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The purpose of this meditation is to generate a determination to cherish others, and then to meditate on this determination in the light of renunciation – the wish to be completely free from the sufferings of samsara.

I began by calling to mind some text in The New Meditation Handbook, the significance of which I had not previously spotted. Geshe-la says that we cherish others when we want them to be happy. It’s as simple as that. If we have the thought ‘I want you to be happy’, then we are cherishing that person. When we think that this person’s happiness and freedom are important, we are cherishing them.

I thought about all the ways in which cherishing others is the cause of happiness. My immediate problems based on selfishness will all disappear. My relationships with others will improve. The lives of others and their mental peace will improve. They will feel loved and valued. I will feel a deep sense of satisfaction and happiness knowing that my life is being used for the most beneficial purpose possible – to help others.

I thought about how all the happiness in this world comes from wanting others to be happy, and stayed with that thought for the rest of the meditation. I felt very close to others, and part of a whole – a whole of humanity.

After a while of abiding in this peaceful and delightful feeling, I moved on to think about what this means in the light of the wish to be completely free from the sufferings of samsara. At first this seemed like a non-fit. Cherishing others is about developing Bodhichitta, which is the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all, whereas renunciation is the wish to be personally liberated from our own suffering alone. I thought about how liberation is attained, and I remembered that it is through the practice of the three higher trainings, including higher moral discipline. Cherishing others will certainly promote higher moral discipline, as we will refrain from actions which harm others. I thought about this link for a while and then returned my mind to the wish to cherish others, knowing that this wish will help me attain both liberation and enlightenment.

Dedication

May all living beings want others to be happy, and thereby progress along the supramundane path to enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember my mind of wanting others to be happy. Geshe-la says that if we maintain this mind, our actions will naturally be positive and helpful. I will try to faithfully fulfil his prediction.

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

I began the meditation by calling to mind one of the most moving pictures I have seen. A Facebook friend posted a picture of a beautiful young woman just a few moments after giving birth. She is cradling a small, bluish little baby next to her skin. She holds it tenderly in both arms. She looks down into the baby’s face with an almost indescribable look of tenderness and complete love. She has a tear running down her cheek. This little baby has caused her immense inconvenience and pain, yet she looks on it as if it were the most precious thing in the world. If she was offered a car, a house, or a fortune in money, nothing would tempt her to give up her baby. You can see it in her face: ‘I will look after you and love you forever’.

I imagined she was my mother, looking on me like that. I felt very humble and full of gratitude. I was moved to tears (as I am now, writing this). I stayed with this feeling of gratitude and slowly it developed into the wish to repay that kindness – the wish for my mother to be happy. I wanted to give her whatever I could so that she would be happy.

I then remembered my previous meditation where I became convinced that all living beings have shown me the same kindness.

I developed a loving feeling to all living beings, wishing them all to be happy because of the great debt of gratitude I have for them. I stayed with this feeling of affectionate love for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May everyone develop universal affectionate love, and thereby quickly attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remember the face of the young mother, and remember that all everyone I meet has looked on me with that expression, and thought about me in the same way. I will maintain affectionate love for everyone.

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 overcome our normal, unbalanced view of other people, and replace it with a feeling of warm friendliness. Our unbalanced views are the main obstacles to us developing unbiased love, compassion and bodhichitta.

I began the meditation by thinking about how I view others. I normally maintain a pretty balanced view of others, and usually maintain a warm friendly manner. But if I am honest, there are some people who I find it easier to be friendly to than others.  I decided that I needed to be clear about the need to be absolutely equally friendly to everyone.

It struck me that this was such a simple and energy saving way to live! Instead of developing negative views of people and holding on to dislike and resentment, and having to maintain these energy sapping emotions, I can simply be warm and friendly to everyone, and be happy! Treating everyone equally warmly will mean I will be happy all the time.

I focused on this feeling of being happy, warm and friendly for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings abandon distorted views of others, and come to realise equanimity in their own minds, and ultimately become enlightened beings.

Practice in the meditation break

In the break I will make a specific determination to behave in a warm and friendly manner towards everyone I meet.

Modern Buddhism

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