The purpose of this meditation is to develop the very strong wish that all living being could be free from suffering, and then to see what this wish means in the light of renunciation – the wish for personal freedom from suffering.
I began the meditation by calming my mind and creating an inner space of peace and stillness. I then thought about the contemplation for this meditation provided by the kindness of my teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in his book, The New Meditation Handbook.
Compassion is based on two thoughts – our cherishing love for others and our recognition of their suffering. I thought about the kindness of my mothers in all my past lives. I remembered how they held me in their arms and regarded me as more precious than any jewel. I remembered how much I owe them and how I want to return their kindness. I remembered the advantages of cherishing them, and my wish to cherish them with all my capacity.
I then thought about how they cannot escape suffering. I imagined my own mother and father in front of me. My mother suffering from dementia is lost in her own mind – moving back and forth in her lifetime, out of control. My father has lost the love of his life, and yet she is still there. How they both suffer.
A similar fate, one way or another, awaits all other living beings too. In the end we will decline and die, suffering throughout. It might not be so bad if this were just to happen once to each of us, but we are bound to suffer these intolerable sufferings again and again and again in life after life.
I let a feeling of sadness arise in my mind, and mixed it with my feeling of love for all these suffering beings. I slowly felt a deep compassion arise for them – a sincere wish that they could be free from their suffering, and this feeling arose out of the feelings of sadness and love. I saw compassion for all these living beings and let it fill my mind for some time.
I then thought about what this means in the light of renunciation – the wish to attain personal freedom from suffering.
These thoughts are quite similar in the respect that they are the wish for freedom from suffering. Compassion is the wish for others to be free from their suffering, and renunciation is the wish to be free from our own personal suffering by attaining liberation from samsara. It felt like these two wishes were like parallel lines or forces, both going in the same direction. Seeing how they echoed each other was satisfying and encouraging. I returned to my wish for all living beings to be free from their suffering, and held that feeling for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings cultivate the seed of compassion and let it grow into the precious mind of Great Compassion, and with this supreme thought quickly attain enlightenment for the sake of all suffering mother beings.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will think of my mother and father, and redouble my efforts to travel the spiritual path in everything I do.