The purpose of this meditation is to generate the sincere wish to cherish others and to abandon self-cherishing completely, and then to think about what this means in the context of the practice of giving.

I began by doing some breathing meditation, and letting both my body and mind settle and become still. I then imagined my Guru at my heart, and I imagined mixing my mind with his mind, feeling his stability and stillness pervading my own mind so that they became mixed inseparably, like water mixed with water. After a while I moved on to the main meditation.

I started by thinking about how all my problems and suffering come from my self-cherishing. It is poison – it is like deadly poison. Just as one drop of a deadly poison will cause much suffering and pain, even one moment of self-cherishing has the power to throw us into the deepest hell for aeons.

Then I thought about the practice of cherishing others. This is the path to liberation and enlightenment. By cherishing others we will be able to uphold pure moral discipline and attain liberation. And through our practice of Bodhichitta we will attain enlightenment – the complete cessation of all our suffering.

I kept these two extremes in mind and quickly felt a deep need to abandon all self-cherishing thoughts and attitudes, and completely fill my mind with the wish to cherish others.  Slowly, my mind filled with a beautiful, calm, peaceful feeling embodying the wish to turn to cherishing others as my path to enlightenment. I focused on this feeling and this wish for a while…

I then thought about what this means in terms of the practice of giving. By abandoning self-cherishing, I can give anything and everything – freely and joyfully. With wisdom, I will be able to give whatever I wish for the benefit of others, and by giving, accumulate more and more merit, which will carry me swiftly to enlightenment. Far from giving and losing, I will be giving and accumulating. I imagined my merit increasing exponentially as my practice of giving became purer and more sincere. I then reminded myself that by abandoning self-cherishing I am preventing this merit from decreasing. How wonderful this practice of exchanging self with others is!

With this in mind, I mixed all these things together into a wish and a feeling of exchanging self with others, and I stayed with it for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings accumulate vast amounts of merit through their practice of exchanging self with others, and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember the accumulation of merit produced by giving and cherishing others, and encourage myself to engage in these practices throughout the day, either mentally or physically, when the opportunity arises.