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The purpose of this meditation is to develop the strong wish to attain tranquil abiding, and then to see that this means in light of wishing love.

I began with dissolving my Guru into my heart, and then letting his stillness and stability slowly fill my body and mind. After enjoying this beautiful feeling for a while, I moved on…

I began my thinking about tranquil abiding. What is tranquil abiding? It is a concentration which effortlessly remains focused on its object. Tranquil abiding is a prerequisite for all the other spiritual attainments. Before I can develop spontaneous Bodhichitta and enter the five Mahayana Paths, I must attain tranquil abiding.

I imagined a massive mountain which I was climbing. Like in a dream, I could not really see the mountain, but I knew it. There was a path up the mountain. Higher up, this path became the first Mahayana Path, the Path of Accumulation. Higher still the path turned into the other Mahayana Paths – the Paths of Preparation, Seeing, Meditation, and finally, at the summit, it turned into the Path of No More Learning – the state of unsurpassed, perfect and complete enlightenment.

I was well below the Path of Accumulation, climbing steadily, until I reached a small plateau, and there in front of me was myself, sitting in meditation, facing out towards me. My other self had attained tranquil abiding, and was sitting in perfect meditative equipoise, waiting for me. I knew I had to attain tranquil abiding if I wanted to climb any higher, so I sat down in front of my other self, and focused on the wish to attain tranquil abiding. I realised there was a pool of water between us, and I imagined my thought of wishing to attain tranquil abiding entering the pool and dissolving into the water, so that it became completely mixed. At that point, it felt like I was completely and totally the wish to attain tranquil abiding. It was all-encompassing and nothing else appeared to my mind except that thought. Kept my mind in that state for as long as I could, and when my attention began to move away, I reminded myself that I need to become the ‘me’ with tranquil abiding if I want to climb higher – I then dissolved my mind into the pool again, re-established the feeling of the wish to attain tranquil abiding, and repeated this for the rest of the meditation…

After a while, I thought about what this means in terms of wishing love.

If I want to fulfil my wishing love, I need to climb the mountain and follow the five Mahayana Paths, and to do that, I need tranquil abiding. It is essential. With this in mind, I once again re-established the scene on the mountainside, with myself and my double sitting together, preparing for the climb, and I settled into that blissful mind for the rest of my time.

Dedication

Through the virtues I have accumulated by generating the wish to attain tranquil abiding, may all living beings find the opportunity to practice in the same way, and quickly attain the Path of No More Learning for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

During the meditation, it seemed to me that tranquil abiding would seem very easy once it had been attained. It would feel like I would be able to know, all the time, what my mind was focused on, and I would be deciding how long I would focus on it, and what I would focus on next. I would be ‘in the moment’ at all times, always aware and present. I would be able to firmly face and avert any delusions which developed in my mind, and direct my mind towards virtue. I would be in complete control.

I will try to keep this understanding in my mind today, and keep my natural enthusiasm to attain this mind, because it sounds so good.

The purpose of this meditation is to try and focus on establishing a very tranquil and concentrated mind, and then to meditate on this in the light of actions and their effects.

I began the meditation by thinking about my previous meditation – the calm centre and the wish to perform virtuous actions to help all living beings. I re-established this feeling and then settled into it, trying to focus on it with strong concentration. Every time my mind wandered off the topic, I brought it back and renewed my determination to keep my attention sharp and continuous.  I kept doing this for the rest of the meditation until I decided to reflect on what this concentration means in the light of actions and their effects.

What will be the effect of developing tranquil abiding – the most perfect level of concentration? With tranquil abiding I will be able to hold objects firmly and clearly in my mind without any wavering. Geshe-la makes the analogy of a candle flame in The New Meditation Handbook. He says that if we try to see something in the light of a candle flame in a draught, the light will flicker and it will be difficult to see the object properly and as a whole. If our concentration is like this, then we will never be able to fully understand our objects of meditation. If we protect the flame so it can burn steadily, it will illuminate the object properly so we can see it clearly. In the same way, the effect of developing tranquil abiding will be to have a level of concentration which enables us to see our object of meditation clearly and completely, so we can gain perfect understanding of it.

Therefore tranquil abiding is an essential quality of mind we must attain. I determined to try my best to develop this level of concentration myself, and returned to my original object of meditation – Bodhichitta.

Dedication

May all living beings come to develop tranquil abiding and through this special concentration become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to keep my attention focused on the here and now, so I can do the same more easily in meditation.

The purpose of this meditation is to train in tranquil abiding – the perfectly focused concentration, and then reflect on this concentration in the light of our refuge practice.

I began by calming my mind, imagining a pin, point upwards, infront of myself, and my attention focused on the point of the pin. Every time my attention wandered away from the pinhead, I brought it back.  Once I had my mind under reasonably good control, I brought to mind my object of meditation: Bodhichitta.

To become a Buddha form the benefit of everyone is the most meaningful thing I can do with my human life. Up until now all I have done are things that an animal can do. Animals can find food, make homes and procreate. I need to make my life meaningful so I do not grow old full of regrets about a wasted life.

I have the instructions and I have the relationship with my Spiritual Guide. I also have the help and support of Sangha (and online Sangha too).

I concentrated on this wish to become a Buddha, and what it means. But this wish seemed to be ‘out there’ on the tip of the needle, and my mind seemed to be ‘over here’ observing the thought of Bodhichitta. I moved my mind forwards and it mixed with Bodhichitta, so that I experienced ‘360 degree’ Bodhichitta. It was clear to me that my mind and my world should be filled with this constant wish to become a Buddha. My mind should always have this thought, and everything I see or experience in my world should act as a reminder to me.

I remained concentrated on Bodhichitta for the rest of the meditation, until I decided to see what tranquil abiding  means in the light of refuge practice. I go for refuge to the Dharma, and also the methods and techniques for creating the Dharma Jewels themselves in my mind. Buddha has revealed the nature of mind and how to purify it, and I must follow the instructions, just like all the Sangha Jewels have done. I focused on this wish to perfect my tranquil abiding for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings perfect their concentration and create perfect Dharma Jewels in their minds, thereby becoming Buddhas for the Benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to maintain ‘360 degree’ Bodhichitta, and try to keep my mind focused on whatever it is I am doing, remaining watchful of wandering. I will also remember that every meditation is an opportunity to train in tranquil abiding

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a very stable level of concentration, with the intention to perfect this concentration to the level of tranquil abiding.

I began by re-establishing the mind of Bodhichitta from yesterday using the same line of thought.

I then asked Geshe-la to show me what it meant to be a Buddha. Immediately the thought came to my mind that to be a Buddha means to purify our mind of delusions and distractions, and attain perfect virtuous concentration. The attainment of tranquil abiding is fundamental to this achievement.

I decided to imagine I already have this level of concentration. Immediately I had a very open, clear and concentrated feeling, focused on the wish to become enlightened for the benefit of all.

I felt very clean and serene, and I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then decided to see that this meant in the context of my precious human life. I found that this possibility to attain tranquil abiding (and then to enter the mahayana paths) depends completely on my precious human life. My human life is precious, rare and meaningful, and therefore so it this potential to attain tranquil abiding. I strengthened my wish to become a Buddha with the wish to attain tranquil abiding, and make my human life meaningful. I stayed with this feeling of determination for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings gain the union of special insight and quiescence, and thereby become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to keep a pure intention all day, and constantly question whether my thoughts and actions are leading me towards that goal.

Meditation 1/19

The purpose of this meditation is to improve our meditation technique in search of the most perfect concentration of all – tranquil abiding.

I began the meditation by paying particular attention to my mind. Whenever I lost my object I returned my attention to bodhichitta, my object of tranquil abiding.

It seemed to me that one moment I was focused clearly on the object, and then almost the next moment I was wandering in distracting thoughts. I tried to trace how my thoughts had got to where they were, from the object of meditation.

I thought that my distraction is rather like falling off a peak of conentration into superficially interesting thoughts. It was like when I had my object, I was sitting on top of a beautiful snow covered peak, surrounded by clear, empty blue sky, with the object clearly in front of me.

Then all of a sudden I would have fallen far, far below, wandering through valleys of distraction moving further away from the peak.

Once I noticed my mind was wandering, I brought it back up to the peak and there, waiting for me, was the object.

But then, fairly soon, my mind was wandering again in the valleys of distraction.

I found it infuriating that it was difficult to spot when my mind became distracted from the object. It was like when I fall asleep. When I fall asleep, I don’t notice when I actually enter the sleeping state – I just go blank and the next thing I know I am dreaming.

I realised there is real danger in this blank period, and that I need to keep checking my concentration with alertness, and not just get lost in the object.

I returned my mind once more to Bodhichitta, and imagined I was at the peak of my snow mountain, renewing my determination to remain on my object, and renewing my determination to become a Buddha for the benefit of all.

Dedication

May all living beings develop perfect concentration, and become enlightened for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

Whatever I do – I must watch out for mind wandering, and return my mind to the task at hand whenever I notice it happening.

 

Modern Buddhism

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