The purpose of this meditation is to generate the feeling of taking on the suffering of others, and that this has led to the complete elimination of all our self-cherishing. From there, we contemplate what this feeling means in light of the practice of exchanging self with others.

I began with breathing meditation until my mind was calm enough to focus on the main topic today.

I started by remembering my affectionate and cherishing love for others, and then I contemplated their suffering for a few minutes. How they suffer! Once again, I developed a compassionate wish for all living beings to be free from their suffering, especially the suffering of bereavement. I imagined all these sufferings and loneliness rising up out of all living beings, and taking the aspect of black smoke, which clouded around me. As the smoke left others, they were freed from their suffering.  They had not forgotten their lives and their experiences, however they were free from the suffering those experiences once caused them.

The smoke slowly condensed around me, and came into my heart, where it destroyed my self-cherishing. I felt a complete freedom from suffering, just like the other living beings. My self-cherishing – the cause of all my own suffering – had been completely destroyed, never to return.

I felt a deep peace and tranquillity which mirrored the feelings in the hearts of all living beings, and together we focused on this feeling for a long while.

After then, I decided to look at what this means in light of the practice of exchanging self with others.

It seemed to me that the act of taking was the actual method of eliminating my self-cherishing. By taking the suffering of others, both mentally and in reality, I am destroying my self-cherishing. I also realised that the more I do this, the greater my capacity will be. Like when we first do something which will cause some discomfort, we are very reluctant to do it, but once we have done it a few times we know the discomfort is quite bearable and we are no longer reluctant. The power of our love for others will protect us from suffering.

With this in mind, I returned to my meditation on the peace and calm of having completely removed self-cherishing from myself and all living beings.

Dedication

May all living beings overcome the demon of self-cherishing, and with this peaceful, calm mind, quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to help others and take on their suffering without hesitation, knowing that my love for them will protect me from suffering.