The purpose of this meditation is to generate a firm understanding of the sufferings of the lower realms and how they are empty of inherent existence, but still dreadful.

I began by developing a good motivation for my meditation, and did breathing meditation while imagining that I was in a pure land, with all living beings around me and all the holy beings in front of me.

headacheI then started by thinking about how living beings experience various levels of suffering. Hell is what appears to a person with a very uncontrolled mind. I thought of someone I know well who is sliding towards this state. He is suffering loss of confidence and a loss of his support network, and he is beginning to think that people are avoiding him or insulting him. He knows that this is not reasonable to make these assumptions because on-one is being overtly unkind to him. But he can’t help reading negative connotations into every situation.

I thought about how we could all slide into these negative feelings and find ourselves being tortured by the living beings around us. Our uncontrolled mind has the capacity to inflict incredible mental pain and suffering on us, even in this relatively benign human realm. Our human life limits the extent to which appearances can cause us harm. When we transition into our next life, our physical form may allow our mind to create much much worse sufferings. I thought about this for a while.

I then thought about how all these sufferings are empty of inherent existence, as is the cause of the sufferings and our ‘self’ which experiences the sufferings. However, because of our strong self-grasping and self-cherishing, the sufferings cause enormous unbearable pain. We need to realise their true nature while we have the chance before we find ourselves experiencing the sufferings of the lower realms.

I developed a real dread of these sufferings, and the understanding that although they are empty of inherent existence, they are very real to the mind which has not realised emptiness. I focused on these sufferings, and developed a deep disquiet about them.


May all living beings reduce their self-grasping and self-cherishing, and realise the emptiness of all phenomena, and thereby avoid the sufferings of the lower realms.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember the slide into suffering that could occur if I do not train my mind.