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Tonglen - A Buddhist Prayer/Meditation

This is Buddhist prayer/meditation called Tonglen. The first part came from someone, not me. My mother taught it to me and I'm sure that someone taught it to her. So.. please just credit some loving, kind Buddhist. The later part is from Sharon Salzberg, the Buddhist author. She taught this to me during a course she gave on LOVINGKINDNESS at the Washington National Cathedral in January of 2007. This prayer serves to foster and develop LovingKindness for all life.

First sit quietly, take some deep breaths, try as best you can to observe your breathing, follow your breath, feel the air enter your nose on the in-breath (if you can, BUT, let it go if you cannot), feel your belly expand and deflate as you exhale (again, focus as best you can), simply allow your breathing and yourself to be..... Once you feel "centered", relaxed a bit.....

Envision yourself surrounded by a loving, sacred light;
Hold yourself in your mind's eye, embraced by this sacred light;
Recite aloud or silently to yourself:

May I be at peace;
May my heart remain open;
May I awaken to the light of my true nature:
May I be healed;
May I be a source of healing to all sentient beings;
May I be safe;
May I be happy;
May I be healthy;
May I be at ease.........

Next, envision someone you love and say the same prayer on that person's behalf by replacing I with their name. Pray for as many loved ones as feels right to you.

Then pray in the same way for a neutral person perhaps someone you don't know well like your mail delivery person, the clerk at the grocery store, the cashier at a place you frequent. Replace the name part of the prayer with a simple personal description, i.e. the mailman, the Fed Ex woman....Pray for as many people as feels comfortable to you. Offer these phrases as a means to connect to and care for all life.

Finally, pray for those people that you dislike perhaps even feel hatred towards. Pray for as many people as you care to, however, try, as best you can, to include as many people as you did in the second category, i.e. those you love, to create balance.

Observe as you move through each "category" of people in this prayer/meditation how the repeated phrases, though identical on one level, offer a different experience, an unfolding, an new insight. And, thus serve to open our hearts and bring loving kindness to all!

Submitted by Dawn Royall

See Also:

More Buddhist Prayers

Meditation Infocenter in Holisticonline.com

More Prayers Useful to Many faiths

All Prayers

Prayer and Spirituality Infocenter

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