The Great Oak is not a religious book but a big thank you to Ringu Tulku Rinpoche for teaching me the wonderful practice of Tong Len. Tibetan for Giving and Receiving, a profoundly powerful mediation suitable for all religions and none.
This is a chapter, sneak peak from my Novel, The Great Oak. If all goes to plan it will be available early next year. In this chapter Master Salix practices Tong Len before teaching his students to go on a very dangerous adventure into the shadow realm. I hope you enjoy it and why not follow along with the meditation ? If you love it or have suggestions please leave a comment below. Love and light, Mark
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How a Master Prepares for Class
Master Salix arrived at the temple early that day. He had not slept well and his mind was agitated as he went through all the scenarios that could go right and wrong in the lessons that had been prepared for his students. The shadow training was dangerous and yet required. If only he had the same faith in the strength of his students personalities as Master Quercus did. What if they enjoyed it? What if they became sadists? Worse still what if they got lost completely in the dark side? He felt the anxiety rising in his heart centre and then his pulse and breathing quicken. A tightness in his muscles. An uneasy feeling throughout his body.
‘What a wonderfully complex organism this human body is.’ He thought to himself. ‘So in-tune with everything. Every thought. Every action and so intuitive too. Such wonderful potential. We must win this war and free humanity to be the compassionate carers of the universe that they were designed to be.’ That thought warmed his heart and with that energy and intention he settled into an easy lotus position and began a giving and taking cleansing meditation.
He took a long in breath and prepared to start phase one of the practice. From then on every time he breathed in fully and deeply he felt the presence of all the sentient beings from the six realms; human beings, animals, hungry ghosts, hell beings, Demi gods and heavenly beings. All of the different types of beings throughout space. All of them desperately wanting to be free from suffering. Desperately wanting to be happy and joyful but not able to be. Once he established a connection with his mind he felt all the sufferings of all the beings. Their pains, anguish, dissatisfaction and diseases. He also included all the things that cause them to suffer. Their anger, ignorance, attachment, negative emotions, negative habitual tendencies and their accumulation of negative karma. All of the causes and results of suffering he breathed in. He imagined that as he did so the suffering came out of their body like smoke, like cloud, like pollution. All of the suffering forming a large, dark cloud. Next he felt that all these negativities from all the beings in the form of the thick, dark cloud went inside him through his nostrils on his deep, long inhales and was attacking his own ego. His own negative karma. His own negative emotions. His own pain and suffering and problems and illnesses which he imagined like a dark ball surrounding his heart centre like a thick tar. He started to feel the dark cloud of negativities eating up his own negative, dark ball encasing his heart. Like acid was eating matter or like a chemical was eating something else which is dissolvable and after a few moments the thick shell of his own ego, negative karma, pain and problems was crushed and started to break up. Each crack and small hole in the dark shell around his heart let out rays of brilliant, bright light until eventually the shell cracked open completely and became obliterated.
With his own negativities exhausted he felt his natural goodness burst out from his heart centre. The essence of his consciousness. His golden nature being released from the obscuration of negativity. All of the golden qualities of his pristine awareness. The wisdom, compassion, joy, positive energy, his healing power and his loving nature began to shine out like a bright sun. With all of his positiveness shining out he felt all the negativity that he had breathed in had completely dissolved in one instant. Like light dissolves the darkness. When a light is switched on in a dark room whether that darkness was there for thousands of years and that darkness is so dark that you can not see even one centimetre it does not matter. As soon as the light goes on all of the darkness goes in one moment. In that instant the darkness can not remain when the light is there. In the same way he felt that all those negative things that he had breathed in, that he had taken on, were completely gone, obliterated.
It was time to start phase two of the practice. With his golden heart bursting out positive rays of light he sat in a joyful, kind, compassionate, clear and wise state. He felt the energy of the healing and purifying rays of light doing their loving work throughout his entire body. All of the pain from his body and mind. All of his negative emotions, ignorance and negative habitual tendencies becoming totally purified. Once he felt that his whole body was a ball of light, joyful, compassionate, energetic and blissful he concentrated on that feeling and relaxed into it. In his mind’s eye the forceful light like the sun shone throughout his body from every pore and touched all the sentient beings. He started visualising all the Beings he felt that he was helping. He started with his students and friends and then started to add more and more complexity. The monks and nuns and residents in the monastery. The people of Scotland. The people of Great Britain, Europe and all over the world. All the beings who live in this world. All Beings in the state between lives. All of the different forms of life not only on this world but throughout space. All the cosmos. After building up every Being known to his mind he acknowledged that wherever there was space there could be Beings and so he imagined and felt as though the healing and purifying light emitting from him reached out throughout space and felt like all of the Beings within the universe had become purified, healed and transformed and that they all felt completely joyful, completely well, completely compassionate and kind. Blissful and wise without any attachment, aversion or fear. Totally satisfied.
After a long while the master’s mind became tired and the positive feeling faded. At that point Master Salix knew that it was time for phase three of the practice and just sat and relaxed his mind. He allowed his mind to relax and settle in peace. Not thinking about the past. Not thinking about the future. Not holding onto the present moment. Just relaxed in now. Just being. Letting the sounds be. Letting his thoughts be.
After a long while Master Salix’s mind started to have thoughts again. After the thoughts came the emotions. Deciding that he had become distracted enough he knew that it was time to begin phase one of the practice again and started to breathe in all the negative things of all the sentient beings with a long and deep breath just as he did before and started the whole process again.
The Great Ones of Light felt his effort and joined him in his practice. It would not be long before he had to teach phase two of shadow training and this was the perfect preparation.Mark Smith, The Great Oak