The purpose of this meditation is to generate a strong wish to engage in the path of the Bodhisattva, and in particular to engage in the Perfection of Effort.
I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation and then began by thinking about effort. My teacher says that if we give way to laziness, enlightenment will never come to us, but if put effort into engaging in the spiritual path, we will definitely attain enlightenment.
Effort is defined as a mental factor that makes its primary mind delight in virtue. Normally we think of effort as something that is difficult to bring ourselves to do, and something that we find hard. But the definition Geshe-la gives us indicates that far from being a burden, our effort in Dharma should be full of joy. I wondered to myself how this can be, and the answer came that we delight in the fulfilment of our wishes. So if we are to delight in Dharma we have to see it as being the method for fulfilling our wishes.
In Eight Steps to Happiness Geshe-la explains that we create the meaning of our lives though creating our deepest wishes. If we dream about and strive for a fast car, a good job, or excitement, adventure, or a new partner, we will have no difficulty in working to achieving those goals. They become the meaning of our life. If we have no goals, our life is essentially meaningless. And if our goals are for things that will disappear when we die, then ultimately our life will still be meaningless and our goals deceptive. Only the attainment of enlightenment will never deceive us. Only the attainment of enlightenment is genuinely worth being the meaning of our human lives.
So by understanding the benefits of attaining enlightenment and keeping those benefits constantly in mind, we will have no difficulty in putting effort into learning, contemplating and meditating on Dharma.
As I thought this through, the idea came to me of a starving man, who has no difficulty putting effort into eating, and who eats joyfully.
Just as the starving man needs food, I am starving for spiritual fulfilment and I need the nourishment of Dharma. Just as the starving man eats joyfully because he is satisfying his hunger, so I will practice joyfully because I am doing the same. Just as the starving man will eventually completely pacify his hunger, so will I too accomplish all my wishes for spiritual fulfilment.
I repeated this contemplation to myself and became filled with a very strong feeling of wishing to joyfully engage in my Dharma practice, constantly and meaningfully, until I attain the ultimate supreme goal of enlightenment. I focused on it for the remainder of the meditation session.
Dedicated to the success of all those on the STTP programme, all those engaged in the FP programme, all those interested in Dharma, and all living beings throughout samsara – may we all enter, progress along and complete the spiritual path, through the kindness of others.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will constantly think about and practice Dharma, so that all living beings can be free from their suffering.