The purpose of this meditation is to experience the meaning of our actions in the context of renunciation.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation and then mentally reviewed the first meditation of a person of middling scope from the book ‘How to Understand the Mind’. Geshe-la introduces the Four Noble Truths and uses them as the basis for the meditations of a person of middling scope. Buddha said:

You should know sufferings

When Buddha said this, he meant that we should understand the sufferings of our countless future lives. Even if we avoid rebirth in the lower realms through the actions of a person of initial scope (see the previous five meditations) we will have to endure the Buddha Shakyamunisufferings of being born human in all our future lives. Although these sufferings are far less severe than the sufferings of animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings, they are, nevertheless, dreadful.

In accordance with the instructions, I reviewed the sufferings of my future lives.

I will be born – a process of suffering and pain. Birth gives rise to sickness. Our bodies are constantly falling ill and each disease has its own sufferings of pain, illness, immobility and isolation. Birth also gives rise to ageing, and even if we avoid serious illnesses, we have to suffer the pain of ageing and seeing our body lose its vitality and ease. Birth also gives rise to death. We will definitely die, and the whole miserable process will begin again.

In addition to the sufferings of the body, we must experience the sufferings of having to encounter what we do not like, having to be separated from what we like, and the failure to fulfil our wishes. Each of these brings mental pain which can be just as bad, if not worse, than the physical torments of birth, sickness, ageing and death.

I considered these sufferings, and then contemplated that these will continue in life after life.

Unless…

Unless I stop this now. The sufferings of my future lives are already in place, waiting for me to experience them. My karmic seeds are already planted in my mind, and if I do not purify them they will definitely ripen as sufferings unless I use my human life right now to do something about it.

I focused on this wish to do something about these future lives. I can be free – I can stop this now – I can cut off these future sufferings from my mental continuum and liberate myself from samsara once and for all! I have the perfect opportunity right now!

I built up a head of steam in my mind – a real determination to do something about the sufferings of my future lives. It occurred to me that what I do is ensure that all my actions are fixes – fixes of my negative karma. Every action I perform, if I perform it mindfully, with a virtuous intention, thinking about the purification of my karma, every action will free me from my future suffering. I focused on the idea of every action, along with the determination to do something now, and found myself completely filled with a very strong determination to prevent my future suffering from happening. The meaning of this determination is the freedom from suffering of all my countless future human lives. There is nothing more meaningful than this.I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings act now to prevent their own future suffering, and attain liberation swiftly.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will act in virtuous ways, being mindful of my motivation and my true aim.