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Tonglen is a major part of my practice, as taught by my teacher several years ago. We do it as a sanga group as well. But you always start and focus on someone close to you who it is easy to be compassionate for, and then expand as you get comfortable to challenging people, then entire groups of people and then eventually all of humanity.
That's the same Metta meditation Ajahn Brahm teaches.
I also like the Tibetan Metta meditation where you imagine taking all the suffering from all beings everywhere. You'd think it would have a bad effect on you but it's just the opposite.
I think that's because we are kind of acting like trees during this type of meditation. Taking in the suffering, transforming it with our breath and breathing out metta.
I usually come away from it fairly refreshed.
There is no truly solid ground.
Is it right to say that the one who suffers is the mentally and emotionally constructed "I"? And if the "I" dissolves then there is no one left to suffer?
Sure, but then who will tie your shoes?
We walk the middle way. The individual sense of self or separation can be seen as a tool we use but we don't stop using it just because we can now see it as such.
The unique perspective you present makes you useful.
When Buddha woke up, he got up from the tree and used his seemingly separate self to spread the dharma. He could have just let his body rot but that would be a waste. It was a tool.
Interesting point. That's probably why I've heard one modern mystic who claims to be fully awake say that the ego gets integrated, not dissolved.
I don't know about being fully awake or anything like that but it would seem to me that when the line between self and other is seen through, we don't disappear or see how we do not exist. We only see how we are more than kin.
Unique and seemingly infinite aspects of the same process of being.
Being is not an illusion, separation is. Otherwise compassion is just an ideal that sounds nice instead of a completely logical matter of common sense.
Life is dhukka, said the Buddha.
Life/material world cannot be fixed. It is what it is. That's why buddha preached liberation from samsara, not solutions to samsara.
It doesn't need to be fixed, it needs to be understood.