As a gift to the world-wide Yungdrung Bön sangha in order to support their spiritual practice, Nine Ways is offering a free and publicly available download for the English translation of the prayer Tonglen Mönlam: Aspiration Prayer of Giving and Receiving written by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoché. The Tibetan word tonglen [Tib. gtong len] literally means to give and to receive. In general, this practice is used to develop an unbiased and unlimited quality of compassion.
The sutric practice of tonglen supports practitioners to develop the wisdom of equanimity and the quality of compassion towards all other sentient beings that are suffering and seeking happiness without restrictions towards those considered strangers or enemies. From that openness and having generated an authentic heart-felt compassion, the suffering of others is accepted through the inhalation of the breath. With the exhalation, whatever is needed or wanted for their happiness is sent to them. When beginning the practice, it can be supportive to begin with sentient beings for whom there is a natural openness and kindness and then to expand to those for whom there are neutral feelings and then to those for whom there are uncomfortable or negative feelings. This same perspective can be used for one’s own suffering and feelings of discomfort.
In this prayer, the realized saint Shardza Rinpoché begins by taking refuge in the three jewels and relying upon the truth of the teachings. He then prays to ripen both the suffering and the happiness of sentient beings. This line is further explained near the end of the prayer in the phrase “having liberated both happiness and suffering into the space of the primordially pure base…” These lines point out that the ultimate nature of both happiness and suffering is the same pure space from which everything arises and everything dissolves. Therefore, when breathing in the suffering of others, it is with this realization that the suffering liberates into the pure, primordial space of wisdom.
The translation if offered for free but is restricted to personal use only. The download link for the English translation of the prayer can be found here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cTqrSneJpPCnsjxqOClkDU5euRfaxmHY/view?usp=sharing
For other free translations and publications of Yungdrung Bön texts, go to the Publications page of this website or click on this link: https://ravencypresswood.com/publications/
All translations and content by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved.
No content, in part or in whole, is allowed to be used without direct permission from the author.
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Thank you, Raven! I’m glad to have this translation.
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