The purpose of this meditation is to generate a strong feeling of cherishing others through contemplating the benefits of cherishing others, and then to remember that myself, others and the act of cherishing are all empty of inherent existence.

I started by imagining all living beings around me and all the Buddhas in front of me, composed of glowing golden light. I imagined that we were all in a pure land, in actuality, within the emptiness of my Guru’s mind. From there, I promised the Buddhas that for the sake of all living beings I would meditate well and attain enlightenment in this very lifetime.

I then did breathing meditation, dissolved everything into light, and brought my attention to my heart where I focused my concentration for a while.

I then began my meditation by thinking about a youtube video by Stephen Fry I saw recently, in which he talks about kindness and relationships with others. I will leave you to pick out the Dharma wisdom in this interview, but what struck me was his identification of the faults of self-cherishing and the benefits of cherishing others. How, to be happy, we need to look outwards rather than look inwards.

I thought about how, just as Geshe Kelsang says, when I am miserable it is characterised by an excessive concern for my own welfare – my feelings, my wishes etc. But when we focus on others, these feelings lift away from us – we can be open and light. All we need to do is break our weak-minded habit of self-obsession and cherish others instead.

I decided to bring out my secret weapon – my smile! I decided that from now on, I will cherish others with all my heart because it is the way for both myself and others to attain happiness. It will start with my smile – we are all beautiful when we smile!

loving lookI focused on this feeling for a while, and then thought about that this means if my self, other people and the act of cherishing are all empty of inherent existence?

To say that my self and others do not exist inherently is not the same as saying that they do not exist at all.

My self and others DO exist, but not in the way they normally appear to exist. They appear to exist inherently, as separate, discrete entities, independent of each other and everything else. However, such entities do not exist at all, except as mistaken appearances to our minds. But in terms of their appearances, clearly they certainly do exist, and we need to ‘play their game’.

If I say that food does not exist inherently I am correct. But if I stop eating food, I will become hungry and suffer. Therefore I need to understand that food lacks inherent existence while still accepting it’s conventional nature and using it appropriately.

In the same way, I can see that my self and others lack inherent existence, but the acts of abandoning self-cherishing and cherishing others still function to create positive karma and lead me to liberation and enlightenment.

Therefore, while always seeing myself and others as illusory, I will nevertheless cherish others, and abandon self-cherishing because this is the way to be happy and free from suffering.

I focused on the wish to cherish others, and the plan to smile at others, and to look outwards rather than inwards – for today and for the rest of my days.

Dedication

May all living beings cherish dream-like living beings, and understanding their true nature and function, attain enlightenment for their sake.

Practice in the Meditation Break

Smile!