Tonglen Practice

May 25, 2022   |   26 Comments

What happened in Uvalde yesterday was beyond shattering.

There is nothing I or anyone can say to make this bearable.

It is normal (and understandable) to go in one of three directions with our shock and heartbreak. We could fall into despair, We could become enraged. We could turn away because it is too much to bear.

Each of these responses, while understandable and maybe even useful, have limited utility.

Another option is to walk directly into our pain. Open to it. Offer to hold the pain of others. Let pain become the path.

The Buddhist practice of tonglen is just this. In this video, I guide us in this meditation.

It is my fervent hope that our practice together will give you a sane way to face insanity. I’ll be trying my best right alongside you. Love, S

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  • Posted by:  Maggie

    Thank you so much for offering this Susan. I wanted to do something but was at a loss to know what. Thanks for being my guide, once again, on the rocky path. With love and gratitude.

  • Posted by:  Amy oliff

    Just beautiful/healing Susan! ❤️
    Such a difficult time/moment
    So needed!
    Big, warm , heartfelt thanks.
    You are beautiful .

  • Posted by:  Bernie Clifford

    Thanks so much love this tonglen practice, dear Susan! It was just what I needed to help with this profound grief and sorrow brought on by these tragic events!

  • Posted by:  mm

    Thank you for this Susan.

    The only thing I would ad is my surprise that you didn’t include in this painful breathing, the pain of the tormented, angry soul who committed this unspeakable crime, as well as the pain of his grandmother, relatives/friends

    It’s hard to even want to go there, but perhaps he needed the most???

    • Posted by:  Shiwa Chotso

      You make a good point, mm. The ripples of pain are endless and will extend into the future for everyone touched by the tragedy. This applies to all of the communities ripped in this terrible way.

    • Posted by:  Maite

      Exactly my thoughts also. Maybe one day Susan can have a zoom meeting with the sangha to talk about the tormented and abused children who kill other children? From a Buddhist perspective? Thank you so much. So glad to have you all, this beautiful sangha from around the world. Thank you Susan.

    • Posted by:  Kimberli

      Indeed ~ perhaps in time as we return to the practice, which I will ~

  • Posted by:  Patricia


  • Posted by:  Chris

    Thank you Susan, for showing us the way in such a tragic time it is very helpful.

  • Posted by:  Claudia St. Peter

    Thank you so much for this offering which I engaged in.

  • Posted by:  Barbara

    Thank you, dear Susan, for enabling us to share this pain in community.

  • Posted by:  Denise

    Quelle belle initiative ! Merci de nous avoir offert cela !

  • Posted by:  Denise

    Quelle merveilleuse idée de nous unir ainsi dans la sidération et la souffrance. Mille mercis

  • Posted by:  Linda

    My thanks, Susan, and friends. May all beings know peace.

  • Posted by:  Maureen

    Thank you Susan such a beautiful heartfelt acknowledgment of incredible pain and suffering of community that is somehow unimaginable . I loved this taking in the suffering the textures of others and breathing out light bright. So beautiful . Thank you

  • Posted by:  Lisa Cottrell

    Thank you so much, Susan.

    A bow to you.

  • Posted by:  April Allen

    Until i am able to find more words- thank you, Susan, thank you.

  • Posted by:  Betsy

    Thank you, Susan, for offering Tonglen teaching for this particular horrific tragedy. May all beings experience Peace, Love and a sense of connection to a caring community.

  • Posted by:  Michelle La Perrière

    Dear Susan,

    I’m so grateful to you – for you – for the Open Heart Project.
    Your words – and the Tonglen practice – are a balm –
    With love –

  • Posted by:  Mary

    Thank you so much for this, Susan!

  • Posted by:  Judy

    Thank you Susan for showing us the practice in action- when needed for healing. Authentic display of “walking the talk”, so very useful.
    Much Metta

  • Posted by:  Linda

    Thank you for sharing this.

  • Posted by:  Ana

    Thank you Susan. For this practice, for showing up, always. I very much appreciate your presence in moments like this.

  • Posted by:  Annie

    Gratitude to you, Susan for your grace and compassion for all beings who suffer violence from Buffalo to Texas and beyond. So much unspeakable pain. We vow to help relieve their suffering and share their incomprehensible loss. May peace prevail.
    Thank you for this practice together.

  • Posted by:  Lilly

    Sending love and deep appreciation for this opportunity to sit and be with this pain and sorrow in community with the OHP.💗

  • Posted by:  Catherine

    I practiced this today on Memorial Day. It was not easy but so helpful to me not only feeling like I’m benefiting others but also tapping into my own grief for this terrible tragedy and all suffering.
    Thank you so much for your wisdom in knowing how much this practice is needed.

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“With wisdom, creativity and artistry, Susan Piver brings a Buddhist lens to the spiritual map of the Enneagram. The results are vibrant and nourishing; a banquet of insights that help us transmute our difficult emotions into pure expressions of our basic goodness.”

 – Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance