Eight Verses of Training the Mind
by Geshe Langri Thangpa
- By thinking of all sentient beings
As more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel
For accomplishing the highest aim,
I will always hold them dear.
- Whenever I’m in the company of others,
I will regard myself as the lowest among all,
And from the depths of my heart
Cherish others as supreme.
- In my every action, I will watch my mind,
And the moment destructive emotions arise,
I will confront them strongly and avert them,
Since they will hurt both me and others.
- Whenever I see ill-natured beings,
Or those overwhelmed by heavy misdeeds or suffering,
I will cherish them as something rare,
As though I’d found a priceless treasure.
- Whenever someone out of envy
Does me wrong by attacking or belittling me,
I will take defeat upon myself,
And give the victory to others.
- Even when someone I have helped,
Or in whom I have placed great hopes
Mistreats me very unjustly,
I will view that person as a true spiritual teacher.
- In brief, directly or indirectly,
I will offer help and happiness to all my mothers,
And secretly take upon myself
All their hurt and suffering.
- I will learn to keep all these practices
Untainted by thoughts of the eight worldly concerns.
May I recognize all things as like illusions,
And, without attachment, gain freedom from bondage.
Dalai Lama has memorized this pray since he was 15-16 years old and he says it daily.
Eight worldly concerns
1 & 2: Happiness vs. Suffering
Once we have happiness, fear arises, for we are afraid to lose it. When suffering arises, no amount of wishful thinking makes it go away. The more we hope for it to be otherwise, the more pain we feel.
3 & 4: Fame vs. Insignificance
We are obsessed with fame and afraid of our own insignificance. When it dawns on us how hard we need to work to be seen as someone special, our fear of insignificance is only magnified.
5 & 6: Praise vs. Blame
We need to be pumped up constantly or we begin to have doubts about our worth. When we are not searching for praise, we are busy trying to cover up our mistakes so we don’t get caught.
7 & 8: Gain vs. Loss
Just as we are about to congratulate ourselves on our success, the bottom falls out. Over and over, things are hopeful one moment and the next they are not, and in either case we are anxious.