The purpose of this meditation is to generate the strong recognition that all living beings are literally our mothers, and then to meditate on this recognition in the light of renunciation – the wish to be free from the sufferings of samsara.

I began the meditation by thinking of my own mother in this life, and how she gave birth to me. That is how I have this life now – because of her giving birth to me. Since I cannot find a beginning to my mental continuum, it follows that I have had countless previous lives. I must have had a mother to give birth to me in those lives too – I must have had countless mothers.

Actually, I say ‘I must have had’, but in fact these beings are still my mother. When my present mother dies she will not stop being my mother like someone who is my neighbour stops being my neighbour when they move house. She will always be my mother. Likewise all these living beings who gave birth to me are still my mother.

Where are all these mothers now? Just as I have taken rebirth, so too have they – they are  all the living beings around me today. My friends, neighbours, work colleagues – everyone I meet is actually my mother. Our appearances have changed but beneath those appearances they are still my mother.

I let the power of these points sink into my mind and I developed a very close feeling towards all living beings. They are my mother. They appear to be not my mother, but these appearances are mistaken. I will not rely on these mistaken appearances, but relate to everyone according to their true relationship with me – my mother. I let this intention and recognition fill my mind for a while before moving on to the next stage in my meditation.

Next I thought about what this means in the light of renunciation, the wish to be completely liberated from all the sufferings of samsara. To become liberated I have to complete the perfection of moral discipline, and always retain a sense of shame and consideration when performing actions. If I always recognise other living beings as my mother, I will be able to improve my moral discipline and progress towards the goal of liberation. Therefore I saw this recognition of all living beings as my mother as a vital stage in achieving liberation. With this understanding I returned my mind to the object – the recognition that all living beings are my mother. Again, I felt very close to all living beings, with a good, warm and friendly feeling towards them. I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings abandon their mistaken view of others, and through recognising that all living beings are their mother, achieve the perfection of moral discipline and become liberated and enlightened beings as quickly as possible.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to always see others as my mother, and keep a sense of shame which will prevent me acting in ways which are non-virtuous and a sense of consideration which will prevent me acting in ways which harm others.