Avoiding Mental Rigidity

by Peter Carlson on December 17, 2015

During this talk, Peter reviewed 3 lojong mind training commitments:  “Don’t revert to magic”, “Don’t reduce a god to a demon”, and “Don’t seek pain as a component of happiness”.  The common theme of these three commitments is to be mindful of mental rigidity, which produces “magical thinking” (Misperceiving one’s beliefs to be “things”, that is, accurate personality defining characteristics).  This consequence of craving and clinging can create a rigid, doctrinaire, “holier than thou” approach to life, comparing and judging others harshly for their beliefs.  This rigidity can manifest as a punitive approach to life, that is, relishing the suffering of others.

The review was followed by discussion by various persons attending regarding how this rigidity is experienced and what aspects of the Four Noble Truth can bring resolution to the rigidity and harshness.

This review is the last focused on the commitments of lojong mind training.  Peter will be on a two-week self retreat over the holidays.  The first meeting in January will review the retreat process he experienced.  The following meeting will summarize the lojong mind training  with a review of the remaining aphorisms, which emphasize the importance of various elements of the lojong mind training system.

Here are the notes prepared for this discussion:   AVOIDING MENTAL RIGIDITY AND HARSHNESS

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