Thinking of starting a meditation practice? Want to gain deep personal understanding of Dharma? Want to start feeling Dharma instead of simply talking Dharma?
Why not take it one week at a time with a weekly meditation project?
Each week we will look at one meditation object. We will examine the object from different angles and towards the end of the week try to bring all our thoughts together in two qualified meditations. The anticipated format is one meditation per day Monday to Friday, and then the same meditation on Saturday and Sunday, bringing all our understanding together.
Our meditation object for Week 1 is Precious Human Life.
Week 1 Object: A heartfelt determination to make our human life meaningful and not to waste it in meaningless activities.
Day 1 Contemplation
Although many people believe material development and possessions are the meaning of human life, we can see that each development and each possession brings with it problems and dissatisfaction. In themselves, material development and possessions are empty and hollow – if we make them the most important thing in our lives, we will waste our life.
Day 2 Contemplation
Animals and other beings in other realms do not have the opportunity to listen to, contemplate and meditate on Dharma. Our precious human life gives us this opportunity. By comparison to these unfortunate beings, we are very lucky and we should not waste this precious opportunity.
Day 3 Contemplation
We experience a precious human life very infrequently. In one Sutra Buddha asks his disciples ‘Suppose there existed a vast and deep ocean the size of the world, and on its surface there floated a golden yoke, and at the bottom of the ocean there lived a blind turtle who surfaced once in every one hundred thousand years. How often would that turtle raise its head through the middle of the yoke?’ We contemplate how extremely rare our human life is, and how long it will be until we experience another.
Day 4 Contemplation
By contrast to worldly activities which lead to dissatisfaction and suffering for ourselves and others, the holy practice of Dharma leads to temporary and permanent happiness for ourselves and others.
Day 5 Contemplation
Our precious human life gives us the opportunity to meet Buddhism. What does ‘meeting Buddhism’ mean? It means entering into Buddhism by sincerely seeking refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and thus having the opportunity to enter and make progress on the path to enlightenment. We can do this because we have a precious human life.
After becoming familiar with our meditation object through the previous five meditations, we can now try to bring all our understanding together in one object of placement meditation, arrived at through the following contemplation:
At present I have briefly reached the human world and have the opportunity to attain permanent liberation from suffering and the supreme happiness of enlightenment through putting Dharma into practice. If I waste this precious opportunity in meaningless activities there is no greater loss and no greater foolishness.