Winter Gardening and the Tonglen Mantra

Lovely Hippeastrum on our windowsill!

So I’m digging in my heels for winter, and winter gardening.

So far, there are two Hippeastrum in pots; they should bloom shortly before Christmas. There are two more bulbs waiting to be planted. I bought a bag of paperwhite bulbs, and several bags of hyacinth, daffodil, and tulip bulbs, all for late winter forcing. They’re all cooling in the refrigerator. There’s also a white hyacinth in a glass forcing jar in the refrigerator; it will spend the next 10 weeks putting out roots into water.

There is a pot of basil seeds germinating in the sunniest window in the house; the geraniums are inside until spring; and I bought a young yucca tree and a purple African violet. Both will bring some life to our lives through winter. The aloe plants are doing well, and the Crown of Thorns survived the journey from California. I put some cuttings of orange mint from the garden into a small mason jar a couple of weeks ago, and it has roots now. I’ll plant it up and see how it fares indoors.

My husband had a worried look on his face last night. It’s only October 27, and the house is already a bit crowded. I laughed.

Recite the Tonglen mantra throughout the day, every day. It’s easy, and it sends out good, healing vibes to the world.

Inhale deeply, and while doing so, say to yourself, ‘Sadness, suffering”. Exhale, and say to yourself, ‘Comfort, compassion’. Repeat as often as you can daily. Receive the world’s sadness and suffering on your intake breath; send the world comfort and compassion as you exhale.

I have a wonderful Jain friend (read the Jain texts on non-violence at, whose mantra is simply, ‘Peace, please’.


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