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The purpose of this mediation is to generate the sincere wish to turn away from samsara as a source of happiness and refuge, and then to meditate on this wish in light of the disadvantages of self-cherishing.
I began the meditation by reflecting on the condition of my parents and my parents-in-law. They are in various states of health. My mother is in hospital suffering from Alzheimer’s and recovering from a broken hip. I have watched her deteriorate from a lively old lady to someone who does not understand where she is or who anyone is. I have watched with tremendous admiration as my father has cared for her during this time, and now has to face living alone in their house, as there is no possibility of my mother returning home.
My in-laws are in their 70s and 80s – in fact we are living with them for the weekend to celebrate my father-in-law’s 80th birthday party. Their health is failing too.
When I look at the suffering of ageing I can see clearly that there are no happy endings in samsara. It will always end in tears.
I determined to abandon samsara as a source of refuge, as there is no meaning to be found in our transient lives save for the meaning we can give it through the practice of Dharma. I focused on this wish for a while.
In terms of self-cherishing, it is our delusions – including our self-cherishing – that that deceive us into believing that happiness can be found in samsara. I determined to abandon samsara once more.
May all living beings abandon samsara, and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will look at my elderly relatives and remind myself that one day I will be like them. What will I think when I am like them? Will I look back with regret at the opportunity I have wasted? I will try to make sure this doesn’t happen.