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Meditating for others?

JainarayanJainarayan Veteran
edited October 2013 in Meditation
I thought I recently read a simple comment somewhere that in one type of meditation you can send metta on each exhalation and take in the suffering of others on each inhalation. Assuming this is true and I didn't dream this up, is there a risk of bringing something negative or malevolent into/onto yourself by absorbing suffering of others? Or is this totally :wtf: is he talking about? :lol:

Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited October 2013
    That's the whole point is to bring suffering to oneself from the other person. But you ultimately benefit because it repolarizes yourself to think of others. This is the leading practice of compassion for most of the Tibetan Buddhists. Trungpa rinpoche wrote Training the Mind and it is about the lojong slogans. These slogans are the teaching tools of tonglen. Pema Chodron also wrote a book. I think it's called Start Where You Are but that may be wrong.

    Don't do tonglen without a reference book or a teacher to talk to about it. Some people HAVE become depressed owing to it.

    The most important thing in tonglen is to have a light touch. Tonglen is like using a tool to clear waste out of the gutters on your house. It is effective, BUT you can possibly get the tool itself stuck.

    Any suffering you bring to yourself is impermanent. You have the education to realize that.
    Chaz
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran
    I'd just say that when you expand yourSelf to include all selves you can only gain in peace and love.

    Metta.
    Jainarayanlobster
  • Thanks @Jeffrey. So that's what tonglen is. I've seen the word before associated with Tibetan Buddhism, most of which I believe requires guidance. So then, I won't attempt this; I will just practice anapanasati and meditation on Amitabha Buddha.
  • ChazChaz The Remarkable Chaz Anywhere, Everywhere & Nowhere Veteran
    Jeffrey said:

    That's the whole point is to bring suffering to oneself from the other person. But you ultimately benefit because it repolarizes yourself to think of others. This is the leading practice of compassion for most of the Tibetan Buddhists. Trungpa rinpoche wrote Training the Mind and it is about the lojong slogans. These slogans are the teaching tools of tonglen. Pema Chodron also wrote a book. I think it's called Start Where You Are but that may be wrong.

    That's right.

    Excellent book!
    Don't do tonglen without a reference book or a teacher to talk to about it. Some people HAVE become depressed owing to it.
    I've never heard of someone becoming clinically depressed because of tonglen, but that's not to say that it doesn't happen. Regardless, I can't think of any meditation practice that doesn't need guidance from a qualified teacher at some point, especially in the beginning. This is especially important for techniques like Tonglen, that are, by nature, kind of abstract and utilize viualizations. Best to have a teacher/mentor for such things.
    The most important thing in tonglen is to have a light touch. Tonglen is like using a tool to clear waste out of the gutters on your house. It is effective, BUT you can possibly get the tool itself stuck.
    Good advice. I'd also add that Tonglen should begin with yourself before moving on to others. Part of having compassion for others includes and depends on having compassion for yourself.
    Any suffering you bring to yourself is impermanent. You have the education to realize that.
    :thumbsup:
    JainarayanJeffrey
  • I forgot to mention when @Jeffrey mentioned some people becoming clinically depressed that I am on medication for hypomanic/depressive bipolar. I do have breakthrough episodes, and it especially distresses me, even when I am not depressed, to think of the beings that suffer.
  • @Jainarayan, I may have overstated the dangers. You could do tonglen, but maybe with one of the books I mentioned. There is also a website for mind training lojong.
  • Thanks again @Jeffrey. I don't think you overstated, but pointed out something that I kind of thought of, hence asking! :) I was in the right church, wrong pew so to speak.
  • howhow Veteran
    @Jainarayan
    The deeper you practice, the less separation you'll see between self and other.

    Some folks seem to be sensitive to picking up "stuff" (emanations of greed, hate or delusion) from other folks but from my meditative experience, it is all just a question of not fiddling around with whatever phenomena arises from anywhere.

    Meditatively, If you effect any phenomena, you leash yourself to it.
    If you allow it to arise, live and pass on its way , unmolested by your habituated tendencies to affect it, then there is no self to be leashed to anything.
    lobster
  • Thanks @how. This is all making sense, particularly the losing of separation between us all, and being sensitive to others' feelings and emotions.
  • I thought I recently read a simple comment somewhere that in one type of meditation you can send metta on each exhalation and take in the suffering of others on each inhalation. Assuming this is true and I didn't dream this up, is there a risk of bringing something negative or malevolent into/onto yourself by absorbing suffering of others? Or is this totally :wtf: is he talking about? :lol:

    I have heard this in a Buddhist hymn: By ourselves is evil done, by ourselves becomes we pure. No one save us but ourselves. Noone shall and noone may. By ourselves we walk the Path. Buddha merely shows the way. No, I don't think we can meditate for others.
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