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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 purify our self-cherishing and negative actions, and to accumulate merit. In particular it will help us in our compassionate actions of helping others.
I began the meditation by quickly establishing a mind of Great Compassion: wishing that all living beings could be free from their suffering. I thought about a work colleague who has just had a miscarriage, and how she and her family must be suffering right now.
I took the decision that I will relieve their suffering. I imagined their suffering as clouds of black smoke, rising and swirling from their minds and coming to me. I imagined this smoke rising from all living beings trapped in the prison of samsara.
The smoke came into my heart and gathered there. Then, as it became more and more concentrated, it dissolved into my delusion of self-cherishing and destroyed it completely.
I focused on the following points:
- I have removed all the current suffering from all living beings
- I have removed all the causes for the future suffering of all living beings
- I have removed the cause of my current suffering; my self-cherishing mind
- Without self-cherishing I will not commit negative actions, so I have removed the cause of my future suffering
I considered these points and slowly a feeling of profound joy arose in my mind. It felt powerful and expansive, and completely joyous. I focused on this feeling for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings develop the superior intention of removing the suffering of all living beings, and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will imagine, on my in-breath, that the sufferings of all living beings come into my heart in the aspect of black smoke, and destroy my self-cherishing mind, freeing us all from suffering.
The purpose of this meditation is to develop the strong wish that all living beings can be freed from their suffering.
I began the meditation by quickly thinking about who living beings are. They are all my mothers from previous lives. They have all been very kind to me in the past and continue to be kind even now. I have resolved to cherish them more than I cherish myself. I will do anything for them.
Then I considered their situation. They have shown me such great kindness despite being tormented by sadness and suffering themselves. They are victims of the sufferings of birth, ageing, sickness and death: they cannot free themselves from unpleasant situations, and they find themselves constantly separated from pleasant situations. Finally, they all suffer the great heartache of not fulfilling their wishes.
I considered this and I felt so sorry for them.
They have been so kind and yet they suffer so much. It seemed so unfair. This suffering will continue for their entire lives, and then constantly again and again in life after live. Slowly there arose a feeling of an injustice – an imbalance. I developed the strong wish that this wrong should be righted. I thought ‘how wonderful it would be if all these suffering beings could be freed from their suffering’. I focused on this thought and felt like I was right up against this imbalance, wishing it be resolved. I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings develop compassion for all other living beings, and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will remember that despite their brave faces, all living beings are constantly suffering, and that this is a tragically unfair injustice.
The purpose of this meditation is to generate a strong wish that all living beings be freed from their suffering. This wish is compassion.
I began the meditation by thinking about my neighbours. Next door is separated and has a hard time raising unruly twins. Next door the other way are a retired couple – his mother has recently died, and he has had a hard time with that and making arrangements to sell his mother’s house. Across the road the lady lost her husband a few years ago and she is alone. I went through all my neighbours and thought about the suffering in their lives – the deep underlying suffering and dissatisfaction they experience. It seemed like, although the neighbourhood seems pretty happy and fulfilled, each person is experiencing deep suffering.
I thought about all the people in the world, who are all in a similar situation. Despite external appearances, to a greater or lesser extent they are all experiencing suffering. I thought about the fact that this suffering goes on life after life. And the more people struggle to find happiness the more they create the causes for future suffering, because their actions are controlled by their delusions of anger, jealousy, attachment etc.
It seemed like I was looking down at a diabolical spiral of living beings, all caught up in a steady descent into further, greater suffering. I recognised that samsara was a method to steadily increase the suffering of living beings, life after life, without end or mercy. I felt like I was with them, and each of their black hearts, filled with suffering, was with me. I tried to feel their suffering as if it were mine. I stayed with this feeling for a while.
Then I developed the wish that they could be freed from their suffering. I felt a strong, deep wish for them to be free. I felt like, if an infinitely strong wish could free them, then my wish was strong enough. I remained on this wish for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings develop great compassion, and attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Practice in the meditation break
I will watch for the suffering of others, and wish for them to be freed. I will see them as an example of the suffering of all living beings, and generate a mind of great compassion.
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.