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The purpose of this meditation is to generate a very strong feeling of abandoning samsara as a source of happiness, and then to consider what this means in light of Bodhichitta – the wish to become a Buddha for the benefit of all.

I settled down on my cushion and started by thinking about how there is no happiness to be found in samsara, and how only Dharma can free me. I made the promise to myself that I would meditate on renunciation with all my effort. With that, I began.

I brought my mind into my body, then into my heart, and found my Guru at the very centre of my heart. I mixed my mind with his, and and floated in this clear space for a while.

I then thought about this life we have. Our life is full of pain and dissatisfaction. We suffer as we are born. We suffer because we age. We suffer because we get ill. And we suffer because of our death. I mulled over these sufferings for a while. I also thought about the ways in which life is unsatisfactory. We cannot avoid meeting situations we would rather avoid. We are constantly trying to attain situations we desire, and we repeatedly fail to fulfil our wishes.

There is no happiness in this swamp of samsara – I shall stop looking. There is no true happiness to be found. I thought about all the faults of samsara, and made the determination that I will stop looking for happiness here – there is none to be found. I felt like I was completely changing my direction away from samsara and towards the spiritual path. I felt filled with this abandonment of samsara, and focused on it for a while.

After that thought about Bodhichitta, the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all. Of course, the two are fundamental parts of the path. Renunciation leads to personal liberation from samsara, and Bodhichitta leads to Buddhahood so that we can benefit all other living beings. Like I have many times before, I saw the flow of the Lamrim, and how each stage leads to the next, until the final enlightenment is reached. With a feeling of wholeness, I returned to my intention to stop looking for happiness in Samsara.

Dedication

May all living beings develop renunciation for the swamp of samsara, and look to the firm ground of liberation and enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will stop looking for happiness in samsara. There is none.

 

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the feeling of cherishing others and completely abandoning self-cherishing, and then to see what this means in light of wishing love.

I began with breathing meditation and mixing my mind with my Spiritual Guide’s mental stability and stillness. After a while I moved on to the main meditation.

I started by thinking about my practice over the past few days. It has been the weekend and I have been focusing on cherishing others – responding to them quickly and without hesitation, not being attached to my wishes, doing things for others. It has been lovely. The house has seemed very peaceful and happy and although I have been helping others with things, I seem to have been able to do everything I needed to do as well. In fact, it seemed to me that I have been able to do everything I needed to do, plus helping others without any effort at all.

I thought about this experience. Self-cherishing is tiring! Constantly worrying about our selves and whether we are going to be able to do the things we want. By forgetting all that, and focusing on others, it seemed to me that life is easy and trouble free.

It struck me that by abandoning self-cherishing and cherishing others, we are actually moving towards experiencing a much easier and happy life.

Why don’t we do this, if it is so easy? It is because our self-cherishing has convinced us that if we abandon self-cherishing and cherish only others, we will experience hardship and unhappiness.

Well I don’t believe that any more! I made the determination to completely change the object of my cherishing and to focus my attention on others from now on. I repeated this promise to myself again and again, and developed a lovely feeling of focusing on others, and enjoying a peaceful and easy life. Wonderful!

After that I thought about what this means in light of wishing love.

It seemed to me that exchanging self with others and wishing love were very closely related. Exchanging self with others is essentially cherishing others completely. This means that we regard them as especially precious and we hold them dear in our hearts. Wishing love arises from cherishing love – if we cherish someone, what do we want for them? We want them to be happy – this is wishing love. The one springs naturally from the other. With this in mind I brought my attention back to focusing on cherishing others and experiencing a special happiness – and an easy life!

Dedication

May all living beings exchange the object of cherishing – may they stop cherishing themselves and may they start to cherish others exclusively, and through this practice, find an easy path to enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will continue to try to cherish others, and enjoy life :-)

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the strong wish for all living beings to find true lasting happiness, and then to meditate on this feeling in light of the advantages of cherishing others.

I began with a breathing meditation, following my breath until I felt like I had settled my mind into a peaceful still place.

I then thought about wishing love.  Sentient beings trapped in samsara cannot find true happiness. They search for it in illusion-like appearances, but there is no satisfaction to be found. The beings in the different levels of samsara all experience different amounts of suffering. The beings in the hell realms experience unbearable manifest suffering constantly. The beings in less horrible realms experience less suffering, but even in the god realms, where beings do not experience any manifest suffering at all, they still cannot find true lasting happiness.

I focused on all the living beings, and wished them to be able to find true happiness. I imagined a light growing in their hearts, and wished that this light become the light of true happiness. I focused on this for a while.

I then thought about what this means in light of the advantages of cherishing others.

Surely, the direct consequence of cherishing others is wishing love. If I truly cherish others, and believe that they are supremely special and precious, then I must automatically wish them to be happy. And not just temporarily happy – permanently happy. Thus, a direct advantage of cherishing love is the development of wishing love.

With this in mind, I focused my attention once more on wishing others to find true happiness, and tried to keep this wish clear in my mind for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

Through the virtues I have collected by my meditation of wishing love, may all living beings find true happiness quickly.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will secretly wish happiness to everyone I meet today, including those who cause me problems.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop the strong belief that all living beings are experiencing complete happiness, and then to meditate on this belief in light of the fact that all living beings are our mother.

I began the meditation by doing breathing meditation, stilling my mind and experiencing an exquisite feeling of calmness, stillness, expansiveness and focus.

I then moved on to the main topic where I began by observing that this meditation needs to be done within the context of the previous great scope meditations. I reminded myself that all living beings are my kind mother and that they all want the same thing – to be free from suffering and to experience pure happiness. Their happiness is my main concern – all the happiness in the world comes from wishing others to be happy.

I focused on all living beings and imagined that my body transformed into the nature of a wish fulfilling jewel which had the actual power to give pure happiness to them. I imagined light rays emanating from my body, spreading across space touching all living beings. As the light touched them, they instantly experienced pure everlasting contentment and happiness.

I felt their happiness in my heart and rested my mind on this feeling of happiness – a happiness across all living beings.

I then thought about what this means in light of the fact that all living beings are my mother. I had already incorporated this aspect into my meditation, but I emphasised it again, making it clear that these living beings are actually my mother. My wish fulfilling light is making it possible for my mothers to experience happiness. This thought made the meditation object even more meaningful, and I stayed with the feeling and belief for the remainder of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings become wish fulfilling jewels, quickly becoming enlightened so that their light rays have the actual power to bestow pure happiness to all living beings.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will imagine light rays emanating from my heart, bestowing pure happiness onto everyone I meet, see and think about.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a strong appreciation of the kindness that all living beings have shown to us, and then to meditate on this kindness in the light of equanimity.

I began by doing breathing meditation until I had my mind under some sort of control, and then I moved on to the main object of meditation.

I thought about how everything I have and know really comes from the kindness of others. In his wonderful book ‘Eight Steps to HappinessGeshe Kelsang describes perfectly how this is true. He says ‘If we had to give everything back that others had given us, we would be left with nothing’.

I thought about this statement carefully. My house is owned by the bank. The money I used to put a deposit on it was given to me by my employer. I worked for the money, but I used skills that were given to me by others. I was smart enough to learn the skills and use them, but my ability to learn comes from my body and mind of this life. My body came from my parents, and my mind has been shaped by my interactions with others since beginningless time. Any good qualities of my mind are the karmic result of my past virtuous actions towards others, inspired by Buddha’s blessings.

Everything I have, right down to my body and mind, all depend on the kindness of others.

My spiritual journey is entirely dependent on others. My mind teacher, Geshe Kelsang and also everyone involved in the printing and editing of his Dharma books.

I found that I could not identify one single thing I have which did not depend on others in one way or another. I am not independent at all – I am completely dependent on others. I mean – I didn’t make this laptop I am writing on, did I?

I thought about all these people and felt a deep gratitude towards them. It felt very warm and wholesome – how kind they are! I stayed with this feeling of gratitude for a while until it was time to move on.

I then thought about what this means in the light of equanimity. Recognising the kindness of others is a method of seeing clearly my true relationship with others. Normally I have the mistaken view that others have very little to do with me and my happiness. However there is no happiness without others. In the same way, equanimity trains me to recognise my mistaken projections which give an incorrect impression of others. Both these thoughts are about recognising the true nature of others.

I brought this across into my meditation on the feeling of gratitude, and stayed with it for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings pause and remember the kindness of others, and in doing so swiftly become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will look at everything I make use of, and remember the kindness of others in providing it to me.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the strong belief that we have mentally given pure and lasting happiness to all living beings, and then to meditate on this belief in the light of renunciation – the wish to be personally free from all suffering.

I began the meditation by mixing my mind with my Spiritual Guide’s mind, and trying to get the strong feeling that his realisations were mixed into my mind – that I could see and experience those realisations myself in my mind. I then did some breathing meditation to create a very calm and expansive feeling at my heart. When my mind was settled and I had my Guru with me, I began to contemplate the object of meditation.

I began by calling to mind the instructions given by my teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in his book The New Meditation Handbook. He says that all living beings search for true and lasting happiness but cannot find it in samsara. Whatever happiness they do attain is hollow and short lived – a mere temporary reduction in their on-going experience of suffering.

I remembered my affectionate and cherishing love for all these living beings, and also considered their lack of true happiness, and a strong wish for them to find true happiness arose in my heart. How wonderful it would be if they could all find happiness!

I stayed with this wish for a while and then decided that I would give them this happiness directly. I made this decision firmly, and then imagined that light rays emanated from my heart and spread out throughout the universe, touching all living beings. As soon as the light rays touched them, they experienced true happiness. I strongly believed that through the power of my virtuous actions and my strong wish, that this result was attained.

I let my mind sit on this feeling and tried to keep it sharp and complete in my mind. When the feeling faded I quickly reviewed my contemplation and re-established the feeling. I did this for a while until the time came to move on.

I then thought about what giving means in the light of renunciation – the wish to be personally free from all suffering. I realised after a little thought that just as I want to be happy and free from all suffering, so do all other living beings.  I can bring the power of my renunciation into my practice of giving in the sense that however powerful my own wish to be free is, I should make my practice of giving equally powerful, because the strength of others desire to be free is equal to my own. I returned to my meditation on giving for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop the wish to give pure happiness, and through their collection of virtuous actions and pure intention, become able to give pure happiness in future.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to imagine giving happiness to everyone I meet and think about today.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the strong belief that I have given true happiness to all living beings, and then to meditate on this wish in the light of actions and their effects.

I began the meditation by recalling my wishing love from yesterday. I tried to recapture the feeling of cherishing all living beings and wishing them to be happy – to find the happiness they seek.

I then looked inside my body and saw a tiny spark of light in my heart. As I looked I saw it gather in strength and grow steadily brighter. The light grew and grew until it filled my body. Then the light broke through my skin and radiated out into the space around me. The light grew until its rays filled the whole universe, reaching every living being.

As the light touched the living beings, it instantly granted them true peace and happiness. They instantly transformed into enlightened beings, whose nature is peace and contentment. I felt connected with them and truly happy and peaceful myself. I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then decided to see what this feeling meant in the light of actions and their effects. The mental action of giving happiness to others is the precursor to the actual physical act. If I can familiarise myself with the mental act I will naturally find ways to perform the physical act. By making others happy I will progress along the spiritual path and make my life meaningful – how wonderful! With this in mind I returned to the feeling that my body was the nature of a wish-fulfilling jewel giving true happiness to all living beings

Dedication

May all living beings practice giving perfect happiness to others, and in so doing follow and complete the path to enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

By cherishing others and recognising their precious nature, I will try to give them whatever happiness I can, and mentally wish them the happiness of the enlightened beings.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a strong feeling of being equally concerned for the freedom and happiness of others just as much as our concern for our own freedom and happiness. We then meditate on this feeling in the light of actions and their effects.

I began the meditation by calling to mind the instructions of my teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in the book, The New Meditation Handbook.

He says that there are three main points to contemplate:

  1. that all living beings have been exceptionally kind to us
  2. that like us, all living beings are experiencing suffering, and
  3. that compared to the suffering of all living beings, our own suffering is insignificant.

I slowly contemplated these points. It is true that all living beings have been kind to me – when they were my mother they held me in their arms and looked at me as if I were a precious jewel. They dedicated themselves to my welfare.

When I look at living beings now, I can see that they are all searching – searching for happiness and trying to avoid suffering. They seek it, but it is a fruitless search because they are looking in the wrong place.

Although I have sufferings, they are completely insignificant compared to the sufferings of other living beings. When I read in the papers about what is happening in Syria at this moment, it makes anything I am experiencing seem utterly trivial.

I thought about these points again and again, and after a while I felt a feeling of becoming more interested in alleviating the sufferings of others. My own problems seemed very minor, and my kind mothers experience such suffering. I felt a wish to help them – that their happiness and freedom were my responsibility and that I should work just as much for their freedom as for my own. I dwelt on this feeling and let my mind mix with it.

After some time I decided to think about what this means in the light of actions and their effects. It was immediately clear to me that it is completely helpful to develop this attitude of cherishing myself and others equally. It reduces my suffering and it reduces the suffering of others. It is the path to enlightenment and the ultimate freedom of myself and others. It is and example of virtuous actions leading to virtuous effects. I drew confidence from this thought and returned to a short contemplation of the three points before re-establishing the feeling of cherishing myself and others equally.

Dedication

May all living beings equalise their cherishing wishes and quickly become enlightened beings for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to watch out for self-cherishing thoughts, and when they arise remember the countless beings experiencing similar but more intense suffering, and try to maintain a feeling of being equally concerned for everyone’s freedom and happiness.

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

The purpose of this meditation is to put our wishing love into practice within the context of our precious human life.

I began the meditation by thinking about my feeling of wishing love. I tried to re-establish the feeling of desperately wanting all living beings to find true, everlasting happiness. I then developed the intention that I would make this happen.

I mentally transformed my body into the nature of a wish fulfilling jewel, sparkling with clear light. I imagined my body growing brighter and brighter, and rising into the sky to shine like the sun over the whole of samsara. I imagined my light rays penetrating the whole of samsara – even the darkest corners. I imagined that all living beings were bathed in this light, and instantly found true, everlasting happiness.

This was what they had been searching for all their life – all their lives since beginningless time. In each of their lives they have searched for true happiness and have never found it, until now. I recognised how profound it was that they had finally found true, everlasting happiness.

I felt a deep happiness flow from all living beings back into me, and then back to them. We were joined in this beautiful feeling of happiness and joy. I stayed in this feeling for a while.

I then considered what this meant in terms of my precious human life. My precious human life gives me the opportunity to give all living beings true, everlasting happiness! This opportunity is so rare – how special! The joy in my mind seemed even more special and precious, and I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings put their wishing love into practice, and through gaining familiarity, become able to actually do so as fully enlightened Buddhas.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will practice mentally giving happiness everyone I meet.

How to Understand the Mind

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

Modern Buddhism

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