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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 understand that I have a precious human life, and to use this understanding to commit myself to following the spiritual path, and then to contemplate this wish in the light of equanimity – the warm and friendly feeling I should hold towards all living beings.
I began the session by relaxing my body systematically, and then finally centring my attention on my breath and settling my mind on my breathing, until I developed a very calm and placid feeling.
Once I felt I had some stability of mind, I turned my attention to the contemplation of this topic provided by my kind teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in his marvellous book, The New Meditation Handbook. He gives a long description of why our human life is precious, rare and can be so very meaningful. I thought about all the points he makes, and then thought about what I should do with this opportunity.
For most of my life I have not done anything particularly meaningful. I have done some good things, and I have done some bad things. I found myself dwelling on some occasions when I have done bad things, and I started to feel unhappy. I then thought that these things were in the past, and although I should always be aware of what I have done in the past, I also need to find a positive way of dealing with them. I can’t change what I have done in the past, or the effect it has had on others. What I can do it promise to never do those things again, and to use the rest of my life to benefit others rather than to harm them. I began to feel more positive. What is the most beneficial thing I can do with my life to help others? I can use my life to practice Dharma sincerely, and to love all living beings. Dharma shows me how to do this, and how to make my life meaningful.
I promised myself and Geshe-la that I would practice Dharma sincerely for the rest of this life. I was very moved by the power of this promise, and I felt like I was part of a significant endeavour – the most significant thing I can do with my life. It filled me with a real feeling of purpose and meaning. I stayed with this feeling for a while.
I then thought about what this means in the light of equanimity. I thought about how my attitudes towards others are mistaken, and although they may appear to be pleasant, unpleasant or neutral, these appearances are just my mistaken projections. In fact I should simply maintain a warm and friendly feeling towards all living beings. It occurred to me that I should also have this same view towards myself. When I think about the bad things I have done, it is easy to get unhappy – those feelings are so instantly painful. But again, when I think like this I am relating to myself as being an inherently bad person, but this is mistaken. Although I have done bad things, I am not inherently bad. I should relate to my ‘self’ with a warm and friendly attitude too. I make mistakes, but I also do good things. I should be warm and friendly to this ‘self’ of mine – not ignore its past actions, but use them to vault over unhappiness and as a source of energy to make my life meaningful and for the benefit of others.
It seemed a little odd to think about treating myself with warmth and friendliness, but why not?? I relate to myself in pretty much the same way to the way I relate to others – as a solid inherently existent person! If my projections onto others are mistaken, then so are my projections onto myself. With this thought, I kept focused on settled on this deep wish to make my life meaningful and to maintain a warm and friendly feeling towards myself and others.
May all living beings find the essence of their precious human life, and attain true inner peace for the benefit of all.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will see what it feels like to maintain a warmth and friendliness to my ‘self’.
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 encourage ourself to practice Dharma.
I began the meditation by considering how my human life is precious, rare and meaningful. It is precious because I have taken a human life which is the perfect basis on which to practise the spiritual path. It has all the conditions needed for my practice and no hinderances. It seems like a complicated combination lock, where all the dials are set at the correct number – very special. It is rare because I only have one life, and I cannot get another one like this. Finally it is meaningful if I use it to practise Dharma purely.
I contemplated these three points again and again, and slowly came to the conclusion that nothing else made any sense: I have to practise Dharma while I have this perfect opportunity. I thought about my life being like a magical machine which can make gold. If I had such a machine I would give gold to poor people to alleviate their poverty. But I have something far more valuable: I have a human life which I can use to give Dharma. Instead of putting gold into their hands, I will put Dharma protection into their hearts, and alleviate their spiritual poverty.
I focused on this wish to practise Dharma and help others for the rest of the meditation. It felt virtuous and pure. I let this feeling fill my mind and focused on it and its meaning.
May everyone recognise the value of their life, and come to use it for the benefit of others: may they attain Enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.
Practice in the meditation break
I will try to remember the preciousness of all human lives, and sincerely practise the six perfections, the five forces, the 18 commitments and 22 precepts of training the mind.
I began the meditation by thinking about my life. It is precious because it has special qualities which make it perfect for spiritual development. I am free from serious mental and physical illness. I have come into contact with Dharma, and I have not rejected it. I have time and support for my practice. I have met a qualified spiritual guide, who can give me instructions on how to engage in and complete my spiritual path.
I only have this one life. At any time, it could end. I look at the news and I see lives ending all the time – in the most untimely and unexpected ways. I read blogs of people just like me who discover they have cancer. Many cancers show no sign until they are incurable. I read the blogs of these people, and they are just like me. Just like me. In one week’s time I could discover I have cancer, and look on the internet only to discover the appalling situation I am in. I cannot buy another life. I cannot steal one, or arrange for another. This life is my one and only opportunity.
Opportunity for what? For serious spiritual achievement. For attaining a state where suffering can no longer harm me, and from where I can help others. This life offers me that opportunity. Now that I have it, and all the conditions necessary, it would be a truly dreadful waste not to take full advantage of it.
I thought about these points, in the light of blogs from people who are suffering cancer, and I very quickly became focused on the need to use every moment of every day to develop spiritually. I also remembered my commitment to remain natural while changing my aspiration – so this determination will have to remain just below the surface, but very real.
I developed the wish to turn myself inside out. The heart that I normally keep protected – I want to bring it out and expose it to the reality of my samsara. I want to face my real predicament, rather than go on pretending that everything will always remain good and pain free. I want to stop seeing suffering in others and being able to keep myself one step removed from it. I want to feel other’s pain as keenly as my own, so I can use it to make my human life meaningful.
I kept these thoughts in my mind and let a feeling of turning inside out, of being open to the rawness of others despair and suffering, with the wish to make my life meaningful, and stayed with this for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings realise the value of their human life, and use it to attain great Enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.
Practice in the meditation break
I will constantly recite mantras today, looking for evidence of the suffering in the world, and try to feel it as keenly as I feel my own suffering.
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.