The purpose of this meditation is to generate great compassion and then to meditate on this in light of the practice of exchanging self with others.

I began with some breathing meditation, calming my jumpy mind so that it slowly, over the course of about 10 minutes, became increasingly still, until I was ready to move on to the main meditation.

I started the meditation on compassion by recalling my affectionate and cherishing love for all living beings. I generated a special warm feeling in my heart for all living beings by contemplating their kindness, and by remembering the advantages of cherishing them. Once I had a very good feeling of cherishing love, I moved on to think about their predicament.

Just about everyone I can think of is in a state of suffering.Their normal lives are doomed, regardless of their wishes. No matter what they try to do, they cannot avoid the dreadful suffering of their loves ones dying. I thought of the feeling of loss that one could suffer at the loss of a child. I dwelt on this feeling, and then extended it’s scope to all living beings, because all living beings must endure similar sufferings.

Through the combination of this contemplation and the force of my love for them, I felt a strong wish for them all to be free from their suffering. I found their suffering difficult to bear, and I decided that I must do something about it. I imagined my determination manifesting like a deep ‘boom’ of thunder, so loud it could be heard from the depths of the lowest hell realm to the heights of the highest god realm. All living beings heard it, and knew what it meant – it was my determination to free them from their suffering. The maras heard it too, and knew I was coming for them.

With this visualisation, I focused on my feeling of wanting to free all my dear mothers from their unendurable cycle of suffering.

After a while of holding this in my attention, I decided to see what this meant in light of the practice of exchanging self with others.

It seemed to me that the link was that the strength of my compassion was directly related to the strength of my exchanging self with others. If I can complete my realisation of exchanging self with others, then I will cherish others with 100% of my capacity, and my great compassion will be as strong as possible. Therefore, to free all my mothers I must complete my training in exchanging self with others.

With this in mind, I returned to my rolling-clap-of-thunder-determination to free all living beings from their suffering. I focused on this for the rest of the meditation, and by the end it seemed like nothing could stop me achieving this goal.

Dedication

May all living beings realise the protecting mind of great compassion, and through this, attain Buddhahood for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

Regardless of their outward appearance, I will see others as they really are – as suffering beings, and wish them to be free from their suffering.