The purpose of this meditation is to examine the disadvantages of self-cherishing, and to contemplate our conclusions in light of the emptiness of phenomena.

I began by developing a strong wish to meditate well, and then moved on to breathing meditation. I imagined that around me were all the living beings of the six realms in human form, and in front of me were the countless enlightened beings. They were glowing in golden light, and smiling at us all with great kindness. I imagined we were all in Buddha’s pure land, and completely at peace.

I dissolved the world and my body into light, and then brought my attention into my heart where I mixed my mind with my guru’s mind, and after a while of enjoying a very peaceful feeling, moved on to the main meditation.

pawnI started by thinking about how, in this context, self-cherishing is essentially our belief that our needs and our wishes are more important than anyone else’s. In fact, self-cherishing distorts our surroundings so much that it shows us a world and a context where it is easy to believe that our needs and wishes are the ONLY ones that matter.

When I am under the sway of self-cherishing, I find myself viewing others as simply means to my own selfish ends. I don’t see them as people at all. I just see them as things to use to get me some pleasure or possessions. How shallow! How despicable! Self-cherishing beguiles me with convincing arguments, and blinds me to the consequences that would ensue if I let it run free.

I thought about what it would be like to have no self-cherishing – to see that my ‘self’ was empty of inherent existence and did not exist as it normally appeared. If I could realise this, I would see that there is no need to cherish myself at the cost of others, because there is no self to cherish! What would I do instead of cherishing my self? The only things around to cherish would be other living beings. The same living beings that I previously used as pawns in my self-cherishing games – only now instead of seeing them as means to a selfish end, I can see them as living beings whom I can help. It would be clear that my duty and obligation would be to offer them help and happiness.

I thought about how pure my mind could be, if it were not for the foul pollution of self-cherishing.

I dwelt on this, and developed the sincere wish to be free from self-cherishing and all its faults. I focused on this for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings see the faults of self-cherishing, and overcome its distorted presentation to attain perfect enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to see others as beings to whom I should offer help and happiness, and abandon my dark self-cherishing, which would lead me along paths of suffering and desolation.