passage from text:
As you grow accustomed to this exchange, and that may take a while, you come to rest in a different way, in a profound acceptance of the pain of the world and the struggles that comprise most people’s lives. In that acceptance, there is a quiet joy, a joy in the wonder of life itself.
Why meditate? Why practice taking and sending? What should I do when I find myself interrupting my meditation at the same point every day? Why meditate on death and impermanence? Why does it seem that my daily meditation doesn’t directly relate to my daily life? What is the difference between equanimity and indifference?
Meditating to experience life in a different way; meditating to be a better person; attention in speech; coming to terms with who you are; taking and sending; living in a world that ignores impermanence.
What is appropriate/useful to share in a relationship? What tools can I use to let go of unproductive emotions? Instruction on taking and sending. What is the point of resting with the breath? Prayer and meditation. Seeking clarity in relationships by listening to one’s heart. Working with self-hatred. Please note that due to technical difficulties the audio quality of this recording is uneven.
Questions on practices 4 – 10, compassion as the centerpiece of practice, two meditations on taking and sending along with question from participants
passage from article: The principle is as simple as it is counter-intuitive: take the pain of others and give our own happiness in exchange. Suicide?! Ironically, it cuts through, wears away, and undermines the four levels of confusion. Conditioned behavior and perceptions are radically altered through an appreciation of what we have and what we can give to others. Emotional turbulence is reduced as we find ourselves capable of being present non-reactively with pain and unpleasantness. Dualistic thinking is derailed and we find ourselves simply present with others. And, strangest of all, we find our understanding of mind becoming clearer and clearer.
Practice of sky gazing; working with intense experiences; the five step practice (from the Anapanasati sutra); imagining experience at a distance — and reeling it in slowly — to attenuate painful intensity; taking and sending as a way of forming relationships with alienated aspects of ourselves; more on the three kayas.
Learning to be nobody; allowing a space for problems to resolve; answers to questions regarding compassion and taking and sending; being present in difficulty; developing capacity to be present and open to pain, negativity, even criminality; discussion of different kinds of offerings.
Questions from participants, a practical application of taking and sending, commentary on concluding verses, the 8 worldly concerns, living a life of no regret, a fable on taking and sending, instructions on working with the difficulties and challenges arising from practice, opening to whatever arises
Origins of lists and reasons for their use in contemporary life; summary of essential instructions: the five forces, instructions on dying; measures of proficiency: the one aim, rely on your own clarity, deep and quiet joy, practice as a natural response. Proficiency isn’t attainment; regret v. guilt; working with emotions that arise from taking and sending
Questions from participants on taking and sending, including: Is it okay to focus just on the meditation’s imagery of smoke and light rather than specific emotions? How specific should one be with taking and sending? How much do you sent out? How do you deal with running out of energy? Is taking and sending to be taken literally or figuratively? A variation of the taking and sending meditation from the previous session; applications of mind training, including: making adversity the path; driving blame into one; being grateful to everyone; emptiness as the ultimate protection; the four practices; working with whatever one encounters
Knowing whatever arises for what it is; the natural response of compassion; the three poisons and dualistic thinking; why taking and sending works; taking and sending & the four immeasurables; the three objects, three poisons, and three seeds of virtue; meditation instruction for awakening to what is apparently true, taking and sending; questions from participants
Reflection Questions, continued: Verse 19 doesn’t seem directly related to taking and sending. What is the intention behind it? Why does giving things away through taking and sending feel better than regarding them as an empty experience? (verse 18), How can I maintain sufficient attention and awareness to do these practices so my patterns finally dissipate? Translated text available on the website.
Reflection Questions: Why is existence described as magnificent? (verse 19), How can I achieve balance between the two extremes described in these verses? (verses 18 & 19), How does taking and sending work? (verse 18) Translated text available on the website.
Q&A based on the students’ experience with taking and sending, common difficulties and how to work with them, additional instruction on taking and sending
Taking emptiness and compassion as the framework, difference between actual and projected experience, working with actual experience, instruction in five-step method that uses taking and sending (tonglen) to release emotional reactions.
Q&A based on students’ experience with bare attention, common difficulties and how to work with them, additional instruction on the four foundations
Participant’s questions and Ken’s responses: individual and shared experience, attention penetrating patterns, expressive and receptive poles of a pattern, taking and sending. The audio for this series of podcasts was originally recorded on audio cassette. As such you may find the sound to be of a lower quality.
The primary practice as a method to awakening to what is ultimately true. The audio for this series of podcasts was originally recorded on audio cassette. As such you may find the sound to be of a lower quality.
Practice on awakening to what is apparently true: taking and sending. The audio for this series of podcasts was originally recorded on audio cassette. As such you may find the sound to be of a lower quality.
Origins of Chö from the Diamond Sutra; Machik Labdron and Padampa Sangye; definition of Chö as creating difficult experiences and developing the ability to experience them completely; Chö vs Shi-jé; relationship between Chö and taking and sending; outer, inner, and secret Chö.