Among the best known — and yet most mysterious — practices in Tibetan Buddhism is the kindness Metta meditation known as Tonglen. Described as a Bodhichitta practice, “a wonderful practice!”, Venerable Zasep Rinpoche teaches why it is important, the merit of the practice, and how to actually perform Tonglen visualization meditation. (Guided video below.)
“You send out your love to all sentient beings,” says Zasep Rinpoche. Tonglen is a recommended practice for developing Bodhichitta, and creating merit for yourself — and helping others with healing. Tonglen is often practised for people who are sick or dying to relieve their suffering.
The Tibetan practice of “giving” love and healing energy, and “taking away” the suffering of others, visualized as a meditation. The act of generosity, of giving your best, and taking into yourself the darkness, is an act of Metta kindness.
This beautiful, short teaching ends with the wonderful Om Mani Padme Hum compassion mantra, magnificently chanted by Yoko Dharma.
Make yourself comfortable, think kind thoughts, and listen as Venerable Zasep Rinpoche teaches Tonglen and guides you through visualizing “sending out your love and healing”, then “taking in the suffering of others.”
Play video here:
Rinpoche begins by explaining why it is considered one of the most important of Bodhichitta practices, a meritorious act of giving your love and strength to other beings, and taking in their suffering into your own heart, where it is purified by your love. Some highlights:
- “Tonglen practice is part of Bodhichitta meditation.”
- “The more you give, the more you will receive.”
- “The more generous, kind, and giving, we will receive the result — good karma, reward and happiness.”
- “Actually, giving the Dharma, sharing the spiritual practice, is the highest giving.”
- “What we are ‘taking’ is we are taking their pain and suffering into us.”
- “You send out your love to all sentient beings… or to one particular person.”
- “Imagine that person who is lacking in love… received your love and felt peace and happiness.”
- “You take in, without fear… I am releasing the suffering of others.”
- “After you take it in, you imagine that suffering and pain is transformed by your loving-kindness.”
- “Nothing is going to happen to you. Why? Because the power of that love and compassion will purify that suffering and pain.”
- “It helps you to overcome your fear. Fear of getting sick. Fear of getting weak, and this and that. Overcome… you are becoming Bodhisattva.
- “It is very powerful… you can feel it, the benefit.”
- “We do Tonglen practice especially for people who are sick… Tonglen practice is a wonderful practice.”
Yoko Dharma’s brilliant vocalization of Om Mani Padme Hum mantra is used with her kind permission. Information on Yoko Dharma (or to download the track) please visit here>>
Transcript in progress.
ABOUT VENERABLE ZASEP TULKU RINPOCHE
Rinpoche is popularly known for his approachable teaching style, strong humor and teachings based on a long lineage of great lamas. His own gurus included the most celebrated of Gelug teachers: His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, His Holiness Kyabje Ling Rinpoche, Venerable Geshe Thupten Wanggyel, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Venerable Lati Rinpoche, Venerable Tara Tulku Rinpoche and Venerable Khalkha Jetsun Dampa Rinpoche.
Rinpoche is spiritual director of many temples, meditation centres and retreat centres in Australia, the United States and Canada. He was first invited to teach in Australia by Lama Thubten Yeshe in 1976.
Gaden for the West Meditation Centres
- Vajra Ling, Uralla, N.S.W.
- Losang Gyalwa Mandala, Sydney, N.S.W.
- Tenzing Ling Centre, Quamaa, N.S.W.
- Dorje Ling Retreat Centre, Lorina Valley, Tasmania
- Chittamani Mahayana Buddhist Meditation Centre, Ottawa, Ontario
- Gaden Choling, Toronto, Ontario
- Medicine Buddha Centre, Calgary, Alberta
- Potala Tibetan Buddhist Meditation Centre, Thunder Bay,Ontario
- Tashi Choling, Nelson, B. C.
- Zuru Ling Society, Vancouver, B.C.
- Golden Blue Lotus Tara Meditation Center, Moscow, Idaho
- TsongKhapa Center, Kalamazoo, Michigan
- Vajrayogini Center, Seattle, Washington
Yoko Dharma’s brilliant vocalization of Medicine Buddha is used with her kind permission. Information on Yoko Dharma (or to download the track) please visit here>>
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Venerable Zasep Rinpoche
Author | Buddha Weekly
Rinpoche is spiritual head of many Dharma Centres, and teaches around the world. Originally from Kham province in Tibet (born 1948) Rinpoche has taught in the west since 1976, after he was first invited by Geshe Thubten Loden and Lama Yeshe to teach at the Chenrezig Institute in Australia. Today, he is spiritual head of the Gaden for the West centres in Canada, U.S., and Australia and also spiritual director of the the charities Gaden Relief Project (Canada) and Manlha Tus NGO (Mongolia). He is the author of three books, including his latest release in 2018 with a rare English commentary and practice instructions for Gelug Mahamudra.