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The purpose of this meditation is to generate renunciation – the wish to abandon samsara.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation in order to settle my mind and open it up to the blessings of the Buddhas.

fountain-of-lightI then started by thinking of how humans are present in one realm of samsara, and all other sentient beings are in one of the other five realms. At death, they take rebirth in any of the six realms, and live out another life full of suffering, one way or another. I contemplated something like the diagram of the Wheel of Life, with the living beings moving constantly from realm to realm. As I thought about it, I felt the restlessness of it all, the constant churning and anxiety of it all. I let my attention rest on this for a while and really felt the unsatisfactoriness of this mode of existence.

After a while, I let myself be filled with the desire for this to stop. To find ‘supreme inner peace’. To have the cycle of birth, death and rebirth finally come to an end forever, and to abide in perfect stillness and contentment. I developed the thought of how good it would be to experience continual peace and stillness, and I focused on this for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings find peace and stillness.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will watch my mind – movement and change bring anxiety – stillness and peace bring deep happiness. I will try to keep my mind still and peaceful.

The purpose of this meditation is to contemplate the benefits of relying upon a Spiritual Guide in order to generate a very strong feeling of wishing to rely upon him, and then to meditate on this wish in light of the kindness of all living beings.

I began with some breathing meditation, and drew an image from the teacher at a day course I attended yesterday. He said that inner peace felt as stable as a high mountain, and as deep and calm as an ocean. I let my mind mix with the idea of a massive stable mountain and a vast still ocean, and my mind was slowly filled with a wonderful deep feeling of inner peace. I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then moved on to the main topic, which is a feeling of sincere reliance upon my Spiritual Guide. The New Meditation Handbook gives nine benefits of relying upon a qualified Spiritual Guide, and I recalled them one at a time, generating the wish to attain each of the benefits as I thought of them. After going through the benefits individually I then thought of all of them as a whole, and generated the wish to attain all these benefits. It was like nothing else mattered and I did not want anything else in the whole world – these benefits were more meaningful than anything else I can possible wish for. I stayed with this wish for a while, and then moved back from it with the thought that these benefits all stem from one wish – the wish to rely completely upon my Spiritual Guide.

I thought of Geshe-la. I had the feeling of reaching out to him with my heart and forming a connection with him. I thought about how he exists. He has a body which I cannot meet or see at the moment. But he also manifests in his books. I have his books here in my house. In that sense, he is right here with me now. To rely on him, and hear his words, all I need to to is open his books and read. I had an image of my dharma books seeming to glow with the life of my Spiritual Guide and I felt very close to him. I then thought about how he exists in his Dharma Centres, his Teachers and his students.

I visualised Geshe-la and a connection of light between him and me. I visualised this connection bringing us closer together until we dissolved into each other. I felt like I was completely mixed with him, and I could rely upon him right here in my heart – not just at a distance.

I stayed with this beautiful feeling for some time. I then thought about what this means in light of the kindness of others.

Surely the most kind thing anyone can do is act as a Spiritual Guide to others. A qualified Spiritual Guide has only one wish – to help others attain true inner peace. He wants nothing in return. What is most meaningful to him is that others attain freedom from suffering. This is the peak of kindness.

I felt very fortunate to know my Spiritual Guide and be in his care.

I returned to my thought of reliance, qualified by my gratefulness, for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings be found by their Spiritual Guide and under their kind guidance, attain true inner peace for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remember Geshe-la in my heart, and rely on him completely.

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

I began the meditation by remembering how all living beings are my kind mothers, and how although they search for true happiness, they cannot find it. They sometimes experience some degree of happiness, but this is not the true happiness they crave. It is ‘changing suffering’: really just another kind of suffering. Any happiness they experience is just a temporary alleviation of their pervasive suffering, not actual happiness.

I thought about how most people look for happiness in the same places as animals: the company of others, sex, food, dominance over others and the accumulation of resources. I thought how if we live our lives like this we are no better than poor ignorant animals.

I wished that all living beings could discover the method to be truly happy: the cultivation of inner peace. I developed the strong wish for all living beings to be happy. I stayed with this wish for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop immeasurable love, and by so doing become enlightened for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to maintain a wish that all living beings be happy, like in BillP’s poem below:

A Wish

Walking thru the long shadows of fall,
Thinking…May all beings be happy

Rustling the leaves under my feet,
Thinking…may all beings be happy

Crickets are singing, Canada geese calling,
Thinking…May all beings be happy

Thru all my hopes and fears, doubts and tribulations,
with each step I take, and a Mona Lisa smile on my face,

I make this wish…May all beings be happy

I began the meditation by thinking about my karma, and what I am trying to do. The results of my virtuous actions will be to achieve whatever I dedicated them to. If I am purely interested in achieving another human rebirth, then that is what my karma will achieve.

But even the best human rebirth is full of suffering. I will still have to undergo the suffering of  birth, sickness, ageing and death. My life will be full of disappointment as my wishes go unfulfilled, and I will have to experience unpleasant situations while at the same time being separated from the pleasant conditions I crave. Looking at the rich and famous in this world, the rulers and the ultra wealthy, I see that they are still unhappy for many reasons.

I decided that I want true lasting happiness. I want to be liberated from this cycle of contaminated rebirth in samsara. I want to abandon samsara. I turn away from worldly experiences as my source of happiness, and I turn to inner peace as my refuge. I turn to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha as my method of achieving inner peace, and liberation from samsara.

I repeated these thoughts and determinations again and again, and slowly a very clear, expansive feeling arose. A recognition of simple turning away from worldly pleasures in the sense that I have no expectation of happiness from them. What do drugs, alcohol, parties, holidays have to offer in comparison to inner peace? They cause so many problems and so little happiness. They are simply not as good as inner peace.

I stayed in this feeling of freedom and expansive peace, turning away from samsara, towards inner peace.

Dedication

May I and all living beings recognise the truth about samsara, abandon samsara as a cause of happiness, and take the Three Jewels as their ultimate source of refuge.

Practice in the meditation break

I will look at samsara and see what satisfaction it is giving me and others. I will check to see if this satisfaction is pure, lasting and meaningful. I will compare it to the experience of Dharma Jewels. I will draw my conclusions…

Modern Buddhism

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