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The purpose of this mediation is to meditate on the kindness of our mother, and then to meditate on this kindness in light of the disadvantages of self-cherishing
I began with breathing meditation, slowing my mind down until there were no thoughts at all, only an expansive feeling of openness and emptiness. After a while of enjoying this feeling, I moved on to the main meditation.
I began by recalling just a few words from Joyful Path of Good Fortune by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. He gives an extensive explanation of how to meditate on the kindness of our mother, but when I reviewed it before the meditation, a small section seemed to stand out.
In his explanation, Geshe-la says that we easily forget the great kindness shown to us by our mother, or fail to recognise it by taking it for granted. He points out that we tend to focus on the times when she was unkind to us, and forget all the kindness we received.
This struck me as so true. Today I saw a little boy in a push chair being pushed along the side of the road by his mother. When he is older he will remember almost nothing of the first five years of his life, but every moment of that time he will have been cared for my his mother. She will have shown him so much kindness in those short years that it would take a lifetime to repay it.
I thought of my own mother, suffering from memory loss. Some time ago, when she was still able to remember things, but aware that she was losing her memory, she promised me that she would never forget me. Unfortunately, she was not able to keep that promise. I thought of her saying ‘I may not remember you in my head, but I will remember you in my heart’. And I cried.
I mentally promised my mother that I would repay her kindness ‘I will get us both out of samsara – I promise you, Mum.’
I focused on this feeling of holding my mother and working to repay her kindness by taking us both on the path to enlightenment and reaching the final goal. I stayed with the feeling for a while. I then gathered myself, and moved on.
What does this mean in light of self-cherishing?
Self-cherishing would stop me. Self-cherishing would have it that I was more important than anyone else, and that their suffering is their problem. Self-cherishing would have me take the kindness of others as my right. Self-cherishing would have me turn my back on my own kind mother. I determined to shun self-cherishing and work for the freedom of my mother and all my kind mothers. I returned to my wish to repay the kindness of mother sentient beings, and focused on it for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings become aware of the kindness shown to them by their mother, and other living beings, and develop a special Bodhichitta which will speed them to enlightenment, for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will look at the people around me, and seeing them as my mother, remember their kindness in this life and in previous lives.