SnowFlower Sun October 2020

Tonglen Loving Kindness

from a talk by Cheri Maples

Tonglen is a loving kindness practice that has its roots in the Tibetan tradition. Interestingly, it is actually the reverse of the loving kindness meditation we usually practice. Normally we breathe in loving kindness and breathe out pain. Instead, on the in-breath, we breathe in our own as well as the pain of all others who suffer. On the out-breath, we send loving kindness to ourselves and all others.

Instead of breathing in relief, we breathe in pain – and breathe out love. The power of Tonglen practice lies in its capacity to dissolve the notion of separation between you and me, us and them. It is an embodied reminder that no one is alone, that pain is shared.

Tonglen is likewise an experience of awakening bodhichitta, the mind and heart of love. It is a way to experience compassion and empathy inside our pain. We feel that we are not alone yet we are in the same boat with many others: aspiring to open, only to find ourselves closing down again.

All the while knowing that we all, regardless of external circumstances, have the capacity for joy, have the capacity to let go of storylines built around our pain. Each of us has this soft spot, the capacity for love and tenderness. When I breathe in suffering, the practice softens me and helps me feel connected to something much larger than myself.

In this way transformation often occurs right in the painful place where life has brought me to my knees. My own pain and fear are now the basis for opening my heart to the distress of others. Personal misery does not close me down, but rather is a stepping-stone toward connection with others.

Thanks to the deep knowing that my situation is not really “personal”, it becomes possible to own the negativity of resentment and anger for a loved one or for an adversary, and still to wish them to be free from harm, to be filled with great ease, and to know the joy of giving and receiving love.

Tonglen Guided Meditation

With eyes softly closed, bring your attention to the area of your heart.

Feel your breath and your heart together, as one. Feel your breath as if it moved in and out of your heart.

Bring to mind a current life challenge [the election, pandemic, economic woes, online learning, illness, conflict].

Think of all the people, those you know and those you do not know, who face similar challenges. On the in-breath, with as much sincerity of heart as possible, breathe in pain, “theirs” as well as “your own”. On the out-breath, send relief. SVAHA

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Thay’s Continuation Day

To celebrate Thay’s 94th Continuation Day on October 11th…all of Thay’s hundreds of thousands of students are invited to practice walking meditation and to forgive and love all those with whom they have difficulties. May the energy of the Bodhisattva of Great Compassion continue to embrace all those who face difficult moments during this time.

SnowFlower Fall Retreat

Miracles of Mindfulness: Transforming Uncertainty, Fear and Anger into Equanimity and Clarity, 27th Annual Fall Retreat

  • October 23-25, 2020
  • Led by Dharma Teacher Jack Lawlor
  • On Zoom with an in person sit/walk/sit at Olin Park weather permitting
  • Retreat schedule
  • Registration now open register today   Registration Deadline: October 21, 2020.
  • There is no registration fee for the fall retreat, you may choose to donate to fund next years scholarships and special events.

Weekly Meetings

All meetings will be via Zoom until further notice. Please help us to create the container for our practice by acting as you would walking into the Friends Meetinghouse (not eating or finishing tasks after you have signed into Zoom). Join the SnowFlower List Serve to receive e-mails containing the link for each of the meetings. To receive SnowFlower emails, please sign up for our Yahoo! Group by sending an email to

Tuesday Night Sit  Time: 07:00 PM

Wednesday Afternoon Sit: Time: 1:30 PM

Friday Night Sit: Time 7:00 PM

Sunday Morning Sit: Time 10:00 AM

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