Tonglen, Tibetan for ’sending and receiving’, is a meditation practice designed for working with difficult situations. In this teaching, Pema Chödrön, demonstrates the basic technique of Tonglen meditation. The practice can be used to generate compassion for friends, animals, whole nations and groups of people, or yourself. “With the in-breath you breathe in with the wish to take away the suffering and you breathe out with the wish to send out comfort and happiness to the very same people, or animal or nations, or whatever it is you decide.” Tonglen is over one thousand years old, and is considered by the Tibetan Buddhist tradition to be an important practice for developing altruism and selflessness.
The Dalai Lama has said of Tonglen:
“Whether this meditation really helps others or not, it gives me peace of mind. Then I can be more effective, and the benefit is immense.” He is known to practice the meditation every day.