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
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