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

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

212 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGThe one thing you should know for certain is that the onlything that Tonglen could harm is the one thing that has beenharming you the most: your own ego, your self-grasping, selfcherishingmind, which is the root of suffering. For if youpractice Tonglen as often as possible, this self-grasping mindwill get weaker and weaker, and your true nature, compassion,will be given a chance to emerge more and morestrongly. The stronger and greater your compassion, thestronger and greater your fearlessness and confidence. So compassionreveals itself yet again as your greatest resource andyour greatest protection. As Shantideva says:Whoever wishes to quickly afford protectionTo both himself and othersShould practice that holy secretThe exchanging of self for others. 9This holy secret of the practice of Tonglen is one that themystic masters and saints of every tradition know; and livingit and embodying it, with the abandon and fervor of true wisdomand true compassion, is what fills their lives with joy.One modern figure who dedicated her life to serving the sickand dying and who radiated this joy of giving and receivingwas Mother Teresa. I know of no more inspiring statement ofthe spiritual essence of Tonglen than these words of hers:We all long for heaven where God is, but we have it in our powerto be in heaven with Him at this very moment. But being happywith Him now means:Loving as He loves,Helping as He helps,Giving as He gives,Serving as He serves,Rescuing as He rescues,Being with Him twenty-four hours,Touching Him in his distressing disguise.A love as vast as this cured Geshe Chekhawa's lepers oftheir leprosy; it could also perhaps cure us of a disease evenmore dangerous: of that ignorance, which life after life hashindered us from realizing the nature of our mind, and so ofattaining liberation.

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