The purpose of this meditation is to generate the strong belief that we have actually taken on the sufferings of all other living beings, that they are free from suffering and that we have completely destroyed our own self-cherishing. We then consider this belief in the light of the fact that all living beings are our mothers.

I began with breathing meditation and after a while my mind felt very absorbed and focused.

I then began the Lamrim meditation on Taking. I decided that I wanted to really get my teeth into this meditation, so I worked with some very strong imagery today. I imagined walking onto a railway station concourse, which was filled with people. They were all young women carrying babies. The concourse was enormous – in fact it was large enough to hold all living beings, who were in the aspect of these women.

I imagined that these women all had the same suffering – they were dying and they would not see their little baby grow up. I imagined that all the sufferings of all these living beings were represented by this one tragic suffering. I thought of how each of them would look at their baby and tell them how they wished they could stay with them and be with them as they grew. How they wished that they would be able to care for them and love them, and how sorry they were that they would have to leave them. I thought about how this must feel, and I felt it too. A heartbreaking sadness.

I then made the firm decision that through the power of my compassionate wish, I would take on their sufferings. Their sufferings only cause them pain, but they can give me great benefit. I caused all their heartache to rise out of them in the aspect of black smoke and come towards me, gathering at my heart. As the smoke left their bodies, the women understood that they were no longer dying, and that their wish had come true. They were free from their suffering.

The smoke gathered at my heart and dissolved into my self-cherishing, destroying it completely. I felt free. Completely free. I realised that whenever I do anything, I make my decisions based on some consideration of the implications the action has for me. Is it good for me or is it bad for me? But without self-cherishing, I am free to do whatever is most beneficial for others. I am not fettered by self-cherishing. I felt completely free from self cherishing – it was wonderful.

After a while I decided to see what this contemplation and meditation meant in light of the fact that all living beings are my mother. As I thought this, I understood that I was all the babies being held by these mothers – that all living beings are my suffering mothers. I went through the contemplation again with this understanding, and once again I felt very free at the end. I focused on this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings learn to take the sufferings of others, and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to alleviate the sufferings of others with a calm, patient mind. I will try to abandon my self-cherishing and fearlessly take on the sufferings of others.