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Buddhadharma : Summer 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly summer 20 1 0 26 In order To Have compassion for others, we have to have compassion for ourselves. In particular, to care about other people who are fearful, angry, jealous, overpowered by addictions of all kinds, arrogant, proud, miserly, selfish, mean—you name it—to have compassion and to care for these people, means not to run from the pain of finding these things in ourselves. In fact, one’s whole attitude toward pain can change. Instead of fending it off and hiding from it, one could open one’s heart and allow oneself to feel that pain, feel it as something that will soften and purify us and make us far more loving and kind. Pema ChÖDrÖn is a nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition and a principal teacher at Gampo abbey in nova scotia. she is well known for her teachings on compassion and meditation, and is the author of many books, including Start Where You Are and When Things Fall Apart. The tonglen practice is a method for con- necting with suffering—ours and that which is all around us—everywhere we go. It is a method for overcoming fear of suffering and for dissolving the tightness of our heart. Pri- marily it is a method for awakening the com- passion that is inherent in all of us, no matter how cruel or cold we might seem to be. we begin the practice by taking on the suffering of a person we know to be hurting and whom we wish to help. for instance, if you know of a child who is being hurt, you breathe in the wish to take away all the pain and fear of that child. Then, as you breathe out, you send the child happiness, joy, or Transforming the Heart of Suffering By Pema Chödrön (BOttOm)LizamaTTheWs;(tOp)susanmyrLanD