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An Empowering Exchange with Life


The Tibetan Buddhist practice of tonglen, or “sending out and taking in”, inverts our habitual tendencies: it asks us to breathe in what is difficult and painful, and in return give away healing and comfort. Perhaps a daunting prospect at first yet when carefully attended, the effect is radically empowering. The embodied lesson: our hearts not only have the capacity to handle suffering, they can, in collaboration with the breath, become a source of resilience.

In this guided meditation, environmental leader Dekila Chungyalpa, leads us in a tonglen practice that integrates the full web of life. With a foundation of gratitude, she invites us to take in the pain of environmental destruction and send out compassionate, empowered well-being.

See the companion piece to this practice, an interview with Dekila for the Tricycle Magazine podcast. Dekila will also be our featured guest in the upcoming August EcoDharma Exploration into this and related territory.

These practices were originally posted on the Healthy Minds Program App, which contains audio recordings of these meditations and a whole program for well-being. The app is freely available, thanks to the generosity of donors.

Dekila will be leading our August EcoDharma Exploration, an extended period of practice focused on a particular EcoDharma theme. The exploration will culminate with a live gathering with Dekila on Aug 29th. Stay tuned for more details coming soon!

Dekila Chungyalpa

Dekila Chungyalpa

Dekila Chungyalpa is the director of the Loka Initiative, whose mission is to support faith-led environmental efforts locally and around the world through collaborations with faith leaders and religious institutions on environmental protection, sustainable development, and global health issues. Prior to that, she was the recipient of the McCluskey fellowship at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies where she also lectured and researched. Dekila founded and directed Sacred Earth, an acclaimed faith-based conservation program at the World Wildlife Fund from 2009 to 2014. She has served as the WWF-US Director for the Greater Mekong Program and also worked for WWF in the Eastern Himalayas. Dekila serves as the environmental adviser for His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism.
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