Tonglen Meditation


Tonglen MeditationLearn to use difficult circumstances as a method for awakening. This practice goes against the grain of how we have learned to handle pain and suffering. We want things to work out for ourselves no matter what happens to the others. Tonglen practice dissolves self-fixation and egoic clinging. 

Rather than naturally avoiding suffering and seeking pleasure, we become liberated. We learn to use difficult circumstances and pain as a method for awakening and connecting. We experience deep compassion and begin to see a larger view of reality. Things that we experience become smaller, and less of a big deal as they seemed before.
There are many versions of this meditation, all with the same outcome.

  • Sit comfortably in an upright position.  
  • Take some deep breaths, allowing the head, neck, throat and shoulders to relax. 
  • Think of someone you love who is suffering in some way (illness, pain, fear, etc). Holding their image in your mind. Imagine all of their suffering in the form of dark, heavy smoke around them.
  • Breathing in, let the dark heavy smoke of suffering come in through your nostrils and travel down into your heart. 
  •  Hold the suffering in your heart. 
  • Then, breathing out, send out peace, love, and freedom to the person in the form of healing, white light. Visualize them taking it all in. See them released, free and happy.
  • Continue the visualization for several breaths.

Below is a 2-part explanation and teaching of Tonglen meditation with Pema Chodron.

Links to the 2 books mentioned are below:
Training the Mind and Cultivating Loving-Kindness by Chogyam Trungpa  Start Where You Are: A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron  

“Unconditional Giving rides the Out Breath, Unconditional Taking rides the In Breath.”~ Chogyam Trungpa