Welcome to the fifth week of our Meditation Project, where examine the object from different angles to improve our understanding.  Towards the end of the week we bring all our thoughts together in two qualified meditations. The anticipated format is one meditation per day Monday to Friday, and then the same meditation on Saturday and Sunday, bringing all our understanding together. [These meditations are taken from the Book – How to Transform Your Life, available from Tharpa.com]

Our meditation topic for Week 5 is Samsara.

Week 4 Object: A heartfelt wish to put effort now now into liberating ourself permanently from the sufferings of my countless future lives.

Day 1 Contemplation

We should know that out human life is only precious and of real value when we use it to train in spiritual paths. In itself it is a true suffering. We can use our understanding of sufferings in this life to understand how much suffering we will have to endure in all our future lives, unless we free ourselves now from the cycle of suffering known as samsara.

Day 2 Contemplation

Unless we free ourself from samsara now, we will have to experience the suffering of lingering illness and death for countless aeons.

Day 3 Contemplation

In samsara we have to experience many things and situations which we would rather avoid. We are constantly brought face to face with experiences we find unpleasant. This is the nature of samsara and we will face these situations again and again throughout all our future lives.

Day 4 Contemplation

In samsara we have to experience separation from those people and things to which we  wish to be close.  We work hard to maintain a pleasant house and to support our family, but in order to do so we have to spend many hours a day separated from them.  We should understand that this is the nature of samsara and we will face these situations again and again throughout all our future lives.

Day 5 Contemplation

In samsara we often experience the frustration of our wishes.  We work hard and endure many hardships to make our plans come to fruition, but often our plans don’t work out.  Our deepest wishes are left unsatisfied – in the end, in samsara all our dreams are broken.  We should understand that this is the nature of samara and we will face these situations again and again throughout all our future lives.

Weekend Meditations

After becoming familiar with our meditation object through the previous five meditations, we can now try to bring all our understanding together in one object of placement meditation, arrived at through the following contemplation:

There is no benefit in denying the sufferings of future lives; when they actually descend upon me it will be too late to protect myself from them. Therefore I definitely need to prepare protection now, while I have this human life that gives me the opportunity to liberate myself permanently from the sufferings of my countless future lives.  If I do not apply effort to accomplish this, but allow my human life to become empty of meaning, there is no greater deception and no greater foolishness.I must put effort now into liberating myself permanently from the suffering of countless future lives.

Welcome to the fourth week of our Meditation Project, where examine the object from different angles to improve our understanding.  Towards the end of the week we bring all our thoughts together in two qualified meditations. The anticipated format is one meditation per day Monday to Friday, and then the same meditation on Saturday and Sunday, bringing all our understanding together. [These meditations are taken from the Book – How to Transform Your Life, available from Tharpa.com]

Our meditation topic for Week 4 is Karma.

Week 4 Object: A heartfelt wish to develop a strong determination to avoid even the slightest non virtue and to nurture even the smallest positive thoughts and constructive deeds.

Day 1 Contemplation

Karma means actions – the actions of our body, speech and mind. The subject is very meaningful.  Throughout our life we have to experience various types of sufferings and problems without choice.  This is because we do not understand which actions we need to abandon and which actions we need to practice.  If we had this knowledge and put it into practice there would be no basis for suffering and problems.

Day 2 Contemplation

The law of karma is a special instance of the law of cause and effect, according to which all our actions of body, speech and mind are causes and all our experiences are their effects.

Day 3 Contemplation

If we do not perform and action, we cannot experience its effect. If we do perform and action, we will definitely experience its effect.

Day 4 Contemplation

The actions of living beings are never wasted, even though a long time may pass until their effects are experienced. Actions cannot simply vanish, and we cannot give them away to someone else and thus avoid out responsibility.

Day 5 Contemplation

Our mind is like a treasure chest and our virtuous actions are like jewels.  If we do not safeguard them through dedication, whenever we become angry it is as if we had put a thief amongst our treasures.

Weekend Meditations

After becoming familiar with our meditation object through the previous five meditations, we can now try to bring all our understanding together in one object of placement meditation, arrived at through the following contemplation:

By contemplating how the results of our actions are definite, we will develop a strong determination to avoid even the slightest non virtue and to nurture even the smallest positive thoughts and constructive deeds.

Welcome to the third week of our Meditation Project, where examine the object from different angles to improve our understanding.  Towards the end of the week we bring all our thoughts together in two qualified meditations. The anticipated format is one meditation per day Monday to Friday, and then the same meditation on Saturday and Sunday, bringing all our understanding together. [These meditations are taken from the Book – How to Transform Your Life, available from Tharpa.com]

Our meditation topic for Week 3 is Rebirth.

Week 3 Object: A heartfelt wish to prepare for our countless future lives, and to apply effort to attaining permanent liberation from suffering putting spiritual teachings into practice.

Day 1 Contemplation

We should know that our sleeping is like death, our dreaming is like the intermediate state between death and rebirth, and out waking state is like rebirth. The cycle of these three shows the existence of future rebirth, through which we can understand the existence of our countless future lives.

Day 2 Contemplation

Our body and mind are separate entities, and so even through the body disintegrates at death the continuum of the mind remains unbroken. Instead of ceasing, the mind simply leaves the present body and goes to the next life. For ordinary beings, therefore, rather than releasing us from suffering, death only brings new sufferings.

Day 3 Contemplation

When we die our inner winds dissolve inwards and our mind becomes progressively more and more subtle until the very subtle mind of clear light of death becomes manifest.  After the clear light of death has ceased, we experience the intermediate state which is a dream like state.  After this we experience rebirth. Just as when we wake from sleep, the dream world disappears and we perceive the world of the waking state, so, when we take rebirth, the appearances of the intermediate state cease and we perceive the world of the next life.

Day 4 Contemplation

Once we have generated an appropriate fear of dying unprepared, we should search for something that will offer real protection. The paths of future lives are very long and unfamiliar. We have to experience one life after another and we cannot be sure where we will take rebirth.

Day 5 Contemplation

Therefore we need to find something that will show us a safe way to future lives, something that will direct us along correct paths and away from wrong paths. Since only spiritual teachings reveal a flawless path that will help and protect us in the future, we must make effort with our body, speech and mind to put spiritual teachings such as those presented in this book into practice.

Weekend Meditations

After becoming familiar with our meditation object through the previous five meditations, we can now try to bring all our understanding together in one object of placement meditation, arrived at through the following contemplation:

Since future lives will certainly come, I must prepare for them now while I have the opportunity. I will apply effort in putting spiritual teachings into practice in my life now, while I have the chance.

gravestone

Welcome to the second week of our Meditation Project, where examine the object from different angles to improve our understanding.  Towards the end of the week we bring all our thoughts together in two qualified meditations. The anticipated format is one meditation per day Monday to Friday, and then the same meditation on Saturday and Sunday, bringing all our understanding together. [These meditations are taken from the Book – How to Transform Your Life, available from Tharpa.com]

Our meditation topic for Week 2 is Death.

Week 2 Object: A heartfelt determination to devote our entire life to practising Dharma purely and sincerely, and to not allow ourselves to become attached to the things of this life.

Day 1 Contemplation

Our main wish is to avoid all suffering and experience only happiness. The only way finally to end our suffering is by following the spiritual path. However because our desire for worldly enjoyment is so strong, we have little or no interest in spiritual practice. From a spiritual point of view this lack of interest in spiritual practice is a type of laziness called ‘the laziness of attachment’. For as long as we have this laziness, the door to liberation will be closed to us, and consequently we will continue to experience misery in this life and endless suffering in life after life. The way to overcome this laziness is to meditate on death.

Day 2 Contemplation

No matter where I am born, whether is is in the fortunate or unfortunate states of existence, I will definitely have to die. However far and wide I travel, I will never find a place where I can hide from death, even if I voyage far into space or tunnel deep underground. No-one alive at the time of the first century remains alive today and no-one alive at the time of the second century and so forth remains alive today. Could I alone outlive death?

Day 3 Contemplation

Sometimes we fool ourself by thinking, ‘I am young and so I will not die soon’, but we can see how misguided this thought is merely by observing how many young people die before their parents. The time of death is completely uncertain, We could die today.

Day 4 Contemplation

Sometimes we think, ‘I am healthy and so I will not die soon’, but we can see that people who are healthy and looking after the sick sometimes die before their patients. The time of death is completely uncertain, We could die today.

Day 5 Contemplation

Contemplating that we ourselves will definitely die, and that the time of our death is completely uncertain, and understanding that there is no guarantee that we will not die today, we should think deeply, day and night, ‘I may die today’.

Weekend Meditations

After becoming familiar with our meditation object through the previous five meditations, we can now try to bring all our understanding together in one object of placement meditation, arrived at through the following contemplation:

Since I will soon have to depart from this life, there is no sense in my becoming attached to the things of this life. Instead I will take to heart the real essence of my human life by sincerely engaging in pure spiritual practice.

med-workshop

Thinking of starting a meditation practice? Want to gain deep personal understanding of Dharma? Want to start feeling Dharma instead of simply talking Dharma?

Why not take it one week at a time with a weekly meditation project?

Each week we will look at one meditation object.  We will examine the object from different angles and towards the end of the week try to bring all our thoughts together in two qualified meditations. The anticipated format is one meditation per day Monday to Friday, and then the same meditation on Saturday and Sunday, bringing all our understanding together.

Our meditation object for Week 1 is Precious Human Life.

Week 1 Object: A heartfelt determination to make our human life meaningful and not to waste it in meaningless activities.

Day 1 Contemplation

Although many people believe material development and possessions are the meaning of human life, we can see that each development and each possession brings with it problems and dissatisfaction. In themselves, material development and possessions are empty and hollow – if we make them the most important thing in our lives, we will waste our life.

Day 2 Contemplation

Animals and other beings in other realms do not have the opportunity to listen to, contemplate and meditate on Dharma. Our precious human life gives us this opportunity. By comparison to these unfortunate beings, we are very lucky and we should not waste this precious opportunity.

Day 3 Contemplation

We experience a precious human life very infrequently. In one Sutra Buddha asks his disciples ‘Suppose there existed a vast and deep ocean the size of the world, and on its surface there floated a golden yoke, and at the bottom of the ocean there lived a blind turtle who surfaced once in every one hundred thousand years. How often would that turtle raise its head through the middle of the yoke?’ We contemplate how extremely rare our human life is, and how long it will be until we experience another.

Day 4 Contemplation

By contrast to worldly activities which lead to dissatisfaction and suffering for ourselves and others, the holy practice of Dharma leads to temporary and permanent happiness for ourselves and others.

Day 5 Contemplation

Our precious human life gives us the opportunity to meet Buddhism. What does ‘meeting Buddhism’ mean? It means entering into Buddhism by sincerely seeking refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and thus having the opportunity to enter and make progress on the path to enlightenment. We can do this because we have a precious human life.

Weekend Meditations

After becoming familiar with our meditation object through the previous five meditations, we can now try to bring all our understanding together in one object of placement meditation, arrived at through the following contemplation:

At present I have briefly reached the human world and have the opportunity to attain permanent liberation from suffering and the supreme happiness of enlightenment through putting Dharma into practice. If I waste this precious opportunity in meaningless activities there is no greater loss and no greater foolishness.

I made the appropriate preparations for meditation and then began contemplating how I appear normally. 

It sounds an odd question but I asked – how do I exist?

My answer is that I normally seem very real – beyond question in fact! There is nothing more real than me!

I focused on my normal certainty and feeling of myself existing. How could I not!?!?

Then I thought – when a key opens a lock, it is the key that opens the lock. Quite clearly a key. And when a car parks in a space it is the car that parks. 

But when I go to the shops, where is the I that goes? The body goes… The mind goes… Where is the I that goes? 

I mentally separated the parts that go to the shops and I could find nothing that met my feeling of I. Nothing. I stayed looking at this absence of I for the rest of the meditation. 

May all living beings fail to find their I. 

VK. 

I made the appropriate preparations for meditation and then went through all the meditation objects in the great scope leading to Bodhichitta. 

I quickly developed equanimity, and remembered the kindness of all mother beings. Feeling grateful, I remembered the disadvantages of self cherishing and the benefits of cherishing others. I reinforced my wish to exchange self with others. Now what? I care only about others and I see they cannot find happiness and they suffer. I instantly want to do something. I mounted taking and giving on the breath for a while and then resolved to attain the ability to actually help living beings. 


The wish need to become an enlightened being settled on me and I focused on it for the rest of my session. 

May all living beings develop the precious supreme Bodhichitta. Once developed, may it not decrease, but flourish forevermore. 

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation. I then cleared my mind using breathing meditation.

I began by reconnecting with my previous meditation on great compassion. I imagined all my friends, all my family, and all living beings of the six realms gathered in the space in front of me being crushed by the weight of their suffering.

I contemplated the kindness and the suffering and again I found the feeling difficult to bear.

I then made a firm decision that I need to do something about this. I cannot let this continue. I imagined all the pain and suffering rising out of them in the form of thick black smoke. As the suffering left them I saw them become relieved and happy. The physical suffering was gone, the mental suffering was gone, the illness was gone, their anxiety was gone. 

I drew this black smoke towards me and slowly it gather together and entered my heart and completely destroyed myself cherishing mind. Every last bit of the smoke into my heart and completely destroyed myself cherishing mind.

At the end of this process I contemplated: “all living beings are freed from the suffering. I am free from my thought that I am more important than others. ”

I left a feeling of deep peace and joy spread through my mind as I contemplate complete freedom from suffering.

May all living beings be permanently free from suffering.

I made the appropriate preparations for meditation and then cleared my mind to begin my meditation on great compassion.

I imagined my family and friends around me and I also imagined all the beings with six realms in human form surrounding me. 

I remembered that all of these beings have been my own kind mother. When they were my mother the showed me incredible kindness and even today I benefit from their actions. I developed affectionate love and cherishing love for all of these beings. 

I stayed with that feeling of love for a while and then recognised that all these precious beings are suffering constantly. I thought of my friends who are suffering physical pain and other friends who are suffering great psychological pain. It seemed to me that all my precious friends – all of these special, precious, kind beings were being crushed by the weight of the suffering in front to my very eyes. 

I imagined the pain and suffering crushing them and I developed a very very strong feeling that I can’t bear this any more. I really can’t bear their suffering any more. 

I developed a deep, deep wish that they be free from their suffering.  The wish became stronger and stronger in my mind and then I focused on that wish with single point of concentration.

May all beings be freed immediately from the suffering. 

VK

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation. I settled on my mind and then began contemplating  how living beings cannot find true happiness in Samsara.

Living beings try and try to be happy in Samsara and sometimes they find some limited happiness in worldly pleasures. But the truth is everybody knows is that this happiness is short lived and unsatisfactory. In fact this happiness is just another way of suffering in Samsara.

Since I cherish all living beings, when I think about how they cannot find true happiness I naturally develop the wish for them to find true happiness.

I focused on this wishing love of the rest of meditation, wishing for living beings could experience real happiness, not wildly changing suffering.

They all living beings experience true, real happiness.

VK

Modern Buddhism

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