The purpose of this meditation is to look at the twelve dependent related links of samsaric existence and reach a resolution to break the chain of suffering.
I made the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then settled into a contemplation of the outer rim of the wheel of life: the twelve dependent related links.
The twelve links form a continuous chain of actions and effects which lead us deeper into samsara. Generally speaking, the starting point for the cycle is Ignorance – the specific ignorance that sees things as inherently existent. On the basis of this ignorant view, we create actions (Compositional Actions)- some positive and some negative. As we create actions we place imprints on our Consciousness. This third link is the specific consciousness that receives the imprint of the action.
Upon rebirth we take up residence in the aggregates of body and mind – Name and Form. As we develop and grow, we come into contact with the ‘external world’ through our Six Doors of mental consciousness and the five sense consciousnesses. Contact is the mental factor that identifies objects as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral.
Then, Feeling experiences them as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. From there, because we perceive these objects and feelings as solid, real and inherently independent from ourselves, we Crave them to either continue or cease. As our familiarity increases, the strength of our attachment increases until it reaches a trigger level that makes us take some action. This trigger level of intention is Grasping.
Once we have grasping in our mind, we are impelled to perform some action. If, at the time of death, the action we perform is to go for refuge to the Three Jewels (or some other virtuous action) we will take rebirth in a fortunate realm. If the action is non-virtuous, we will take rebirth in an unfortunate realm. The action we perform (and more specifically its intention) is Existence. This is the close cause of the conditions of our rebirth, which we then experience through Birth, and then Ageing and Death.
Our sorry samsaric experience is described by these links which form a dreadful, self-perprtuating cycle of suffering. The way to break the cycle is to destroy the link of Ignorance. Through breaking the cycle here, we can free ourselves form the cycle of meaningless suffering.
I focused on the wish to break the cycle of suffering by realising the true nature of things, and kept my attention on it for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings break the cycle of suffering by destroying the link of Ignorance, and free themselves from the chains of enslavement.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to remember that I am really in some dreadful hamster wheel of suffering, and that I need to step sideways to get out. Just going forward leads me deeper into samsara.