The purpose of this meditation is to generate strong fear of the sufferings of hell.

It is very important to understand what we are doing with this meditation, or else it will become a problem for us.

In this meditation, we strongly believe that we are bound to experience severe mental and physical pain in our next life. We try to understand this with all our heart. The purpose is to develop fear. We need to really, really fear this suffering. In order to develop strong fear, we need to really believe that this suffering will be horrible and it will definitely come to us.

Why do we need to do this?

We need to do this because unless we have this strong fear, we will not develop a strong wish to abandon the causes of this suffering, and we will have to endure it for real. At the moment, we have the opportunity to purify the negative karma that will cause this suffering, but unless we are fearful of experiencing this suffering, we will waste our lives in meaningless activities, and never get around to purifying our karma.

When we do this meditation, we need to understand that there is a way to avoid this suffering, but that unless we do something, this suffering will definitely come.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation.

black stairsI then thought about stepping into my next life. It was a corridor of black stone, leading to a flight of black stairs descending into acid. There was nowhere else to go, and I was impelled to walk slowly down the stairs and enter the acid. I felt it burn my feet, then my legs and so on, until I was completely submerged. I tried to imagine my whole body on fire with pain. As I went beneath the surface, a grille was thrown over the acid, preventing me from surfacing to take a breath. As I choked, the acid entered my throat, lungs and stomach, burning me from the inside. It also entered my other orifices, and burned me within. I felt it eating away at my body as I drowned in it, and also became aware of the soft sludge beneath my feet. These were the remains of my previous bodies: this is not the first time I have experienced this suffering.

I kept my mind focused on this experience, and the conviction that this will definitely happen to me (with the thought in the back of my mind ‘unless I purify my negativities and stop committing negative actions).

It was a most uncomfortable experience, but I will be able to use it to great effect later.


May all living beings see that unless they stop committing negative actions and purify their negativity, they will definitely experience the sufferings of the lower realms.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remain mindful of the inevitability of suffering in samsara, and keep Bodhichitta as my motivation in all my actions.