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The purpose of this meditation is to train in tranquil abiding, and then to meditate on this tranquility in the light of renunciation – the wish to be personally free from all sufferings.

I began by establishing a calm and peaceful feeling at my heart, and dissolving all my thoughts and conceptions into emptiness. From there I tried to simply stay focused on this calm feeling at my heart. Every time a distracting thought arose, I recognised it as quickly as I could, and then (without any kind of analysis) returned my mind to the feeling of calmness at my heart. I did this for the rest of the meditation until I decided it was time to look at what this means in the light of renunciation.

The attainment of personal liberation from samsara depends on practising the three higher trainings, including training in higher concentration. Higher concentration is the practice of tranquil abiding motivated by renunciation.

I returned to my initial meditation object of the calm peaceful feeling at my heart, with the knowledge that this practice is the fundamental skill I need to make my life meaningful.

Dedication

May all living beings learn how to meditate and follow correct paths to the attainment of enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remain in the moment by always remaining aware of my body and whatever I am engaging in.

The purpose of this meditation is to train in tranquil abiding – the perfectly focused concentration, and then reflect on this concentration in the light of our refuge practice.

I began by calming my mind, imagining a pin, point upwards, infront of myself, and my attention focused on the point of the pin. Every time my attention wandered away from the pinhead, I brought it back.  Once I had my mind under reasonably good control, I brought to mind my object of meditation: Bodhichitta.

To become a Buddha form the benefit of everyone is the most meaningful thing I can do with my human life. Up until now all I have done are things that an animal can do. Animals can find food, make homes and procreate. I need to make my life meaningful so I do not grow old full of regrets about a wasted life.

I have the instructions and I have the relationship with my Spiritual Guide. I also have the help and support of Sangha (and online Sangha too).

I concentrated on this wish to become a Buddha, and what it means. But this wish seemed to be ‘out there’ on the tip of the needle, and my mind seemed to be ‘over here’ observing the thought of Bodhichitta. I moved my mind forwards and it mixed with Bodhichitta, so that I experienced ‘360 degree’ Bodhichitta. It was clear to me that my mind and my world should be filled with this constant wish to become a Buddha. My mind should always have this thought, and everything I see or experience in my world should act as a reminder to me.

I remained concentrated on Bodhichitta for the rest of the meditation, until I decided to see what tranquil abiding  means in the light of refuge practice. I go for refuge to the Dharma, and also the methods and techniques for creating the Dharma Jewels themselves in my mind. Buddha has revealed the nature of mind and how to purify it, and I must follow the instructions, just like all the Sangha Jewels have done. I focused on this wish to perfect my tranquil abiding for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings perfect their concentration and create perfect Dharma Jewels in their minds, thereby becoming Buddhas for the Benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to maintain ‘360 degree’ Bodhichitta, and try to keep my mind focused on whatever it is I am doing, remaining watchful of wandering. I will also remember that every meditation is an opportunity to train in tranquil abiding

The purpose of this meditation is to gain a stable object of meditation – in this case, Bodhichitta.

I began the meditation by thinking about yesterday’s meditation, my concerns about not having enough time, and the conclusion that I need to practice constantly to become a Buddha. I also thought of Luna Kadampa’s comment, that time does not exist inherently, and if I have the wish, I will have the time. I took great heart from this advice. I have the time – if we have the wish, we all have the time. I won’t second guess Geshe-la, I will just trust him.

I thought about what it would be like to be a Buddha. I would be free from suffering. I would have compassion for all living beings without exception.  I would know exactly how to help each and every living being to be happy, and I would have the spiritual power to be able to take their suffering and give them happiness. I focused on all these qualities and imagined that I had them.

I felt open, free and tranquil. I felt like nothing could disturb my tranquillity, and I stayed with this feeling for as long as I could. When disturbing thoughts or distractions arose, I tried to let go of them and return to my peaceful and tranquil state. I kept doing this for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings realise that happiness comes from inner peace, and become living Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to keep this tranquil feeling alive in my mind – this belief that I can become a Buddha for the benefit of all.

The purpose of this meditation is to develop a very stable level of concentration, with the intention to perfect this concentration to the level of tranquil abiding.

I began by re-establishing the mind of Bodhichitta from yesterday using the same line of thought.

I then asked Geshe-la to show me what it meant to be a Buddha. Immediately the thought came to my mind that to be a Buddha means to purify our mind of delusions and distractions, and attain perfect virtuous concentration. The attainment of tranquil abiding is fundamental to this achievement.

I decided to imagine I already have this level of concentration. Immediately I had a very open, clear and concentrated feeling, focused on the wish to become enlightened for the benefit of all.

I felt very clean and serene, and I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then decided to see that this meant in the context of my precious human life. I found that this possibility to attain tranquil abiding (and then to enter the mahayana paths) depends completely on my precious human life. My human life is precious, rare and meaningful, and therefore so it this potential to attain tranquil abiding. I strengthened my wish to become a Buddha with the wish to attain tranquil abiding, and make my human life meaningful. I stayed with this feeling of determination for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings gain the union of special insight and quiescence, and thereby become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to keep a pure intention all day, and constantly question whether my thoughts and actions are leading me towards that goal.

Meditation 1/19

The purpose of this meditation is to improve our meditation technique in search of the most perfect concentration of all – tranquil abiding.

I began the meditation by paying particular attention to my mind. Whenever I lost my object I returned my attention to bodhichitta, my object of tranquil abiding.

It seemed to me that one moment I was focused clearly on the object, and then almost the next moment I was wandering in distracting thoughts. I tried to trace how my thoughts had got to where they were, from the object of meditation.

I thought that my distraction is rather like falling off a peak of conentration into superficially interesting thoughts. It was like when I had my object, I was sitting on top of a beautiful snow covered peak, surrounded by clear, empty blue sky, with the object clearly in front of me.

Then all of a sudden I would have fallen far, far below, wandering through valleys of distraction moving further away from the peak.

Once I noticed my mind was wandering, I brought it back up to the peak and there, waiting for me, was the object.

But then, fairly soon, my mind was wandering again in the valleys of distraction.

I found it infuriating that it was difficult to spot when my mind became distracted from the object. It was like when I fall asleep. When I fall asleep, I don’t notice when I actually enter the sleeping state – I just go blank and the next thing I know I am dreaming.

I realised there is real danger in this blank period, and that I need to keep checking my concentration with alertness, and not just get lost in the object.

I returned my mind once more to Bodhichitta, and imagined I was at the peak of my snow mountain, renewing my determination to remain on my object, and renewing my determination to become a Buddha for the benefit of all.

Dedication

May all living beings develop perfect concentration, and become enlightened for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

Whatever I do – I must watch out for mind wandering, and return my mind to the task at hand whenever I notice it happening.

 

The purpose of this meditation is to increase our stability of mind.

I began the meditation by deciding to meditate on compassion. I called to mind how precious all living beings are, and how they suffer constantly.

In his recent book Modern Buddhism, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso quotes Buddha Shakyamuni as follows:

In this impure life of samsara,
No-one experiences pure happiness.

I thought about my children and how they will suffer throughout their lives. I imagined them suffering, and how I naturally wish that they be free from suffering. It is my natural role to care for them and protect them. I want to protect them from suffering.

I let my mind become mixed with the wish for them to be free from their suffering, and stayed with it for the rest of the meditation. When the wish faded, or my mind wandered, I brought it back to the contemplation and the meditation.

I did this throughout the meditation, trying to stay in the object for longer and longer each time.

Dedication

May all living beings develop traquil abiding, and quickly realise all the virtuous objects of meditation, and become complete Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

If I am honest, my lack of stability of mind is my biggest problem now. I can generate objects and mix my mind with them, but I need my concentration to be better. I will constantly wish for better concentration.

The purpose of this meditation is to train our mind in stability, so that it we can hold an object of meditation in our mind perfectly and continually in order to know it thoroughly.

I began the meditation by deciding to use compassion as my object of meditation.

I generated the mind of compassion by remembering my love for all living beings without exception, and then remembering how they are constantly tormented by suffering. I let my mind fill with the wish that they be free from their suffering.

Once I had a fairly strong feeling I stopped thinking about generating the mind, and just focused on the feeling of compassion. I tried to keep my mind balanced and stable. I tried to stop it wandering to different objects, and when it did, I brought it back to compassion as smoothly as possible.

As I meditated, it seemed to me that the wish solidified into a sort of platform on which all my further attainments could be built. It felt strong and solid, but it was still compassion. I focused on this feeling for the rest of the meditation, returning my mind to the object whenever it wandered.

Dedication

May all living beings find the opportunity to train their minds in tranquil abiding, develop strong clear realisations, and complete the path to Enlightenment quickly.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remain focused on whatever I am doing, and not let my mind wander. When I am brushing my teeth, I will try to remain in the moment. Likewise when I am washing, walking or with others, I will try to remain focused and in the moment at all times.

The purpose of this meditation is to practise generating a very stable concentrated mind.

I chose Bodhichitta as my object of Tranquil Abiding because in the example 7-day Lamrim retreat described by Geshe-la in Appendix IV of The New Meditation Handbook, Bodhichitta is suggested as the object for the Tranquil Abiding meditation.  (How wonderful it would be to have the opportunity to practice four sessions of this meditation on the same day!).

I generated Bodhichitta in the same way that I did yesterday in my meditation, then I focused on mixing my mind with the feeling completely. I became Bodhichitta. Bodhichitta was all I could see and feel. I was completely mixed with Bodhichitta – I was Bodhichitta.

I kept this recognition for the whole of the meditation, and when I detected that my mind was losing this feeling, I renewed it by reminding myself of the feeling. I let it fill me again and again. It was superb. Joy after Joy.

Dedication

May all living beings practice Tranquil Abiding and generate completely stable and pure minds, filled with love, compassion and Bodhichitta. May they all become Enlightened Beings.

Practice in the meditation break

I will try to keep my mind mixed with Bodhichitta, and everything I see, touch and think about will be mixed with this precious mind.

The purpose of this meditation is to improve our concentration on our object of meditation.

I began by choosing my object of meditation from the other Lamrim objects. I chose Reliance on my Spiritual Guide. I contemplated the benefits of relying on my Guru. He will lead me along correct spiritual paths. I will find my delusions easy to overcome by following his guidance. He will bless my mind so my progress will be swift. In this way my life will become meaningful and I will find true inner peace.

Holding all these points in my mind, I visualised my Spiritual Guide in front of me, embodying all these good results. I held him in the centre of my mind, and tried to relax and focus. I kept a part of my mind checking the quality of the object. If it started to fade and be replaced by another object, I revived my correct object. If the clarity faded I made it clear and strong again. I kept doing this throughout the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings develop the realisation of tranquil abiding, and attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.

Practice in the meditation break

I will not let my mind wander during the meditation break. When I am doing something which does not require full attention I will recite mantras.

I began the meditation by remembering my previous meditation on Bodhichitta. I recalled the suffering and lack of happiness experienced by all living beings, and my wish to become a Buddha so that I can help them.

I contemplated these things for a while until the wish to become a Buddha arose strongly in my mind. Then I tried simply to watch it very carefully. The things I was watching for were mental wandering, mental excitement and mental sinking.

Mental wandering is where my mind wanders to a virtuous object, such as an image of Buddha, or any of the other Lamrim meditation objects. This is an obstacle because although the object is virtuous, it is not the one I should be focusing on.

Mental excitement is where my mind wanders to an object of attachment.

Mental sinking is where the object stays in my mind, but its clarity and meaning fade. So my job is to keep my mind well balanced, like a tightrope walker: focused on the object Bodhichitta, without it wandering and maintaining the quality of the object.

As soon as I noticed any problems, I brought my mind back onto the object, and made a determination to keep it there.

I did this for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings progress through the nine mental abidings and achieve actual tranquil abiding, so that they may achieve Enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.

Practice in the meditation break

I will try to maintain mindfulness in the meditation break, choosing an object and focusing on it, trying to resist mental wandering, excitement and sinking.

Modern Buddhism

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