Lama Tsomo: A Buddhist Practice for Emptying, Dying and Letting Go

We ended our previous DM with an amazing teaching from Meister Eckhart that sounds radically Buddhist about letting go of all images.  It seems appropriate, then, as we continue our journey into the “C” called Contemplation and within the context of asking “What does it mean to be human?” to bring in a serious student of Buddhism, Lama Tsomo. 

Lama Tsomo. Photographer unknown. From official bio on

It has been my privilege to know Tsomo for about fifteen years and over the years we created a number of dialogs in several cities on Mystical Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism.  Recently we published a book that contained those interactions, The Lotus & the Rose: A Conversation Between Tibetan Buddhism & Mystical Christianity. 

Buddhism offers many practices to quiet the mind or find the repose we have been speaking of.  One such practice that Tsomo teaches is a “dying meditation” because “in that process a lot of the layers of the onion are going to be peeled away, and a lot of the things we identify as ‘me’ get peeled away.” 

Following are her instructions.  “Sit with your back straight but relaxed.”  Either close your eyes or not. 

“Dematerialization” Photo by Hartwig HKD on Flickr

Just imagine, now, that it’s time for you to leave this life.  What does that mean?  What falls away?  Well, the body of course falls away.  So let’s really feel that happening as much as we can.  Now we feel with that body falling away, we also lose many of the things that we learned in this life: the piano lessons,  the books that we read, foreign languages that we learned.  English falls away.  Many of our neuroses that we’ve dealt with all this life fall away, the experiences that caused them.  The people we attached experience to fall away.  Our personality falls away.  We leave behind our name, being American or whatever country we’re from.  And yet, what is there?

The flame of pure awareness. Photo by Paul Bulai on Unsplash

Perhaps we could call it ‘my awareness.’  But where is the ‘my?’  Just ‘awareness.’  So resting in just awareness for a moment.

Now the guided meditation ends and we are invited to slowly open your eyes, keeping that ‘just awareness’ in your awareness, and also allowing manifested reality to coexist in your awareness: the ocean and the waves simultaneously, indistinguishably present.  This kind of emptiness I call the ‘pregnant emptiness’ and it is full of compassion.  We can feel some qualities of this emptiness.  And so as we emerge from the contemplation please remember, if you can, some of those qualities in your encounter with your true self.

Journeys of letting go are journeys to descend deeper into our true selves, our more real selves, what Eckhart calls “the inner person” as distinct from the “outer person” that we often wear for others to see or acknowledge. 

Adapted from Matthew Fox and Lama Tsomo, The Lotus & the Rose: A Conversation Between Tibetan Buddhism & Mystical Christianity, pp. 48-50.

Banner Image: Forest passage. Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.

Did you find reading about this practice to be useful?  Did you also engage in the practice and find that useful?  What came of it?

Does resting in “just awareness” assist your sense of “pregnant emptiness” and also compassion?

The Lotus & The Rose: A Conversation Between Tibetan Buddhism & Mystical Christianity

How can we move away from “us vs. them” thinking as our surroundings feel more divided and polarized than ever? Co-authors Matthew Fox and Lama Tsomo discuss how Tibetan Buddhism and Mystical Christianity answer this question from unique points of view, with many commonalities and practical tools to break down the barriers between us.
The Lotus and the Rose is an extraordinary example of what can happen when spiritual leaders from different traditions open up and speak from the heart.” — Paul Chaffee, The Interfaith Observer.

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2 thoughts on “Lama Tsomo: A Buddhist Practice for Emptying, Dying and Letting Go”

  1. Avatar

    It is said Mahatma Gandhi when he died left 2 dollars to his name
    But left a million pranas
    What is Prana
    Prana is the universal sea of energy that infuses and vitalizes all matter. This sea of energy coalesces into sub-atomic particles and atoms, which become the basic building blocks of all matter manifesting the physical world. So, every atom, molecule, and cell is an extension of prana, just as waves are extensions of the sea that lies beneath them. (1)
    Prana is also the power that flows in all living forms and performs vital functions. Paramhansa Yogananda called this aspect of prana “life-force.” He further explained that life-force possesses an inherent intelligence enabling it to carry out the life-sustaining processes.
    To give clarity to this image, he even coined the term “lifetrons.” We have a subtle or astral body made up of prana that underlies the physical body. Oriental healing techniques, such as Ayurveda and acupuncture, work to harmonize and strengthen the flow of life-force, calling it variously prana, chi, or ki. When the life-force flows properly, the result will be a natural state of health and vitality.
    I would like to think that Lama Tsomo is full of Prana
    Take care

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