others defects or maligning them but only so people will praise you. In this way, compassionate teachings designed to lessen your sense of self-centeredness become like rotten food that poisons you and deceives others. 

I represented this slogan by producing a pile of crimson strands on the ground symbolizing the rot of self-centeredness, yet there is a single clear strand that rises toward the heavens symbolizing the pure aspiration for compassionate awakening.

Painting completed 12-27-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 12″

Lojong 30

Lojong slogan #30 states, “Do not be so predictable”. Do not hold a grudge against those who have done you wrong. 

This slogan reminds me of how much work I still need to do in developing compassion for others. With that in mind, I chose a whimsical approach that I might not otherwise use (a paint brush, which I rarely use) for making a painting in an attempt to be less “predictable”. This change of process is like considering grudge(s) you hold from a different angle, potentially loosening the grip of resentment.

Painting completed 12-16-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 31

Lojong slogan #31 states, “Don’t malign others”. You speak badly of others thinking it will make you feel superior. Instead, this only sows seeds of meanness in your heart, causing others to distrust you and causing you to suffer. 

I represented this slogan using a central strand of dark red, symbolizing meanness crossed by many black strands symbolizing maligning.

Painting completed 11-14-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 32

Lojong slogan #32 states, “Don’t wait in ambush”. Don’t wait for the moment when someone you don’t like is weak to let them have it. This may bring immediate satisfaction, but in the long run it poisons you.

I represented this slogan by using a single transparent strand symbolizing purity with black climbing up at the base, like a cancer. The black is the poison that creeps into you if you, “wait in ambush”.

 

Painting completed 11-15-2020

Painting dimensions H: 84″ X W: 6″ 

Lojong 33

Lojong slogan #33 states, “Don’t bring things to a painful point”. Don’t humiliate people.

I represented this slogan by producing a single black strand symbolizing negative thoughts/emotions and then “bombed” it with drops of crimson, like inflicted wounds.

Painting completed 12-18-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 34

Lojong slogan #34 states, “Don’t transfer the ox’s load to the cow”. Don’t transfer your load to someone else. Don’t blame. Take responsibility/accountability for what is yours. 

I represented this slogan by using a single transparent central strand signifying purity with “half- moon” shaped grey loops seemingly jumping over/past each other. This symbolizes the “transfer” idea. Not being accountable. Passing on the blame. The grey color symbolizes “muddiness”, neither dark nor light. Grey symbolizes the “blame”. 

Painting completed 11-16-2020

Painting dimensions H: 84″ X W: 6″ 

Lojong 35

 Lojong slogan #35 states, “Don’t try to be the fastest”. Don’t compete with others. 

I represented this slogan using a long single strand balled up at its end to symbolize the idea of the medieval “ball and chain”. Our competitive nature is primal. I used antique silver paint to convey a sense of age. . . Old age. Competitiveness is a burden that we must learn to unload if we are going to able to be there for each other, to raise each other up.

Painting completed 11-17-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 36

Lojong slogan 36 states, “Don’t act with a twist”. Acting with a twist means having an ulterior motive of benefiting yourself. It’s the sneaky approach. For instance, you may help someone with the something, but you didn’t do it freely, you want to cash in that favor in the future. 

I represented this slogan by using yellow. Yellow is a color that draws attention to itself. This slogan is about observing self-importance. Additionally, I have the strand looping down and around and reconnecting with itself; a kind of. . . “It’s about me” symbology.

Painting completed 11-10-2020

Painting dimensions H: 84″ X W: 6″ 

Lojong 37

Lojong slogan #37 states, “Don’t make gods into demons”. Don’t use these teachings and practices to strengthen your self-absorption. 

I used a transparent/clear upside down “V” shaped strand holding a black upside down “U” shaped strand touching the ground to represent this slogan. The upside down “U” shape touching the ground symbolizes self-absorption, while the upside down transparent/clear “V” shape symbolizes the purity of intent.

Painting completed 12-28-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 12″

Lojong 38

Lojong slogan #38 states, “Don’t seek others pain as the limbs of your own happiness”. Don’t build your happiness on the suffering of others. 

I represented this slogan by producing two piles of black strands symbolizing the “pain of others” with black strands ascending from the piles turning transparent at the top symbolizing the realization that happiness cannot be achieved through the suffering of others.

Painting completed 12-25-2020

Painting dimensions H: 84″ X W: 12″ 

Lojong 39

Lojong slogan #39 states, “All activities should be done with one intention”. Whatever you are doing, have the attitude of wanting it to benefit others. Have the attitude of wanting to increase your experience of kinship with other human beings. 

I represented this slogan using a web-like collection of golden strands meant to illustrate that interconnectedness and elevated intention.

Painting completed 8-24-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 40

Lojong slogan #40 states, “Correct all wrongs with one intention”. “Wrongs” here refer to difficult circumstances that we encounter. Our intention is to use these situations to develop compassion for all beings who also suffer from difficulties and to aspire to breath in their pain with the practice of tonglen. 

I used a clear central strand to symbolize the “one intention”, which in this case is compassion. The breathing in of others suffering is symbolized by the many looping strands that go out and return to where they started, like the cycle of the breath.

Painting completed 11-22-2020

Painting dimensions H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 41

Lojong slogan #41 states, “Two activities: one at the beginning and one at the end”. In the morning when you wake up, reflect on the day ahead and aspire to keep an open heart and mind. At the end of the day, before going to sleep, think over what you have done. If you fulfilled your aspiration, even once, rejoice in that. If you went against your aspiration, rejoice that you are able to see what you did and are no longer living in ignorance. This way you will be inspired to go forward with increasing clarity, confidence and compassion in the days to come. 

I represented this slogan with a transparent circle that neither starts nor ends. Morning flows into night and again into morning in an unending cycle, all the time being an opportunity for aspiration for an open heart and mind, which is symbolized by the transparent medium.

Painting completed 12-13-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 42

Lojong slogan #42 states, “Whichever of the two occurs, be patient”. Whatever happens in your life, joyful or painful, do not get swept away with reactivity. Be patient with yourself and don’t lose your sense of perspective.
This slogan echoes the ancient wise saying, “This too shall pass”. Breath. . . Absorb what is happening and observe it on a grander scale. This process brings perspective before labels of “good” and “bad” get attached to events.
I represented this slogan as a large, continuous ring. One half black symbolizing “bad/pain” and the other half pink symbolizing “good/joy”. Both colors blend into each other as you visually circle the ring. Good blending into bad blending into good, melting away the labeling, the judgement.

Painting completed 11-25-2020

Painting dimensions H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 43

 Lojong slogan #43 states, “Observe these two, even at the risk of your life”. The two referred to here are:
1) Your refuge vows: The vows you to take refuge in that is not based on ego-gratification, but on the open, unbiased nature of the Buddha, the dharma and the sangha.
2) Your bodhisattva vows: The vows to use your life to awaken in order to help all beings to do the same.
I represented this slogan by producing two transparent strands each symbolizing the two vows with golden “bowl” shapes on each strand. The Dalai Lama said, “the world is our container and we are the contained, the contents of the container”. Those words have stayed with me and I thought it appropriate to add golden bowls here as receptacles for the energy in each of the vows.

Painting completed 12-13-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 44

Lojong slogan #44 states, “Train in the 3 difficulties”. The three difficulty practices are:  
1) To recognize your neurosis as neurosis.

2) To then not do the habitual thing, but to do something different to interrupt the neurotic habit.
3) To make this practice a way of life.

I represented this slogan by using 3 strands to represent each difficult practice. You will notice that for the most part the strands are black, symbolizing our ignorance of our neurosis. But near the top, they transform into gold symbolizing realization, that move to reacting differently with openness and compassion.

 Painting completed 11-18-2020

 Painting dimensions H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 45

Lojong slogan #45 states, “Take on the three principal causes”. The three principal causes that allow us to put these teachings into practice are:
1) A qualified teacher.
2) A mind that turns toward awakening.
3) Supportive circumstances.

I represented this slogan by braiding together three golden strands signifying the bond of these three principals.

Painting completed 11-15-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 46

Lojong slogan #46 states, “Pay heed that the three never wane”. The three referred to here are: gratitude toward one’s teacher, appreciation of the teachings and conduct that is based on your refuge and boddhisattva vows. With the refuge vow, one takes refuge in the Buddha as an example, the dharma (Buddha’s teachings) as instruction and the sangha as the community of practitioners who wholeheartedly follow these instructions. With the boddhisattva vow, one aspires to use one’s life to awaken in order to help all beings to do the same.

This slogan is linked directly to slogan 45, but also expands upon it with the addition of the dharma, the sangha and the vows. 

I represented this expanded interconnection with three groups of braided golden strands in turn braided together forming a larger “rope” symbolizing complimentary interconnected multiplicity.

Painting completed 11-22-2020

Painting dimensions H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 47

Lojong slogan #47 states, “Keep the three inseparable”. The three referred to here are your body, speech and mind. Your actions, words and thoughts should be inseparable from your mind training (training your mind in compassion and wisdom). 

I represented this slogan by bonding three strands together, a white pearlescent to symbolize body, a green pearlescent to symbolize speech and a blue pearlescent to symbolize mind. The three strands are bonded, inseparable, embodying the aspiration for compassion and wisdom.

Painting completed 12-15-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 48

 Lojong slogan #48 states, “Train without bias in all areas”. It is crucial to do this pervasively and wholeheartedly”. It is important to include everyone and everything that you meet as part of your practice. They become the means by which you cultivate compassion and wisdom. 

I represented this slogan using a chain of transparent links. In this case the chain symbolizes the link shared by all human beings and the transparency represents the highest aspiration of compassion and wisdom.

Painting completed 12-13-2020

Painting dimensions H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 49

 Lojong slogan #49 states, “Always meditate on whatever provokes resentment”. Do tonglen practice whenever you feel resentment. Do it with the small things all the time. Then you will be prepared to work with the big things when they arise. 

I find tonglen practice exceedingly challenging because I can be selfish and envious and can find myself preoccupied with feelings of self-importance more times than I care to admit. I feel hypocritical doing tonglen even for myself because it reminds me of my selfishness. I have much work to do and am always humbled when faced with my resentment(s). 

I represented this slogan using two sets of opposing “colors”, black and clear (if you can call “clear” a “color”). “Black” symbolizes the inhalation of suffering and “Clear” symbolizes the purity of the out breath. The painting is highly reminiscent of YinYang symbology and renders the interconnected concept/process of taking and giving in a uniquely beautiful way.

Painting completed 11-25-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 50

 
Lojong slogan #50 states, “Don’t be swayed by external circumstances”. Whether you are sick or well, rich or poor, comfortable or uncomfortable, practice tonglen. Whatever is wanted, send that out to others to enjoy. Whatever is unwanted, breathe that in, experiencing it directly for yourself and all others who are in the same situation. 

I chose to represent this slogan with a radiant blue pearlescent chain. In this instance, the chain symbolizes the bond between all human beings and resistance to being swayed. The blue pearlescent radiance symbolizes the selflessness of tonglen practice.

Painting completed 12-15-2020

Painting dimensions H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 51

Lojong slogan #51 states, “This time, practice the main points”. In this life do not waste the opportunity to practice the main points: 

1) Seeking to help others is more important than only looking out for yourself.
2) Practicing what your teachers have taught you is more important than scholarly study.
3) Awakening compassion (and thus lessening selfishness) is more important than any other spiritual practice. 

I represented this slogan by using three strands, one for each of the “main points”. Touching the earth, the strands are golden, but transform into transparent strands as they reach for the heavens. Gold symbolizes the preciousness of each of the “main points”, but the transition into transparency of each of the strands represents an even more profound transformation, from selfishness to selflessness.

Painting completed 12-13-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 52

Lojong slogan #52 states, “Don’t misinterpret”. There are six teachings that you might misinterpret: 

1) Patience: You’re patient when it means you will get your way but not when your practice brings up challenges.
2) Yearning: You yearn for worldly things but not for an open heart and mind.
3) Excitement: You get excited about wealth and entertainment but not about your potential for enlightenment.
4) Compassion: You have compassion for those you like and admire but not for those you don’t.
5) Priorities: Worldly gain is your priority rather than cultivating loving kindness and compassion.
6) Joy: You feel joy when your enemies suffer, but you do not rejoice in other’s good fortune. 

This slogan hits home for me. I have real trouble wishing well being upon people I dislike. This slogan is like a mirror for me. I used six different brightly colored strands to represent each of the six mentioned teachings. The bright colors are distractions from the underlying truth/lessons of the teachings. Are you misinterpreting this as just a pretty painting and discounting that it is a serious work of art with a serious message? 

Painting completed 11-18-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 53

Lojong slogan #53 states, “Don’t vacillate”. If you train in awakening compassion only some of the time, it will slow down the process of giving birth to certainty. Wholeheartedly train in keeping your heart and mind open to everyone. 

I represented this slogan by producing a single golden strand, simple, sure, powerful. There is no vacillating between one state and another, it is complete, it is wholehearted. It is my hope that when people view this painting, they see its simplicity and assuredness and aspire to the wholeheartedness that it symbolizes.

Painting completed 12-17-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 54

 Lojong slogan #54 states, “Train wholeheartedly”. Train enthusiastically in strengthening your natural capacity for compassion and loving kindness. 

I represented this slogan by “bombing” a single golden strand with blobs of several hues of gold creating a beautiful golden mess that is meant to convey “wholeheartedness”.

Painting completed 11-15-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 55

Lojong slogan #55 states, “Liberate yourself by examining and analyzing”. Know your own mind with honesty and fearfulness. See what leads to more freedom and what leads to more suffering. This can liberate you from continually getting hooked by self-centered thoughts and emotions which are the root of all dissatisfaction. 

I represented this slogan by producing a transparent central strand with transparent strands looping back onto themselves and the central strand symbolizing the honesty of examination, analysis and self-reflection.

Painting completed 12-25-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 56

Lojong slogan #56 states, “Don’t wallow in self-pity”. Catch yourself when you do this and recognize that it just increases your suffering (and that of others). 

I represented this slogan by producing a single strand that is jagged crimson at the bottom symbolizing the suffering of self-pity and transparent at the top symbolizing the realization that self-pity only causes suffering.

Painting completed 12-26-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 57

Lojong slogan #57 states, “Don’t be jealous”. Work with jealousy when it is small, otherwise when it hits full force you will be swept away.

I represented this slogan in a very similar manner as slogan #56 using a ragged deep red at the bottom symbolizing jealousy and becoming transparent at the top symbolizing the realization of the pain caused by jealousy.

Painting completed 12-26-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 58

Lojong slogan #58 states, “Don’t be frivolous”. Don’t waste your time, you don’t know how much time you have.

I represented this slogan by using a single white strand. No embellishments or decoration to draw attention to itself. Pure, efficient, simple. A direct message.

Painting completed 11-1-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″

Lojong 59

Lojong slogan #59 states, “Don’t expect applause”. This slogan is self-explanatory. Do not count on receiving credit for your good deeds, just do them anyway.

I represented this slogan by using a single transparent strand, unassuming, not easily differentiated from its surroundings, not drawing attention to itself.

Painting completed 11-18-2020 

Painting dimensions: H: 84″ X W: 6″