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Thinking about starting up a daily practice?
Here is another bit of advice: be clear about why you are doing it.
Some people decide to start a daily practice because they think it is what they HAVE to do as they are ‘now a Buddhist’. Others because they want to be able to tell their friends about it, or to be like their friends – or to demonstrate how ‘virtuous’ they are. Still others have some idea about it being ‘cool’.
These are not particularly good reasons. If you have a shallow, superficial motivation, your practice will not last.
Rather than rushing into it, my advice is to read through my recent series of posts on the benefits of having a daily Lamrim practice, and think about these benefits carefully. They are real and will have a profound effect on your life – but you really need to convince yourself rather than taking my word for it. If some benefits seem more compelling than others, then focus on them. Get to know them so you could rattle them off if you needed to. In this way you will become more familiar with them. Slowly your motivation will grow in your heart, and you will find yourself looking forward to starting: and your practice will be easy.
Stay tuned for more advice on starting a daily Lamrim meditation practice!
I began the meditation by again familiarising myself with the fact that all living beings have been my kind mother in the past and that they are suffering endlessly in the prison of samsara. I remembered my Great Compassion (what it felt like) for them and my promise to take personal responsibility for freeing them from their suffering.
A thought struck me: that many many people feel Great Compassion, when they see the suffering of others on telly etc. And some even develop the superior intention to take matters into their own hands and try to free them from their suffering: e.g. Bob Geldof.
With all this in mind, I asked myself: ‘At the moment, can I fulfil this wish?’ The answer is no – at the moment I do not have the power or the wisdom to do this. But if I were a Buddha I would be able to do this. I would have the power and wisdom to help and free all living beings.
I then thought how incredibly lucky I am: that I have perfect conditions to become a Buddha. I have access to perfect teachers – perfect Dharma. I have access to Sangha and spiritual friends. I have all the freedoms and endowments I need to become a Buddha. I reflected on how fortunate I am.
I also considered that every moment I spend not being a Buddha, that it another moment of torment for all my kind mothers to endure. How can I rest, even for a moment, knowing this.
Then I brought it all together in the determination to become a Buddha for the sake of all living beings. Slowly a feeling of unstoppable movement arose, like a massive pure force moving towards a light – the light of enlightenment. Once this feeling was firm, I stayed with it and let it soak into my mind for the rest of the meditation.