Sending and taking-Tonglen

The realm in which we live is known as the realm of passion.
Like sharks we never stop cruising, perpetually hungry.

Over one thousand years ago a Buddhist adept codified a set of practices that can give us respite from our endless hunger.

Contained within the list is Tonglen-sending and taking.
A great leveler, a great expander, a great healer-at complete odds with our normal way of life.

With our out-breath, can we send all all of the things that we prize to another being and then with our in-breath, take in all that we avoid and run from.

Our good health, our talent, our friendships, money, nice car
all goes out with the breath to another.

Riding the breath inward comes sickness, instability, poverty, loneliness
and confusion.

Back and forth we go
Sending and taking
Sending and taking

A beautiful cool dry breeze going out
A tarry, putrid, wet stench coming in,
filling us.

The more realistic, the better.

If we persist, it becomes no big deal.

We can expand to take it all in
Good and bad
We can become larger and more relaxed in our lives.

We can deepen this practice
Beginning with those we love
Then those we don’t care about
And working up to those we despise.

We can even start with parts of ourselves

We no longer choose to be a gated community
We can set up a ferry.