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The purpose of this meditation is to develop the strong wish to destroy our self-cherishing.

I began the meditation by thinking over a short passage from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso‘s recent book, Modern Buddhism:

“Because self-cherishing has deceived us, we have wasted our countless previous lives. It has driven us to work for our own purpose, but we have gained nothing. This foolish mind has made all our previous lives empty – when we took this human life we brought nothing with us but delusions. In every moment of every day, this self-cherishing mind continues to deceive us.”

I thought about this: self-cherishing dwells in my mind – an ever present bitter flavour. It spoils everything I try to achieve. In all my past lives it has caused me pain. It has caused my relationships to break down. It has caused me to leave my loved ones, or them to leave me. It had ruined my friendships. It has poisoned my mind, and caused me intolerable mental pain.

Self-cherishing has caused me to waste all my previous lives, and it is causing me to waste this one as well.

I slowly came to see self-cherishing as a piece of filthy waste material in my mind, festering and contaminating everything it touched. I need to eliminate this waste from my mind. I developed the strong wish to eliminate it from my mind. I focused on this wish for a while, and I came to a point where I imagined how it would be without self-cherishing in my mind.

I would be free. My mind would be free to flourish. All my thoughts would be pure and clean. It felt like a pure white flower flourishing, growing up and up, unhindered. I let my mind enter the flower and felt the purity and wholesomeness. I focused on this feeling for the rest of the meditation. It was lovely.


May all living beings recognise and eliminate their self-cherishing, and attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will apply the opponents to self-cherishing when I see it arising in my mind.


The purpose of this meditation is to make our Dharma practice effective by reducing and eliminating our attachment to the trivialities of this life.

I began the meditation by thinking about what Geshe-la says in Modern Buddhism about our mind and body. He says that our mind and body can separate. They separate when we sleep, and when we die. I thought about what it was like to go to sleep. When I go to sleep I slowly lose awareness of my body and mind, and there is a sort of blank time before I start dreaming. I have forgotten everything about my waking life by now, and I go to different places in the dream world. All that appear to me are dreams.

I thought about how it might be to die. I will slowly lose awareness of my body and mind, and everything will go blank until I become aware of the dream-like forms in the bardo. By this point I will have completely forgotten my parents, wife, children, house, job, hopes and aspirations. They will all have gone. I thought about how sad this was, and then decided that there was no point being sad because it will definitely happen

It could happen tomorrow, or even today. Sooner or later, it will happen today. I thought about how the only thing that matters is my karma, and how I need to practice purely with my family, friends and colleagues to purify my negative karma and to create the most positive karma I can. I felt a deep wish to practice Dharma purely, and I stayed with this determination for the rest of the meditation.


May everyone become aware of their death and use this knowledge to practice Dharma purely, and thereby attain Great Enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remember my mortality, and try to practice purely by cherishing everyone I meet or think about.

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 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.


Modern Buddhism

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June 2017
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