Tong len for World Peace

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New at Lion’s Roar Dharma Center
Tong len for World Peace
Sending and Receiving Meditation

World Peace and Personal Peace

No matter who we are, when our world seems like it’s going crazy, we question what we can do to ease our anger and frustration, with feeling overwhelmed and hopeless. We wonder how we can help other sentient beings, to ease their suffering and confusion in turbulent times. One answer to those questions is this practice – stabilizing, peaceful, loving and compassionate, to calm the waters and to inspire and strengthen us.

By cultivating Bodhicitta and lovingkindness, we open our hearts and calm our minds; we see other beings differently, without separation; we become stable and more effective as helpers. Whether your wish is for world peace or personal peace, whether you’re Buddhist or non-Buddhist, please join us! This practice can serve as a support to our family and community activities, an inspiration to continue, and to endure when the going gets harder.

Styles of Tong len

There are two styles of Tong len practice, and in this group we’ll be doing both. The first is a more Western model, where we are intent on reducing harm to ourselves and others- we take care of ourselves and others. We breathe in the suffering and pain of ourselves and all beings, and exhale our own compassion and lovingkindness, radiating positive energy to them all. We see that we all have the same basic problems and confusions, and develop a sense of connectedness to other beings. Our wishes and theirs are the same, and in helping them through our compassion, we help ourselves and in the end, the world.

Another style is a more classical, traditional Tong len practice. In this style, we are not only extending compassion to others, but destroying and transforming our own self-preoccupation, our fixed self-image that is like a dark coal at our very center. In this style we visualize inhaling suffering of others and its causes, such as attachment, hatred and ignorance. Gathering them into ourselves, they strike our own misperceived sense of self and crush it, in the end transforming the coal into a diamond of wisdom; that leaves us able to send to them everything we have – our bodies, wealth and positive karma. We are transforming ourselves and our minds by cultivating Bodhicitta, the Spirit of Awakening.

This isn’t an easy practice. Both of these styles of meditation present their own unique challenges. We may not see an immediate, direct effect on others, but over time as our own misperceptions of ourselves are shattered we become more skillful; then we can be truly effective at helping all beings.

Each session will start with a brief explanation of how and why we are doing Tong len, continue with periods of Shamatha (Calm Mindfulness) and Tong len meditation, sharing of our experience in the group, and close with a dedication of our practice to benefit all beings. We hope to see you there!