You are currently browsing the daily archive for 26 August 2011.
Twelve years ago I had a life changing moment. My first son was born.
At around that time I decided that I could do with some help on how to behave. Not that I was a bad person particularly. I thought that I was a pretty good bloke all in all. But I knew that I was quite variable in the sense that sometimes I would think an action was ok, and at other times I would not think it was ok. I realised I did not know why I thought the same thing was ok one minute and not ok the next. I did not *really* understand what made an action good or bad.
I decided that I could to with some external framework for ethics, so that the environment in which my son would grow up would be stable.
I knew a fair bit about philosophy, but I got the feeling that there was little practical application to be had. For each point of view, there was an opposing point of view, and it seemed to me that there was nothing to really grab hold of and use in my daily life.
So I decided to check out Religion! I had long ago rejected the idea of a Christian type God, for the simple reason that no God who loved his creation would make us suffer the way we do. I think an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving God could do a lot better!
I investigated humanism, but it seemed rather cold and bleak. I needed something with a more spiritual dimension.
Next I looked at Buddhism. This seemed more promising. I bought a book written by Kulananda from the Friends of the Western Buddhist Order which was an excellent introduction. I was impressed.
I noticed that there were meditation classes in my local library, so one cold November night I went along and listened to what was said. It seemed all very sensible. It was about how the mind works, and how everything depends on the mind. It was about how we can improve our life if we control our mind. It seemed like something I could work with in my daily life.
I would not say I was an immediate convert, but I definitely got something out of the class. I kept on attending.
Lets fast forward 12 years. I am still attending! This is because I have not come across anything that I would consider ‘wrong’. In all these years, I have not found anything that I can show, conclusively to be wrong. I have found plenty of things I did not understand, but they did not contradict other teachings. In fact far from finding things which are wrong, I have only found things to be right!
It has become a way of life for me now. I don’t feel that I ever ‘became’ a Buddhist. It seems more that I gradually realised I ’was’ a Buddhist.
My life has meaning. I have something that I will be able to integrate into every aspect of my life, for the better. I will never have to stop because I am too old or injured. I won’t reach a point where I think ‘why am I doing this again?’ like I have with other pastimes in the past.
It fills my life with light and hope.
And it is all because of one man. Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Thank you Geshe-la. _/|\_
The purpose of this meditation is to develop the deep wish to cherish others.
I began the meditation by considering the benefits of cherishing others. Firstly, it immediately protects me from the suffering of delusions such as anger, jealousy and pride. These thoughts are painful and fill my mind with unrest. If I can develop a mind which cherishes others, I will not generate these minds.
Secondly, it will protect me from future suffering. By cherishing others, I will naturally avoid actions which harm others, such as speaking harshly to them, and harming them. I will also act in ways which benefit others.
I recognised the link between the mind that cherishes others and the realisation of cause and effect.
I thought about Luna Kadampa’s recent blog post about dealing with criticism, and the idea of cherishing others by walking in their shoes. I thought about how my children must see the world. Full of giants making up rules and stopping them doing what they want. No wonder they shout and scream from time to time. I thought about trying to see things from their point of view. I thought about asking them how they see things.
I thought of viewing others as supreme and treating them as a servant would. Normally this would be rejected by my deluded mind of pride, but at that moment it seemed to make perfect sense. This approach will protect me from suffering and lead to happiness for others.
As I thought about it, the ideas of seeing things the way others see them, and that cherishing others protects me from suffering came together and I felt a sense of peace and calm – of being protected. Also a feeling of being engrossed in others, and forgetting myself. I focused on this feeling and its meaning for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings come to cherish others, and develop pure love and bodhichitta. May they all attain enlightenment.
Practice in the meditation break.
I will treat everyone as a servant would, and ask them how they see things.