Welcome to Day 16 of the Meditation Challenge
Tonglen, or the practice of “sending and receiving,” is a beautiful Buddhist meditation to awaken compassion. With each in-breath, we take in others’ pain. With each out-breath, we send them relief.
It helps antidote our usual avoidance of suffering and pursuit of pleasure. In Tonglen practice, we visualize breathing in the pain of others with every in-breath and sending out all our virtue and anything that will benefit them on the out-breath. This is the antidote to selfishness and self clinging.
Doing this practice, we begin to feel love for both ourselves and others, deeply caring for the welfare of all sentient beings.
Tonglen can be done for those who are sick, those who are dying or have died, or those who are in physical and emotional pain. It can be done as a formal meditation practice or spontaneously in the moment when we see a being suffering. Anytime we see someone in pain, we can breathe in that person’s pain and send out relief to them.
Always end your practice with a dedication to end suffering for all beings. Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo’s dedication prayer is as follows:
“By this effort, may all sentient beings be free of suffering. May their minds be filled with the nectar of virtue. In this way, may all causes resulting in suffering be extinguished, and only the light of compassion shine throughout all realms.”