The purpose of this meditation is to reach a conclusion based on contemplation of the sufferings of the lower realms, and to try to hold it in mind with strong concentration.

I began by thinking about samsara’s faults, and how I wish to be free of them. I then developed the strong wish to meditate on the sufferings of the lower realms to understand samsara’s faults on a more profound level.

I then did breathing meditation. It was a slow process today to settle my mind, but I kept bringing my wandering attention back to my breathing, and eventually it settled down, and I was ready to move on.

I began by thinking about my refuge image, of living beings falling over a cliff to the lower realms, and with a bridge across to a refuge platform with the Buddhas there. But here, I fell with the others. Fell into the lower realms. I imagined the sufferings of the lower realms. Being drowned in a lake of excrement. Being flayed. Being dismembered.

I had a super long opportunity to dwell on these images because I meditated on a train journey today. I kept my mind on these images, and was filled with a revulsion and a dread of this suffering.

I then decided that on the basis of this horror, I developed the very strong wish to avoid such suffering. I thought about a phrase that I have stuck to the inside of my wardrobe door: ‘Fear negative actions as much as hell itself’. I thought about how all my negative actions are the cause for my taking rebirth in the lower realms. A little bit of anger here… a little bit of pride there… doesn’t seem so bad, but in fact is the cause of such extreme horror. I should flinch away from negative actions as if I have been burnt with a hot iron. I focused on this idea of flinching away from negative actions, because they lead to the lower realms, and I kept my attention on it for a long time.

Although the meditation was on a tough subject, by the end I felt very positive, that I can now avoid such a fate if I avoid negative actions.

Dedication

May all our wishes come true.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to treat negative minds and actions as if they were hot irons, and fear them as I fear hell itself.