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The purpose of this meditation is to generate a very strong wish to avoid the sufferings of the lower realms, and then to meditate on this wish in light of the disadvantages of self-cherishing.

I began with breathing meditation and then moved on to the main meditation.

I started by thinking about how everything that appears to me is a manifestation of my karma, and that other realms which I will experience when I die will seem as real as this present life does now.

I considered the sufferings of the lower realms starting with the animal realm. I imagined being a small animal in a forest. From time to time, out of nowhere I would be attacked and pursued. I would be aware of razor sharp teeth and a growing, snapping noise behind me and I would run terrified through the trees until I had lost my attacker. My peace would only last a short time and then I would be attacked again until, finally, I would be eaten alive by a massive brutal mouth filled with stinking teeth.

I then thought about the sufferings of the hungry ghost realm, watching my wife and children slowly starve to death in front of me. The pain of hunger pervading our whole bodies, each moment seemed like a lifetime.

Finally, I considered the sufferings of the black line hell, where torturers would force me to lie down on a blazing hot iron ground and stretch me out using hooks. Then the demons would mark my body with black lines using horrible hot brands, and then finally cut me apart slowly with burning weapons such as axes and knives.

I thought about these torments again and again, trying to imagine how it would feel to actually experience them.

I remembering that I have experienced them before and that I have the karmic seeds to experience them again in the future. I remembered that these torments will be as real to me as this present life is now. It filled me with fear and dread, and I developed the really very strong wish to avoid these torments in the future.  I focused on this wish to avoid these torments single pointedly for some time.

I then thought about what this means in light of the disadvantages of self-cherishing. It is self-cherishing that causes these experiences! All these sufferings are caused directly by my own self-cherishing. It seemed to me that the innocent seeming self-cherishing mind that beguiles me with thoughts of my own welfare is (in reality) a disguised torturer, quietly chuckling as it makes me create unspeakable suffering for myself in the future. How deceptive!

I determined to abandon my self-cherishing, and I stayed with this thought for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings recognise that their sufferings are caused by their own self-cherishing, and may they abandon it to become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember the sufferings of the lower realms and remember that it is self-cherishing that is my true enemy and cause of all my sufferings.

How to Understand the Mind

All my meditations come from this book - click the image to learn more

Modern Buddhism

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