Compassion stands unrivaled as the most potent force for good. How can we integrate compassion as a foundational element of our daily lives? And how can we channel the immense force of compassion, building upon our knowledge of the practice of "exchanging self & others" and tonglen? During this course we will learn to deepen and strengthen our practice of compassion. We'll embark on a transformative journey, redirecting our lifelong habit of self-cherishing towards a greater appreciation and cherishing of others. Even though our lives until now have been spent cherishing ourselves at the expense of others, we can change. Using some meditations that will be new to many of us, and using the breath, we will boost the power of our exchanging self & others practice and our tonglen practice. Combining and adding to these practices will move our personal transformations forward. It will soften and open our hearts. It will allow us to begin to live in a heart-centered way, led by our new and improved hearts rather than the whims of our selfishness and egos.
Dorje Senge (Diamond Lion) lived from (1054-1123) and is the author of one of the most famous buddhist texts for developing a good heart (lojong) called the Eight Verses. It’s full of very practical advice for being a kinder and more compassionate person. Diamond Lion was one of the Kadampas, who were the first generation Buddhists in Tibet. Lojong texts for developing a good heart were very popular amongst the Kadampas.
The text of the Wheel of Knives describes how bodhisattvas in the vicious circle of life are like peacocks who actually find poisonous plants more nutritious than medicinal ones. The idea is that the bodhisattvas can transform inner afflictions and outer difficult situations into precious opportunities for personal practice and helping others. According to the text, each unpleasant thing or event that ever happens to us is a result of “what goes around comes around”: the things we have done to others are returning back to us like a wheel of knives.