Tonglen practice (all sentient beings)

Daily meditations and practice – Tonglen (‘all sentient beings’)

Two meditation sessions of 10 minutes each, practiced as mentioned below:

– Turn off your phone or alternatively put it somewhere (or put it into a mode) that will not disturb or distract you for the duration of the meditation session.

  • Sit in 7 Points of Vairocana meditation posture (alternatively sitting comfortably with your back as straight as possible)

– be aware of your state of mind before you start and take this into account when you are doing your meditations. For example, if you are very tired it might be very difficult for you to concentrate, be drowsy without awareness and easily fall asleep, adjust for this. Alternatively, you have just had an argument with somebody and your mind is racing or is very busy and this too will affect your meditation

1)Recite the aspiration prayer of the four boundless qualities.

May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they never be separated from the great happiness which is devoid of suffering.
May they forever remain in boundless equanimity, free from both attachment and aversion.

2) Three minutes of being present with awareness (open awareness)

3) contemplation for 5 minutes : 

Step 1 (for a while): Bring to mind a one person with whom you have a positive relationship. This may be a friend, family, a relative, someone at work etc. Visualise that all their troubles, pains and sufferings become thick black smoke which you breathe in. In so doing it removes all their troubles, pains and sufferings. The black smoke enters into your heart centre and dissolves all your self cherishing, which then transforms into boundless light of kindness and joy. When you breath out, this boundless light is absorbed into the person you are practising for and in so doing all their troubles, pains and sufferings disappear and they become content and happy.

Step 2: Expand your visualisation to include all sentient beings and continue the above practice for all sentient beings. 

4) Two minutes of being present with awareness (open awareness)

5) conclude with the dedication prayer

By this merit may all attain omniscience.  

Having defeated the enemies of wrongdoing.

In the turbulent waves of birth, old age, sickness and death;

May all beings be liberated from the ocean of samsara!

Post meditation practices

  1. wherever you are, whoever you are with, whenever you can, practice Tonglen for someone or a group of people around you or for all sentient beings. For instance when you travel  by train, bus or when you are in the office, practice for everyone on the bus, train or in the office. It may be only for a few seconds, a few minutes or longer. 
  2. Treat all situations that arise, as best as you are able, whether positive or negative, as an opportunity to practise. So that life is a part of your practise. If you are experiencing hardships, aspire “may I experiencing these hardships for all sentient beings in hope that they do not experience the same hardships” . If your experiences are favourable, aspire “may all sentient beings experience these favourable conditions” .

Note: if anyone is unsure about how to go about the practices, or how to meditate in the present with awareness, please don’t be shy and feel free to contact me.

This chapter is part of: Introduction Course - Part 2: Bodhichitta