The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

COMPASSION: THE WISH-FULFILLING JEWEL 207dence that will give your practice the power to transmutetheir suffering.This is why I always recommend that you begin the Tonglenpractice for others by first practicing it on yourself. Beforeyou send out love and compassion to others, you uncover,deepen, create, and strengthen them in yourself, and healyourself of any reticence or distress or anger or fear that mightcreate an obstacle to practicing Tonglen wholeheartedly.Over the years a way of teaching Tonglen has developedthat many of my students have found very helpful and therapeutic.It has four stages.THE PRELIMINARY TONGLEN PRACTICEThe best way to do this practice, and any practice of Tonglen,is to begin by evoking and resting in the nature of mind.When you rest in the nature of mind and see all thingsdirectly as "empty," illusory, and dream-like, you are resting inthe state of what is known as "ultimate" or "absolute" Bodhichitta,the true heart of the enlightened mind. The teachingscompare absolute Bodhichitta to an inexhaustible treasury ofgenerosity; and compassion, when understood in its profoundestsense, is known and seen as the natural radiance of thenature of mind, the skillful means that rises from the heart ofwisdom.Begin by sitting and bringing the mind home. Allow allyour thoughts to settle, neither inviting them nor followingthem. Close your eyes if you wish. When you feel really calmand centered, alert yourself slightly and begin the practice.1. Environmental TonglenWe all know how the moods and atmospheres of our mindhave a great hold on us. Sit with your mind and feel its moodand atmosphere. If you feel your mood is uneasy, or theatmosphere is dark, then, as you breathe in, mentally absorbwhatever is unwholesome; and as you breathe out, mentallygive out calm, clarity, and joy, so purifying and healing theatmosphere and environment of your mind. This is why I callthis first stage of the practice "environmental Tonglen."2. Self TonglenFor the purposes of this exercise, divide yourself into twoaspects, A and B. A is the aspect of you that is whole, compassionate,warm, and loving, like a true friend, really willing

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