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The purpose of this meditation is to get an understanding that our time in the fortunate realm of humans is like a short holiday from the sufferings of the lower realms.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then thought about a phrase in The New Meditation Handbook where Geshe-la says that our current human life is like a short holiday away from the inconceivably long periods of time we spend in the lower realms.

on the beachI thought about how our holidays last only a very short time. After our holidays are over, we return to the day to day drudgery of our everyday lives.

I have always thought this was bizarre way to life our lives. We should try to make every day joyful and happy, rather than assenting to the view that it is during our holiday when we can be happy. If we do this, then by definition, we are assenting to being unhappy for 50 weeks out of 52! That’s not how I want to spend my life!!

I thought more deeply about how this life is like a short holiday. A practitioner of initial scope is like someone who plans to not go home, but to stay on holiday for ever. A practitioner of the intermediate scope sees that even on holiday, things are still not perfect. Such a practitioner plans to leave even the holiday resort for somewhere completely free from all suffering.

I focused on the idea of being on a short holiday, with a certain return to suffering in a short time, and I got the feeling of being in a very short window of time. My life in this fortunate realm will soon come to an end, and instead of returning to the lower realms, I really should be trying to get to the land of liberation. I focused on this thought as my object of meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings find the opportunity to see how their life is like a short holiday, and plot complete escape, rather than assent to the inevitability of return to suffering.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to see how my life is like a brief holiday, and focus my efforts into developing renunciation for samsara so that I can develop the wisdom realising emptiness, and free myself completely from the cycle of suffering.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate a very strong feeling of abandoning samsara as a source of happiness, and then to consider what this means in light of Bodhichitta – the wish to become a Buddha for the benefit of all.

I settled down on my cushion and started by thinking about how there is no happiness to be found in samsara, and how only Dharma can free me. I made the promise to myself that I would meditate on renunciation with all my effort. With that, I began.

I brought my mind into my body, then into my heart, and found my Guru at the very centre of my heart. I mixed my mind with his, and and floated in this clear space for a while.

I then thought about this life we have. Our life is full of pain and dissatisfaction. We suffer as we are born. We suffer because we age. We suffer because we get ill. And we suffer because of our death. I mulled over these sufferings for a while. I also thought about the ways in which life is unsatisfactory. We cannot avoid meeting situations we would rather avoid. We are constantly trying to attain situations we desire, and we repeatedly fail to fulfil our wishes.

There is no happiness in this swamp of samsara – I shall stop looking. There is no true happiness to be found. I thought about all the faults of samsara, and made the determination that I will stop looking for happiness here – there is none to be found. I felt like I was completely changing my direction away from samsara and towards the spiritual path. I felt filled with this abandonment of samsara, and focused on it for a while.

After that thought about Bodhichitta, the wish to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all. Of course, the two are fundamental parts of the path. Renunciation leads to personal liberation from samsara, and Bodhichitta leads to Buddhahood so that we can benefit all other living beings. Like I have many times before, I saw the flow of the Lamrim, and how each stage leads to the next, until the final enlightenment is reached. With a feeling of wholeness, I returned to my intention to stop looking for happiness in Samsara.

Dedication

May all living beings develop renunciation for the swamp of samsara, and look to the firm ground of liberation and enlightenment.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will stop looking for happiness in samsara. There is none.

 

The purpose of this meditation is to develop renunciation for samsara, and then to meditate on this wish in light of the kindness of all living beings.

I began with breathing meditation and then moved on to the main topic.

I thought about the sufferings of this life, and the constant problems we all face. It seemed to me like our experience is made up of long periods of mundaneness punctuated by many problems and the occasional brief moment of happiness. How unsatisfactory. We are never sure what is around the corner. There is no dramatic music leading up to our problems like in the movies. We are just as likely to fall ill on a bright sunny day as on a stormy dark winters night. We never can tell what is heading our way.

I thought about this and about how there is a way to end this. We can attain liberation by turning our back on samsara. Towards the end of the meditation it hit me that there really IS a way to escape. It is not just an idea or a story. It is a reality. It happened just at the end of the meditation and I wanted to really sit on that feeling, but I had to move on.

I then through about what this means in the light of the kindness of others. I realised that I can attain liberation through the kindness of others. My moral discipline depends on the presence of others and my contact with them. I focused on this understanding for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings attain liberation and enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to maintain my view that all samsara is unsatisfactory, and that I need to abandon attachment to it in order to be free.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a strong feeling of equanimity towards all living beings, and then to contemplate this feeling in the light of renunciation – the wish to be free from samara completely.

I began the meditation by recalling Geshe Kelsang’s instructions from The New Meditation Handbook. He observes that although someone might appear pleasant to me, they may also appear as unpleasant to others. Given this contradiction, how can I be certain that it is right to relate to people as intrinsically pleasant when they do not appear in that manner to others?

In fact it is my mistaken projections I am relating to when I identify people as pleasant or unpleasant. They do not have these characteristics from their own side – it is my projection I see and relate to.

Geshe Kelsang’s proposal is to relate to people in a consistent manner, with a warm and friendly attitude of equanimity. I thought about this deeply and realised that I have a very uneven attitude to others. I unconsciously ‘name’ people as ‘very pleasant’, ‘quite pleasant’ and so on all the way through to ‘very unpleasant’. Then I develop attachment or aversion to them, and act in all kinds of non-virtuous ways.

How much more simple and satisfying to always maintain a warm and friendly feeling towards everyone I meet?

I imagined drawing back my mistaken projections into my heart and seeing people with a basic attitude of warmth and friendliness. What a blissful life to lead! I let the feeling fill my mind and I stayed with it for a while.

I then thought about what this feeling means in the light of renunciation – the wish to be completely free from all samsaric suffering.

What keeps me in samsara? Non-virtuous actions, which are the paths that lead to further samsaric suffering. The subject of most of my non-virtuous actions is other living beings, so if I can develop equanimity, I will be reducing the amount of non-virtuous actions I create, and moving towards the aim of being free from suffering altogether.  With this understanding, I returned to my meditation on equanimity, and let my mind fill with warmth and friendliness for all living beings.

Dedication

May all living beings develop the stable mind of equanimity and develop the sublime minds of universal love and compassion, and bodhichitta, and quickly become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will remember that my attitude towards everyone who appears to me is mistaken, and in actual fact their appearance is my own projection. I will try to mentally draw back my projection and treat everyone with warmth and friendliness.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a sincere wish to gain liberation from samsara’s sufferings.

I began the meditation by contemplating the sufferings of ageing. My father is 79 years old. He has many sufferings. He is still healthy and mobile, but my Mum is ill and he cannot enjoy her company like he once did. I thought about how this will happen to us all as we age. In the Vinaya Sutras Buddha said that the end of meeting is parting. Sooner or later our loved ones will leave us alone.

I dwelt on how sad this is.

I developed the strong wish to attain liberation from this suffering – to attain liberation from samsara.

Then I contemplated how this wish looks in the light of my precious human life. My life is full of suffering, but it is also precious? How can this be?

My life is the perfect vehicle to attain liberation because it contains suffering, but not too much. My human life contains enough suffering for me to develop renunciation for samsara without swamping me with pain. I thought about how my life was special, and the ability to develop renunciation was incredibly special. I focused on this recognition for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop renunciation and become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will keep a mind of renunciation at all times. I must become free!

 

Note – short post today (it’s been quite hectic). Hope you don’t mind x

Meditation 1/6

The purpose of this meditation is to develop the sincere and spontaneous wish to abandon samsara and attain permanent liberation from suffering.

I began the meditation by thinking about the various sufferings we face as humans. The sufferings involved in birth, ageing, sickness and death. Also the sufferings of being parted from what we like, having to encounter what we do not like, and the failure to satisfy our wishes.

I thought specifically about the sufferings of birth – the pain of our body growing inside the womb; the crushing feeling as we get bigger, and the discomfort and pain of being born. Then the pain of being outside our protective womb, the harshness of the outside world. And also the fear and confusion of not understanding what is happening.

I looked at this as an example of all the sufferings I experience, and realised that all these sufferings have one cause – my human rebirth in samsara. The only way these sufferings will end is if I can break out of samsara, and attain liberation.

I pictured myself stepping out of samsara, and rising up and away from the Wheel of Life, to stand by Buddha on his cloud. I was completely free from all suffering, and looked down on the six realms of samsara laid out before me. It felt very peaceful and tranquil. I focused on this feeling and the recognition that I need to attain renunciation for samsara before this can happen.

Dedication

May all living beings recognise the true cause of their suffering and develop renunciation for samsara, and attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.

Practice in the meditation break

I will try to make a note of my sufferings today, from gross physical and mental pain to subtle aches and itches. I will try to remember that these are just examples of the unbearable sufferings in other parts of samsara, and develop sincere and continuous renunciation for samsara.

Modern Buddhism

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