Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
SarathW
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Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by SarathW » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:55 am

Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonglen

Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo recommends this to alleviate extream pain.

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

dharmacorps
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Jun 01, 2018 7:49 pm

I don't believe so. I've done tonglen years ago, looking back on it, its a nice visualization, but probably has no basis in the pali canon. I could actually think of many ways in which it would probably be seen as a misguided practice.

SarathW
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by SarathW » Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:33 pm

I could actually think of many ways in which it would probably be seen as a misguided practice.
I felt the same way.
Can you elaborate your concerns?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by Dinsdale » Sat Jun 02, 2018 9:53 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:55 am
Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mahayana?
I don't think so, though obviously there are some similarities with metta bhavana.
Buddha save me from new-agers!

dharmacorps
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by dharmacorps » Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:07 pm

Tonglen from my understanding involves the idea of "taking on others suffering", which is fairly explicitly described as being impossible by the Buddha in the Pali Canon. I would think if one wanted to have the effect of supporting someone and wishing them well in hard times, it would, as has been said be metta/goodwill.

SarathW
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by SarathW » Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:08 pm

Interestingly HHDL said that he has no healing powers and he is skeptical about it.
It appears he does not believe in Tonglen.

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Javi
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by Javi » Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:36 am

Loving kindness meditation is similar, in that there is the same radiation of goodness out to all beings. However, there is no instruction to take in the bad.
Vayadhammā saṅkhārā appamādena sampādethā — All things decay and disappoint, it is through vigilance that you succeed — Mahāparinibbāna Sutta

Self-taught poverty is a help toward philosophy, for the things which philosophy attempts to teach by reasoning, poverty forces us to practice. — Diogenes of Sinope

I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind — Ecclesiastes 1.14

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mikenz66
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:13 am

Javi wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 12:36 am
Loving kindness meditation is similar, in that there is the same radiation of goodness out to all beings. However, there is no instruction to take in the bad.
I don't know much about Tonglen, but it seems that the instructions are designed to develop compassion and loving kindness.
So in the in-breath you breathe in with the wish to take away the suffering, and breathe out with the wish to send comfort and happiness to the same people, animals, nations, or whatever it is you decide.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonglen
“And what is a path to companionship with Brahmā? Firstly, a monk meditates spreading a heart full of love/compassion/rejoicing/equanimity to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, they spread a heart full of love/compassion/rejoicing/equanimity to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will. ...
https://suttacentral.net/mn99/en/sujato#sc40
:heart:
Mike

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Dorje Shedrub
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by Dorje Shedrub » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:43 am

SarathW wrote:
Mon Jun 04, 2018 8:08 pm
Interestingly HHDL said that he has no healing powers and he is skeptical about it.
It appears he does not believe in Tonglen.

HHDL did not say anything about tonglen in the video, just that He has no healing powers. Tonglen is actually a meditation practice that helps develop compassion.

Loving kindness meditation would probably be the most similar Theravada practice.
"Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,"

~ From the Karaniya Metta Sutta (Sn 1.8)

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Grigoris
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:15 am

dharmacorps wrote:...has no basis in the pali canon.
Metta meditation from the Brahmaviharas.
SarathW wrote:Interestingly HHDL said that he has no healing powers and he is skeptical about it.
It appears he does not believe in Tonglen.
Tonglen is part of a cycle of practices known as Lojong (Mind Training), it's goal is to develop unbiased/universal compassion. There are some reports of very advanced practitioners using it to heal others, but the evidence is anecdotal. His Holiness has written a number of books on the subject/practice so it would take a wild flight of fantasy to conclude that he believes it is BS.
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

SarathW
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by SarathW » Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:27 am

His Holiness has written a number of books on the subject/practice so it would take a wild flight of fantasy to conclude that he believes it is BS.
Perhaps he is a changed man.
:shrug:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Grigoris
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by Grigoris » Tue Jun 05, 2018 1:25 pm

SarathW wrote:
Tue Jun 05, 2018 8:27 am
His Holiness has written a number of books on the subject/practice so it would take a wild flight of fantasy to conclude that he believes it is BS.
Perhaps he is a changed man.
:shrug:
Perhaps you are jumping to erroneous conclusions?
ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ tathāgato āha,
tesaṃca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī mahāsamaṇo.

Of those phenomena which arise from causes:
Those causes have been taught by the Tathāgata,
And their cessation too - thus proclaims the Great Ascetic.

SarathW
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by SarathW » Tue Jun 05, 2018 9:21 pm

Perhaps you are jumping to erroneous conclusions?
The benefit of the doubt to the victims.
:D
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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Dhammanando
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Jun 06, 2018 1:22 am

SarathW wrote:
Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:55 am
Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?
I haven't practised tonglen, but I understand that one component of it is reflection on the sameness/equality of one's own desire for happiness and freedom from suffering and that of other beings. This seems to have a counterpart in two aspects of mettabhāvanā as it is expounded in the Visuddhimagga.

The first is what Buddhaghosa calls sakkhibhāva, a term that literally means "generation/production of a witness", but which is translated by Ñāṇamoli (following Dhammapāla's ṭīkā) as "making oneself an example":
But this initial development [of mettā] refers to making oneself an example. For even if he developed loving-kindness for a hundred or a thousand years in this way, “I am happy” and so on, absorption would never arise. But if he develops it in this way: “I am happy. Just as I want to be happy and dread pain, as I want to live and not to die, so do other beings, too,” making himself the example, then desire for other beings’ welfare and happiness arises in him. And this method is indicated by the Blessed One’s saying:

I visited all quarters with my mind
Nor found I any dearer than myself;
Self is likewise to every other dear;
Who loves himself will never harm another.
(S. I 75; Ud. 47).
The second is in a more advanced stage of mettā development called "conjoining/annexation of territories" (sīmāsambheda - mistranslated by Ñāṇamoli as "breaking down the barriers").
When he discriminates between The four,
that is himself, the dear,
The neutral, and the hostile one,
Then “skilled” is not the name he gets,
Nor “having amity at will,”
But only “kindly towards beings.”

But when for a bhikkhu the four territories
Have all become conjoined,
He treats with equal amity
The whole world with its deities;
Far more distinguished than the first
Is he who knows no territorial distinctions.

SarathW
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Re: Does Theravada have a practice similar to Tonglen in Mhayana?

Post by SarathW » Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:10 am

What I really like to know is the difference between Brahama Vihara in Theravada and the Tonglen practice.
What really worry me is the practice recommended in the video in OP that a practitioner is trying to take the suffering of others to themselves.
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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