The purpose of this meditation is to remember the dangers of lower rebirth and to develop a sincere dread of experiencing them, and then to contemplate what this means in light of great compassion.

I began by mixing my mind with my Guru’s mind, and imagining that I shared his experience of the world. I concentrated on experiencing love, compassion, bodhichitta and the correct view of emptiness. It slowly came together and when I had a good feeling, I focused on it for a time…

I then thought about how everything I experience is an appearance to my mind arising from my past actions. The lower realms are appearances as seemingly real as the room I am sitting in right now. At the moment the appearances are good, but this could change at any moment. My circumstances could change and in the next 24 hours my seemingly stable world could be torn apart. I recently saw a Facebook post from a relative of mine who said ‘I wish things could go back to the way they were’. Soon I could be wishing the same thing.

Appearances are deceptive and only change is certain. When I die, all bets are off and I could be reborn in dreadful circumstances. I like to think my death is a long way away, but it could happen in the next 24 hours.

I stayed with the thought that I am very close to a dramatic change in my circumstances and I will definitely experience the lower realms. It was a disturbing experience, and I focused on this feeling for a long while…

After that I wondered what this meant in light of great compassion.

I realised that one implication is that even if I am reborn in the lower realms, if I have the realisation of great compassion, I will be protected from suffering. With great compassion, I will be able to practice taking perfectly, and this will protect me from suffering, despite my circumstances. With this in mind, I determined to attain the realisation of great compassion because it will protect me from the disturbing suffering of the lower realms. I remained with this notion for the rest of the meditation.


May all living beings understand the nature of appearances and the nature of the lower realms, and generate such dread that they easily propel themselves to enlightenment, for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will look for others suffering in resembling hells, and, out of compassion, practice taking their suffering upon myself, and giving them my current fortunate circumstances.