Lojong is the Tibetan Buddhist practice that involves working with short phrases (called "slogans") as a way of generating bodhichitta, the heart and mind of enlightened compassion. Though the practice is more than a millennium old, it has become popular in the West only in the last twenty years or so—and it has become very popular indeed, because it's a practice that one can fit very well into an ordinary life, and because it works.Through the influence of Pema Chödrön, who was one of the first American Buddhist teachers to teach it extensively, the practice has moved out of its Buddhist context to affect the lives of non-Buddhists too.
It's in this spirit that Norman Fischer offers his commentary on the lojong slogans. He applies Zen wisdom to them, showing how well they fit in that related tradition, but he also sets the slogans in the context of resonant practices throughout the spiritual traditions. He shows lojong to be a wonderful method for everyone, including those who aren't otherwise interested in Buddhism, who don't have the time or inclination to meditate, or who'd just like to morph into the kind of person who's focused rather than scattered, generous rather than stingy, and kind rather than thoughtless.
About the Author
Norman Fischer is a Zen Buddhist priest. A former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center, he is the founder and teacher for the Everyday Zen Foundation, a network of communities and projects. Fischer began publishing poetry in the late 1970's as part of a Bay Area group of experimental writers. His books include Turn Left In Order To Go Right (O Books, 1989), Precisely The Point Being Made (O Books/Chax Press 1993), Jerusalem Moonlight (Clear Glass Publications, 1995), The Narrow Roads of Japan (Ex Nihilo Press 1998), Success (Singing Horse Press, 2000), Slowly but Dearly (Chax Press, 2004), I Was Blown Back (Singing Horse Press 2005) Charlotte's Way (TinFish 2008). His latest prose work is Sailing Home: Using the Wisdom of Homer's Odyssey to Navigate Life's Perils and Pitfalls (Simon and Schuster, 2008).
“Zen Master Norman Fischer teaches a fascinatingly powerful Tibetan system of mind training with his characteristic Zen-like simplicity and artful clarity. Norman shows once again why he is one of the most admired Zen teachers in America.”—Chade-Meng Tan, Google’s Jolly Good Fellow, author of Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)
“Norman Fischer brings a fresh perspective to the profound Tibetan Buddhist manual of lojong, or mental training. With down-to-earth clarity, he applies its 59 pithy practices to the challenges of modern life. With repetition, these practices gradually change one from the inside out. His writing is direct, penetrating, and powerful, with the authenticity and impact that comes from a great teacher, as he shows readers how to develop resilience and compassion, strength with heart.”—Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
“Norman Fischer has illuminated Atisha’s lojong slogans with the depth of his own Zen koan practice, infused with his savvy, no-nonsense heart. The result is stunning—a fresh slant on Tibetan compassion teachings, making them universal and now.”—Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, Naropa University, author of Dakini’s Warm Breath: The Feminine Principle in Tibetan Buddhism