Tonglen Meditations

B. Alan Wallace, 09 Nov 2016

Tonglen Meditations

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November 2016 - Spain.

Tonglen Meditation.

In the spirit of loving kindness for ourselves and others, the aspiration of compassion that all may be free of suffering and its causes, arousing our deepest conative wisdom, let’s turn to practice now, to cultivate our own hearts and minds. That each of us, may be a nucleus of healing, of kindness and compassion for the world, each of us, a bright light and with such a motivation let’s settle body, speech and mind in the natural states, settling our entire being in a state that is relaxed, still and clear.

[2:05] And in this way you alight upon your own inner refuge. A place of ease, of fearlessness, composed, collected, unified, thoroughly present. Not withdrawn from the world, but bright, clear and discerning. Find this place. This is your internal refuge. This is your lighthouse. Your lighthouse in the midst of an ocean, upon a rocky knoll, that stands in the midst of the harshest winds, the most thundering waves, and stands firm, a beacon of light.

[3:35] And rest there for a little while. With the confidence, the fearlessness, here you stand, here you are at rest. The Buddha said - take no external refuge, be as an island unto yourselves. Find this place of inner sanity, of clarity, of compassion. And know that you are home. This is your refuge at all times. We rest in this flow of cognizance, a simple non conceptual flow of knowing, of clear cognizance. Unperturbed by all the movement around one, in the mind, the body and in the environment.

[5:09] And while resting in this flow of cognizance we may also recall the ever so important truth - that the other aspect of consciousness, of awareness is luminosity. The brightness, the clarity, which not only makes appearances manifest, but is also the source of imagination. Imagining the possible as the other aspect of reality complimenting the actual. We are aware of the actual situation in the political arena today, we may imagine perhaps with dread, perhaps with optimism, the outcome of it. But let’s draw now on this luminous capacity, this capacity of imagination, filled with heart, filled with wisdom, and visualize, visualize this innate purity, the luminosity, the sheer goodness of your own essential nature. However you may label it - pristine awareness - primordial consciousness - in Buddhism - Buddha Nature, Dharmakaya, Buddhamind. And in other traditions it goes by other names. But it all comes back to the same point. Imagine now if you will, this fundamental purity, luminosity, clarity, compassion and sanity of your own being, at your nucleus, at your very core. And imagine this symbolically now, as a radiant orb of light, the size of a jewel, right in the center of your heart, the heart chakra. Imagine this incandescent orb of radiant white light, the very nature of purity, of joy, of loving-kindness and compassion, all imbued with wisdom, imagine this, your core. And imagine this as the core of every sentient being without exception.

[8:16] Now turn your awareness outwards to the world around you, to the people in this room, the surrounding community, this region of Spain. Outwards in all directions, outwards over the oceans, over the great bodies of land, all of our fellow inhabitants on this beautiful place we call Earth. And attend closely, and witness with your mind’s eye something that is actual, manifest, true. And that is the enormity of suffering in the world. Of all kinds. Physical, mental, social. And how we, out of our delusion perpetuate the very causes of our own suffering. Not us vs them, how we do this. Out of unawareness. Out of delusion. We create misery for ourselves and for others. Consider this ocean of suffering.

[9:54] Today was a very traumatic day for roughly one half of the American people and a jubilant day for the other half. But the suffering is there. That is why people have voted for this individual. And the suffering is there, that’s why people voted for the other individual. They all want to be free of suffering, we all want to be free of suffering. So with compassion for us all, the aspiration - may we all, without exception awaken to the wisdom of recognizing the true causes of suffering and the true causes of joy. And with each inhalation, imagine the suffering and the causes of suffering of the world, in the form of darkness, darkness, confusion and bewilderment, darkness of a whole range of mental afflictions, obscuring the natural luminosity and bliss and serenity of each individual’s mind-stream. The Buddha nature at the core of each one. And with each inhalation arouse this compassionate aspiration - may we all, may each one, everyone in this room and everyone all about - and particularly in this very troubled country of the United States right now. With each inhalation - arouse the aspiration - may we all be free, free of suffering and its causes.

[11:57] And breath by breath as you arouse this aspiration, imagine by the power of your compassion, drawing in, siphoning in, all of this darkness. Drawing it into this incandescent and fathomless orb of light at your heart and as the darkness is drawn in, imagine it entering into this sphere and dissolving without trace. The light overcoming darkness, the truth prevailing over delusion. With each in breath arouse the aspiration - may it be so. May each one be free of suffering and its causes. With in breath imagine it being so as you venture into the realm of possibility - it could be true. It may become true. And imagine with each in breath the darkness lifting, evaporating, dissolving without trace into your own heart.

[14:23] Imagine humans throughout our world experiencing this vanishing of the burden of their own suffering, for so many what occurs right now in American politics is a distant, distant rumbling. Because the suffering of their own lives is so, so present. So dominates their minds they can hardly think of anything else. Imagine for each one - this burden evaporating, lifting, and being gone. And imagine such freedom for all the beings with whom we share this planet. Imagine all being free of suffering and its causes. Drawing powerfully on this capacity of luminosity, of imagination, imagine each one being free of all vestiges of delusion, craving, hostility. Each one free of suffering, breathing a tremendous sigh of relief as this burden, this veil of suffering and its causes is lifted. Imagine how this world could be.

[16:33] With this relief of suffering again drawn on your imagination, how might we flourish individually and collectively. How might we realize our full potential. Realize the highest states the fullest states of eudaimonia, of genuine well being, individually and collectively. Imagine such a world. With each out breath arouse the aspiration of loving kindness - may we all, may each one of us find genuine well being, sustainable, genuine well being, the perfection of well being, and cultivate its causes. May each one be well and happy. With every out breath arose this aspiration and now imagine a veritable cascade of light, flowing from your heart in all directions from a boundless source. Radiant white light, purifying the world, enlightening the world, filling the world with joy, with virtue, with wisdom and compassion. Imagine this light flowing out in all directions, touching the bodies and minds of every sentient being around you like a tsunami of loving kindness. A wave of loving kindness flowing out in all directions. May each one, may we all be well and happy.

[19:10] And imagine each one, all sentient beings, realizing the fulfillment of their inner most desires, stemming from the greatest depths of their being. Perfect awakening, perfect clarity. Boundless compassion and wisdom. Imagine each one, here and now, realizing the fulfillment of their greatest dream. Now imagine our beautiful planet as an orb of light, filled with the light of compassion and wisdom. Imagine this earth as your heart. With each in breath arouse the aspiration of compassion - may all beings throughout space be free of suffering and the causes of suffering. With each in breath draw in the darkness and extinguish it. With every out breath arose the aspiration of loving kindness - may all beings throughout space, find perfect awakening and cultivate it’s causes. And breathe out the light in all directions, throughout all of space wherever there are sentient beings. Imagine all sentient beings throughout space awakening to their own deepest nature.

[22:09] Imagine the world as it could be, for every sentient being without exception has this potential. All that’s needed are the contributing causes and conditions to make this manifest. And now release this vision, all objects of the mind, all aspirations and for just a short time just rest, rest in the nature of your own awareness. Without striving, without desire, without modification, without doing. Simply being and resting in your own pure nature.

Meditation Bell rings [24:09]

Transcribed by Cheri Langson

Revised by KrissKringle Sprinkle

Final edition by Rafael Carlos Giusti


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