The purpose of this meditation is to identify the disadvantages of self-cherishing and on the basis of these disadvantages, resolve to abandon it. Following this, we meditate on this wish in the light of equanimity.

Self-cherishing is the thought that holds our self and our happiness to be the most important thing in the world, second to nothing.

I began the meditation by thinking about what self-cherishing causes. My actions motivated by self-cherishing cause me suffering in the short and the long term. In the short term it causes me to act selfishly and drive a wedge between myself and others. In the long term I create negative potentialities which will ripen into unpleasant experiences in the future.

Although I made the determination in my previous meditation to equalise my cherishing of self with my cherishing of others, this is not good enough. With self-cherishing in my mind I will not be able to wholeheartedly cherish others. No matter what virtuous actions I perform, there will always be a part of my mind thinking ‘what’s in it for me?’. Even if it is only a tiny part of my mind, it will contaminate my actions with non-virtue.

I imagined my self-cherishing dwindling and slowly vanishing, leaving me pure and able to cherish others completely. It was a lovely feeling of being able to care for others without any reluctance or hesitation, without any thought for myself. I felt free and pure, and I tried to keep the feeling going in my mind for as long as I could.

After a while I thought about what this means in the light of equanimity. Equanimity is the warm and friendly feeling we should generate towards all living beings in light of their normal appearances being simply mistaken projections of our conceptual mind. I seemed to me that just as others are simply mistaken appearances, so to is my ‘self’, and that if I can recognise that my self does not exist in the way it appears (in fact it lacks any inherent existence at all) then I can easily stop cherishing it, because it does not make sense to cherish something that does not exist. The logic of this argument was convincing and I felt a ‘dropping away’ of my impression of ‘self’. I felt a corresponding dropping away of my self-cherishing and brought my mind back to the free and pure feeling of being able to act towards others without the contamination of self-cherishing in my mind. I meditated on this feeling for the rest of the session.

Dedication

May all living beings abandon self-cherishing completely, and in so doing find their way to the end of the path to enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will retain my wish to abandon self-cherishing in the meditation break, and remember the harm it causes, and the emptiness of my self.