Tuesday, 3 April 2012

g'tong len.


Buddhism is described as a cross between religion and philosophy; personally I like to think of it as pure philosophy.

Above is the Buddhist symbol entitled 'The Eternal (or endless) Knot'. It represents life's never-ending cycle of birth, death, suffering, and rebirth. It is the inter-twining of wisdom and compassion, and the sign of eternal love and friendship.

Within Buddhist philosophy is the concept of g'tong len or Tonglen; giving and takingg'tong len in practice is the taking into oneself the suffering of others. This is often done through meditation by absorbing their suffering on the intake of breath, and converting it into happiness and well-being on exhaling.

The Dalai Lama is reported to practice g'tong len on a daily basis, and has famously said about its effectiveness "Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense".

In several of the blogs that I follow, there has recently been much pain and suffering. The writers have been very open about their ills, and their followers extremely concerned for their recovery. In fact the followers have been unknowingly practising the art of g'tong len. 

Some of those who are presently going through difficult times speak of the strength they receive through the well-wishes and concerns of others.

I tend to agree with The Dalai Lama, in as much as I am sceptical about its effectiveness, but I shall continue to practice the art of g'tong len, because, little as it is, it's the only thing I have to offer.




14 comments:

  1. Exactly. Whether effective or not, it can't hurt.

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  2. very interesting HV. Like the prayer wheels, it can't do harm, but may do good.

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  3. Apparently the Dalai Lama has a bumper-sticker on his car which reads, "One life - Live it"

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    1. I thought it said 'Buddha on board'.

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  4. Really Tom? In that case I saw him the other day in a Land Rover, chanting away...

    I was stopped in a Buxton street once by a Buddhist monk named Daniel. We spoke for about an hour and I left him feeling calmer and more relaxed. Don't know whether it was because of the discussion about Buddhism or that he was just a really nice chap.

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  5. I think the core of buddhism is learning compassion, so you've pretty much captured the religion in what you wrote here. Very nice blog entry.

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  6. I have thought for awhile now that the kindest religion or, as you expressed, philosophy, was Buddhism. The gentleness of the Dalai Lama, his message of peace and forgiveness, has inspired me so. If I were ever to consider being part of a religion again, not because I believe in a supreme being, but because I seek balance, I would follow the teachings of Buddha.

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    Replies
    1. Logic is so much more attractive than superstition.

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  7. There is a tremendous amount of suffering in the world now, as always. Anything we can do to help is worth the effort including meditation.

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  8. Just knowing that many send blessings and compassion from around the world does a body good, Mr. M. I think that it is a most special gift from many for one.
    Meditation was one of the first things that I was taught after I went through cancer treatment and recovery. It helped me over the many stresses I had during that time.
    Have a wonderful week, Mr. M.

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  9. What a wonderful post! Not that I don't always enjoy your blog, because I do, but it's extra special when you open yourself up a little and give us a peek at the way your mind works... at the "real you", I guess you could say. So, thanks for "letting us in" today. Love this topic, too.

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  10. I have no doubt, Cro, that the well wishes, prayers, thoughts, and good vibes from others have helped me when i've needed healing. I'd like to think that i have done the same when others have asked the same from me.

    In any case, I can feel the difference in me, when i take a look around and consider helping others.

    I wouldn't make a good Buddhist, i'm afraid--each times i've made serious attempts at meditating, i end up falling asleep! A Hindu colleague of mine smiled as i told him that, and said perhaps i was more successful than i realised.

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    1. You're better than me; I always end up laughing!

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