The purpose of this meditation is to strengthen our conviction in the existence of past and future lives, and therefore to see everyone as our mother.

I began with the appropriate preparations for meditation and then settled down for the meditation.

I started by thinking about my aggregates of body and mind. Everything ‘I’ am can be found within my aggregates of body and mind. ‘I’ am all the bits of my body and all the bits of my mind. If I think of myself yesterday, I can see that the ‘I’ that I perceived was also made up of my aggregates of body and mind. If I go back in time, these twin attributes – body and mind – are always present. My body of yesterday was the main cause of my body of today. My mind of yesterday was the main cause of my mind today.

Therefore, these causes and effects are parallel and related. Also, my mind of yesterday was NOT the cause of my body today, and my body of yesterday was NOT the cause of my mind today.

When I  think back to my very beginning, at the moment when my mother’s egg and my father’s sperm fused, I can see that this is the beginning of my current body. The cause of the egg and the sperm were my mother’s and father’s bodies. The causes of their bodies were my grandparents’ bodies. Therefore, I can see the continuum of my body continuing since beginningless time.

When I think of my mind, I can see that my mind and my body are very different. My body has form, whereas my mind is formless. My mind experiences thoughts and feelings, whereas my body does not.

Where did my mind come from? Mind cannot come from body because they are different in nature and cannot share the same continuum. If my mind did not come from my parents, then from where?

Since nothing spontaneously appears from nothing, and the mind can only come from a previous moment of mind, I am forced to conclude that my mind at the moment of conception came from a previous moment of mind. In Joyful Path of Good Fortune, Geshe-la explains how the mind actually enters the fertilised ovum, and if you are interested, you can read this for yourself.

The point is that if my mind came from a mind which existed prior to my birth, then it is clear that this process can occur again and again. It has happened repeatedly since beginningless time.

Before I settled on this conclusion as my object of meditation, I examined the possibility that the body COULD produce the mind, with the example that a computer is form, but holds programmes which are like minds. When the computer is switched off, the programme is lost because the hardware produces the programme.  On the face of it, it seems obvious that the brain produces the mind in just the same way.

old computerHowever, to me there is an important difference between computers/programmes and brains/minds. The mind cognises. The mind knows objects and experiences feelings. Even the most sophisticated programme is essentially empty of cognition. No matter how realistic the automaton, and no matter how subtle the programme, it cannot understand itself or its world like a sentient being can. If a sophisticated humanoid robot made a cup of tea, it would not understand what it was actually doing, nor could it experience the feeling produced by drinking the tea. Its experience is simply 1s and 0s. No thought, no cognition. The computer/robot cannot produce mind (although in time I am sure that computers will be very convincing in giving the impression of having a mind).

Similarly, the brain cannot produce the mind. The firing of neurons and the production of chemicals is simply that. These forms cannot produce that which is not within their continuum – namely mind. Mind and brain are related, of course, but mind is not produced by the brain.

After going though this thought process, I settled on the thought that my mind definitely had a previous moment before I my present body was created, and given that fact, it was clear and did not need any further proof that I have had countless previous mothers, who in turn are in fact all the living beings around me today.

I focused on the thought – all living beings are my real mother, for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings gain the unshakeable conviction that their mothers are alive and around them right now.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember that there are completely logical reasons why I should believe that all living beings are my mother, and with this conviction, regard everyone I meet as being my mother.