Lojong Practice Journal: All Dharma agrees at one point
The 59 slogans through a social justice lens
With each of these reflections, I spend time reading different translations and teachings from multiple sources. More than one of my commentaries has explored these different translations and how they might change our understanding of a slogan or how we put it into practice. In the case of ‘All Dharma agrees at one point’ I found three other translations:
All Dharma has a single goal
All Dharma is condensed into one purpose
All Dharma has a single purpose
But regardless of the way you phrase it, the meaning of this slogan is clear:
The Dharma is there to wake us up.
The use of the word ‘Dharma’, with a capital ‘D’, is important to note. Dharma is understood to be the teachings of the Buddha, whilst ‘dharma’ is either physical or mental factors. When we talk about Dharma in the context of this slogan, we are talking about the hundreds of teachings and practices we are given on the path. Every single one has the aim of waking us up, of freeing us from ego-clinging and the small view of the world and our place in it.
On a personal level, this has been part of why I’ve been shifting from calling myself a Buddhist to calling myself a Dharma practitioner. Too often the trapping of religion become the focus of our practice. Fundamentalism is a risk, no matter what the spiritual modality. When I remember that the work is waking up—not about ‘being a Buddhist’ — I let go of judgements of myself and others. This also opens me to see how any wisdom teaching that helps me free my mind, regardless of the source, is Dharma. I’m not doing this to impress anyone and I’m not doing it so I can have some incredible stamina for being on the cushion. I’m doing it because I want to be of benefit, and the way to do that is to free myself of obscurations.
This slogan is a reminder — a sharp, clear reminder: The path is not about having perfect posture in meditation, finding the perfect teacher, collecting the right credentials, or quoting sutras. The path is about seeing things as they are. It’s about doing the work that will transform us from ego-clinging beings trapped in samsara to full-blown bodhisattvas. It’s about freeing ourselves from fixed ideas and notions so we can be fully present to the world and connected with our full potential for compassion, love, equanimity, and joy.
This blog was originally published on Medium.
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