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The purpose of this meditation is to decide on what action to take if we are going to stop asking samsara to provide us with what we want.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then I revisited my conclusions from yesterday.

What is it that we all want, deep down? We all want permanent, perfect happiness and to never experience even the slightest suffering. Samsara, our normal world, cannot provide this. If we understand this, be can let go of the expectation and become free of its tyranny.

I thought about what to do if we abandon samsara – what should be our view?

TransformerI asked myself this question for a while, and slowly an idea formed that I should transform samsara into a pure land. I cannot alter the appearances around me, but I can transform them into causes of bliss. The first step is to stop grasping at appearances as being the external cause of happiness or suffering – they are more like triggers rather than the cause itself. If I view freezing temperatures as not being an inherent cause of suffering, but instead a sign of my past negative actions then instead of feeling discomfort, I can develop the bliss of patient acceptance.

If I experience pleasure in a cup of tea, I can see it is the trigger for the ripening of positive karma. This reminds me to always create positive actions, and gives me the opportunity to experience the bliss of offering nectar to all the Buddhas.

In short, my conclusion was that I need to always transform samsara into a pure land, develop pure minds towards all living beings, and abide in bliss. I focused on this thought, and I felt simultaneously the wish to abandon samsara and the wish to transform it into a pure land. I experienced a very focused mind, filled with freedom and beauty. It was lovely.

Dedication

May all living beings learn how to transform their conditions into bliss, and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will transform, transform, transform.

 

The purpose of this meditation is to mix our mind with the firm intention to practice Dharma purely all day.

I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and then reminded myself that I am going to die. I thought about my plan to ensure that I get the most out of each day – I cannot afford to allow even one day to pass by without making the absolute most out of it.

QuotaI decided that I need to think that I will die tonight. I have only one day left. I must make the most of today. There is no tomorrow. Only today. I cannot waste even a moment.

I kept thinking about these points, and I developed a strong wish to mix all my experiences with Dharma.

Because all my experiences are empty, I can decide what they mean. Normally when I have a problem, the actual reason it is a problem is that I have designated it as a problem. There is no ‘problem’ from its own side. From now on I will designate all my experiences as ‘Dharma opportunities’, and I will keep track of my progress on my ticklist.

I focused on this wish to transform all my experiences, and I settled on this wish, along with the urgency that tonight will be the end – I will die tonight.

Dedication

May all living beings develop a sense of urgency about their lives, and find a way of making their lives meaningful before it is too late.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will redesignate all my experiences for Dharma.

The purpose of this meditation is to generate a strong feeling of the fact that I will die, and that reliance upon a Spiritual Guide is the way to prepare for this eventuality.

sneezeI made the usual preparations for meditation and then began by thinking about how I will feel when I die. Although I cannot anticipate the circumstances of my death now, I supposed that my death would come about after a short illness, like that of my Aunt who passed away recently. I imagined what my mind would be like when I died, if I was feeling ill. I have a cough and a cold at the moment (like everyone else I know) and it is easy to think ‘Oh I feel so ill! Poor me!’ This is a miserable mind and it is an unhappy mind. It is important to die with a happy mind, so if I am ill before I die, it will be very hard for me to have a happy mind if I am used to being so self-concerned under such conditions.

I made the determination to try and abandon my self concern now and when I am ill in the future, because this will prepare me well for my death. I focused on this for a while and then I wondered about what this means in terms of reliance upon a Spiritual Guide. It seemed to me that by relying on my Spiritual Guide, I will be able to overcome my self-cherishing during transient illnesses. I will also be prepared for the illness that will lead to my death, and be able to keep a peaceful and happy mind throughout my illness and death. This seemed such a wonderful response to illness and death that I focused on it for the rest of the session.

Dedication

May all living beings rely upon their Spiritual Guide and prepare themselves for death every day.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember my Guru’s instructions and transform my illnesses into the spiritual path to enlightenment.

The purpose of this meditation is to recognise the kindness we receive from all living beings throughout our lives, and then meditate on this kindness in the light of our refuge practice.

I began by thinking about how living beings are showing me kindness every time I interact with them. How can this be true when living beings cause me so much trouble?!!

Without Dharma we are at the mercy of other living beings. If they are nasty to us, we automatically generate anger, aversion or self-cherishing. If they are nice to us we develop attachment and self-cherishing. No matter what living beings do, without our having Dharma wisdom they will stimulate delusions and suffering.

But with Dharma wisdom we can use every interaction to progress along the path to enlightenment. If they are nasty to us we can see that they are a manifestation my negative karma. When karma ripens the only thing to do is develop patient acceptance, and to resolve to not create more negative actions. If they are nice to us we can see that this is the result of positive karmic seeds ripening. We can offer the pleasure of the situation to our Guru at our heart, and reinforce our wish to create more positive seeds for the future.

With Dharma wisdom, no matter what others do, we can view it as a kindness, because if they were not doing these things, we would not have the opportunity to practice in a practical way throughout the day.

I thought about these points and mulled them over in my mind. I felt like there was kindness coming at me from every direction –  warm waves of spiritual help. I focused on this for a while and then thought about what this means in the light of my refuge practice.

Buddha is a living being. I go for refuge to Buddha because he shows me the way to make my life meaningful. He has given pure Dharma to the world to show all living beings the way to attain true everlasting happiness. This is how Buddha is kind. I felt like I was completely enveloped in a universe of kindness, and no matter what I experienced from others, I could transform it into kindness. I felt completely protected and like all living beings were ‘on my side’. I stayed with this feeling for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings recognise the kindness they constantly experience, and through this kindness come to attain the state of Buddhahood.

Practice in the Meditation Break

Through my reliance on Dorje Shugden as my protector, I can be certain that the actions of everyone I interact with will be the perfect opportunities for me to develop spiritually and travel along the path to enlightenment. I will also remember the final protecting precept of training the mind: Do not expect gratitude.

Meditation 4/9

The purpose of this meditation is to recognise the precious nature of our human life and to use it wisely in the context of death and impermanence.

I began the meditation by considering all the conditions I have in my life for spiritual progress. I thought about how having a human life at all is very rare, and that to have all the freedoms and endowments necessary for a spiritual life makes my life extremely precious.

I thought about these points for a while and a feeling of valuing my life arose. I sometimes take it so much for granted that I wake up in the morning, but I should remember that each day presents a golden opportunity to attain true meaning.

I stayed with this feeling for a while, and then I considered what my life means in the context of death and impermanence. I will definitely die, and I could die today. This means that my precious human life with all its freedoms and endowments could end today. Tomorrow I could be suffering in a hell realm, separated from the Three Jewels and ignorant even of the word ‘freedom’.

This made me thing about my life again. My life will definitely end. All the things I normally think are important are actually not important at all. Projects at work, relationships, cars, houses, what to eat – none of these things in themselves are important at all. They do not matter! What really matters is the karma I create during my life. If I experience good conditions I should recognise these as the results of positive actions in the past, and use them as encouragement to practice sincerely. If I experience bad conditions I should recognise these as the results of negative actions in the past, and use them as encouragement to practice sincerely.  It does not matter what happens to me – I have to transform everything into the spiritual path to enlightenment.

If I live all my life living in one street, or if I travel the world – it does not matter. If I have an illness or if I am healthy, it does not matter. If I have lots of friends and money, or if I have none, it does not matter. All that matters is to transform every experience into the spiritual path.

I thought about my life, death and transforming all conditions for the rest of the meditation, and arrived at the conclusion that I should relax, not worry, and practice sincerely. I focused on this determination for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings recognise what is valuable about their lives, and practice transforming conditions until they become perfect Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will transform all my experiences into the path to enlightenment.

The purpose of this meditation was to examine death and impermanence in the light of our precious human life.

I began the meditation by thinking about death and impermanence. I will definitely die, and I have no idea when that might be. Even now, after I have been doing this meditation for some time, I still find myself thinking “ah yes, but it won’t happen any time soon”! How deeply ingrained is this ignorance!

I thought about the conclusion: that when I die all the things of this life will disappear. What does this mean? I felt that it was like having possessions but knowing that they actually belonged to someone else, and they could come any day and take them back off me. Knowing this, how would I feel towards these possessions? I would feel unattached to them. I would be prevented from becoming attached to them by the knowledge that they were not mine and they could be reclaimed at any time.  But at the same time, I would use these possessions to their best advantage while I still had them, and I would take great care of them, as I had been entrusted with their keep.

I realised that this is how we should feel about the things in my life. There is no point in becoming attached to these things because at any time the Lord of Death could come and take them from me. I need to make good use of them and care for them while I have them.

The conclusion of the death and impermanence meditation is to abandon attachment to worldly things and develop the determination to devote my life to Dharma practice. Contemplating the reasoning above, I felt a very deep wish to practice Dharma sincerely.

So how can I understand this wish in the light of my precious human life? My life is my precious opportunity, filled with freedoms and endowments. Every day I have may be my last – my last opportunity to make good use of my precious life.

From my death meditation, I had the wish to make good use of my life, and I now also understood just how precious that life is. I vowed to use every moment of my precious life to transform my experiences into the spiritual path, bearing in mind that it could end at any time.

I felt a very deep determination to make good use of my opportunity, given that it could end at any time. I focused on this wish for the rest of the meditation. It grew so that it seemed like the most important and only thing in the world. I kept focused on it for the rest of the meditation.

Dedication

May all living beings recognise their mortality, and through this understanding become Buddhas for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will transform all my experiences into the spiritual path, recognising that my life could end at any time.

 

Meditation 1/2

Modern Buddhism

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