Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tonglen- The Rising Tide of Bodhicitta

The next stage of Mind Training focuses on the development of relative bodhicitta. 

7. Sending and taking should be practiced alternatively, riding on the breath.

The practice of relative bodhicitta is centered on the practice of Tonglen, or exchanging self and other.  Tonglen is an extremely important and useful meditation technique.  There are many different instructions on how to practice tonglen, but the following is based on the heart advice of my gracious guru, Younge Khachab Rinpoche.  This is an uncommon instruction for the practice of tonglen because it is based on the unique Dzogchen method of resting in the natural state.  If you have not received the instructions for Resting in the Natural State, you should seek them out from a qualified teacher. 

Sitting in a comfortable meditative posture,
Our body is left open, relaxed.
The shoulders, neck and face are relaxed,
The eyes are left open, gently gazing into the space before oneself.
The breath is natural- gentle and uncontrived.
The senses are open, free from fixation,
Let whatever appears be as it is.
Don’t fixate- on feelings, thoughts, sights or sounds.
Just relax and settle, like waves on water.
Slowly, like mud settling out,
The mind will become calm and clear.
Rest in the natural state.

In a state of natural rest, one will discover a vast ocean of equanimity, 
unchanging openness without center or limit, 
perfectly pristine, clearly reflecting all that appears and exists.
Having resolved all grasping and fixation, acceptance and rejection fall away,
there are no waves to disturb oneself from this uncontrived and effortless state of rest.
The mind is calm, clear and expansive. 

Within the spacious sky rises a full moon, the wisdom of bodhicitta, 
simultaneously accomplishing the benefit of oneself and others.  
An infinite display of stars reflects in the ocean, 
all of samsara, the beings of the six realms, are perfectly reflected as ornaments,
self and other are equal, there is no higher or lower, better or worse. 

Due to the presence of these two factors,
there is the rising tide of bodhicitta, the vast ocean of the noble heart swells.
Due to this self-arising grace (Tib. rang byung thugs rje),
there is a natural outpouring of love, compassion and joy,
effortlessly accomplishing the wishes of beings and carrying them to the far shore.  

As you breathe out, sharing all your love, happiness, peace and contentment with other beings, spontaneously fulfilling all that is wished for.  

As you breathe in, through great compassion take in all their suffering, pain, anxiety, doubts and insecurity.

With each breath, establishing beings in happiness, freeing them from suffering.

Breathe.  Like a cool ocean breeze, with each breath you sooth the minds of beings, bringing them a moment of comfort and joy.  

Rejoice in their happiness.  

With a mind that never wavers from the state of single pointed rest,
all the waves again dissolve back into the great ocean of equanimity.
Again and again, day and night, this cycle continues.
Without ever wavering from the single intent of bodhicitta, 
you simultaneously accomplish your own and others welfare.  

Dedicate the merit of this practice for the benefit of all beings. 

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