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The purpose of this meditation is to encourage us to develop the wish to liberate ourselves from the sufferings of future lives.
I began the meditation by recalling what Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says in his recent book, Modern Buddhism. He recounts the words of the Buddha: ‘You should know sufferings’. When Buddha said this, he was referring to the sufferings of future lives. Knowing the sufferings of future lives, we will generate a strong wish to liberate ourself from them. This practical advice is important for everyone, because if we have this strong wish, we will use our human life for the happiness and freedom of future lives.
I contemplated the sufferings of beings in general in the six realms of samsara. Animals suffer ignorance and incredible abuse, used as they are for food, labour and entertainment. I thought of a deer with its leg trapped in a rock. Its fellow deer would just look on uncomprehendingly. The deer will slowly starve to death in the midst of food – how tragic. Hungry ghosts suffer thirst and hunger for aeons, where the only water is tears. The bodies of hell beings in the hot hells become inseparable from fire so that the only way others can distinguish them from fire is by their agonised screams. Those reborn as gods suffer mental pain despite their good conditions. And finally humans experience many sufferings including birth, sickness, ageing and death.
I thought through all these sufferings – especially the sufferings of animals, and gradually developed a wish to rise above the sufferings of samsara. I wanted to become separate from this never ending cycle of suffering.
I recognised that this was the wish to attain liberation from samsara, and I kept this feeing of wishing to be free for the rest of the meditation. I slowly gathered more and more momentum in the wish until it seemed that I wanted to leave samsara with every fibre of my being. I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings develop renunciation, the wish to liberate themselves from the sufferings of future lives, and through this wish go on to attain enlightenment.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to maintain the continuum of renunciation, and recognise in all my experiences the inherent suffering within them.