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Training in Tenderness: Buddhist Teachings on Tsewa, the Radical Openness of Heart That Can Change the World Paperback – May 22, 2018
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“A warm and affectionate heart frees us from whatever binds us and connects us empathetically with all beings. This simple yet life-changing attitude makes our own life meaningful and has the power to heal the world. I strongly encourage anyone who encounters Kongtrul Rinpoche’s beautiful book to take its profound wisdom to heart.”—Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, author of The Joy of Living
“Kongtrul Rinpoche delivers a series of profound explorations and expositions on one of the most important aspects of our spiritual practice—uncovering the tender warmth and affection in our hearts. This tenderness is the root source of all that is truly beneficial in the world. Rinpoche leads us through a foundational training for compassionate vision and our own liberation, with joyful diligence and an open heart.”—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Love
“Let this gem of a book be your faithful guide and companion in opening your heart to others. It unlocks the door to that most precious human quality of all: unconditional tenderness for all beings.”—Matthieu Ricard, author of Altruism and Happiness
“Deep, inspiring, and disarmingly simple, this book demonstrates our innate capacity for tenderness. A warm heart is the source of compassion, loving-kindness, and equanimity, even in the face of death. Thanks to the clear mind and kind heart of Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche, we now have a guide to cultivating this most precious quality and letting it shine out to the world.”—Jan Chozen Bays, author of Mindful Eating
“It is possible to cultivate true happiness in all aspects of our daily lives and to change our reality—and that of the people around us—in the process. It’s all about arousing the warmth of heart that is our birthright as humans. Dzigar Kongtrul’s potent instruction manual shows you how.”—Lodro Rinzler, author of Love Hurts
“With clarity, brevity, and grace, Kongtrul ably conveys his hopeful vision that all individuals can “live a life full of joy, meaning, and profound value to the world.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“’Without tsewa, is there any other source of happiness?’ This is the question posed by Dzigar Kongtrul Rinpoche in Training in Tenderness. Always circling back to this Tibetan word meaning love, tenderness, or warmth, Kongtrul pushes us to honestly examine what fulfills us and what doesn’t.”—Buddhadharma: The Practioner’s Quarterly
"An immensely appealing tribute to the spiritual practice of an open heart."—Spirituality & Practice
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As someone who works with people who have experienced trauma in their childhoods I was put off by the first chapter in which he says because you received warmth from a loving person you can now "stand on your own two feet, look after yourself, and contribute something to society. If you hadn't received so much love throughout your life, you would not feel any security or strength inside. You would not have a sound mind." This sentiment is extremely unhelpful for the thousands of people who did not receive the loving nurturing he describes (and assumes people get). Didn't the Buddha say there is no one more deserving of compassion than you? If so, perhaps it would be good to share that concept amidst the exhortations to cultivate an open, loving heart towards all beings.
I am certainly not suggesting there's anything wrong with what he explores, only that it is not helpful for many readers. In fact, it might trigger someone who experienced developmental trauma to feel even worse.
If you are looking for an intellectual treatise on being more warm, open-hearted, and kind to others, this is for you. If you have experienced trauma as a child I would find something more supportive.
I've read many books from many great spiritual masters, and Kongtrul Rinpoche's teachings rank among the most wonderful. He is an authentic guru who speaks from the wisdom of his own deep realization of ultimate truth.
This is a book about love, the transformative power of love, and the enlightenment that love is our very nature.
I highly recommend giving this book an opportunity to change your life.