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The purpose of this meditation is to think deeply about the benefits of cherishing others, and to reach a firm conclusion that this is what we need to do with our lives. We then think about what this means in terms of Bodhichitta.
I began by thinking about how the thin pleasures of samsara are ultimately meaningless. There is no real happiness or satisfaction in my uncontrolled mind – I need to master my mind and attain freedom from samsara. I decided to meditate with all my effort on cherishing others, and holding that determination in mind, I moved on.
I needed to transition into a more focused state of mind before the main meditation, so I concentrated first on my body, relaxing each part in turn as I breathed in and out. Once my body was relaxed, I turned my attention inwards to my heart, and let my focus rest on the point at the very centre of my heart, where I imagined my Guru sitting on a lotus. I came closer and closer until I felt that we were superimposed upon each other, and then we mixed completely like water mixed with water, our minds completely one. I felt his supreme stillness and mental stability fill my mind, and I rested there, unmoving, for a while…
I then thought about cherishing others. All the happiness in the world comes from cherishing others. I thought about my wishes for this life. I want to have meaningful relationships with others. I don’t want to be a spectator in this life, and find at the end that I was merely watching the years go by. I want to mesh with others – be part of them. I think this will bring true meaning to my life. How should I do this? Self-cherishing is not the basis upon which to do this. Self-cherishing is the path to isolation, not the path to others.
I felt like I could see my cherishing love spread out to others, and through this I could become mixed with them – form deep and meaningful relationships with them, and grow spiritually with them. I know that this is the way to achieve my wishes for this life. I focused on this feeling of cherishing others, and how it will fulfil my wishes, and felt a deep warm glowing feeling of love for others. When this had established, I focused on it for a while…
After that, I wondered what this meant in terms of Bodhichitta.
Bodhichitta is dependent upon its parts. Cherishing others is an essential part of Bodhichitta. It seemed to me that just as you can’t have a wave without water, you cannot have Bodhichitta without the mind which cherishes others. If I can establish a mind which cherishes others constantly, then Bodhichitta will naturally arise in my mind without effort. Cherishing others is the path to Bodhichitta, and with this wonderful thought, I returned to my mind which cherished others completely and enjoyed that blissful feeling for the rest of my meditation.
May all living beings cherish others, and may Bodhichitta arise in their minds, propelling them to perfect and complete enlightenment.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will cherish others with all my heart, and recognise that cherishing others will make my life meaningful, and allow me to die without regrets.
The purpose of this meditation is to recognise the preciousness of our human life and resolve to use our opportunity to practice Dharma, and then to contemplate this resolution in the light of the fact that all living beings are our mother.
I began with some breathing meditation and then moved on to the main meditation object.
I began by thinking about all the many ways in which my current life is particularly favourable to the practice of Dharma. I have access to Dharma teachings which would have been very difficult for me to find 30 years ago. I have access to teachers of pure Dharma. I can read Dharma texts with unbelievable ease – they are available digitally and in print. I have many personal conditions which allow me to learn and practice Dharma wisdom every day.
I thought about how it is so easy to take these conditions for granted, and not recognise them as special. But they are incredibly special, and I must always remember how rare and precious they are.
I made the determination to always practice Dharma at every opportunity. I kept repeating this wish and felt a strong desire to practice Dharma constantly. I stayed with this wish for a while.
I then thought about what this means in light of the fact that all living beings are my mother. All the people I interact with are my mother, so by practising Dharma, I am being kind to all my mothers. It felt like they were all my family (which they are in reality), there to help me practice and use my precious human life to its best advantage. With this added aspect, I returned my mind to the wish to practice Dharma sincerely, and remained on this thought for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings recognise the many special conditions they have in their lives which allow them to practice Dharma purely. May they take advantage of these conditions and practice purely and sincerely so that they quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will always remember how precious my human life is, and strongly keep my intention to practice Dharma purely.
The purpose of this meditation is to develop a strong wish to practice Dharma by remembering the preciousness of our human life, and then to think about this in the light of renunciation – the wish to abandon samsara.
I began by thinking about my precious Spiritual Guide, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Through him I now have access to the wisdom of Buddha and the support of qualified and experienced Sangha. I have access to Dharma! I can learn how to be happy! I can learn how to make others happy! I can overcome my delusions! In particular I can overcome my self-grasping, the root of all delusions! I can make my life meaningful and attain enlightenment for the benefit of every single living thing in the universe!
My human life gives me the opportunity to achieve all these things – how wonderful!!!
I imagined dedicating my life to the study and practice of Dharma. I imagined being like a child at play – learning wonderful things and using them immediately to make myself and others happy. I imagined the Dharma in the aspect of pure white light mixing with my body and mind, completely transforming me into a precious Dharma Jewel capable of attaining pure happiness and giving pure happiness to all living beings. I felt pure and wonderfully happy. I stayed with the feeling for a while before moving on to consider what this means in the light of renunciation.
Renunciation is the wish to abandon samsara and the sufferings of cyclic existence. In life after life I am born into misery and suffering. I want to break that cycle and attain liberation from this suffering – and my precious human life is the tool I can use to achieve that. I have all the conditions and circumstances I need to fully actualise my human life for its ultimate purpose. With this recognition I returned to my feeling of being mixed with Dharma and the intention to use my precious human life to free myself and all living beings from suffering.
May all living beings use their precious human lives to attain that which only humans can achieve – nirvana!
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to apply Dharma to all my circumstances and ask myself constantly ‘What is the Dharma lesson here? What is the correct way to behave here for the most benefit?’
The purpose of this meditation is to encourage us to make the most of our life.
I began the meditation by recalling part of the contemplation from Modern Buddhism where Geshe Kelsang says that our present human life is very rare. We should imagine a blind turtle living at the bottom of a vast ocean covering the entire earth. Imagine also that there is a golden yoke (such as a horse or cow would wear pulling a cart or plough) floating on the surface of the water, constantly moved by the wind and waves. Once in every one hundred thousand years or so the turtle rises to the surface. How often would it be that the turtle’s head would break the surface in the middle of the yoke?
The turtle represents us, wandering blindly in samsara. Most of our lives are spent in the lower realms. Once in every one hundred thousand years or so we take a human rebirth, but it is extremely rare even then for us to come into contact with Buddhadharma – represented by the golden yoke. I thought about how many times the turtle must have surfaced when the yoke was nowhere to be seen. And I thought about the tragic times when the turtle surface very close to the yoke, but still did not come within its ambit.
I though about the enormous lengths of time I have spent in the lower realms, and all my past human lives where I have wandered without finding Buddhadharma (let alone Kadam Dharma). And then I considered this present life. I have a Spiritual Guide who can show me correct paths. I have his books, his CDs, his festivals, his teachers and Dharma Centres. This is all so incredibly rare. It seemed like absolutely everything had come together in this one life.
I thought about how rare and special my life is, and how I must not waste this precious opportunity. I made the firm determination to practice Dharma continually and purely for the rest of this life, and make the most of my precious human life. I stayed with this determination for the rest of the meditation.
I pray that all living beings come to realise the preciousness of their human lives, and use their opportunity to practise Dharma to attain Enlightenment for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will rely on Dorje Shugden to help me throughout the day by giving me the exact conditions I need to practice Dharma continually and purely.
The purpose of this meditation is to create the mental impression of completely abandoning self-cherishing, and instead cherish only others. By make a strong impression on our minds in the meditation session, we will find it easier to do the same in the meditation break.
I began the meditation by reviewing the conclusions of the previous two meditations. Firstly, that self-cherishing prevents me from forming intimate relationships with others, because my self-cherishing mind considers my wishes to be supremely important and neglects the wishes of others – it puts the two at odds. Secondly, the mind that cherishes others produces the opportunity to be intimate with others, because there is no self cherishing causing a gap between us.
I considered these points for a while. It seemed to me that there was only one conclusion to reach – that I need to completely abandon self cherishing and cherish only others. If I were to do this, then I would care about others deeply. I would establish what their wishes were, and I would work to help them achieve their wishes. And because this is my wish, then when their wishes are fulfilled, so will mine. So through my work there will be twice the happiness! I thought about this doubling of happiness, through cherishing others.
I thought about how my life would become truly meaningful, and how I can help people, and make myself happy. I felt a very warm and content feeling. Although I was just thinking about helping one other person, it naturally extended to all living beings – the ones I can help in this life and the ones I will be able to help when I am a Buddha. I let the feeling of warmth and happiness grow until it filled my mind, always remembering that it represented abandoning self-cherishing, and cherishing others exclusively.
May all living beings recognise that true happiness comes from cherishing others, whereas all the suffering in the world arises from self-cherishing, and through this become enlightened beings.
Practice in the meditation break
My mind is mixed with self-cherishing all the time, but I will try to remain vigilant for signs of it influencing me, and where I can, I will abandon it by reversing its direction, and cherishing others instead.
I began the meditation on my precious human life by imagining that I had a wish fulfilling jewel in my possession. It was perfect, and possessed all the attributes needed for me to achieve complete freedom from suffering. It was incredibly rare, and if I lost it, it would be countless centuries until I could find another one. Such a precious jewel.
I understood that this was effectively my life at the moment. I thought about how I should use my life. I realised that I need to study Dharma and constantly put it into practice every moment. Beautiful and ugly things teach me about karma and appearances. Suffering teaches me about samsara and renunciation. People remind me about everyone being my mother. Kind acts remind me about the kindness of all living beings. Unkind acts remind me of mistaken appearances, and the cruelty of samsara.
I will rely on Dorje Shugden to show me Dharma truths throughout the day. I will apply Dharma to everything I meet. I let my mind settle on this thought, and slowly my mind became very still and peaceful. It was filled with a feeling of purpose and serenity. I stayed with the feeling for the rest of the meditation.
May I and all living beings realise the preciousness of our human lives, and put Dharma into practice in our daily lives so that we may all attain the supreme happiness of Buddhahood.
Practice in the Meditation Break
Today I will be looking for the Dharma lessons that my protector Dorje Shugden will provide.
I began the meditation by considering that my life is precious, rare and meaningful.
It is rare because it has many qualities which are unusual and special. It is precious because it is very unusual to have all the conditions necessary for a successful Dharma practice in one life. It is rare because I only have one life. And it can potentially be very meaningful.
I rolled through these three thoughts and added a fourth – that I should practice Dharma constantly.
I then began to think that Dharma is the only truly meaningful thing in my life, and that it is the only way to make all the other things in my life truly meaningful.
I then settled on the thought that from this moment on I will apply Dharma to everything I see, everyone I meet and everything I do. I kept with that recognition for the rest of the meditation. It felt progressive and positive. It felt like a force passing along my lifeline into the future, alongside everything in my future.
I began thinking about how I have such good conditions to practice meditation.
In a house full of people I have found a time when all is quiet and peaceful to do my meditations. I don’t have lots of very serious problems with my health or my ability to read and understand. I do have access to authentic teachings and teachers. For this reason my life is precious.
I only have one life. When I die it will be over – I can’t beg steal or borrow another one. For this reason it is rare.
If I use my life to attain spiritual truths, it will be very meaningful. If I use my life simply to earn money, even if I amass a great fortune, it will still just be a pile of money I have to leave when I die. Probably some grandson will gamble and drink it away in any case. Even the greatest empires have crumbled into dust over time – nothing material endures.
But by using my life to practice dharma my life will become immensely meaningful, and eventually I can become a Buddha, free from all sorrows and problems, and with the power to help all other living beings.
These thoughts led me to the conclusion that I need to practice dharma now, all day, every day. I got a feeling of practicing patience in all my circumstances today, and made a determination to practice patience all day, whatever my circumstances. I dwelt on this determination.