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The purpose of this meditation is to generate a deep feeling of fear – fear of what will happen after this life ends.
I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation and then brought to mind the contemplation:
When the oil in a lamp is exhausted the flame will go out. This is because the flame is caused by the oil. But when the body dies the mind is not extinguished because the body does not produce the mind. When I sleep my mind experiences dreams. When I die, my mind will experience another life as real as my dreams seem to be. I cannot control where I go when I dream, and likewise I cannot control where I will be reborn. I could easily be reborn in a hell realm, or as an animal.
I thought about these points and I realised that I have no control over where I will be reborn. I have no idea when I will die, but when that happens, I will slip into my next life without control. I am in danger. I repeated the thought ‘I am in danger’ again and again, and I felt afraid. I focused on this feeling of fear for the rest of the meditation, re-establishing it when it faded or I lost my focus.
May all beings realise that they are in danger – danger of lower rebirth, and find refuge in the Three Jewels and their own virtuous actions.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to remain aware that I am in danger.
ps, yesterday’s post about death did not upload because my app crashed. Sorry!
The purpose of this meditation is to develop an urgent wish that all living beings be freed from their suffering quickly.
“No-one wants to suffer, yet out of ignorance living beings create suffering by performing non-virtuous actions.”
I thought about how kind all other living beings have been to me, and how much I care for them. Then I thought about their actions, and how, because they simply do not understand the karmic connections between their actions and their experiences, they engage in acts of lying, killing and covetousness which only cause them immense suffering in the future. I though about how tragic it was.
I thought about how living beings are like children wandering into danger’s way without realising. They are not stupid: they just don’t recognise the danger they are putting themselves in. An image came to mind of seeing children playing on a railway track. I felt horror in the knowledge that as they happily played, a train was coming towards them at great speed, and would kill them all. I felt a deep horror and concern for them. I felt a deep wish for them to leave the place of danger and find a place of safety.
I focused on this very strong wish for them to come away from the danger and find safety. I stayed with this wish for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings develop Great Compassion for all living beings, and through this mother, be born as Buddhas.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will maintain the sincere wish that all living beings be freed from their suffering, and make prayers for them when I see or think of their suffering.
The purpose of this meditation is to encourage us to seek protection from the dangers of lower rebirth.
In Modern Buddhism, Geshe-la says that it is easier for us to attain enlightenment when we have a precious human life than it is for an animal to attain a human life. Following on from my previous meditation I remembered that this life will definitely come to an end, and when it does, if I take rebirth in a lower realm, my special opportunity to attain enlightenment will be lost.
I thought about this point over and over again. I developed a strong wish for my opportunity to not be lost. This special chance I have to attain enlightenment felt very fragile. I thought again and again ‘I don’t want to lose this opportunity’.
I developed a fear of losing this precious opportunity to make my life meaningful, and settled on this feeling as my object of meditation.
May all living beings recognise the dangers of lower rebirth, and use this wisdom to attain Enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try not to take this life for granted, and remember that when it ends, I will lose my opportunity to make my lives truly meaningful.
I began the meditation by recognising that one of the ways of making my Refuge powerful is to contemplate the dangers of lower rebirth. The more I feel the danger of lower rebirth, the more powerful my Refuge will be.
So I began thinking about what appears to my mind at the moment, and whether I have any control over it. At the moment, objects appear to my mind and I have no control. I have no control over whether I get sick, whether my family or friends get sick, whether I will be involved in an accident today. I have no control over these things.
I remembered that my death will be another appearance to my mind, and I don’t have any choice over that either.
Then I thought about what will appear to my mind after my death. I have vast amounts of negative karma on my mental continuum and it is this karma which will probably ripen at my death. This will send me into the lower realms, where only horrible and painful things appear to my mind. My next life will be filled with pain and turmoil.
I let these thoughts roll around in my mind for a while, seeing how these appearances are beyond my control, and depend on my karma. I got the feeling of being on a slide, going down. I was sliding down towards lower rebirth, and the sides were very smooth so I could not stop myself. I felt hopelessness and fear as I slide further down into darkness. It was a dreadful feeling. I stayed with the feeling for the rest of the meditation.
May the merit I have accumulated by doing this meditation lead to my realising the dangers of lower rebirth, and also lead to the enlightenment of myself and all other living beings.
Practice in the meditation break
I will try to maintain this feeling of fear, remembering that it comes from my wisdom rather than my ignorance. It will also be my guide in avoiding non-virtuous action. I will also try to purify my negative karma by applying for four powers to all my virtuous actions – the power of regret, the power of reliance, the power of the opponent force and the power of the promise.
I began the meditation by considering that I could die at any time, and that when I die my consciousness will continue, because my mind is not produced by my body.
I considered that in my next life I may be born in the lower realms – as an animal, a hungry ghost or as a hell being. I reviewed the sufferings of these beings, and that they find it very difficult to generate virtuous minds or act in virtuous ways. They suffer and they create the causes for future suffering.
I considered that I want to avoid these sufferings – seriously avoid these sufferings. I remembered that there are ways to avoid these sufferings – to accumulate merit, to purify negativities and to receive the blessings of holy beings.
But the main point of the meditation is to develop fear of rebirth in the lower realms, so I rolled this idea around my mind.
I naturally felt a very uncomfortable feeling and I stayed with it for the rest of the meditation.
I had a very early start this morning which meant I could not do my meditation at my normal time. I fitted it in during the evening after tea. It was lovely because I had spent most of the day looking forward to getting on my cushion and chilling out!