So, my on again, off again relationship with tonglen looks to be on again. I think this is largely as a result of my involvement in the pan-Buddhist practice community DharmaPaths.com. This andthe fact that I’m finding my regular Buddho breath and metta bhavana practices just aren’t cutting it at curing through the aversion and animosity that are the inevitable results of an extended family vacation.
For those of you who may not be familiar worth tonglen practice, or is the practice of taking on the suffering of others with the in-breath and offering your goodness, peace and merit on the out-breath. Obviously, from a strict Theravadan approach, the first thing that seems completely wrong about this practice is everything. You can’t take away someone’s suffering anymore than you can give them your merit but i don’t think this was ever the point. Rather, the Mahayana masters who developed tonglen recognized that an alchemy of the heart takes place when we imagine taking the hurts and problems from someone and giving them our good qualities.
So, for the time being, I’ll be using the giving and taking practice in place of my normal metta bhavana practice and I’ll let you know how it works. In the mean time, does anyone have experience with this practice or know of any teachers who are available online?