Exchanging Self & Other | Step 22 of Awakening in 30 Steps

asanga bodhichitta gradual awakening lam rim shantideva tonglen Aug 07, 2021

Get ready for an expresso shot!

I articulate Asanga’s ‘Seven Step Cause and Effect’ method for generating Bodhichitta and follow this up with Shantideva’s Four-points of Exchanging Self and Other” to show how Tsongkhapa stitched both methods together into his 11 point method and how I snuck them into our 30 step journey.

Today’s point is on Exchanging Self (enclosure) for Other (altruism), reversing the gravitational pull from me to we. Once we see the detriments of self-grasping, and the benefits of altruism, we want to take responsibility to alter our faulty evolutionary wiring (our me bias).

This is done incrementally by a technique called ‘giving-and-taking’ (tonglen). When we sense the suffering of others we are willing to open to them, metaphorically taking on their pain with compassion during an inhalation, and extending our love and care on the exhalation. This is how the reinforcements of self-enclosure and self-protection eventually give way to increased social sensitivity and altruism, and descended self-grasping and self-enclosure.


Learn more about the gradual path to awakening with the Lam Rim Meditation course.