Dana, the Sanskrit word generosity, is the practice of giving your attention and receiving what arises. When thoughts arise in the mind or with what others are saying to you, give it your attention and just receive, even if it is in the form of negativity. The way we work with that is in the negativity itself, not separate. It takes some courage to just receive and not create the one who is against or wants to fix the negativity. If your awareness is powerful, you my watch yourself hold still or you may go into action without an agenda. No one is wrong that needs to be corrected. This is the practice of generosity.
Sokuzan talks about the practice of “Tonglen”, or sending out positivity and receiving negativity while riding the breath, reversing the tendency of ego. He suggests that without a strong awareness practice, taking in negativity may cause more difficulty and instead recommends the practice of “Maitri Bhavana” or extending the intent of loving kindness to others.
In his afternoon talk at the All-Day retreat at SokukoJi-Traverse City, Sokuzan responds to additional questions from the sangha in working with negativity.
At the All-Day retreat at Sokukoji-Traverse City, Sokuzan talks about how to skillfully and sanely work with negativity without getting sucked into the negativity and end up being at war with ourselves.