Tonglen - a powerful practice for "self" help

Using the Buddha’s teachings to preserve and enhance our well-being, as we engage with the world
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Buck McGeehy
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Tonglen - a powerful practice for "self" help

Post by Buck McGeehy »

I hope the following is helpful to many:

Engaged Buddhism - A movement within Buddhism which puts emphasis on taking affirmative actions within one's community to address manifest human suffering such as poverty, hunger, environmental harm, and public health issues.
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Re: Tonglen - a powerful practice for "self" help

Post by Nicholas »

Here is a short textual version, with Dalai Lama's comment:
7 In short, I will learn to offer to everyone without exception
All help and happiness directly and indirectly
And respectfully take upon myself
All harm and suffering of my mothers.

This stanza sets forth the practice of giving and taking—out of
love giving your happiness and causes of happiness to others and
out of compassion taking from others their suffering and the
causes that would make them suffer. These are the two main attitudes
of a Bodhisattva: compassion caring about others’ suffering
and love wishing for others to have happiness. When, training in
these two, you come upon people who are manifestly undergoing
suffering, you should practice giving and taking, thinking:

This person is suffering very badly and, though wanting to
gain happiness and alleviate suffering, does not know how to
give up non-virtues and adopt virtuous practices; hence
he/she is bereft of happiness. I will take this person’s suffering
and give this person all of my happiness.

Although there may be exceptional persons who actually can
physically do this, it is very rare; most of us can only imagine it.
However, mentally doing this practice of removing suffering from
others and taking it upon yourself is helpful internally and has the
effect of increasing the determination to do so in actuality. This
practice is done in conjunction with the inhalation and exhalation
of the breath—inhaling others’ pain and exhaling your happiness
to them.
Though one may conquer a thousand times a thousand men in battle, yet he indeed is the noblest victor who conquers himself. Self-conquest is far better than the conquest of others. Dhammapada
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