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The purpose of this meditation is to generate a feeling of wishing to purify our negativity and to accumulate a vast amount of merit on the basis of our understanding of karma. Then we can look at what this means in light of the advantages of cherishing others.

I began with some breathing meditation and then moved on to the main topic.

I started by thinking about what karma means. All the appearances I perceive arise from my karma. The virtuous actions I have created in the past lead to pleasant appearances and experiences. Conversely, negative actions lead to unpleasant results. I thought about how all my appearances are not ‘real’ or ‘out there’, but are actually projections from my own mind. I felt like I was in a sort of virtual reality simulation, where appearances arose around me – they appeared real, but lacked any inherent existence at all.

I realised that it is pointless to get angry or try to change these appearances. Getting angry with people is like getting angry with clouds – it makes no sense. Instead of reacting to projected images, I should think about what I can do with the projector itself. My very subtle mind projects all these images, and if I can purify my karma and not perform any more impure actions, I can purify my projector. Slowly, all my appearances will become pure – a pure body, with pure enjoyments in a pure environment.

I imagined my mind becoming steadily more pure because of my purification and virtuous actions, until I felt completely pure. Once I experienced this, I focused on it as constantly as I could.

After a while, I wondered what this meant in light of the advantages of cherishing others. It was clear straight away that basis of all my virtuous actions can be the wish to cherish others. This thought will purify my negativities and keep my actions virtuous – it is my method!

With this thought, I returned to the feeling of purifying my very subtle mind of all negativities, and stayed with that delightful feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings understand the law of karma, and through this realisation quickly become enlightened beings for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to keep my actions pure, and use the four opponent powers to purify my negative karma.

The purpose of this meditation is to familiarise ourself with the way in which things really exist, as opposed to the way they appear to exist.

I began the meditation by considering my body. It normally appears as a single entity existing from its own side, under it’s own power.

I followed the route of investigation given by Geshe-la in many of his books. I began by looking for my body in its parts. Whenever I look at my body, I am looking at a part of my body, not my body itself. I concluded that the individual parts of my body are not my body, because if they were then I would have lots of bodies.

I then stepped back and asked if the collection of the parts of my body is my body? All I can see is still parts of my body. I might have designated these parts as ‘my body’, but that does not change the fact that there is nothing actually new here – no single entity I can identify as ‘body’. The collection of parts of my body is just parts. There is no body, other than the name I have given to the collection of the parts.

Finally I checked if my body was separate from the parts of my body. Clearly, this is not the case as I must be seeing one or more the parts of my body in order to see my body.

I checked everywhere that my body might be, and I proved to myself that it is not there. Therefore I have proved that the body I normally see does not exist. I felt an empty space where this inherently existent body once was – a clear and peaceful space. I let my mind dwell on that space for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings recognise the emptiness of inherent existence of all phenomena, and thereby attain the state of enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember that despite appearances, the things I normally see are like rainbows. Although they appear to exist independently, they are in fact completely empty of inherent existence. Through this recognition I will try to prevent them disturbing my mind.

The purpose of this meditation is to become familiar with the true nature of reality – its emptiness of real or inherent existence.

I began the meditation by considering how my ‘me’ or ‘I’ appears to my mind. When I glance at a rose, a rose appears clearly to my mind. It is a rose – a single discrete entity. But when I spend more than a moment looking at the rose it vanishes completely, and all I can see are its parts – its petals, stem, thorns etc. The same happens when I try to find my ‘I’. It appears so strongly to me normally, when I am talking to others. It appears very strongly when I am being criticised, or when I feel embarrassed. But as soon as I try to look for it, it vanishes like the rose.

I tried not to look too hard, but to see my ‘I’. I wanted to try to see it clearly, but not look too hard at it. I slowly gained an impression of an entity which had the physical shape of my body but embodied everything about me. It took a long time to come, and it was not very clear, but I definitely got something. I tried to hold it in my mind without examining it further, to gain familiarity with it.

Dedication

May all living beings find the door which leads out of samsara – the door of emptiness, and attain full enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the meditation break

I will try to perceive how my ‘I’ appears normally to my mind and do my best to remember the appearance so that I can use it in future meditations.

I began the meditation by thinking about how my body normally appears to me.

It is so obvious and so ‘present’ that it seems strange to even question its existence.  So I began with visualising it – seeing it like I do in a full length mirror.  That was the visual part, but my body seems to me to be far more than just a physical lump of flesh.

I imagined myself standing on weighing scales in the bathroom, and seeing the needle telling me how much my body weighs.  I tried to identify the thing that I am so proud of when it weighs a little less than normal, and the thing I am disappointed with and averse to when it weighs a little more than normal.  I got a feeling for how I normally conceptualise my body and combined that with my visualisation – giving it an extra dimension.

Then I started to look for this ‘body’ I normally see.  I normally see a body that is a unit – a singular entity: my body. It exists separately from everything else.  I looked harder at this body and realised that I could only see parts of my body.  I did not see a singular entity, although that is what I normally perceive.  I kept looking and confirmed that there was no single body, just parts.

What happened next is a little difficult to put into words. I sort of saw the parts of my body ‘move a little to the left’ and I ‘saw’ the inherent existence of my body ‘move a little to the right’ and in the middle was a sort of patch of emptiness.  It was not nothing.  It was a lack of my body parts, and a lack of the inherent existence of my body.  This patch of emptiness was where they should have been. All three were in my perception at the same time.

I then moved into the emptiness and tried to stay there.  I felt an expansive clear feeling, knowing that this related to my body, but that it had no boundaries, form, colour etc.  It was very calm and peaceful – very pleasant.

I stayed with this for the rest of the meditation.

It is another beautiful day outside my window this morning.  There is definitely something about the stillness and the quality of the light in the early morning this time of year which is special. And conducive to my meditations.

Modern Buddhism

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