Monk walking on petals, representing Tonglen practice

Tonglen for transforming suffering

The tonglen (tib. giving and taking) practice is a method for connecting with suffering, both our own and that which is all around us, everywhere we go. It is a method for overcoming the fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our hearts. Primarily it is a method for awakening the compassion that is inherent in all of us.

You are encouraged to go towards pain and transform suffering into a source of wisdom and compassion. Trying to separate yourself from this pain or ignore suffering does not make it go away. By embracing and accepting these challenging emotions, you allow for a natural transformation and awakening.

Allowing yourself to connect with suffering with tonglen ultimately enables you to open your heart. There is no need to be fearful of the inevitable suffering in the world. By recognizing that you are not alone in experiencing pain, your compassion both for others and yourself expands.

Tonglen can be practiced in a formal way or as a practice in daily life. This guided meditation was recorded during a meditation retreat, where participants connected with their own painful emotions, but found compassion. To find practical advice on following tonglen practices, you are invited to listen.

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