An Essential and Complete Practice

Atisha’s Mind Training in Seven Points is one of the best-known instructions for mind training (lojong) and the practice of taking and sending (tonglen).

The Seven Points comprise a complete practice, with instructions and guidance that cover all the essential points of Mahayana Buddhism.


Generally, our attitude is that we always want to protect our own territory first. We want to preserve our own ground - others come afterward. The point of this slogan is to change that attitude around, so that we reflect on others first and on ourselves later... You also try to get away with things. For instance, you don't wash the dishes, hoping that somebody else will do it. Changing your attitude means reversing your attitude altogether - instead of making someone else do something, you do it yourself.

Then the slogan says 'remain natural' which has the sense of relaxation. It means taming your basic being, taming your mind altogether so that you are not constantly pushing other people around. Instead, you take the opportunity to blame yourself... Instead of cherishing yourself, you cherish others - and then you just relax. That's it. It's very simple-minded.

By Chogyam Trungpa

History of The Practice

Lojong mind training practice was developed over a 300-year period between 900 and 1200 CE, as part of the Mahāyāna school of Buddhism. Atiśa (982–1054 CE), a Bengali meditation master, is generally regarded as the originator of the practice. It is described in his book Lamp on the Path to Enlightenment (Bodhipathapradīpaṃ).

The practice is based upon his studies with the Sumatran teacher, Dharmakīrtiśrī (Tib. Serlingpa, Wylie: gser gling pa), and the Indian teacher Dharmarakṣita, a prominent teacher at Odantapuri and author of a text called the Wheel of Sharp Weapons. Both these texts are well known in Tibetan translation. Atiśa's third major teacher of lojong is said to have been the junior Kusalī, known also as Maitrīyogi.

Commentaries and Translation

One seminal commentary on the mind training practice was written by Jamgon Kongtrul (one of the main founders of the non-sectarian Rime movement of Tibetan Buddhism) in the 19th century. This commentary was translated by Ken McLeod, initially as A Direct Path to Enlightenment. This translation served as the root text for Osho's Book of Wisdom. Later, after some consultation with Chögyam Trungpa, Ken McLeod retranslated the work as The Great Path of Awakening.

Experience the Benefits

The teachings on mind training, or Lojong, are an invaluable aid to practitioners because they show us how the wisdom and skillful means of the Mahayana can be put into action.

They show us how to make it real.

The power of the slogans is that they break down the Mahayana ideal of loving-kindness for us. Rather than simply giving general guidelines on how to be a true practitioner, they spell it out in detail. They give specific guidelines both for how to approach meditation and how to awaken in daily life.

It is easy to be vaguely compassionate and generally aware, but when we look at what we are doing and how we interact with others, it is a different matter altogether. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details.

Example Curriculum

This course is closed for enrollment.

What Can We Learn From Buddhism?

The Dalai Lama said, “The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility and forgiveness.” I do not think about Buddhism as a replacement for my personal religious beliefs, but I feel that its philosophical approach can add an important dimension to everyday life. In general terms, Buddhists place importance on personal spiritual development. They study the meaning of life, inner peace and elimination of suffering.