Thursday, February 11, 2010
BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY/ CONSCIOUSNESS STUDIES
Tonglen is a Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice. Tonglen means 'giving and taking". It is a selfless meditation where the person envisions and takes in the suffering of another person and gives back compassion and thinking of the happiness of others. This is a practice in virtue and is very useful in our developing not only a greater sense of our own happiness, but further empathy for others. The practice is similar to homeopathy or vaccination in that we take in a small mount of poison that helps to innoculate us from future misery.
I had the pleasant opportunity to chat with Marguerite Therese Laing, the wife of the late R.D. Laing who had reminded me of the story of the Buddhist saint Milarepa. In this story, Milarepa had lived a life of luxury later for this to be removed from him by the greed of his Aunt and Uncle. Milarepa later entered black arts and sought revenge on family members he felt harmed him. Later repenting of his actions, he found Marpa as his teacher. Marpa had been harsh with Milarepa and he instructed him to move rocks to construct a building to only then change the plans and Milarepa had to continously rebuild. Milarepa went through periods of despair, but looked at the actions of Marpa and that he did not receive the desired spiritual initiation he sought as a result of his past deeds. Over time, Milarepa through the influence of other teachers, one in the lineage of the Saint Naropa, he came to a state of inner peace.
Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.
202 W. Tioga St.
Tunkhannock, PA 18657
-Dan L. Edmunds, Ed.D.