Tonglen is a meditation practice where on the in-breath you take on the suffering of an individual, a group of individuals, an animal or anything that maybe suffering with the wish to take that suffering away and then on the out-breath you send happiness, comfort or anything that would relieve the suffering. For example, if you feel children are suffering in a particular region of the world, you could take in their suffering on the in-breath and then on the out-breath send thoughts of happiness, health, and love. You can also do Tonglen on the spot, for example, if you are walking down the street and you see some one who is suffering, in that moment, you could take in their suffering and then send them thoughts of relief and comfort. Practicing Tonglen, can help awaken or increase your compassion and it can broaden your view of the world. This is something I am going to try to do more on a daily basis, especially after reading the news. Check out this great video clip of Pema Chodron, an American, Tibetan Buddhist nun, teaching Tonglen.
If you would like to explore this area further check out Pema Chodron’s Awakening Love