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All suffering without exception springs from our desire for personal happiness,     

A perfect buddha is born from a mind set on accomplishing the welfare of others.Truly exchanging our happiness for the suffering of others,     

We will therefore engage in the practice of a bodhisattva.

Our problems are mainly due to excessive self-cherishing, which expresses itself in too much attachment to our personal happiness and in an equally strong aversion to whatever could undermine it.  As long as "I" and "mine" are the central figures, we view the whole world as something potentially harmful.  By putting our desires and dislikes first, we are in the samsaric state of mind, and cannot solve our main problem at all.  The only way to do that is to open our hearts and put others first.

     We should try to face our fear and aversion and accept what we do not like.  And we should try to share what we have or desire, whatever seems most important to us.  This is the practice of TONGLEN, which means "sending and taking."  In TONGLEN practice we take upon ourselves the negativity and suffering of all sentient beings, and in turn send out all that is positive and joyful.  

     Although this is one of the most important practices of a bodhisattva, it does not mean that we have to do it in real life right away.  This is the ideal of course, as Shantideva says in the Bodhicharyavatara, but the practice of exchange is carried out first in a meditative way through visualisation.  The more this practice enables us to open up, to become less selfish and diminish our aversion, the more freedom we gain.  We become more liberated, compassionate, and fearless.  

Ringu Tulku.   Daring Steps.  

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