Tonglen experiences?

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
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Lokottara
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Tonglen experiences?

Post by Lokottara » Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:45 am

I'd like to hear some anecdotes regarding tonglen. How has it aided you?

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Ayu
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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by Ayu » Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:17 pm

Difficult for me to discribe... means I cannot.
But that practice helps me a lot to realise that I am not the only one who suffers. There is a vast crowd of people suffering from the same whatever. And I do practice for to grant relief for us all. At the same time, the small black pea of ego in my heart is smashed, it explodes and light and joy floods everybody.
That helps me a lot to endure hard times. It consoles.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:

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Lokottara
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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by Lokottara » Tue Aug 27, 2019 11:05 pm

Ayu wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 10:17 pm
Difficult for me to discribe... means I cannot.
But that practice helps me a lot to realise that I am not the only one who suffers. There is a vast crowd of people suffering from the same whatever. And I do practice for to grant relief for us all. At the same time, the small black pea of ego in my heart is smashed, it explodes and light and joy floods everybody.
That helps me a lot to endure hard times. It consoles.
Thank you for sharing!

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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by Mirror » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:25 am

Please don't take this too seriously, but I think that tonglen is even better than traditional shamatha (focusing on one's breath) and vipassana, because tonglen lessen your ego, your desire for worldly pleasures, creates positive karma, generates bodhicitta in your mind and it'l help you think more about others, so you'll suffer less, because the cause of suffering is our self-attachment.

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tobes
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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by tobes » Thu Aug 29, 2019 5:56 am

I used to think: this is a pretty good tool for mind training.

Now I realise: this is an extraordinarily profound method for completing the path.

I'm still a novice with tonglen, but I've experienced just enough to be know that just about everything I'm striving for is accomplished through it.

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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by Simon E. » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:29 am

Mirror wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:25 am
Please don't take this too seriously, but I think that tonglen is even better than traditional shamatha (focusing on one's breath) and vipassana, because tonglen lessen your ego, your desire for worldly pleasures, creates positive karma, generates bodhicitta in your mind and it'l help you think more about others, so you'll suffer less, because the cause of suffering is our self-attachment.
It’s not an either/or of course. :smile: Those practises enhance each other.
“Why don’t you close down your PC for a while and find out who needs your help?”

HH Tai Situ.

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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:48 pm

I havent done it too much- and most of the time I have it is in the context of inside the Panchen Lama's guru puja.
But I know some pretty great people who totally say that tonglen is their number 1 practice. And reading this thread make me think I should practice it more.

I do wonder about if it is risky or dangerous though, you know? Like in the geluk guru puja the verse reads something like "let me experience the bad karma of others and turn it into the way" it always makes me feel like...hmmm..I came here to feel better and improve my life and afterlife.....

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tobes
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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by tobes » Thu Aug 29, 2019 11:51 pm

It's very dangerous if you want to stay in samsara, keep a closed heart and regress from bodhicitta.....

Otherwise: it is the very opposite of dangerous.

You cannot be harmed in any way by doing this practice; only your illusory sense of I is harmed.

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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Fri Aug 30, 2019 6:48 am

I really didn't get Tonglen until I realized I need to viscerally feel others pain to real practice it, not just think about everything. I tried all different visualizations and have gotten lots of teachings on it, but it was all just concepts until connecting to someone else's pain deeply. We could argue about what that means I guess, but that's my experience.

All the stuff about the practice being located not in the head but in the heart is actually quite important, not just some quaint ancient physiology at all... literally once I got out of my head I understood the practice much better.
His welcoming
& rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state,
he discerns rightly,
has gone, beyond becoming,
to the Further Shore.

-Lokavipatti Sutta

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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:20 pm

Lokottara wrote:
Tue Aug 27, 2019 3:45 am
I'd like to hear some anecdotes regarding tonglen. How has it aided you?
a weird anecdote happened to me when i was like 17, a friend of my mom was diagnosed with cancer, mamal cancer if i remember well. when she came to our house for a visit i was passing by to say hi, and remained a bit hearing them talking, then i remembered "oh i could do some tonglen now", so i did, haha, when i did it i combined it w/ what's called vajra breathing and after a few breath cycles i saw a black mass arising from her top head and i absorbed it as the tonglen method is applyed.

in the moment i was ok, but then i was like wtf happened. when one is young one is open to things, and things can manifest.

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tobes
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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by tobes » Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:58 pm

Be clear though: you cannot 'catch' cancer, or any other bad condition, by practicing tonglen.

This is a simple matter of causation.

The causes you are generating by taking on the suffering of others can only produce extremely wholesome and beneficial conditions (both for you and the beings you are practicing for).

However, it is possible to change/transform/heal the suffering of others via this practice. In taking on a 'black mass' of karma connected to the cancer, you are directly helping to purify it. This is possible because karma is empty.

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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:24 am

well i don't know, i did sort of tonglen mixed w/ a pranayama. i didn't care in using applying that way, if it was right or wrong, nor if i would be able to get cancer then because i thought "if i get anything it wont manifest because i practice..." a particular yidam that have ways to control/eliminate illneses. maybe i was naive; teenager things.

other times, like now in my 30's for example, i apply tonglen during yidam practice as a support for applying complete boddhicitta (intention + action). i really really hope it works and always check here and there, again, because it is no simple imagination, there is a specific conditionant factor in addition. that's why somethimes i say tonglen isn't just a mind training, and that intention boddhicitta alone is not complete.

i use to see that for walking the mahayana we have two legs: intention and action. if one try to walk using one leg, one can't really walk the path.

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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:28 am

tobes wrote:
Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:58 pm
Be clear though: you cannot 'catch' cancer, or any other bad condition, by practicing tonglen.

This is a simple matter of causation.

The causes you are generating by taking on the suffering of others can only produce extremely wholesome and beneficial conditions (both for you and the beings you are practicing for).

However, it is possible to change/transform/heal the suffering of others via this practice. In taking on a 'black mass' of karma connected to the cancer, you are directly helping to purify it. This is possible because karma is empty.
Thanks for the input.

On the other hand, I have heard of certain masters dying young with the explanation that they helped so many people and it reduced their life force.

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tobes
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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by tobes » Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:53 am

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:24 am
well i don't know, i did sort of tonglen mixed w/ a pranayama. i didn't care in using applying that way, if it was right or wrong, nor if i would be able to get cancer then because i thought "if i get anything it wont manifest because i practice..." a particular yidam that have ways to control/eliminate illneses. maybe i was naive; teenager things.

other times, like now in my 30's for example, i apply tonglen during yidam practice as a support for applying complete boddhicitta (intention + action). i really really hope it works and always check here and there, again, because it is no simple imagination, there is a specific conditionant factor in addition. that's why somethimes i say tonglen isn't just a mind training, and that intention boddhicitta alone is not complete.

i use to see that for walking the mahayana we have two legs: intention and action. if one try to walk using one leg, one can't really walk the path.
I think this is very wise. Tonglen + yidam practice: excellent. If yidam practice is for others, it will definitely succeed.

:anjali:

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Miroku
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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by Miroku » Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:55 am

javier.espinoza.t wrote:
Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:24 am
other times, like now in my 30's for example, i apply tonglen during yidam practice as a support for applying complete boddhicitta (intention + action). i really really hope it works and always check here and there, again, because it is no simple imagination, there is a specific conditionant factor in addition. that's why somethimes i say tonglen isn't just a mind training, and that intention boddhicitta alone is not complete.

i use to see that for walking the mahayana we have two legs: intention and action. if one try to walk using one leg, one can't really walk the path.
Yes, that's a good point. I have started really reminding myself during the practice that "this is for others not for me, may they attain enlightenment" and it really deepens the experience I'd say and maybe also brings results slightly better. And trondu during mantra recitation really is like tonglen yeah. Relative bodhicitta is a real gem. :bow:
“Observing samaya involves to remain inseparable from the union of wisdom and compassion at all times, to sustain mindfulness, and to put into practice the guru’s instructions”. Garchen Rinpoche

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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by javier.espinoza.t » Sun Sep 01, 2019 4:13 pm

yes! it doesn't take too long also, to say maybe if we do one mala round, for example, just add a a few counts or minute for action. it really helps. of course if one is comfortable doing more, then is good idea to actually do it! less or more, in both cases one develops the capacity to do even more in a non forced way. this means your concern is authentic, that intention is perfected.

one can apply groups also, not only individual-focused. it may depend on your familiarity w/ tonglen or trondu.

now one finds "oh, who should i help?", well look around: always someone we know dies, or when we walk in the sideway someone ask is for coin, or some friend, or someone have any problem, etc. and we have sort of relationship. somethimes a relative, somethimes a stranger, it doesn't matter.

i'm happy it makes sense to you, you can do good.

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明安 Myoan
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Re: Tonglen experiences?

Post by 明安 Myoan » Sun Sep 01, 2019 6:13 pm

Tonglen introduced me to the lojong teachings.

Tonglen was also the first technique I learned that takes ordinary suffering as its basis in a simple, direct way.

Tonglen and bodhicitta support each other.
If tonglen feels contrived, make a simple bodhicitta aspiration first.
If bodhicitta feels contrived, practice tonglen on a few breaths.

Tonglen is really always a good idea whenever you think of it :twothumbsup:
Since it's so flexible in terms of what you imagine, tonglen can work with other practices too.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

The Fundamental Vow [of Amitabha Buddha] is just for such people as woodcutters and grassgatherers, vegetable pickers, drawers of water and the like, illiterate folk who merely recite the Buddha's name wholeheartedly, confident that as a result of saying "Namu Amida Butsu" they will be born into the western land. -- Master Hōnen

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