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 Commitments   Alan Wallace

Do Not Load the Burden of a Dzo on an Ox
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Tai Chi Imagery Book
A dzo is a cross between an ox and a yak - a very strong beast of burden. So the message is: don't take the burden of a dzo and place it upon an ox, which is a weaker animal. This rustic metaphor refers to issues of ability and responsibility. Each of us is endowed with certain talents, whether we were born with them or earned them in this life. We also have our responsibilities, some of which we may not be inclined to fulfill. If this text were originally written in America, it would probably say here: Don't pass the buck. Recognize what your role is and what you are here to contribute. What are your special abilities and responsibilities? At times these will be enjoyable and rewarding; at other times they may be grunt work. But having identified the grunt work, don't shift it onto other people's shoulders. They may not be as capable as you are for the task.

Excerpted from: The Seven-Point Mind Training(first published as A Passage from Solitude : Training the Mind in a Life Embracing the World), by B. Alan Wallace. Copyright 1992 by Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, New York 14851.

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Written during a retreat in the high California desert by one of the foremost Buddhist intellectuals of our time. This commentary probably goes further than any other in making the Mind Training practice understandable and justifiable to a Western way of thinking. It also contains some very valuable 'lecture notes' taken by Sechibuwa, one of Chekawa's disciples who heard the teachings directly from the master.
All of us have attitudes. Some of them accord with reality and serve us well throughout the course of our lives. Others are out of alignment with reality, and cause us problems. Tibetan Buddhist practice isn't just sitting in silent meditation, it's developing fresh attitudes that align our minds with reality. Attitudes need adjusting, just like a spinal column that has been knocked out of alignment. B. Alan Wallace explains a fundamental type of Buddhist mental training called lojong, which can literally be translated as attitudinal training. It is designed to shift our attitudes so that our minds become pure well-springs of joy instead of murky pools of problems, anxieties, fleeting pleasures, hopes and frustrations.