The purpose of this meditation is to generate the realisation of emptiness of the I, and then to meditate on this in terms of the advantages of cherishing others.

I began by doing breathing meditation and bringing my attention into my heart. After a while my attention had dissolved into my heart and I had a very pleasant, stable feeling of tranquillity.

I then began thinking about how objects normally appear to me. In effect, they appear like balloons shaped like objects, with the appearance of the objects painted on the outside. They appear to be wholes – independent of my mind and everything else in the universe. But when I try to find these objects that appear so clearly, I find that I cannot. When I look at an object, all I can actually see are its parts. I see a part of a chair, or a part of a tent. When I look closely, I no longer see the chair or the tent.

I thought about my I. Like all objects that appear to my mind, my I does not exist in the way that it appears. Although I feel strong feelings and I say to myself ‘I am feeling hungry’, or ‘I am feeling tired’, when I look carefully I cannot find this I that feels these things. I cannot find the feelings either.

I felt my I begin to vanish, and also everything that I consider to be ‘mine’ also fading. Without an I, how can anything be said to be ‘mine’? The appearances of these things faded into emptiness and I let my mind fill with this feeling of emptiness. I kept my attention on this feeling for a long while.

After this, I wondered what this meant in terms of the advantages of cherishing others.

Although myself and others are mere appearances, nevertheless they are still functioning things, and my interactions with them create karma. With this in mind, I understood that the realisation of emptiness is fundamental to my creating good actions, because I will understand that there is no point in cherishing my self, as it does not exist in the way it normally appears. But there is a point in cherishing others because of the karma it creates, despite them also not existing in the way they normally appear. With this in mind, I returned to the feeling of my I being empty of inherent existence, and remained in this very tranquil state for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings come to realise the emptiness of the I and of others, and with this realisation, quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember that I am empty of inherent existence, despite all appearances, and cherish others as much as I can.