Dalando's Favorite Dharma Delicacy
"In with the bad and out with the good" the topsy-turvy world of TONGLEN
Take trauma, death, despair... any of the many evils that darken our lives with suffering, sadness, and anger. Breath it in and then out, transforming our thoughts to open, light, and powerfully generous images.
Suck in the breath of despair felt by others, their heart-break and pain. Spout out the gentle awakening of happiness and care-free joy we want for those we love.
This is the secret receipt for anyone ready to take on the greatest chef of compassion, and practice the soft simple path of Tonglen. But cook it we must, in the hottest of ovens, our own day to day hell of survival.
Breath in what we witness as evil, take in this tragedy as our own, and then to life's victims we give all that is right and good in our hearts.
For any one brave enough to do such a simple and silly gesture, of breathing in 'all that is bad' and out 'all that is good', the Bodhichitta of an awakened heart awaits.
By expressing ultimate love in this way, we may feast for the moment on our own piece of enlightened bliss... a delightful short-time stay, at the Pure Land Hotel of anointed action.
While the mysteries of this strange magical union of emptiness and compassion eludes comprehension, the flavor is undeniable. An orgy of just being who we are, tasting the nectar of the great collective booty.
In a pearl string of wonderful inhale and exhalations, Tonglen gives us insight into the simple wisdom of 'how we can learn to love ourselves, despite all our misgivings'.
Tonglen is a silly yet treacherously challenging meditation. Your ego will fight with every trick this master of 'mindlessness' can muster. But distractions and detractors will fall to our gentle persistence and the sweet truth. Tonglen works.
For those of us raised in the Judeo-Christian kitchens of guilt and self-deprecation, Tonglen is a healthy dietary alternative to our own endlessly unsatisfying pattern of "in with the good and out with the bad." Spiritual materialism exposed, soul searching tweaked to the nanosecond... our lusty unrelenting greed turned on its head.
Jesus, Mohammed, Confucius, and the other 'do-gooders' were all correct, constructing their variations on the Golden Rule, but much has been lost in our million life-moments of trying.
This formula of 'mind-training', lojong, is a cookbook of behavior designed for this moment alone. Written by Atisha in the formative years of Tibetan Buddhism, no other practice addresses the challenge of cultivating loving-kindness with such forceful horse sense.
If you have half an inkling to turn your world topsy-turvy, try Tonglen.
Books, CD, and tapes by
An Explanation of Atisha's
Seven Point Mind Training
Rab-Gsal-Zla-Ba, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche