The purpose of this meditation is to generate the strong wish to control our mind because an uncontrolled mind is the cause of experiencing hell.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation and then thinking about gaining the conviction that hell really does exist.

Hell is an unpopular concept in the West. Our ‘sophisticated understanding’ of the world has led to hell being viewed as an arcane and superstitious belief.

But we do say things like ‘Oh, it was hell’, or ‘I have been to hell and back’ when we talk about particularly difficult or unpleasant experiences. In this sense, we understand hell very well. Hell is particularly unpleasant experience. If we understand that our experiences come from our mind, then we can see that we have the potential to experience hell in our mind all the time.

The world we experience depends upon our karma – as our karma ripens, we perceive different forms and experiences. Negative karma manifests in very negative experiences, which, in their worst forms, we could call hell.

Sometimes in dreams we experience lands of flames and great fear, where no matter where we try to run or hide, there is no safety. If we never woke up, we would experience hell continuously.

If we have a particularly horrible experience as a waking human – perhaps we have our passport taken from us and we are trafficked to a foreign land where everyone talks a different language, and where we are made to have sex with many people or be beaten – then we experience hell.

But no matter how real these experiences seem, they are deceptive. They do not exist from their own side, but are appearances which cause us suffering because we assent to their reality.

They arise from an uncontrolled mind.

headacheIf we can control our mind, we can control our experience of the world, and transform it from a hell realm into a pure land. This may seem far fetched, but only because we have not yet realised the depth of the relationship between our mind and our world.

I focused on the idea that hell arises from an uncontrolled mind. I identified this as the cause of hell, and focused on that thought for a while.

I then asked myself what I am going to do about it.

If hell arises from an uncontrolled mind, then I need to be able to control my mind as quickly as possible, because while my mind is uncontrolled, it may well throw me into hell before I have the chance to become prepared.

I imagined having a completely controlled mind – where no thoughts arose except the ones which I wanted. It was like a massive pure motionless ocean, where there was no movement. Only the thoughts that I wanted arose, but did not disturb my ocean-like mind in the same way that uncontrolled thoughts would. It was completely calm and clear, settled and still. I focused on this thought, knowing that it will protect me from hell. I remained focused on this thought for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings be able to control their minds, and either deal with hell when it arises, or purify their minds to such an extent that it cannot appear to them at all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember that all phenomena are mere appearances to mind, and that they come from my mine, which is the nature of emptiness.