The purpose of this meditation is to develop a strong feeling of cherishing all other living beings as much as we cherish ourselves, and then to meditate on this feeling in the light of renunciation – the wish to be completely free from the sufferings of samsara.

I began by remembering the kindness of all living beings and especially the kindness of my mother in this life. I mentally reviewed the contemplation from yesterday and tried to develop the feeling of being very grateful for all her kindness and very humble.

Once I had that feeling I then thought about how I myself, my mother and all other living beings all want the same thing – to be happy and free from suffering. In this respect we are all completely equal. I thought about how everyone suffers. Although they may appear at the moment to have good conditions and happiness, in the long term they have just as much suffering as the rest of us. In one life they may be born into a healthy, wealthy family, but in the next life they are just as likely to be born into a poverty stricken family in a land with no health care provisions. This is the great equality.

I then returned my thoughts to how kind these living beings have been so kind to me in the past, and how, if we are all equal in suffering, I should work to relieve their suffering just as much as I work to relieve my own.

I imagined the ten people closest to me arranged in the ten directions around me as I sat in meditation, and I imagined my concern and cherishing radiating out to them, wanting them to be happy and free from suffering. I felt like we were all together and melting together with my cherishing spreading equally through us all.  I imagined all other living beings surrounding us and my cherishing extended to them.

I kept this feeling of cherishing all these living beings and focused on it for a while.

I then thought about what this means in the light of renunciation – the wish to be completely free from the suffering of samsara.

If I want to be free from the sufferings of samsara, I need to turn away from my constant worry and concern for my self. The core of my samsara is my self grasping ignorance – the deluded mind that grasps at an inherently existent self or me. I grasp at it so tightly that there is little room in my mind for thoughts of others (except, perhaps, how they can be used to please me – what a revolting trait). But if I can start to loosen this obsessive concern for myself, I can begin to move away from the root of my samsara, and begin to move towards liberation.

With this recognition of how cherishing myself and others equally relates to renunciation, I returned to my feeling of being equally concerned for the happiness and freedom of all living beings.

Dedication

May all living beings come to see the great equality of all living beings, move away from their obsessive self-grasping, and make the journey to liberation and enlightenment quickly and smoothly for the sake of all living beings.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember the great equality of all living beings, and when I meet people today I will try to think ‘you are a suffering being, just like me, and just like everyone else – may you be free from suffering, and may I do what I can to help you’.

Meditation 6/10