The purpose of this meditation is to take on others’ suffering in meditation.
In Geshe Kelsang Gyatso‘s recent book, Modern Buddhism, my kind teacher gives instructions on how to practice the taking in conjunction with the six perfections. He also makes it clear that the act of taking on others’ suffering in meditation is a method for destroying our own ignorance of self-grasping and self-cherishing.
I began the meditation by recalling my strong feeling of finding the suffering of others unbearable. I let my mind rest on this feeling for a while, and then I moved on. I decided that I needed to do something about all this suffering. I imagined a vast plain in front of me, filled with all the living beings trapped in samsara. I saw them all standing there, millions and millions of them.
I made the firm decision to take all their suffering from them. Thinking this was the cause of their suffering rising out of each and every one of them in the aspect of black smoke. I saw it leaving a few beings first, then more and more smoke rising into the air above them.
As the smoke left them, they became free from their suffering. They became free from ageing. No matter how old they were, they became young again, with youthful bodies in the prime of life. They became free from sickness. No matter how ill they were, their sickness left them and they became healthy. Their future sufferings also left their bodies. They were free from all their suffering, and would never experience suffering again. They were filled with joy, and I felt that joy in my heart. I stayed with that joy for a few minutes.
Then I focused on the black smoke. I caused it to roll across the plain towards me, gathering it into a funneling cloud. I made the smoke get more and more concentrated as it gathered in the space just in front of my chest. I imagined it folding in on itself, getting smaller and smaller until it was the size of a pea. I then brought it into my heart and it dissolved into my self-grasping ignorance and my self-cherishing. I felt my self grasping melt away. I realised that without self grasping there was no I to apprehend. I felt that all I was was mere name. Name cannot suffer. I felt completely free from suffering. I felt completely free and empty, profoundly joyous and open.
I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings practice taking on the sufferings of others, and through this become fully enlightened beings.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will mount taking on the breath, and practice it in conjunction with the six perfections.