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The purpose of this meditation is to develop affectionate love for all living beings by remembering their kindness, and then to meditate on this love in light of the fact that all living beings are our mothers.

I began by focusing on my breath until my mind had calmed, and then moved on to the rest of the meditation.

I focused on the way in which I am completely dependent on others for any spiritual progress. All other living beings act as objects for my love, patience, giving etc. Without them I could not grow. I thought about this and developed a very sincere thankfullness and appreciation of the kindness of others. I let my mind rest on this feeling.

After some time I moved on to the second part of the meditation where I thought about what this feeling means in light of the fact that all living beings are my mother. Mothers naturally care for their children and want them to be happy. In this way all living beings are still acting in their natural way, because they are helping me attain pure happiness. With this added understanding, I returned to my meditation on affectionate love, and remained there for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings remember the kindness of their mothers, and develop affectionate love so that they quickly attain the happiness of full enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to keep a mind of affectionate love towards all living beings – accepting them and not judging them.

Meditation 8/9

The purpose of this meditation is to remember the kindness of living beings when they were our mother and at other times, and then to think about this in the light of actions and their effects.

I began the meditation by thinking about how mothers give unconditional love to their children. When they cradle their new born baby mothers gaze at them with complete love – all the pain and suffering of birth is forgotten. As children grow the love mothers feel remains. The mothers of criminals in prison still love their children, despite their actions.

Even now I experience benefit from the actions of others, even though they are not my mother of this life.  I thought about how all living beings are my mother and how they would shine a special light of love down on me if our true relationship were revealed. I thought about all the kindness they would give me if they recognised our relationship. I felt the light of love shining on me and felt loved and protected by all living beings. I also felt a wish to repay their kindness, and love and protect them. I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then thought about what this means in the light of actions and their effects. Mothers love their children because of the karmic link between them. The way I see it is that we all have the potential to have a karmic link as strong as a mother for her child, but due to other karma, this link is expressed or suppressed. If I can create the conditions I can make my connection with others as strong as with a mother for her child. If I train in affectionate love I can develop such a strong feeling of love that it will be able to overcome any negative actions others appear to be performing at the time.

I increased my determination to train in affectionate love and to both feel and shine the light of love.

Dedication

May all living beings train in affectionate love by remembering the kindness of all living beings, and thereby become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will note the kindness of others and remember the web of actions which assemble my comfortable western lifestyle, which I can enjoy with very little effort from my side.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate the strong feeling that all living beings are my mother, and then to meditate on this feeling in the light of actions and their effects.

I began the meditation my reminding myself of how in all my past lives I have had mothers, and in my current life, all these mothers are appearing to me as all other living beings. I then remembered my feeling from yesterday’s meditation whereby I felt complete equanimity towards all living beings.

I paused a moment to develop the feeling of equanimity again.

I then recognised all living beings as my mother, and it made perfect sense to regard all living beings in the same way. I thought ‘all living beings are my mother’ again and again.

I got the feeling that there were really only two people in the world – myself and my mother! Everyone else is simply an aspect of my mother. I felt this recognition and stayed with it for a while.

I then wondered what this recognition meant in the light of actions and their effects. Developing the recognition that all living beings are my mother (as well as being profound in its own right) is essential to my developing more profound minds such as universal compassion and bodhichitta. I have to generate this mental action to experience the result – therefore I must practice the whole Lamrim again and again. I stayed with this feeling of being in a chain of cause and effect, and then returned to the current place in the chain – the recognition that all living beings are my mother. I stayed with this recognition for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings come to recognise that all other living beings are literally their mother, and through this recognition become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will think ‘This person is my mother’ when I meet or think of anyone today.

The purpose of this meditation is to deepen our affectionate love further by remembering the kindness of all our mothers, and then reflecting on this kindness in the context of our precious human life.

I began by focusing on how my spiritual development is entirely dependent on the kindness of others. My kind mother supported me in my life choices, and they have led me to this point in my life, where I have a spiritual practice and great hope for the future. Had it not been for my mother, I would not be here today.

I let a strong feeling of appreciation and love grow in my heart towards her.

Then I thought about all the other mother beings in the world, and also about my previous meditations were I recognised that their appearances are deceptive. They appear to be completely separate from me, but in fact they are still my kind mothers. They are still helping me by acting as the objects of my practice – I can practice kindness, patience, giving and so forth towards them. Without them I would have no opportunity to do this, so they are incredibly kind. They are still giving me a precious gift, just as they did when they were my mother!

Once again I felt a deep sense of appreciation and love well up in my heart, towards all living beings. How kind they are – how essential they are!

I focused on this feeling of love for a while, and then asked myself: “What does this mean in the context of my precious human life?”. The presence of other living beings towards whom I can practice Dharma is a facet of my precious human life. It is an incredibly important facet because without them I would have no practical practice – just theory. I can create positive imprints continually by remembering their kindness, and this opportunity is completely due to my precious human life – rare and precious. I therefore recognised that although there appear to be many of them, all living beings are incredibly rare and precious. My feeling of love intensified, and I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop and perfect their affectionate love for others, and thereby attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remember that despite appearances, all living beings are my mother, and that just by being in my life, they give me the most precious gift – the ability to practice holy Dharma towards them.

 

Note- I have just Googled ‘precious gift’ to get an image for this post, only to find that Google thinks a precious gift is mostly handbags and hair straighteners!! Kadampas have a very different idea of what a precious gift is!

Meditation 1/9

The purpose of this meditation is to develop affectionate love for all living beings, remembering that they have all been our kind mother and they have all been very kind to us in the past.

I began the meditation by thinking about one particular statement in Geshe Kelsang Gyatso‘s recent book, Modern Buddhism:

When we were conceived, had out mother not wanted to keep us in her womb she could have had an abortion. If she had done so we would not now have this human life. Through her kindness she allowed us to stay in her womb and so we now enjoy a human life and experience all its advantages.

I thought about how true this is. My mother could have had an abortion. I had no absolute right to stay in her womb and feed off her body. She could just as easily evicted me and carried on with her life, her career, her interests. But she gave up all those hopes and dreams and instead became a mother and stayed at home looking after me.

I thought about how everything I now have is as a direct result of her decision to keep this complete stranger in her own body. That one decision has allowed me to come into this world and meet my Spiritual Guide – to come into contact with his teachings and to try to learn them myself.

I kept thinking about this one decision which gave me everything, and I felt a very deep appreciation for the kindness of my mother. As I contemplated my affectionate love for her, it felt as though my heart was with her. I concentrated on this feeling that my heart was with her, and I felt a very deep tranquil peace. My heart was not here in me, it was with her, and in its place was a deep tranquil peace. It felt beautiful and I stayed with the feeling and meaning for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop universal affectionate love and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will always remember my appreciation for the kindness of my mothers in keeping me in their womb, giving me a precious human life.

The purpose of this meditation is to help us develop affectionate love for all living beings.

I began the meditation by remembering that I have had countless past lives. I have been reborn continuously in samsara, and despite the fact I cannot remember these lives, they happened. I cannot remember my early years, but they happened. In each of these lives I had a mother who gave birth to me. Since I have had countless rebirths, I must have had countless mothers. Where are they now? They are all the living beings around me today.

I imagined the living beings I know at work, and in my social life, and I imagined that they were my mother in disguise. I remembered that they were actually my mother, despite both our appearances having changed since they were our actual mother. I thought about how they would weep if they could recognise me: all a mother wants to do is to be close to their child and know they are safe.

I focused on this feeling of being close to my mother. I focused on a feeling of closeness to others which I can achieve through simply being in contact or thinking about others.

I concentrated on this feeling of closeness for the rest of the meditation. It felt warm and protected, and full of love.

Dedication

May all living beings recognise their mother in everyone they see or think about, and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will regard everyone as my mother. As Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says in The New Meditation Handbook:

“If we regard all living beings as our mothers, we shall find it easy to develop pure love and compassion, our everyday relationships will become pure and stable, and we shall naturally avoid negative actions such as killing and harming living beings. Since it is so beneficial to regard all living beings as our mothers, we should adopt this way of thinking without hesitation.”

The purpose of this meditation is to develop the strong wish that everyone be happy, and to eventually develop the ability to achieve this.

I began the meditation by remembering my affectionate and cherishing love for others. I love them, and I think each and every one is special. I thought about how each of them cannot find true happiness in this world.  They long for happiness but they cannot find it, and they don’t understand how to create it. In their search, they create only suffering.

It seemed to me like they were a friendly bee stuck in a house, flying towards a window only to get bashed on the head by the glass.  Bees just want to be free, and fly towards the light, and don’t understand about the glass in the window. Because they have no idea about the cause of their suffering and the frustration of their wishes, they try again and again, getting hurt every time.

It seemed so sad and tragic. I developed the wish that all living beings become happy. I repeated the words: ‘May everyone be happy’ again and again. Slowly a feeling of calmness and openness came on me. I felt that my wish that all living beings could be happy was spreading throughout samsara, preparing it for my next meditation. I stayed with this feeing for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May everyone be happy – and attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.

Practice in the meditation break

I will wish everyone I meet to be happy, and regard them as an example of all living beings so that my wish indirectly applied to all living beings.

The purpose of this meditation is to enable us to generate a strong feeling of affectionate love for all living beings.

I began the meditation by thinking about how kind my mother of this life has been to me. When I was very small she looked after me constantly. She arranged my whole world so I was fed and clean and cared for. I just took it for granted that I would have clean clothes and food. She worked hard to put these things in place, whereas it hardly crossed my mind for a moment that they may not be there but for my mother. A long time has passed since she cared for me in this way, but she did it.

It is only now, as a parent, that I see all the things that a mother does for her child. Now that I have children of my own I can see how I have been cared for in the past by my mother.

She arranged not only food and clothes for me, but many other things which I was (and still am) completely unaware of. In the same way, other living beings are kind to me in ways I barely recognise. The workers who made this laptop I am typing on, and who generate the electricity I put into its battery are all very kind, because without their work, I would not be able to do my blog.

I reviewed the kindness of my mother, and the kindness of all living beings, and I asked myself how I should feel. How would I feel if someone had been very kind to me, done me many special favours, and looked after me? How would I feel if they did this with no expectation of repayment – purely out of concern for my wellbeing?

I would feel humble, grateful and appreciative. I would feel very well disposed to them, and feel a wish to give to them. I would be ‘leaning towards’ them in the wish to help them. I focused on this feeling of being appreciative and well disposed to all living beings, and a deep feeling of gratitude and love arose. I stayed with this wonderfully warm and expansive feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop affectionate love and attain enlightenment for the happiness of all.

Practice in the meditation break

I will look at all the objects around me and think of the work people did in order for me to use and enjoy them – from the person who made my sandwich this lunchtime to the person who dug out the clay to make the bricks for my house.

 

I began my meditation with a review of several previous meditations.  I remembered that in all my past lives I had been birthed by a mother who cared for me as if I was the most precious jewel in the universe.  She was so very kind to me without any hesitation, and she always held me dear in her heart, for the whole of her life.  I remembered that all living beings had been my mothers, and that they had all shown me the same kindness.  I remembered my affectionate love for all these mother beings: how special and important they are.

Then I considered how they suffer.  They take rebirths in samsara continually.  Every lifetime brings the sufferings of birth, sickness, ageing and death; the sufferings of having to encounter what they do not like, having to experience separation from what they like, and being unable to fulfil their wishes.  These living beings wish to be happy, but because they are born in samsara, this is impossible: in their blind search for happiness, they unknowingly create actions which are the cause for further suffering.

I visualised my Mum and Dad in front of me, with my family around them, and all other living beings around them.  I recognised each of them as being my kind mother, and at the same time recognised that they are all trapped in the prison of samsara, suffering continually.

After a while I began to see all of these beings in the aspect of (or in the shape of) a little girl, like my little girl: Little One. She was standing in rags, shoulders down, hands by her sides, crying.  Eyes mostly closed, tears rolling down her cheeks, mouth open, sobbing.  She was experiencing pain, fear and suffering.  She does not understand her suffering, what causes it, or how to stop it. So she does the only thing she can – stands there powerlessly and cries in her pain and despair.  I kept the recognition that she represented all living beings and that I love them, and that they are all suffering.

I dwelt on this image for a while, letting the meaning permeate my mind.

Then I developed the wish for her to be free from her suffering: for all living beings to be free from their suffering. It felt like a broad, powerful, overarching, stable force, reaching over all of samsara.  I stayed with this feeling of great compassion for the rest of the meditation.

I began this meditation by remembering the kindness of my mother of this life.  I owe my life to her.  Everything I experience and can achieve is because of her kindness.  If she had not wanted to have me, she could have had an abortion.  But she did not.

She carried me for nine months and went through great pain to give birth to me.  But instead of resenting me, she loved me and did everything she could for me.  She gave up so much so that I could have as much as she could give me.  Whether I was aware of it or not, she was always thinking of me and trying to arrange things for me.  She always tried to do what she thought was in my best interests because of her love for me.

Even now, when she is old and frail and has forgotten almost everything, she has not forgotten me, and always asks how I am.  Even now, she is still concerned for me, and is happy when I tell her that I am ok.

Considering this, I developed a feeling of affectionate love for her – a feeling that she is special, and that I want to take special care of her.

I then tried to broaden this contemplation out to encompass all living beings, who have been my kind mother in all my past lives.  But today I found that I lost the feeling that I had generated, so I just stayed on my present mother and the feeling of affectionate love.   I let the feeling fill my mind, like a large white sail billowing with affectionate love.  It felt gentle and tender, warm and comfortable.

I resolved to try and maintain this feeing throughout the day, and use the feeling in place of any other feelings I have towards the people around me.

 

Modern Buddhism

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