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The purpose of this meditation is to mentally take on the sufferings of all other living beings and by so doing destroy their sufferings and our self-cherishing and negativities. Then, once this view is established, to meditate on this view in the light of our refuge practice.

I began the meditation by remembering how all living beings are carrying the weight of suffering in their hearts. I remembered my love for them and felt my compassion naturally arise. I let the feeling of compassion grow for a while and then I decided to take on their suffering. The flow of their suffering transformed into smoke which gathered in front of me. Then I imagined a small funnel of smoke coming out of the cloud of smoke and into my heart. I imagined that the smoke was drawn down this funnel into my heart, and as it came, all living beings became free from their suffering. At the same time, the smoke was destroying my self-cherishing mind and all my negative karmic imprints. As the last of the smoke dissolved into my heart, I felt a huge relief as both myself and all other living beings became free from suffering. It felt relaxed and blissful, and I stayed with the feeling for a while.

I then thought about what this means in the light of refuge practice. To go for refuge means to turn to Buddha, Dharma and Sangha for help to overcome and destroy our delusions. This feeling of destroying all suffering is what Buddha wants us all to experience, as well as the ability to actually do it. I prayed to Buddha for help in being able to eventually take on the sufferings of all living beings for real. I remained with this wish for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings enter the path to freedom, practice taking the sufferings of others, and thereby become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to view others as suffering beings, unable to control their delusions. I will try to be patient with them and do whatever I can to alleviate their sufferings. I will pray for the ability to actually take on their sufferings in the future.

Meditation 4/15

The purpose of this meditation is to recognise the kindness we receive from all living beings throughout our lives, and then meditate on this kindness in the light of our refuge practice.

I began by thinking about how living beings are showing me kindness every time I interact with them. How can this be true when living beings cause me so much trouble?!!

Without Dharma we are at the mercy of other living beings. If they are nasty to us, we automatically generate anger, aversion or self-cherishing. If they are nice to us we develop attachment and self-cherishing. No matter what living beings do, without our having Dharma wisdom they will stimulate delusions and suffering.

But with Dharma wisdom we can use every interaction to progress along the path to enlightenment. If they are nasty to us we can see that they are a manifestation my negative karma. When karma ripens the only thing to do is develop patient acceptance, and to resolve to not create more negative actions. If they are nice to us we can see that this is the result of positive karmic seeds ripening. We can offer the pleasure of the situation to our Guru at our heart, and reinforce our wish to create more positive seeds for the future.

With Dharma wisdom, no matter what others do, we can view it as a kindness, because if they were not doing these things, we would not have the opportunity to practice in a practical way throughout the day.

I thought about these points and mulled them over in my mind. I felt like there was kindness coming at me from every direction –  warm waves of spiritual help. I focused on this for a while and then thought about what this means in the light of my refuge practice.

Buddha is a living being. I go for refuge to Buddha because he shows me the way to make my life meaningful. He has given pure Dharma to the world to show all living beings the way to attain true everlasting happiness. This is how Buddha is kind. I felt like I was completely enveloped in a universe of kindness, and no matter what I experienced from others, I could transform it into kindness. I felt completely protected and like all living beings were ‘on my side’. I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings recognise the kindness they constantly experience, and through this kindness come to attain the state of Buddhahood.

Practice in the Meditation Break

Through my reliance on Dorje Shugden as my protector, I can be certain that the actions of everyone I interact with will be the perfect opportunities for me to develop spiritually and travel along the path to enlightenment. I will also remember the final protecting precept of training the mind: Do not expect gratitude.

Meditation 4/9

The purpose of this meditation is to generate a feeling of joy that we have relieved the suffering from all living beings, and that we ourselves have become free from suffering.

I began the meditation by considering my previous meditations. I recalled that all living beings have been very kind to me in the past, and I remembered my feelings of affectionate love for them. I then recalled that they are all unhappy and experiencing various degrees of suffering. I remembered my wish that they should all be free from their suffering – my Compassion.

I then turned to the matter at hand – what am I going to do about it?

I brought all living beings into my view, and I strongly imagined all their sufferings and problems rising out of them in the shape of black smoke. This smoke came over to me and I took it into my own heart. The living beings were free from their crushing suffering. They felt true relief from their suffering, and I felt it too. I focussed on the black smoke and felt it dissolving into my heart where is destroyed my self-cherishing mind: the cause of all my own suffering.

I repeated this process specifically for the beings of the realms of samsara. With each in-breath I took their suffering.

I brought out the black smoke of suffering of blazing heat from the beings in the hot hells.

I brought out the black smoke of suffering of freezing cold from the beings in the cold hells.

I brought out the black smoke of suffering of hunger and thirst from all the hungry ghosts in their wastelands.

I brought out the black smoke of suffering of fear and confusion from all animals.

I brought out the black smoke of suffering of not finding satisfaction from all human beings.

I brought out the black smoke of suffering of anger and jealousy from all demi gods.

I brought out the black smoke of suffering of not being able to find permanent peace from all gods.

I brought out the suffering of all beings in the bardo, so that their next rebirth would be in a pure land.

I brought all these sufferings out and into my heart, and understood that these beings were free from suffering. Free from their suffering now, and free from all future suffering, because the black smoke is all their current suffering and the causes of their future suffering. I took the lot. It dissolved into my heart and destroyed my self-cherishing mind.

We were all free from suffering. We were all free to stretch and flourish.

I let this knowledge grow and grow in my mind, along with my cherishing love for these beings. I felt a vast and profound joy rising in my mind, filling my mind. I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings engage in the practice of taking, and through their accumulation of merit come to be able to take on the actual suffering of others by achieving enlightenment quickly.

May Andrea be reborn in a pure land, and attain enlightenment quickly for the sake of all living beings.

Practice in the meditation break

I will mount taking and giving on the breath and take all the sufferings and problems of others into my heart, and destroy my self-cherishing mind.

The purpose of this meditation is to enable us to generate a strong feeling of affectionate love for all living beings.

I began the meditation by thinking about how kind my mother of this life has been to me. When I was very small she looked after me constantly. She arranged my whole world so I was fed and clean and cared for. I just took it for granted that I would have clean clothes and food. She worked hard to put these things in place, whereas it hardly crossed my mind for a moment that they may not be there but for my mother. A long time has passed since she cared for me in this way, but she did it.

It is only now, as a parent, that I see all the things that a mother does for her child. Now that I have children of my own I can see how I have been cared for in the past by my mother.

She arranged not only food and clothes for me, but many other things which I was (and still am) completely unaware of. In the same way, other living beings are kind to me in ways I barely recognise. The workers who made this laptop I am typing on, and who generate the electricity I put into its battery are all very kind, because without their work, I would not be able to do my blog.

I reviewed the kindness of my mother, and the kindness of all living beings, and I asked myself how I should feel. How would I feel if someone had been very kind to me, done me many special favours, and looked after me? How would I feel if they did this with no expectation of repayment – purely out of concern for my wellbeing?

I would feel humble, grateful and appreciative. I would feel very well disposed to them, and feel a wish to give to them. I would be ‘leaning towards’ them in the wish to help them. I focused on this feeling of being appreciative and well disposed to all living beings, and a deep feeling of gratitude and love arose. I stayed with this wonderfully warm and expansive feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop affectionate love and attain enlightenment for the happiness of all.

Practice in the meditation break

I will look at all the objects around me and think of the work people did in order for me to use and enjoy them – from the person who made my sandwich this lunchtime to the person who dug out the clay to make the bricks for my house.

 

I began the meditation by thinking about Shantideva’s observation, that ‘All the happiness there is in the world arises from wishing others to be happy’.

I thought about how different this approach is from our normal view. Normally we think that money, fame, cars, houses, holidays, beautiful possessions or friends will make us happy. Business empires, high powered jobs or maybe a quieter life in the country often seem to be the cause of happiness. But Shantideva’s observation is true. When I talk to old people, they always seem to reflect on their relationships with others as being the most meaningful things that happened in their lives. They shake their heads at the things they worked so hard for, only to realise now that they were meaningless – things like business pursuits, or material achievements.

It struck me, thinking about cherishing others, that it was so simple. I don’t need to go and buy some equipment; I don’t need to travel across the world to a special place; I don’t need to undergo any particular hardships at all. I can cherish others right here, right now, without any external assistance. All I need is the wish to develop a mind of cherishing others, and it happens. And to think that ‘All the happiness there is in the world arises from wishing others to be happy’! It is within our reach right now.

I thought about these things and settled on a feeling of a simple, light loving tenderness. I decided that when I met people today, I would hold them gently and tenderly in my heart, focusing on their happiness and freedom. It felt like I had a person held in my hands, lightly and gently, caring for them and wishing not to harm them in any way.

Slowly, as I did this, I began to feel the wish to hold all living beings in this way. I thought that I could not do this, because there are so many living beings. Then I thought that the living being I am with can act as a representative of all living beings. I can impute all living beings onto the beings I am with at the time. Maybe when I am with my little girl, Little One, she can represent all little girls in the world. The same with my wife, and everyone I meet.

I settled on the thought that from now on I will hold all living beings who I meet very gently and tenderly in my heart, and I will view them as being representatives of all living beings. And in cherishing them I will be cherishing all living beings. I stayed with this thought, and I felt a lightness and purity in my mind. The simplicity of this act, causing all the happiness in the world. It seemed so beautiful and easy. I remained on this thought for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May I and all living beings cherish everyone they meet, so that pure happiness will pervade the six realms, and that everyone will achieve ultimate freedom from suffering.

Practice in the meditation break

As I said earlier,  today I will hold all living beings who I meet very gently and tenderly in my heart, and I will view them as being representatives of all living beings. And in cherishing them I will cherish all living beings.

I began the meditation once again by calling to mind the fact that all living beings have been my kind mother in the past, and that during that time they showed me immense kindness. I called to mind my gratitude to them.

Then I considered that they search desperately all their lives for true happiness, but they cannot find it. Instead they create the causes for future suffering, like a person eating supposedly wholesome food not realising it is laced with poison.

I generated the wish that they could all find permanent happiness. I then decided that I would personally ensure that each and every living being can find peace and happiness.

On the basis of this wish, my accumulated merit and the blessings of the holy beings, I visualised my body and mind transforming into a big clear diamond.  I imagined a light in the centre of the diamond, growing stronger and stronger, lighting up the diamond from within.  The light quickly became very bright, so that the diamond was lost in a mass of brilliant clear light.  The light from my body and mind filled the whole of samsara, and instantly reached every single living being, giving them peace and happiness.  I firmly recognised that this was happening, and that the rays of light were causing them to acheive peace and happiness.

I felt very light, full of clear, powerful pure light.  I felt purity flowing through me and all of samsara into all living beings. I felt a profound joy.

I focused on this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Something unexpected: As I did so, I recognised that I was connected directly to all living beings.  I felt that the light from my body and mind revealed the connection between us all, and I felt close to and inseparable from all living beings.  I brought this into my recongition.

Even now as I write, I can feel this light, and this connection to all living beings, and the profound joy of them all finding true inner peace.

Meditated as usual on my cushion in the living room, with my little shrine: Statue of Buddha, candle and pinch of rice.  The shrine is put away, but the feeling remains.

 

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.

Modern Buddhism

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