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The purpose of this meditation is to generate to overwhelming wish to attain Buddhahood so that we can fulfil our heart’s desire to free all living beings from their suffering, and then to meditate on this wish in light of equalising self and others.

I began with focusing on the breath and counting breaths up to 18. I imagined my attention being pinned underneath the numbers as they lowered before me, and then slowly receding into the distance until instead of numbers I could just see a tiny spot of light dropping into the centre of my ‘visual field’. Then this spot of light faded into emptiness and I was left with a good strong focus on spacelike emptiness, with no distractions.

After a while of enjoying this focused feeling, I moved on to my main meditation: the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

I reviewed the Great Scope meditations. I have equanimity towards all other living beings, and great affection for them bearing in mind how kind they have been in the past and how kind they continue to be. I thought about how self-cherishing is like a wound in my mind, and how if I stop scratching it, it will heal naturally, and my mental continuum will become healthy. I can do this by cherishing others completely.

When I cherish others, I want them to be happy – their freedom and happiness are all-important to me. But what do I find when I look at their situation? They are suffering constantly, and they cannot find true happiness no matter how they try. I have imagined the ability to take away their suffering and felt how wonderful that is. I have imagined the ability to give pure happiness, and I have experienced how wonderful that is in meditation. Now I want to be able to actually do these things.

How do I do this? By relying upon my Spiritual Guide completely, and by practising the Six Perfections of Giving, Moral Discipline, Patience, Effort, Mental Stabilisation and Wisdom. An image came to mind of a climbing wall. The handholds had six different colours, one for each of the Six Perfections. The handholds were those plastic ones that stick out of artificial climbing walls. The handholds went up the sheer face of the wall, but they were all within easy reach of each other, and the colours repeated themselves all the way up. This indicated to me that I need all the Perfections to reach the top – there is no route possible to the top without using all the colours. I imagined climbing up to enlightenment using these handholds. I also had a safety rope around me, and at the top of the wall was my kind Spiritual Guide, pulling on the rope, making the climb easier for me and stopping me falling back down.

This image seemed perfect and I used it to review the various aspects of Bodhichitta until I had a lovely feeling of progress, wholesomeness and purpose. I focused on this feeling and I developed a very special feeling of Bodhichitta – the wish to become a Buddha for the benefit of all.

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

My dearest wish is to become a Buddha, but the reason I want to achieve this state is that I will be able to help all living beings attain the same state. It is the ultimate conclusion of the Great Scope journey and incorporates equalising self and others as an essential step. With this in mind, I returned to my feeling of climbing the wall to enlightenment using the handholds of the six perfections, with my Guru helping me and protecting me all the way. What a feeling!

Dedication

May all living beings see the truth of samsara, and develop the supreme wish to become enlightened beings for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will build the six perfections into everything I do today. For example, by doing this blog I am giving love and dharma to the world, I am practising moral discipline because this blog is a virtuous activity, I am practising patience because I am not impatient for results or praise, I am practising joyful effort in writing this blog, I am practising concentration by focusing on my meditation and how to express how it felt, and I am practising wisdom because as I write this, I remember that, at the end of the day, I myself and this blog and all other appearances completely lack inherent existence.

I will try to carry out all my other activities today with the six perfections in mind.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop the very strong feeling of relying upon a Spiritual Guide, and then to reflect on this feeling in the light of actions and their effects.

I began the meditation my thinking about what Geshe Kelsang says on the subject in his incredible book, Joyful Path of Good Fortune. He says that reliance on our Spiritual Guide is the root of all our spiritual attainments. I thought about this and the other points he makes in the text.

For me personally, my Spiritual Guide is the starting point for my spiritual life. I began my spiritual journey with his books and listening to his teachings. Later I was fortunate enough to attend teachings that he gave. Since then I have met inspiring people who have shown me how to use his teachings to enrich my life and make it meaningful. Everything I have done is directly due to his actions and kindness.

If I have achieved anything of spiritual value with my life, it is entirely due to my Spiritual Guide. I am so grateful to him because he has filled a huge spiritual hole in my life. He has given my life meaning and purpose.

I then thought about how much more there is to do. I need to learn more – experience more. I need to keep relying on my Spiritual Guide so I can continue to make my life meaningful. I felt a deep wish to rely on him completely for the rest of my life. I want to feel him in all my actions, and to get good results for everyone through a combination of his compassionate intention, blessings and virtuous deeds, and my strong wish to rely upon him. I felt a strong deep wish to rely on my Guru, and I stayed with this wish for a while.

Then I decided to look into what this means in the light of actions and their effects. If relying upon a Spiritual Guide is the root of all attainments, then by strongly relying on my Guru I will achieve all attainments. I want to make my life meaningful. Geshe-la has given my life purpose. I will rely upon him as strongly as I can, and through his actions and my strong wish, I will make as much progress as possible in my lifetime.

I returned to my wish to rely upon Geshe-la as my kind Spiritual Guide for the rest of my life, with the wish that he will be my guide in life after life until I attain enlightenment.

Dedication

May all living beings rely upon the wisdom, compassion and inspiration of their Spiritual Guide, and progress swiftly along the path to enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will let my Guru’s blessings flow through all my actions, and rely on him completely.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a strong determination to rely upon our Spiritual Guide, and then to contemplate this in the light of our precious human life.

I began this meditation by contemplating the benefits of relying upon a qualified Spiritual Guide.  If I rely upon him purely I will quickly overcome my delusions and distractions. I will make my life meaningful, and quickly fulfil my wishes of attaining liberation and enlightenment for the benefit of all.

I thought about these benefits, and then I thought that it is my choice who I take as my Spiritual Guide. It is up to me to decide who I am going to spend my life following. I realised that I only have one life, and by following a Spiritual Guide I am using up that one precious life and giving up all other Guides. Two things immediately became apparent to me. Firstly, I had better be sure that my Spiritual Guide is qualified. Of that I have no doubt. Secondly, if I am going to follow him, I need to do so with great devotion. I need to really understand his instructions and to put them all into practice constantly and sincerely. There is no point in being half-hearted. I have to give this 100%. I need to turn my life into a complete spiritual practice, with my Guru at its centre.

As I thought about this, I felt a very strong wish to rely upon Geshe-la completely, and to learn and put his spiritual instructions into practice. I focused on this strong wish for a while.

I then thought about what this means in the context of my precious human life. I realised that once again I am only able to rely upon my Spiritual Guide because I have attained a precious human life.  It is so rare, so precious. I let this sink in and re-established my determination to rely wholeheartedly upon my Spiritual Guide.

Dedication

May all living beings find a qualified Spiritual Guide and rely on him or her completely until they have attained the path of no more learning.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will rely sincerely upon my Spiritual Guide by remembering his instructions throughout the day and night, and striving to always comply with them

Meditation 1/21

Reflections on the cycle of Precious Human Life Meditations

For this cycle of the Lamrim, I have been looking at each of the meditations in the context of the first meditation, our Precious Human Life. It has become clear to me that the opportunities to protect myself from suffering, to liberate myself permanently from suffering and to free all living beings from their sufferings are entirely dependent on my having attained a precious human life. I have all the freedoms and endowments I need to become a Buddha – to waste this opportunity would be a tragic waste. This cycle has encouraged me to recognise the special opportunity we all have, and to make the most of it while it lasts!

The purpose of this meditation is to develop strong reliance upon our Spiritual Guide.

In his recent book Modern Buddhism, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says:

“We need to rely upon our Spiritual Guide until we attain enlightenment. The reason for this is very simple. The ultimlate goal of human life is to attain enlightenment and this depends upon continually receiving the special blessings of Buddha through our Spiritual Guide.”

Buddha continues to guide living beings along the stages of the path to enlightenment through his emanations, who give teachings and show the perfect example of how to put the teachings into practice.

My Spiritual Guide is an emanation of Buddha because he is doing this for me, so I must rely upon him to guide me and give me his special blessings.

I wished with all my heart that I shall receive Buddha’s blessings by relying sincerely upon my Spiritual Guide. I repeated: ‘May I receive your blessings and become a Buddha for the benefit of all’.

I felt like I was stepping into a golden dome of blessings, where my Spiritual Guide was sending down continuous blessings. I felt like I was joining thousands of others already there – my spiritual brothers and sisters. We were all together, receiving the blessings and inspiration of all the Buddhas to achieve life’s ultimate goal. I felt calm and peaceful, but also energised and confident. I stayed with this recognition and feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings rely upon a qualified Spiritual Guide, and attain life’s greatest goal for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will rely upon my Spiritual Guide’s teachings by training my mind. On the 5th of November, Sharon made this comment on my post regarding tranquil abiding:

“A while back, I started to train my mind to keep a watch on itself, constantly asking ‘is this activity worthwhile? does it fit with my ultimate goals? if not, let’s abandon it!’.
After some time, this ‘mind watching’ became second nature to me and now seems to operate on ‘autopilot’, both during meditation and the meditation break. As well as helping me to train in developing single pointed concentration on bodhichitta, another benefit is that all meaningless activities have fallen to the wayside. The mind of bodchitta is now the motivation for everything I do.”

How inspiring! I will do the same.

The purpose of this meditation is to allow us to receive the blessings of all the Enlightened Beings through our Spiritual Guide so that our meditation practice will be successful.

I began the meditation by going for refuge to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and recognising that they alone provide the path to liberation from suffering. I then considered who in my life is showing me what Buddha, Dharma and Sangha mean. It is my Spiritual Guide. I decided I needed to rely on him completely for spiritual help and guidance.

I tried to mix my mind with his mind, and imagine a door opening and the blessings of all the Buddhas flooding in through the door in the aspect of white light rays. I felt the blessings entering my heart and mixing with my mind. I tried to stay with this recognition and feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings find precious teachers who can reveal the path to Enlightenment, and attain liberation and Enlightenment themselves for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remember my reliance on my Spiritual Guide throughout the day, and practise the Dharma he teaches with faith.

The purpose of this meditation is to enable us to receive the powerful blessing of all the enlightened beings through our Spiritual Guide.

I began the meditation by thinking about my Spiritual Guide. He is the one who is providing me with correct instructions on how to live my life. I cannot find these instructions anywhere else – and I have looked. The holy Dharma is the method for use to become free from sufferings, and it is my Spiritual Guide who is giving these instructions to me. How kind he is.

My Spiritual Guide is the manifestation of all the Buddhas, so when I rely on him sincerely, I open my heart to the blessings of all the Buddhas. I generated a strong wish to rely on my Spiritual Guide and I felt a flood of blessings from all the Buddhas flow through him and into my body, and my very subtle mind. I felt the blessings entering my heart, and I felt my whole body and mind filled with their energy and virtuous potential. I let myself be completely filled, and stayed with the feeling of energy, virtue and protection for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings quickly find a Spiritual Guide and attain Full Enlightenment through sincere reliance on them.

Practice in the meditation break

I will keep a mind of reliance on my Spiritual Guide for the whole of the day and night. I will rely on his instructions and teachings in all my actions of body, speech and mind.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a mind of strong reliance upon the Spiritual Guide.

I began the meditation by considering a few truths from my own life. The more I learn about dharma, and the more I look at the world, the more convinced I am of the truth of my Spiritual Guides words. It is only by looking at the world with Dharma wisdom that it makes any sense at all. Who provides this wisdom in such a clear and coherent manner? Only my Spiritual Guide.

In the whole of my world, no-one else has given me the understanding that my Spiritual Guide has given me. No-one else can even come close to the wisdom and compassion that my Spiritual Guide reveals to me. In fact, no-one else I know is even looking in the same direction as my Spiritual Guide. Everyone else is seeking happiness from within samsara. They have their methods and their hopes, but they are all revealed to be mistaken by my Spiritual Guide’s teachings.

Only my Spiritual Guide is offering to show me the way to true, everlasting happiness. Only my Spiritual Guide is telling me how I can make my life truly meaningful. Only my Spiritual Guide is showing me that I can reach and be of benefit to countless living beings.

I thought about these things, and it moved me to tears to think of the vast and profound opportunity my Spiritual Guide has given me. I felt like I wanted to throw myself at his feet and offer myself and my life to his service.

Slowly this feeling coalesced into a wish to follow his instructions, and this turned into a wish for me to become the meaning of his instructions. I determined to rely on his words, and to become their meaning. It felt full of intensity and commitment. I felt myself becoming the meaning of his words, and I felt myself to be on the path to enlightenment.

I stayed on this feeling of reliance, and being on the path to enlightenment for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings find their Spiritual Guide who will reveal to them the path to enlightenment; may they develop faith and devotion to their Guru, and attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.

Practice in the meditation break

I will look at everything with Dharma wisdom and put into practice all of my Spiritual Guide’s instructions to the best of my ability.

Notes

Tonight I was meditating in my son’s room, away from the noise and bustle of the rest of the house. As the session progressed the clouds through the window became more broken, and the moon began to appear. Finally, as the last notes of the Migtsema Prayer faded away, the last whisps of cloud cleared its face, and the full moon revealed itself. I love it when things like that happen.

How to Understand the Mind

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

Modern Buddhism

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