Lojong (Buddhist Mind Training Slogans): Abandon All Hope of Fruition.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jan 24, 2009
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Pema Chodron’s Start Where You Are: Shambhala Publications.


Atisha’s Seven Points of Training the Mind are a brilliant contemplative practice—you can buy a little blue book that has all 15 kajillion of his slogans, read one every morning with commentary, and I guarantee you’ll be fully enlightened in one year or your money back (of course, you haven’t paid me anything).

This one sure goes against the ego’s grain—always wanting to push away bad news and cling toward good news, even if the bad is full of truth and the good is BS. So we reverse the flow, give up anticipation of the future, and rest in the moment—from whence all truly good things rise. But don’t take it from me, take it from Pema Chodron, great American Buddhist nun and teacher:

Our next slogan is “Abandon any hope of fruition.” You could also say, “Give up all hope” or “Give up” or just “Give.” The shorter the better.

One of the most powerful teachings of the Buddhist tradition is that as long as you are wishing for things to change, they never will. As long as you’re wanting yourself to get better, you won’t. As long as you have an orientation toward the future, you can never just relax into what you already have or already are.

One of the deepest habitual patterns that we have is to feel that now is not good enough. We think back to the past a lot, which maybe was better than now, or perhaps worse. We also think ahead quite a bit to the future – which we may fear – always holding out hope that it might be a little bit better than now. Even if now is going really well -we have good health and we’ve met the person of our dreams, or we just had a child or got the job we wanted-nevertheless there’s a deep tendency always to think about how it’s going to be later. We don’t quite give ourselves full credit for who we are in the present.

For example, it’s easy to hope that things will improve as a result of meditation, that we won’t have such bad tempers anymore or we won’t have fear anymore or people will like us more than they do now. Or maybe none of those things are problems for us, but we feel we aren’t spiritual enough. Surely we will connect with that awake, brilliant, sacred world that we are going to find through meditation. In everything we read -whether it’s philosophy or dharma books or psychology- there’s the implication that we’re caught in some kind of very small perspective and that if we just did the right things, we’d begin to connect with a bigger world, a vaster world, different from the one we’re in now.

One reason I wanted to talk about giving up all hope of fruition is because I’ve been meditating and giving dharma talks for some time now, but I find that I still have a secret passion for what it’s going to be like when-as they say in some of the classical texts, all the veils have been removed.” It’s that same feeling of wanting to jump over yourself and find something that’s more awake than the present situation, more alert than the present situation. Sometimes this occurs at a very mundane level: you want to be thinner, have less acne or more hair. But somehow there’s almost always a subtle or not so subtle sense of disappointment, a sense of things not completely measuring up.

In one of the first teachings I ever heard, the teacher said, “I don’t know why you came here, but I want to tell you right now that the basis of this whole teaching is that you’re never going to get everything together.” I felt a little like he had just slapped me in the face or thrown cold water over my head. But I’ve always remembered it. He said, “You’re never going to get it all together.” There isn’t going to be some precious future time when all the loose ends will be tied up. Even though it was shocking to me, it rang true. One of the things that keeps us unhappy is this continual searching for pleasure or security, searching for a little more comfortable situation, either at the domestic level or at the spiritual level or at the level of mental peace.

Nowadays, people go to a lot of different places trying to find what they’re looking for. There are 12 -step programs; someone told me that there is now a 24-step program; someday there will probably be a 108-step program. There are a lot of support groups and different therapies. Many people feel wounded and are looking for something to heal them. To me it seems that at the root of healing, at the root of feeling like a fully adult person, is the premise that you’re not going to try to make anything go away, that what you have is worth appreciating. But this is hard to swallow if what you have is…

For more: Start Where You Are : A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron, Shambhala Publications. 


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


4 Responses to “Lojong (Buddhist Mind Training Slogans): Abandon All Hope of Fruition.”

  1. […] Pema Chodron via Shambhala Sun magazine. Excerpt: In the middle way, there is no reference point. The mind with no reference point does not resolve itself, does not fixate or grasp. How could we possibly have no reference point? To have no reference point would be to change a deep-seated habitual response to the world: wanting to make it work out one way or the other. If I can’t go left or right, I will die! When we don’t go left or right, we feel like we are in a detox center. We’re alone, cold turkey with all the edginess that we’ve been trying to avoid by going left or right. That edginess can feel pretty heavy. […]

  2. […] this experience of openness is difficult to maintain. Thus what are called “slogans” are a huge help in continuing this insight both on and off the meditation cushion. Otherwise we […]

  3. […] fear and the paranoia a power-hungry regime reinforces a feeling that simple human warmth and hope, combined with conviction, is […]

  4. I would say it is amazing who doesn't realize this, but look at the spiritual leaders we have now: Dr. Wayne Dwyer, Eckhart Tolle, Rhonda Bryne, Byron Katie, and a couple more I will not mention due to the impending flame war that would occur. And those are just the "popular" ones.
    All of them make it seem as though one will "reach a new level" or "raise your vibration" or whatever new agey poppycock. It's not that, nor was it ever meant to me.
    "Awakening" from the haze is all that was ever intended and nothing more.
    But when we have people that tell us to throw away our egos while only pursuing and nurturing relationships that feed their own egos, of course many would be mislead into believing they will suddenly be able to see from their third eye and float off the floor, and walk through walls, or, more mundanely, suddenly change their core personality that is their ego, whilst the ego has already taken over the practice by entering it with intention.