Tonglen question

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Tonglen question

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:15 pm

As far as tonglen making your life a blessing for others, showing them the transformation that Dharma has on ordinary people, its impact on their karma is immeasurable. They have made contact with a seed of Dharma, the cause of their own future liberation.
As far as tonglen making you perform the siddhi of healing others or averting disaster, unless you are extremely realized, that is doubtful.
For that, isn't it better to pray to the buddhas, bodhisattvas, and deities who do have the wherewithal?
Amitābha Buddha!

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions. Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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TrimePema
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Re: Tonglen question

Post by TrimePema » Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:48 am

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:32 pm
Bristollad wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:49 pm
javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:15 pm


mm I see like "a few seconds of correct action is far better that a few thousands of years of good intention."

self accumulation of merit is like the accumulation of a self..

often I have this argue. if one is to be a buddha, how pretend to bypass being a boddhisattva?
if you "often I have this argue" with many different people then perhaps you need to check whether you are correct in your assumptions or that the way you are explaining your position is clear?

In this thread, you asked if through the practice of tong-len, we could actually take on the sufferings of others, but it seemed you already had decided the answer was yes before anyone answered. If you are already sure, why did you ask?

If even ordinary beings like us were able to take on the sufferings of others through tonglen then why is anyone suffering? Don't you think that the Buddhas and bodhisattvas would long ago have taken on all the sufferings of all sentient beings?

Tonglen is an incredible mind-training, training us in the courage, empathy and compassion necessary for us to develop great compassion and bodhicitta, and yes, to take action such as giving shelter and food to the homeless for instance.
mm no friend, point in the quoted answer is tangential to the thread issue. the point in the last answer is about if it's better to do something or to only thought something, action or intention only. quite an issue if I may say, controversial even.

I really doubt that tonglen is merely a mind training, I would like to know if it can be a tantric method, or if that's what it really is. I'm trying to find out if someone also has the same study in hands.

For sure buddhas are trying to take away sufferings, even if that sound strange now I think. I suppose that because we can't contact them directly is why we have buddhadharmas. if we could just contact buddhas directly we could go very very bad reinforcing misconceptions. Fact is that we people think we are so special when some sort of contact happens, so how to receive tonglen, or other things, then? seems counterproductive haha :P
Tonglen has to do with tendrel. Of course, when we affect the conditions the effects can change.

You missed my point. No matter how much tonglen affects tendrel when done by ordinary beings, it is quite useless compared to the power of the Buddha aka enlightened activity. And no, a sentient being cannot engage in enlightened activity because they are not enlightened. Therefore, any siddhi you may gain to be able to purify the karma of others is not actually as beneficial as gaining the supreme siddhi of enlightenment, which allows one to engage in limitless benefit for limitless beings at once.
We CAN engage in tonglen in order to purify others, and not to increase bodhichitta and accumulate merit (propensity to become enlightened) by imagining that we are able to purify others' karma right now because we are Buddhas (which is the tantric version of tonglen, where there is visualization involved and self generation), BUT it will only lead us to temporary results (like maybe feeling a little better; which is good) and increase of bodhichitta and accumulation of merit. In other words, we CANNOT liberate other beings. As limited sentient beings, we can only liberate ourselves (for the benefit of others).

At least we can decrease suffering of others, but we cannot right now liberate them. No, "liberating" someone from hunger is not liberation in the Buddhist sense. That is just wordplay.

The masters always say, "yes, give food or material but also give prayers. Give enlightened intent. Say, this person is hungry, I will practice the paramitas to become a Buddha in order to lead them to liberation from endless samsara, then they will not have any of these problems ever again."

Which is better? The thought "may I become a Buddha in order to help sentient beings" or the act of giving someone some food? The Buddha said the enlightening thought is more beneficial if it comes from the heart. Of course, we can do both. Which is better? To "purify" someone's temporary discomfort or to lead them to enlightenment? Why not both?

People who think "liberating" from hunger is accomplished by giving a sandwich are not thinking clearly. Liberation from hunger happens when one is liberated from samsara.

If you are going to repay your current mother for giving you precious human rebirth, how will you do it? Are you just going to take her to dinner? Buy her a house? Buy her infinite food so she is never hungry again? Is that adequate? Obviously it is not. The only way to repay our mothers is by leading them to enlightenment.

What do you think tantric methods are? They are skillful means to become a Buddha for the benefit of all beings.
What do you think siddhi are for? They are for accumulating vast merit on unthinkable scales in order to become a Buddha for the benefit of all beings. Do you think the siddhi to do X is anything even remotely close to the powers of the supreme siddhi? It isn't.
For instance, if you can stop rain, you can stop a flood and save 1,000 beings, but you cannot lead them to liberation. Inevitably these beings will once again be attacked by their own karmic ripening. The only way to stop the suffering is to cut the root of suffering. This is what the Buddha taught.

There are effects from tonglen but they are insignificant compared to the effects of enlightened activity. Abandon your desire to use tonglen to save people and use tonglen instead to become a Buddha and then use inconceivable powers to liberate beings to the same state.

TrimePema
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Re: Tonglen question

Post by TrimePema » Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:56 am

Arupajhana7 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:03 pm
I have a question about ethics in tonglen.

I have been practicing tonglen for a few years now. I just recently was talking to a friend who said that in his Reiki training he learned that it was not ethical to do energetic healing on someone from whom you have not received permission to do so.
This made a lot of sense to me. I have sometimes felt quite annoyed about people who pray for me to find Jesus. He said it is the same idea behind that.

This got me thinking... Is there a possible ethical issue in my practicing tonglen for others from whom I have never asked permission?
Don't talk about it - just do it. Then, once you've done it, don't talk about it. Especially, don't talk about it with the subject of the practice... It's more beneficial if they figure it out. Of course, if it's inspiring to that person, then tell them that you've done something for them but imo try to be humble and downplay any possible effects (or the inspiration can be lost).

Never ask permission to meditate.

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Tonglen question

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:20 pm

TrimePema wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:48 am


Abandon your desire to use tonglen to save people and use tonglen instead to become a Buddha and then use inconceivable powers to liberate beings to the same state.
buddhahood cannot be discovered through efforts.

efforts are relative, not "absolute", like everything everywhere.

btw, if I where to rely on prayers... I would be mad, truly mad.
what are you doing

TrimePema
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Re: Tonglen question

Post by TrimePema » Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:13 pm

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:20 pm
TrimePema wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:48 am


Abandon your desire to use tonglen to save people and use tonglen instead to become a Buddha and then use inconceivable powers to liberate beings to the same state.
buddhahood cannot be discovered through efforts.

efforts are relative, not "absolute", like everything everywhere.

btw, if I where to rely on prayers... I would be mad, truly mad.
There are 3 ways buddhahood is "discovered." One is through the paths and bhumis, which is what tonglen is part of. The other is through striking vital points, and the last is the essence, which is what your last statement is about. Your question is about the paths and bhumis, not the essence. Therefore the answer you receive is about the paths and bhumis, not the essence.

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Monlam Tharchin
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Re: Tonglen question

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:41 pm

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:20 pm
btw, if I where to rely on prayers... I would be mad, truly mad.
It depends on what you pray for, doesn't it?
Amitābha Buddha!

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions. Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

Free Pure Land Buddhism resources

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javier.espinoza.t
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Re: Tonglen question

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sat Oct 06, 2018 10:11 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 6:41 pm
javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:20 pm
btw, if I where to rely on prayers... I would be mad, truly mad.
It depends on what you pray for, doesn't it?
hmm sort of. prayers are more a description/declaration of intentions than anything. some are a teaching really, something to be understood, not to be parroted. others are just religious stuff.
what are you doing

Arupajhana7
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Re: Tonglen question

Post by Arupajhana7 » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:20 pm

TrimePema wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:56 am
Arupajhana7 wrote:
Tue Aug 28, 2018 11:03 pm
I have a question about ethics in tonglen.

I have been practicing tonglen for a few years now. I just recently was talking to a friend who said that in his Reiki training he learned that it was not ethical to do energetic healing on someone from whom you have not received permission to do so.
This made a lot of sense to me. I have sometimes felt quite annoyed about people who pray for me to find Jesus. He said it is the same idea behind that.

This got me thinking... Is there a possible ethical issue in my practicing tonglen for others from whom I have never asked permission?
Don't talk about it - just do it. Then, once you've done it, don't talk about it. Especially, don't talk about it with the subject of the practice... It's more beneficial if they figure it out. Of course, if it's inspiring to that person, then tell them that you've done something for them but imo try to be humble and downplay any possible effects (or the inspiration can be lost).

Never ask permission to meditate.
Why is it ok to do it if the other person may wish that we aren't doing so?

I am not asking about how to deal with their reactions, but about the ethics of practicing for someone without their consent. Is there something like a violation of someone's agency occurring when we try to have an energetic affect on them through our practice and they don't know it?

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Aryjna
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Re: Tonglen question

Post by Aryjna » Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:30 pm

Arupajhana7 wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:20 pm
Is there something like a violation of someone's agency occurring when we try to have an energetic affect on them through our practice and they don't know it?
Of course not. That is the same thing as asking if it's ok to think about someone without asking for their permission first. Tonglen is not energetic healing. Even if it was energetic healing, it still would not be immoral, for the same reason that trying to help a drug-crazed suicidal person without their consent is not immoral.

TrimePema
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Re: Tonglen question

Post by TrimePema » Thu Oct 11, 2018 3:19 am

... it's not immoral because it is not done for YOU. It is done for them.

It is not a violation of agency or morality to have bodhichitta intent.
I hope the following is satisfactory:

If you ask that person, "do you like to suffer?" they will surely say no. If they say yes, then accordingly they are too ignorant to have agency at all, as all their actions are following from deeply ingrained habits of ignorance.
If you ask that person, "would you like suffering to cease?" they will surely say yes. Therefore, to practice for any specific person, wishing they will have no suffering and only liberation and happiness, cannot be immoral or some kind of "breach" of agency.

It's said that a Buddhist should not disparage ignorant sentient beings, because they definitionally can't know the harm they cause. Likewise, it's said that acting under the influence of ignorance is the same as being a mindless slave.

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