COMPASSION PRACTICE

This series is inspired by Tonglen meditation, a profound Tibetan Buddhist practice for cultivating compassion.

Usually, we do everything we can to avoid even the slightest experience of suffering. In Tonglen practice we mentally take in the suffering of others and send our love and compassion in return. Think of the mother whose beloved child is terminally ill. You can be sure she is praying to take on her child’s illness in exchange for her health and strength. This is the kind of extraordinary compassion we strive to feel for all beings.

(Prints are available but I do not yet have enough images for the planned book project. It’s on hold due to flower crop failure. In spring 2018 the narcissus failed to bloom in my garden, probably due to a dry and overly warm winter. I will plant new bulbs. And wait.)

Tonglen reverses the usual logic of avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure, and in the process we become liberated from a very ancient prison of selfishness. We begin to feel love both for ourselves and for others, and we begin to take care of ourselves and others. It awakens our compassion and it also introduces us to a far larger view of reality.
~Pema Chodron