Its not that Tonglen can't or doesn't work, its that it doesn't remove the root cause of the suffering nor does it eliminate the repetition of negative actions which will create more suffering of the same kind in the future. For example, if someone repeatedly did something that harmed themselves the doctor would administer medicine each time, however the doctor cannot stop the person from doing that nor eliminate the habits that will make them do it again. Tonglen administers that medicine on an energetic level.
What do you mean by: "Tonglen administers that medicine on an energetic level"?
I understand that Tongen can't remove the root cause of the suffering, but, for example, lets' take the situation of a lama who is very sick. All his disciple will start to practice a long life practice for him, right? Why, if it's impossible to influence/take someone else's karma? How could be my Mandarava practice helpful for someone else, in that moment, specifically for a health problem
We could say that, because we "dedicate the merit" of this practice? Ok, what's that mean exactly? So, if I "dedicate" the merit of a practice, then it works to diminish the suffering and prolong the life of someone else who is ill, (even with an hour), but when I do Tonglen, it doesn't work, because it's impossible to interfere with someone else karma?
My question is: if someone had a "karmic program" where he must dye by a disease at the age of 45 (just an example), if I personally do something for this man (Tonglen, Mandarava, etc), with an sincere and authentic wish to help him, it will really help him? In that moment, with that specific disease?
wisdom wrote:here is also the level where it is a mental exercise done in order to reduce selfishness, but that is not done for you either. You reduce selfishness in order to benefit other beings as well, because being selfish is a cause of suffering for yourself and others, so even in that sense doing Tonglen is really reducing the suffering of others.
Yes, but this is not a help for the person in case in that moment
, but somehow in an hypothetical future. Obviously that "being selfish is a cause of suffering for yourself and others", but if I see a man in suffering (physical or emotional), let's say I spontaneously feel a hart felt deep need to help him, and even to take from his suffering, to "carry" myself his pain, in order for him to be free. If Tonglen can't really do this, than what's the use? In that moment I don't want to "diminish my ego", or to "develop compassion" because I already have (hypothetical
a deep compassion in my heart. I just want to really help him.
Karma can be conceived of as a continuum ranging from potential seeds, to ripened/manifested effects, similar to the range of "cause" and "effects".
Perhaps what is going on is that only the effect (vipaka) of actions can be mitigated or removed by another, but since the person being helped has done nothing to remove or lessen the cause(s) himself, then in future (this lifetime or another) that effect will precipitate again.
Ok, let's say that it can't influence the "cause", but could at list influence Tonglen the "effect"?
If we look at Milarepa's life:
"A few days later, the Master showed increasingly grave symptoms of illness. Geshe Tsakpuhwa brought a little meat and beer, and pretending to inquire about his health, said to the Master, " It is really a pity that such an illness befalls a saint like the Master. If it is possible to share it, divide it among your disciples. If there is a way to transfer it, give it to a man such as myself. But since that is impossible, what should be done? "
The Master smiled and said," You know very well that my illness has no natural cause or provocation. And in any case, illness in an ordinary man is not the same as illness in a spiritual man. I should accept it as a special opportunity for inner transformation. For this reason, I bear my sickness as an ornament. A certain being is possessed by the demon of egotism, which is the worst one of all. It is he who has caused my illness. You could neither exorcise the demon nor cure me. If I shared my sickness with you, you could not bear it for an instant. I shall not transfer it." But Geshe Tsakpuhwa insisted .
Master said, " Well then, I will not transfer it to you, but I will transfer it to that door. Watch carefully." And he transferred it to the door of the cell. Immediately there was a loud crack and, shaking violently, the door began to break apart. At this moment, the Master was without illness.
The Master withdrew the sickness from the door and gave it to Tsakpuhwa, who collapsed in pain. Paralyzed and choking, he was on the verge of death. Then the Master took back a large part of the sickness and said, " I have only given you half of my sickness and you could not bear it."
So, I can transfer my pain to others, (at a high level on spiritual realization, obviously), but I can't take the pain of someone else, by yogic methods, because "the suffering of living beings cannot be removed with the hand, my realization cannot transferred to another"?
Could someone explain me, what exactly Milarepa did? Was Milarepa capable (if he wanted) to take someones else's suffering? If yes, this mean that he could "take"/reduce someone else karma?