A Conversation for Tonglen - a Buddhist Technique

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Post 1

Almighty Tim

As a Buddhist myself (albeit a very new one), I must say that this article is one of the most straightforward and well-written things I have ever read concerning Buddhist practices. Well done.

--Tim smiley - zen

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Post 2

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

I'll second that.

As another neophyte, it strikes me that clarity is the essence of good teaching and the best teachers, such as Sogyal Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe, and (not least) His Holiness the Dalai Lama have the ability to present Buddhist practice as useful to anyone willing to invest the effort to learn.

This Entry achieves the same thing: Here's what it is; here's what it does; here's how to use it. Well done. smiley - ok

JTG smiley - zen

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Post 3


Hi to John-the-Gardener & Mighty Tim.

I am in esteemed company.

I am writing to seek knowledge. I myself have recently read about the Buddhist philosophy, and find it absorbing as well as very meaningful. I find it translates to my life much better than Christianity.

I am just curious to what your views are on Buddhism.

~ Why choose Buddhism?
~ What do you see in Buddhism?
~ How has this changed you as a person?

If you wouldn't mind taking the time to reply, I'd be very grateful.


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Post 4

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

Hi, Stof. Those are good questions. Let me give them some thought and I'll get back to you.

JTG smiley - zen

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Post 5

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

Buddhism has held a mystical appeal to me since I was quite young. I did some reading on the subject as a teen, but then let my interest slip as the more mundane concerns of working, getting married, and paying bills seemed to assume a more pressing importance. I think a part of its appeal, perhaps the greatest part initially, was that it seemed to seek an answer to life, the universe and everything in more complex terms than the simple-minded Christianity I was exposed to as a child. Let me hasten to add that it is probably my own simple mindedness that has made Christianity seem so superficial. I chose to reject Christianity partly because none of the people I knew, growing up, seemed to have a good reason to call themselves Christian; they were Christians simply because we were English and not being Christian (in those days) was... well, not English. On the other hand, a lot of truly terrible things were and are being done in the name of poor old Jesus. So the appeal of Buddhism came as a result of not identifying myself with Christianity and the people around me who thought of themselves as Christians.

More recently, I learned of the plight of the Tibetans, whose culture is facing oblivion after half a century of occupation by the People's Republic of China. The simple injustice of the cultural genocide in Tibet has touched me very deeply. I have involved myself in supporting the Tibetan community in exile (according to my very limited means) and writing about Tibet issues (A643862), here and wherever I think it might do some good. The Tibetans who are suffering the most under the yoke of Chinese brutality are active practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism; the monks and nuns of Tibet are the most visibly affect, of course (A510913). A couple of years ago, I took advantage of the opportunity to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Who was visiting Indiana, USA. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the most remarkable human being I have ever encountered. Far from encouraging people to convert to Buddhism, he actively discourages conversion, and stresses the dangers of leaving one's own religious tradition in order to explore difficult and alien spiritual terrain. Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama impresses me as an embodiment of the ideal to which human beings should aspire. Nor is the Dalai Lama unique: Look closely at the Tibetan monks and nuns and many of the lay people who have suffered terribly in Chinese prisons. They all seem to possess a strength of character combined with real humility and genuine compassion which are impervious to torture and abuse. They have something special that seems to come from their Buddhist practice.

My renewed interest in Buddhism, therefore, comes from my profound admiration for the Dalai Lama and for the many, many Tibetans who seem to me to represent all the good in human nature. Some of these people have become quite well known in the West. But many others, some just children, die in obscurity. Yet they all tell the same story. They all have the same inner strength and beauty.

To the extent that I can fairly call myself a Buddhist (which isn't very much, I'm afraid), I have already benefited from the example of real practioners by becoming a calmer, more centred person, less inclined to allow myself to race away on emotional tangents. The things that bother me in my daily life bother me far less now than they did a short time ago. I have confidence that, with enough effort, I can understand the mechanism of my thoughts and my feelings and become a better person.

And perhaps, after all, not come back in the next life as a bug. smiley - winkeye

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Post 6


Hello John

I read your post of 11 Oct 2003 with great interest. My own "Buddhist development" is almost an echo of your own. The only difference is I only "discovered" Buddhism just over three years ago. This was after reading about it, and seeing it's wisdom and compassion. I immediately encompassed it. I have so much to learn about it, and I am finding that the more I learn, the more I have found myself becoming (as you put it) a calmer and more centered person. This I feel has benefitted me greatly as I have for so long, been a stressful person with a mind that seems to race at 100 m.p.h.

Things in daily life do still bother me, but I feel I am taking a more levelled view of these, and this can only be good.

HH The Dalai Lama is so much, my mentor, and again, like you, I have a profound admiration for him. You are so lucky having had the opportunity to see him. that is something I'd love to be able to do. The plight of the Tibetan people is dreadful. They are not a threat to China or anyone. They simply want to live in peace, but China continues to hold on to Tibet with an iron grip. I am going to read your write-up about the Tibet issues in just a moment.

I know it is a few months now since your post, but I do hope you see this and we will be able to have many interesting discussions.


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Post 7


As a comparatively new Buddhist myself, I have to say Tim, I very much agree with you about this article about Tonglen being straightforward and well written.

A wonderful piece of writing.

Peace and Light

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Post 8


I have to say that Buddhism or the wisdom that it passes on appeals to me. I have never really subscribed to an organised religion and so feel very much at ease accepting it's pearls.

I particularly like, "There is no way to happiness. Happiness IS the way."


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