Eight Verses on Mind Training

With the wish to achieve the highest aim,
Which surpasses even a wish-fulfilling gem,
I will train myself to at all times
Cherish every sentient being as supreme.

Whenever I interact with others,
I will view myself as inferior to all;
And I will train myself
To hold others superior from the depth of my heart.

During all my activities I will probe my mind,
And as soon as an affliction arises—
Since it endangers myself and others—
I will train myself to confront it directly and avert it.

When I encounter beings of unpleasant character
And those oppressed by intense negative karma and suffering,
As though finding a treasure of precious jewels,
I will train myself to cherish them, for they are so rarely found.

When others out of jealousy
Treat me wrongly with abuse and slander,
I will train to take the defeat upon myself
And offer the victory to others,

Even if one whom I have helped,
Or in whom I have placed great hope,
Gravely mistreats me in hurtful ways,
I will train myself to view him as my sublime teacher.

In brief, I will train myself to offer benefit and joy
To all my mothers1, both directly and indirectly,
And respectfully take upon myself
All the hurts and pains of my mothers.

By ensuring that all this remains undefiled
From the stains of the eight mundane concerns2,
And by understanding all things as illusions,
I will train myself to be free of the bondage of clinging.

Comments and Notes

For nearly one thousand years, these verses have been meditated upon daily by students of all schools of Tibetan Buddhism. They belong to the class of teachings called mind training (lo jong), which is the psychological work of Tibetan Buddhism.

It could be said that The Eight Verses on Training the Mind contains within them the entire essence of the Buddha's teachings in a distinct form.--H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama

Abide as if you were a servant of all beings. - Condensed Perfection of Wisdom

1 - In Buddhism, it is considered that since we have all being rotating thorugh cyclic existence together for such an incalculable length of time, it is reasonable to conclude that at one time or another every being has been our mother at least once, showing us the love and care a mother always shows for her children. Therefore, it is our responsibility to remember their kindness and treat them appropriately.

2 - "The first two lines of this verse are very critical for a genuine practitioner. The eight mundane concerns are attitudes that tend to dominate our lives generally. They are: becoming elated when someone praises you, becoming depressed when someone insults or belittles you, feeling happy when you experience success, being depressed when you experience failure, being joyful when you acquire wealth, feeling dispirited when you become poor, being pleased when you have fame, and feeling depressed when you lack recognition." - The 14th Dalai Lama


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