Title of contribution:
The Importance of Emptiness before Taking on Suffering
Where & when:
Workshop: The Importance of Emptiness before Taking on Suffering
In this workshop, you will learn about and practice the Tibetan practice of Tonglen (Sending and Taking).
Often this practice is disconnected from the wider context of Lojong (Mind Training) as originally taught
by Chekawa Yeshe Dorje, leading to all sorts of problems. I have found a very effective way to give this
context in simple everyday language.
We start with the preliminaries – this first of the 59 slogans of mind training is explained very, very
differently by Jamgon Kongtrul, his student Chogyam Trungpa (a contemporary and friend of my own
teacher Akong Rinpoche) and his student Pema Chodron. I will explain my take on this and then guide
you into a meditation.
This is followed by a step-by-step immersion into the nature of the mind, the ground of being, the
development of Absolute Bodhichitta, the Mind Towards Enlightenment.
Only then are we ready to start with the practice of Relative Bodhichitta, the actual taking in of suffering
and sending out happiness. There are many variations on this to use in different contexts, and we will
practice several of them, interspersed with breaks and discussion of the different points and some of the
This practice has helped me tremendously at difficult points in my life, when all other methods failed and
I felt stuck and helpless. At this point in time, the global community seems to have reached such a point,
so let’s see together, whether this can be one of the solutions and ways forward.
About Hanna Hündorf:
Hanna Hündorf, born 1960 in Germany, has been part of the core team of IEC since its inception in 2014.
She helps develop the content, coordinates the workshops and presentations before and during the event,
and is part of the main stage management.
Hanna has been a practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism since 1982, living for 15 years in Samye Ling,
Scotland, where she completed two traditional three-year retreats.
In 1997, after her first retreat, she began translating Buddhist teachers from English to German and
intensified her studies of Buddhist philosophy and meditation in Hamburg and Nepal. She also started
teaching at that time and begun developing her own style of transmitting the traditional teachings and
methods in a way that is appropriate to the Western culture but retains the depth and power. At the same
time, she began reading Ken Wilber and adopted the Integral View.
After her second retreat in 2006, she returned to Germany to look after her mother. She worked in an old
people’s home for 2 years and nursed her mother for 11 years, so that she could grow old peacefully and
in dignity and die at home.
During that time, Hanna began giving courses and individual coaching sessions. She also became
involved in the Integral Movement in Germany and Europe, with a special emphasis on organizing large
She now lives with her husband in North Germany, has joined his gardening firm, and gives coaching sessions: