Dissolving the Barriers: a Thousand Year Old Remedy for Modern Suffering
May 2 - 5, 2024
Thursday 5pm - Sunday 1pm
In 1042, the Indian yogi-scholar, Atisha Dipankara, travelled to Tibet and transmitted teachings on accomplishing the cessation of suffering, using both meditation and the circumstances of everyday life. In the twelfth century, a monk named Chekawa Yeshe Dorje put the instructions in writing and organized all 59 into a seven-point system of practice.
In the second of the seven points, two mysterious sentences are devoted to a profound practice called Tonglen, usually translated as ‘sending and receiving’. Those instructions are the foundation of this retreat, in which we’ll use Tonglen practice to heal the fundamental confusion that is the foundation of loneliness, anxiety, hatred and self-obsession.
Cleverly side-stepping the western tendency to look for ‘cures’ through analysis and problem solving, Tonglen accomplishes healing with a simple, imaginative 5-part contemplative exercise. Through repeated practice, suffering and its causes are gradually diminished, and wisdom and compassion arise in their place.
Genuine Tonglen is an advanced practice, but with precise guidance it can be effectively undertaken by a determined beginner, with or without previous meditation experience. It may be a relief to know that you need not understand your particular suffering or its causes for Tonglen to work. In fact, the most expeditious healing comes from giving your worried brain a rest, and letting your heart engage in Tonglen with relaxed, child-like simplicity.