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The purpose of this meditation is to develop the firm wish to become a Buddha, so that we can attain the actual ability to help all living beings.

I began the meditation by remembering my compassion for all living beings and my wish that they could find true happiness. I remembered my practice of taking and giving, and the joy I felt at being able help all living beings. Then I recognised that in order to actually do this, I need to become a Buddha.

As Geshe-la says in Eight Steps to Happiness:

“Only a Buddha is free from all faults and limitations and has both the omniscient wisdom and the skill to help each and every sentient being in accordance with his or her individual needs and dispositions.”

I thought about how wonderful it would be if I could become a Buddha and help all living beings. It seemed to me that if I could really achieve the ability to help all living beings, then I need to do it without delay. How could I even think about anything else? Everything I do needs to be helping achieve that result.

I let my mind focus on this wish to become a Buddha for the benefit of all. I felt full of determination and resolve, to achieve the only completely worthwhile aim. I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop the precious mind of Bodhichitta, the wish to become a Buddha, and may they realise that wish.

Practice in the Meditation Break

In Eight Steps to Happiness, Geshe-la explains that we should transform all our daily activities into the spiritual path. We should transform our lives into the path to enlightenment. Mundane activities are only mundane if they are undertaken with a mundane mind. Therefore I will try to mix my actions with the Six Perfections from now on.

The purpose of this meditation is to gain the actual power to bestow happiness upon all living beings.

I began the meditation by generating cherishing love. I remembered that everyone has been my kind mother in the past and I owe them all the happiness and opportunity I now have. I remembered my determination to cherish them and to abandon my self-cherishing. I thought about what it means to cherish someone. According to Geshe-la in Eight Steps to Happiness, cherishing love is the view that others are precious and important, which arises naturally on the basis of affectionate love, which is a mind devoid of attachment which sees others as pleasant, likeable or beautiful.

I thought about cherishing love – I have cherishing love naturally for my children. They naturally appear to me as pleasant, likeable and beautiful. They naturally seem to be precious and important.

Then I thought about how my children will not be able to find true happiness in samsara. They will see the appearance of true happiness all around them, but, as if it were a rainbow, when they try to attain the happiness they clearly saw, it will disappear. There is no true happiness in samsara. It seemed to me that whichever way they turned they failed to find true happiness. Even the very rare and special things which give happiness for most of a lifetime, such as a faithful partner, disappear in the end, and in the next life these two lovers will not recognise each other – how tragic.

Based on my cherishing love, and my recognition that they cannot find true everlasting happiness in samsara, I developed a strong wish that they find happiness. I wished with all my heart that they could find it. They are so precious, so kind – may they be happy.

I focused on my children to get a good strong feeling, and then broadened it to all living beings – may everyone be happy.

I felt like I was holding them, like I hold my children when they are crying. I gently soothed them. They said: ‘I can’t find it! It’s not here’. I said in response ‘I will help you find it’. I focused on this feeling of holding them and wanting them to find true happiness for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May everyone be happy, and find the true happiness of Nirvana.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to help others skilfully today by bringing Dharma wisdom into my words, wishing them to find true happiness, and trying to lead them on the spiritual path.

The purpose of this meditation is to completely abandon self-cherishing and to cherish only others.

I began the meditation by thinking about what Geshe-la says in his book, Eight Steps to Happiness:

“Those who are now Buddhas saw the futility of working for their own purpose and decided to work for others instead.”

This simple phrase held so much meaning. Those who are now Buddhas were once just like me now. Just like me they searched for happiness within samsara’s sufferings. Eventually they realised that cherishing others is the way to happiness, and they abandoned self-cherishing. They became Buddhas because of this decision.

I thought that I too shall make this decision. I too will abandon self-cherishing and from now on only cherish others. It felt like I was walking in line with the other beings who are in the process of becoming Buddhas. I was in step with them, progressing with them – we were to become Buddhas. I recalled the Bodhisattva Vows:

“Just  as all the other Sugatas generated the mind of enlightenment, and accomplished all the stages of the Bodhisattva training, so will I too for the sake of all beings, generate the mind of enlightenment, and accomplish all the stages of the Bodhisattva training.”

I kept my mind on the idea that I shall abandon self-cherishing and cherish only others, like the beings walking with me, and together we will become Buddhas. I felt like I was moving towards purity, leaving self-cherishing and all its sufferings behind me. I felt wonderfully optimistic, happy and peaceful. I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings exchange self with others, and attain the state of an enlightened being for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

Geshe-la gives a special practice in Eight Steps to Happiness. He says we should try to see things from other people’s point of view, and imagine as strongly as we can that we are them. I will attempt to do this in my meditation break.

The purpose of this meditation is to gain thorough familiarity with the benefits of cherishing others.

I began the meditation by remembering that cherishing others is the cause of all the happiness in the world. That is quite a statement. Can it really be that simple?

I thought about pushing away all the things that I normally associate with being happy, or rather the attachment to them. So gadgets, food, possessions, time for selfish activities – I mentally pushed them away as sources of happiness. They also bring so many problems and complications.

I then turned my attention to cherishing others. If I cherish others my relationships with they will be harmonious. My time with them will be easy and happy. If they are unkind to me, I will not be upset.

I thought about how, when someone disagrees with me, I can instantly feel a dipping in my cherishing for them, quickly turning to dislike. That is my self-cherishing at work. Just because someone disagrees with me, there is no particular reason to start to dislike them! That will just cause more problems.

If I cherish people sincerely, I will not even forgive them for their negative actions, because I will recognise there is nothing to forgive. As Geshe-la says in Eight Steps to Happiness, living beings have no faults! How is this so? Because any negative actions they perform are really the fault of their delusions.

If living beings were free from their delusions and saw the results of their actions clearly, they would never choose to act in negative ways. So there is never any reason to become angry with others because of their actions – we should cherish everyone all the time. (I would just add that we do need to protect people from negative actions from time to time – we need to lock up murderers to keep everyone else safe and to stop them committing more negative actions, but in a civilised society their punishment is being locked up – there is no need to develop hatred or anger towards them).

I thought about how, if I can fill my mind with the wish to cherish others, my whole experience will be that of cherishing. My whole world will be pervaded by cherishing love.

I decided to let my mind abide in this idea that all the happiness in the world comes from cherishing others, and my mind was filled with a beautiful feeling of cherishing love for everyone.

Dedication

May all living beings realise that all the happiness in the world comes from cherishing others, and thereby attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

We have a houseful of guests this weekend so I will have many opportunities to cherish others with whom I already have a good relationship. This is a great opportunity for me to familiarise my mind with cherishing others, and a great preparation for my practice of cherishing those with whom I have a less good relationship.

The purpose of this meditation is to allow us to develop cherishing love for all living beings equally.

I began the meditation by recalling what Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says in his book Eight Steps to Happiness:

“We should begin by trying to cherish our parents, family and close friends, and then extend this feeling to people in our community. Gradually we can increase the scope of our cherishing until it includes all sentient beings.

It is important to begin with our immediate circle because if we try to love all sentient beings in a general way, whilst neglecting to cherish the specific individuals with whom we associate, our cherishing will be abstract and inauthentic.”

I made a determination to equalise my self cherishing with my cherishing for my family and friends. I thought about how very kind they have all been to me and how they are just like me, in the sense that they are trapped in the sufferings of samsara.

I felt a deep wish to help them and love them. I wanted to keep them safe and protected in the same way that I want to keep myself safe and protected.

I felt that my own self cherishing was like a wall around me, stopping me reaching others. I visualised the wall reducing in size so it was equal to others somehow, allowing me to cherish others in the same way I cherish myself. I felt a flow of love between myself and others, and a deep warm peace in my heart. I remained focused on this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings equalise their self cherishing with their cherishing for others, and become perfect Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remember the kindness of others, especially my family and friends, generate a sincere cherishing love for them, and try to hold that feeling all day.

Modern Buddhism

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