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The purpose of this meditation is to reach a conclusion about the relative merits of cherishing our self as opposed to cherishing others, and then to consider what this means in terms of reliance upon the Spiritual Guide.

I began by making the appropriate preparations, and then started by reminding myself of the disadvantages of self-cherishing.

Self-cherishing causes me to develop delusions, whose only purpose is to cause harm to myself and others.

Cherishing others is a cause of pure happiness for myself and others.

I thought about all the reasons I know for why these two statements are true, and I compared how I feel when I am strongly self-cherishing and how I feel when I am cherishing others. When I am cherishing others, I feel happy and they feel happy – I feel connected with them, not isolated. I feel worthwhile and my life seems meaningful.

top of the mountainI thought about how if I cherish others, I can be happy all the time. My happiness will come from my feeling of cherishing others, rather than through the acquisition of possessions, experiences, or others. It seemed so pure, so meaningful, that I determined to only cherish others from now on. I will look outwards, and try to forget all about my self.

I settled into a feeling of looking outwards, like looking out from the top of a mountain – of course, when one does this, one can’t see the mountain, only the beautiful view! I focused on this idea of looking outwards and cherishing others completely. I felt lovely and filled with happiness and freedom. I tried to keep my attention on this feeling for a while.

I then thought about what this means in terms of reliance upon my Spiritual Guide. It is certainly true that this concept of cherishing others goes against what we are normally encouraged to do in life. However, whenever there is a ‘good news’ story in the papers, it always seems to be about how people have acted selflessly or cared for others in an altruistic way. This tells me that instinctively, we all know that being kind, looking after others and loving others selflessly is a good thing. This is what my Guru teaches, but in a structured and logical manner, leading to a supreme attainment.

With this thought that I can rely upon my Spiritual Guide because what he is teaching is what we all know to be true, deep down, I renewed my determination to look outwards and cherish others as supreme.

Dedication

May all living beings find happiness in cherishing others, and may they become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to maintain an outward looking view, like a climber who has reached the summit of a mountain, and now can only see the beautiful view.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the complete belief that we have abandoned self-cherishing and that we now only cherish others. We then think about this in light of great compassion.

I began by dissolving my Guru into my heart and sharing his peace and tranquillity. After a while of enjoying this clarity, I moved on to the main meditation.

I started by remembering my wish to abandon self-cherishing as it distorts my perceptions, and leads me down paths to suffering. I also remembered my wonderful experience yesterday in meditation of cherishing only others. I thought of how I do not have to completely neglect my body in order to only cherish others. At first, it may appear that I have to stop caring for my body and mind, and focus on others. But this is a mistake. I need to take sufficient care of my own body and mind so that they are in the best possible shape to cherish others. I can be like the ambulance driver who keeps his vehicle in the very best of condition so that it is always ready to help others when they need it. I settled on this feeling of looking after myself for others’ sake, and cherishing others whenever I can, and remained on it for as long as I could. When I forgot about the object and discovered that my mind was wandering, I brought it back to the object and tried to keep it there.

After a while, I thought about what this means in light of great compassion.

It seemed to me that today’s was extremely important to the attainment of great compassion. By abandoning self-cherishing and turning all our cherishing towards others, we become intensely interested in others. We become strongly concerned with their happiness and freedom and we naturally want them to be happy and free from suffering. It seemed very clear to me that exchanging self with others was a massive component of great compassion, and with this in mind, I returned to my wish to cherish only others.

Dedication

May all living beings exchange self with others, and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will treat others as if they were the most important person in the world

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the sincere wish to cherish only others, and then to meditate on this wish in light of great compassion.

I began with breathing meditation and then when my mind was settled, I moved on to the main topic.

I contemplated how in every moment we can cherish others. We can cherish others when we are with them, and we can cherish others when we are away from them. I once heard a curious phrase in an American adult drama, where the characters, when they wanted to tell one another that they wished them well, would say ‘I will keep a good thought for you’.

I thought about how true this is. We can always keep a good thought for others, and by being familiar with this attitude, we will slowly find that it becomes increasingly difficult to become angry or irritated by others. We will come to see that living beings have no faults, and therefore there is no basis for irritation or anger.

In this way, we remain happy all the time, abiding in good thoughts for others. I thought about how beautiful this is, and how our world will become completely mixed with happiness if we always keep a good thought for others. I focused on this idea for a long while, and experienced what it would feel like – beautifully peaceful and filled with love…

After this, I contemplated what this means in light of great compassion.

Great compassion depends on our love for others, because even if we truly understand their suffering, if we do not love others, we will not generate the wish to free them from their suffering. With this in mind, I returned to my mind of cherishing love with the understanding that it will lead directly to further realisations of wishing love and compassion…

Dedication

May all living beings see that all the happiness in the world comes from cherishing others, and quickly attain all the realisations of the stages of the path, including liberation and enlightenment, for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will keep a good thought for others.

The purpose of this meditation is to meditate on the advantages of cherishing others, and then to meditate on this in light of equalising self and others.

I began with some breathing meditation until my mind was nicely settled.

I then started thinking about how true happiness comes from cherishing others. It is not an obvious thing to think, but it is true. I remember when I was in school and our English teacher asked what is the difference between happiness and pleasure. I told him that I thought happiness is when you give something and pleasure is when you get something. He agreed and explained that pleasure was more of a passing thing whereas happiness is a more profound, deep seated emotion.

I thought about how all the happiness in the world comes from wishing others to be happy. I need to trust the Buddhas when they tell me this. Everything I believe instinctively tells me that happiness lies in looking after myself, but I know from my own experience that the few times I put others before myself I am at my happiest. I need to trust the Buddhas completely.

I focused on the need for me to trust Geshe-la and make the leap of faith that I now need to cherish only others. I felt like my cherishing was reaching out to others – cherishing only others.

After focusing on this for a while I moved on to think about what this means in light of equalising self and others.

It seemed to me that increasing my cherishing for others was part of equalising my cherishing of self and others – they fitted on inside the other. Once again I focused on the leap of faith I need to make – to overcome my self cherishing instincts and to cherish others.

Dedication

May all living beings make the leap of faith of cherishing others, and come to enjoy the perfect happiness of true inner peace.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to cherish only others, and make a special note of how it feels to hold others to be important, and to care deeply about their happiness and freedom.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop the strong wish to cherish other beings, and then to meditate on this wish in light of the kindness of others.

I began the meditation by doing breathing meditation until my mind was calm and peaceful.

I then thought about the points given by Geshe Kelsang in his book Meaningful to Behold. He relates that Shantideva tells us that due to karma, when we cherish others it is the cause for us to experience good circumstances in the future. When we undergo suffering to help others, then we will experience rebirth as a human or god, and ultimately attain enlightenment. If we hold others in high esteem, we will be attain a fortunate rebirth, acquire respect and find ourselves in pleasant company and surroundings. Lastly if we employ ourselves so others will prosper, we shall gain rebirth with good form and exalted status.

Although these benefits relate to future lives, I saw the benefits which will occur in this life. If I want the world to be a better place, I can wait for everyone else to behave in the way I prefer, or I can take the initiative and lead the way. I thought of the well used phrase ‘be the change you want to see’. I want the world to change. I want everyone to love each other and cherish each other. I will try to do this, and lead the way (along with many other sincere Dharma practitioners in many traditions).

I let this intention sink into my mind, and felt a very pleasing feeling of my heart warming to others, and caring deeply for them. I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then thought about what this feeling means in light of the kindness of others. It seemed to me that I was repaying the kindness of others by cherishing them. This fitted in with the other meditations in this part of the Lamrim. If I cherish others and remember their kindness, how can I not wish to repay their kindness?

With this recognition strengthening my resolve, I returned to the wish to cherish others, and stayed with it for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings experience the happiness of cherishing others, and through this practice may they quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remain patient with others, and remember to cherish them despite the problems they seem to present to me.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop the real wish to abandon the self-cherishing and cherish only others, and then to meditate on this wish in the light of equanimity.

I began with some breathing meditation, watching my breath until my distractions had subsided enough for me to move on to the meditation proper.

I started by thinking about what a horrible mind self-cherishing is, and how it defiles all our efforts to be virtuous. It’s not enough to equalise my cherishing of others with my cherishing of myself – I need to abandon it completely. I thought about standing astride a line – one side was light, the other side was dark. The light side was the side of cherishing others, the dark side was the side of  self-cherishing.

I don’t want any self-cherishing at all in my mind. I imagined stepping across, out of the dark, into the light. I imagined lights and nectars flowing down into me, completely filling me with light and cherishing love for others. I let this light fill me and I stayed with this for a while.

I then thought about what this means in the light of equanimity.  With equanimity it is easy to develop a warm and friendly feeling towards all living beings. The feeling is part of cherishing others, and with this recognition I returned to my place standing in the light.

Dedication

May all living beings step into the light of cherishing others, and abandon the darkness of self-cherishing, so that they can become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to only cherish others, and whenever I notice self-cherishing arising, try to oppose it and abandon it for the worthless and despicable mind that it is.

 

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the pure wish to cherish others by contemplating the benefits of so doing, and then to meditate on this wish in the light of equanimity.

I began by doing breathing meditation, focusing on my breath until my mind was very calm and peaceful.

I then thought about how all happiness comes from cherishing others. Thinking that others are important and that their happiness and freedom is important will cause only happiness for myself and others.

I let this idea roll around in my mind, thinking about how freeing this is. I can cherish others and this won’t cause any harm – it will only cause happiness. I had a very lovely feeling of cherishing flowing from my heart outwards towards all other living beings. I focused on this feeling for a while.

I then thought about what this means in the light of equanimity – the warm and friendly feeling we generate towards others when we view then in the same way as those with valid minds. The feeling of cherishing others is a more intense iteration of my feeling of warmth and friendliness, and to develop true cherishing, I necessarily need to have generated equanimity on the way. I thought about how the one fits inside the other and supports it perfectly. I remained with this feeling of cherishing love for all living beings for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings come to see that even when our views differ, we can still cherish each other as a mother does her child.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I can always cherish others. No matter what they say and what they do, I can always cherish others. I may disagree with their views, but I will always cherish them as a mother cherishes her dearest child.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop the feeling of cherishing only others, and completely abandoning self-cherishing. From there we see what this means in the light of actions and their effects.

I began the meditation by thinking about turning my cherishing feeling outwards towards all other living beings, and not perceiving my ‘self’ at all. I imagined moving ‘outwards’ and absorbing myself into all other living beings and feeling that they were the only beings who existed.

After a while I decided to get more of a feeling of cherishing others practically. It occurred to me that I can cherish others directly through personal interaction (smiling, being interested, helping, giving etc.). But it also occurred to me that I can cherish others indirectly through objects. I can tidy up, so the environment is pleasing to others. I can make the bed with a mind of cherishing others. It seemed that all my actions could be viewed in this way, even if I did not know who would actually benefit, like when I pick up litter on my way to and from the shops. All my actions can be motivated by cherishing others.

With this practical wish, I brought back my feeling of cherishing all other living beings, and focused on it for a while.

I then wondered what this means in the light of actions and their effects. By cherishing others through this line of reasoning (over the last few meditations) I am turning my back on my idea of ‘self”. This is a good partner to my emptiness meditation where I confirm that my ‘self’ does not exist at all. If I can reduce my self cherishing and get used to only cherishing others, it will be less resistance to the idea of the self not existing at all.

With this in mind I focused on a strong wish to cherish only others and to abandon any trace of self-cherishing.

Dedication

May all living beings abandon self-cherishing and focus on cherishing others, and in this way become enlightened for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to cherish others and perform actions for their benefit alone.

Meditation 5/13

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the strong wish to cherish others, and then to meditate on this wish in the light of the dangers of lower rebirth.

I began the meditation by calling to mind a phrase Geshe Kelsang uses in his contemplation presented in the book The New Meditation Handbook:

“If we cherish others, we shall be concerned to help rather than harm them…”

The words ‘help rather than harm’ struck a chord with me, and I thought about the benefits of helping rather than harming others:

  1. My superficial problems will disappear and I will experience immediate happiness
  2. Others whom I help will experience an alleviation of their suffering and temporary happiness
  3. I will cease creating negative karma, leading to long term reduction in my sufferings
  4. I will be able to generate Bodhichitta, and become a Buddha – permanently happy and free from suffering
  5. As a Buddha I will be able to help all living beings perfectly, and bring them permanent happiness

I focused on these benefits for a while and then returned to the wish to help rather than harm others – in other words to cherish them. I felt like this path would cause myself and others great happiness, and I rode on the wind of this feeling like a kite on the breeze, with a feeling of lightness, stable calmness and happiness. It was delightful and I stayed with this feeling for a while.

Then I thought about what this means in the context of the sufferings of the lower realms. These sufferings are caused by my negative actions, and if I am mindful while helping rather than harming others, I will be purifying my negativities rather than adding to them. I returned to my floating, blissful feeling of wishing to help others, in the fuller knowledge of the benefits of this practice. I stayed with this until my iphone told me my time was up.

Dedication

May all living beings help rather than harm one another, and through this simple practice become enlightened beings for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try never to forget my determination and always pur it into practice. I will try to keep in mind the great advantages of cherishing others, and continually improve my consideration, respect and love for others.

As Geshe Kelsang says in The New Meditation Handbook:

“We can being the practice with our family, friends and those who surround us, and then gradually extend this to all living beings without exception. In this way, we shall show the best example of pure Dharma practice.”

The purpose of this meditation is to exchange the object of our cherishing from ourselves to others, and then to contemplate this in the light of death and impermanence.

I began the meditation by thinking about how self-cherishing is like an abusive partner which I keep going back to. I have relied on this partner to keep me safe and happy all my life, but where has this got me? I have not found the peace and lasting happiness I long for. In fact self-cherishing has brought me nothing but unhappiness. I know from personal experience that true happiness can be found only when I am cherishing others.

I decided that I will not go back to my ‘abusive partner’ – my self-cherishing, ever again. From now on I will only cherish others. I made this determination and repeated these words in my mind – I will abandon self-cherishing and only cherish others. I felt happy and free – a lovely feeling of happiness which was not centred on me but away from me. I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then wondered what this meant in the light of death and impermanence. In this case it seemed very clear that once death comes my opportunity understand the wisdom of cherishing others will be lost. Although I may have others who I could cherish in my next life, will I understand how this is a spiritual path? I may not even have the opportunity (or desire) to cherish others. It is clear that I definitely need to cherish others 100% of the time, and I need to cherish myself 0% of the time. I felt my previous feeling of freedom and happiness take on a more intense dimension, and I stayed with it for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings exchange self with others, and reach the state of enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

Simply to put my determination into practice, and turn my back on my ‘bad romance’ with self-cherishing.

Meditation 2/13

How to Understand the Mind

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

Modern Buddhism

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