Thursday, 4 October 2018

Battlecry of Freedom; Mind Training, Lojong

Cover mock-up
I have been writing a book about Lojong—Mind Training—for the last two or three years. This Buddhist teaching is presented as 59 pithy slogans on how to train the mind, organised into seven points. It is a teaching that originated in the 11th century, and the Seven Points of Mind Training were composed by Chekhawa Yeshé Dorje (1101–1175). The book is going to be called Battlecry of Freedom as the word slogan originates from an ancient Celtic word meaning  battlecry. 
Writing the book has been quite a big project involving a lot of research. The research is essential, but in the end has to be discarded to a great extent, as the book itself must be written from the basis of practice and practice experience, rather than from intellectual study.
The reason for the picture of me on a horse on the cover, is that horseriding is a theme that is used throughout the book. Horsemanship and mounted warriorship has been an important aspect of Tibetan culture since ancient days, and the experience of training and riding a horse has many similarities to the experience of training and riding the mind. I have ridden horses throughout my life. Drawing on this experience and the relationship with horses, and through telling horseriding stories, I am able to present a view of the practice of Mind Training that is both traditional and personal.
When looking at the spiritual path, it can be useful to compare it to a more ordinary experience—such as horseriding—and leave aside the enigmatic and mysterious atmosphere of spirituality. This can make spiritual practice more approachable. Ultimately deep spiritual understanding is beyond words, because such understanding is beyond the capacity of intellect. This is also true of the deep relationship developed between a horse and rider.Ngakma Nor’dzin, Battlecry of Freedom, Aro Books worldwide, 2019
Battlecry of Freedom is in the proof-reading stage, and is expected to be ready for publication by the end of the year. It is time, therefore, to start presenting snippets to whet your interest.
A horse cannot be forced to cooperate with the rider, and will resent the attempt. Similarly the mind cannot be forced. This is easily discovered through trying to force thought to disappear.’ Ngakma Nor’dzin, Battlecry of Freedom, Aro Books worldwide, 2019

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