The purpose of this meditation is to generate the wish to act in a virtuous manner because we recognise that it is our natural way.
I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then I called to mind the instructions on meditating on karma from Eight Steps to Happiness by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
A particular phrase seemed to stand out for me this morning as I read through the section of the book. Geshe-la says that the relationship between our actions and their effects is ‘definite’. In my contemplation, I focused on this idea of the definite relationship between our actions and our experiences. If we perform virtuous actions, we will definitely experience positive results. If we perform negative actions, we will definitely experience suffering.
As I thought about this, I wondered why, given that no-one wants even the slightest suffering, that we don’t always act in virtuous ways. The answer, it seemed to me, was that the definite link between actions and their effects is not always clear to us, and our minds are clouded by delusions which distort our attitudes, and make us think that non-virtuous actions are beneficial in some way.
When we pick up a kettle that has just boiled, we pick it up by the handle. Why? Because it is obvious that we would burn ourselves if we picked it up without using the handle. It seems very natural to pick up the kettle by the handle – we do it almost without any thinking at all. We understand the suffering we would experience if we did not use the handle at such a fundamental level that it is very natural to use the handle and avoid suffering.
I thought that if we had such an understanding of the definite relationship between our negative actions and suffering, that we would act in a virtuous way simply and naturally, because it was obviously the way to avoid suffering. It would not even occur to us to act in non-virtuous ways.
I focused on this idea of acting naturally and virtuously, and a feeling arose of all my actions naturally becoming virtuous, because I naturally and effortlessly wanted to avoid suffering!
I was filled with a feeling of lightness and purity – all my actions of body, speech and mind were pure and the cause of happiness. I focused on this for the rest of my short time in meditation.
May all beings see the definite relationship between actions and their effects, and naturally act in virtuous ways in order to avoid suffering and attain enlightenment quickly for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to remember that to act virtuously is to act in the most natural way possible.