Meditations of a person of the Great Scope

1. Meditation on cherishing all living beings

THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEDITATION
To develop universal compassion – compassion for all living beings. We should know that learning to cherish others is the best solution to our daily problems, and is the source of all our future happiness and good fortune. We believe that ourself we normally see is so important and its happiness and freedom are most important, and we neglect the happiness and freedom of others. This belief is ignorance, because ourself that we normally see does not actually exist. If we search for ourself that we normally see with wisdom, it will disappear. This proves that it does not exist at all. Therefore, our normal view believing that ourself is important but others are not is ignorance of self-cherishing. Because of this ignorance we have wasted countless former lives without any meaning. We brought nothing from our former lives except suffering and ignorance. This will be the same in our future lives. In truth, the happiness and freedom of others are more important than our own because we are only one person but others are countless. We must believe that the happiness and freedom of all other living beings are more important than our own.

THE OBJECT OF THIS MEDITATION

The belief that the happiness and freedom of all other living beings are more important than our own.

When, through contemplation, a strong belief that the happiness and freedom of all other living beings are more important than our own develops in our heart, we have found the object of this meditation.

THE ACTUAL MEDITATION

From our heart we should think:

Just as all the Buddhas of the ten directions changed the object of their cherishing from themselves to all living beings, and as a result attained the supreme happiness of enlightenment, so must I do the same.

Thinking in this way we generate the strong belief that the happiness and freedom of all other living beings are more important than our own. We hold this view firmly and remain on it single-pointedly for as long as possible. Through continually training in this meditation we will develop a spontaneous belief that the happiness and freedom of all other living beings are more important than our own. This belief is the realization of this meditation.

During the meditation break we should never allow ourself to forget our belief that the happiness and freedom of all other living beings are more important than our own.

 

2. Meditation on Universal Compassion

THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEDITATION
 
To develop bodhichitta – the sincere wish to become an enlightened being to liberate all living beings.
All the previous Buddhas were born from the mother of compassion for all living beings.
The more our compassion for all living beings increases, the closer and closer we become to the attainment of enlightenment. This is because our compassion for all living beings makes our mind and our actions more and more pure, and when through this our mind and our actions become completely pure we become an enlightened being.
 
Universal compassion is a mind that sincerely wishes to permanently liberate all living beings from suffering.
 
If, on the basis of cherishing all living beings, we contemplate the fact that they experience the cycle of physical suffering and mental pain in life after life without end, their inability to liberate themselves from suffering, their lack of freedom and how, by engaging in negative actions, they create the causes of future suffering, we will develop deep compassion for them.

-feel equal compassion for all living beings without exception; there is no single living being who is not a suitable object of our compassion.
 
To develop renunciation, we previously contemplated how in our countless future lives we will have to experience the unbearable sufferings of animals, hungry ghosts, hell beings, humans, demi-gods and gods. Now, at this point, to develop compassion for all living beings who are our mothers, we contemplate how in their countless future lives they will have to experience the unbearable sufferings of animals, hungry ghosts, hell beings, humans, demi-gods and gods.
 
THE OBJECT OF THIS MEDITATION
Our determination to permanently liberate all living beings from suffering.
 
When a firm determination to permanently liberate all living beings from suffering develops in our heart, we have found the object of this meditation.

THE ACTUAL MEDITATION

From our heart we should think:

I cannot bear the suffering of these countless mother beings. Drowning in the vast and deep ocean of samsara, the cycle of contaminated rebirth, they have to experience unbearable physical suffering and mental pain in this life and in countless future lives. I must permanently liberate all these living beings from their suffering.

- develop the spontaneous wish to permanently liberate all living beings from suffering. This wish is the realization of this meditation.

During the meditation break we should never allow ourself to forget our determination to permanently liberate all living beings from suffering.

 

3 MEDITATION ON THE SUPREME GOOD HEART, BODHICHITTA

THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEDITATION

To engage in the Bodhisattva’s path – the actual path to enlightenment. Bodhichitta is an inner vehicle that possesses six wheels, the six perfections. ‘Bodhi’ means enlightenment, and ‘chitta’ means mind. Bodhichitta is a mind that spontaneously wishes to attain enlightenment to benefit each and every living being every day. The moment we develop bodhichitta we become a Bodhisattva, a person who spontaneously wishes to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings. Initially we will be a Bodhisattva on the path of accumulation. Then, by following the path to enlightenment with the vehicle of bodhichitta, we can progress from being a Bodhisattva on the path of accumulation to being a Bodhisattva on the path of preparation, a Bodhisattva on the path of seeing, and then a Bodhisattva on the path of meditation. From there we will reach the Path of No More Learning, which is the actual state of enlightenment. As already mentioned, enlightenment is the inner light of wisdom that is permanently free from all mistaken appearance, and whose function is to bestow mental peace on each and every living being every day. When we attain a Buddha’s enlightenment we will be able to benefit each and every living being directly through bestowing blessings and through our countless emanations. In Sutra teachings, Buddha says: In this impure life of samsara No one experiences real happiness; The actions they perform Will always be the causes of suffering. As mentioned in Part One, the happiness that we normally experience through having good conditions, such as a good reputation, a good position, a good job, good relationships, seeing attractive forms, hearing good news or beautiful music, eating, drinking and sex is not real happiness, but changing suffering – a reduction in our previous suffering. Out of ignorance, however, we believe that only these things bring happiness, and because of this we never wish to attain real happiness, the pure and everlasting happiness of liberation and enlightenment, even for our own benefit. We are always searching for happiness in this impure life of samsara, like the thief who searched for gold in Milarepa’s empty cave and found nothing. The great Yogi Milarepa heard a thief rummaging around his cave one night and called out to him, ‘How do you expect to find anything valuable here at night, when I cannot find anything valuable here during the day?’ When, through training, we develop the precious mind of enlightenment, bodhichitta, we spontaneously think: How wonderful it would be if I and all living beings attained real happiness, the pure and everlasting happiness of enlightenment! May we attain this happiness. I myself will work for this aim. We need to have this precious mind of bodhichitta in our heart. It is our inner Spiritual Guide, who leads us directly to the state of supreme happiness of enlightenment; and it is the real wishfulfilling jewel through which we can fulfil our own and others’ wishes. There is no greater beneficial intention than this precious mind. THE OBJECT OF THIS MEDITATION The object of this meditation is our determination to attain enlightenment to benefit each and every living being every day. We should learn to develop this determination through contemplating the above explanation of the purpose of this meditation. When, through this contemplation, a firm determination to attain enlightenment to benefit each and every living being every day develops in our heart, we have found the object of this meditation. THE ACTUAL MEDITATION From the depths of our heart we should think: I am one single person but other living beings are countless, and they are all my kind mothers. These countless mother beings have to experience unbearable physical suffering and mental pain in this life and in their countless future lives. Compared with the suffering of these countless living beings, my own suffering is insignificant. I must liberate all living beings from suffering permanently, and for this purpose I must attain a Buddha’s enlightenment. We hold this determination firmly and remain on it single-pointedly for as long as possible. Through continually training in this meditation we will develop a spontaneous wish to attain enlightenment to benefit each and every living being every day. This wish is the realization of this meditation, and is the actual bodhichitta. During the meditation break, to fulfil our bodhichitta wish we engage in training in the six perfections, the actual path to enlightenment, and we should emphasize the accumulation of merit and wisdom.

 

4 MEDITATION ON OUR DETERMINATION AND PROMISE TO SINCERELY PRACTISE THE SIX PERFECTIONS

THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEDITATION

The purpose of this meditation is to reach the state of enlightenment directly. The six perfections are the actual path to enlightenment, and they are also the path of bodhichitta and the Bodhisattva’s path. Through following this path with the vehicle of bodhichitta we will definitely reach the state of enlightenment. Our bodhichitta wish is to attain enlightenment to benefit each and every living being directly. To fulfil this wish, in front of our Spiritual Guide or an image of Buddha regarded as the living Buddha, we should promise to engage in the Bodhisattva’s path or training while reciting the following ritual prayer three times. This promise is the Bodhisattva’s vow. O Guru Buddha, please listen to me. Just as all the previous Sugatas, the Buddhas, Generated the mind of enlightenment, bodhichitta, And accomplished all the stages Of the Bodhisattva’s training, So will I too, for the sake of all beings, Generate the mind of enlightenment And accomplish all the stages Of the Bodhisattva’s training. When we take the Bodhisattva’s vow we are taking the commitment to engage in the path to enlightenment, the Bodhisattva’s training, which is the practice of the six perfections. Normally, when we start an ordinary job we commit ourself to fulfilling our employer’s wishes; otherwise we will quickly lose our job. In the same way,  

having generated bodhichitta – the determination to attain enlightenment to benefit each and every living being directly – we need to commit ourself to engaging in the practice of the six perfections. If we do not make this commitment by taking the Bodhisattva’s vow, we will lose our opportunity to attain enlightenment. Through contemplating this we should encourage ourself to take the Bodhisattva’s vow and sincerely practise the six perfections. The six perfections are the practices of giving, moral discipline, patience, effort, concentration and wisdom, motivated by bodhichitta. We should recognize that the six perfections are our daily practice. In the practice of giving we should practise: (1) giving material help to those in poverty, including giving food to animals; (2) giving practical help to those sick or physically weak; (3) giving protection by always trying to save others’ lives, including those of insects; (4) giving love – learning to cherish all living beings by always believing that their happiness and freedom are important; and (5) giving Dharma – helping others to solve their problems of anger, attachment and ignorance by giving Dharma teachings or meaningful advice. In the practice of moral discipline we should abandon any inappropriate actions including those that cause others suffering. We should especially abandon breaking our commitments of the Bodhisattva’s vow. This is the basic foundation on which we can make progress on the Bodhisattva’s path. By doing this our actions of body, speech and mind will be pure, so that we become a pure being. In the practice of patience we should never allow ourself to become angry or discouraged, by temporarily accepting any difficulties or harm from others. When we practise patience we are wearing the supreme inner armour that directly protects us from physical sufferings, mental pain and other problems. Anger destroys our merit, or good fortune, so that we will continually experience many obstacles, and because of lacking good fortune it will be difficult to fulfil our wishes, especially our spiritual aims. There is no greater evil than anger. With the practice of patience we can accomplish any spiritual aim; there is no greater virtue than patience. In the practice of effort we should rely on irreversible effort to accumulate the great collections of merit and wisdom, which are the main causes of attaining Buddha’s Form Body (Rupakaya), and Truth Body (Dharmakaya); and especially we should emphasize contemplation and meditation on emptiness, the way things really are. By doing this we can easily make progress on the path to enlightenment. With effort we can accomplish our aim, whereas with laziness we cannot achieve anything. In the practice of concentration, at this stage we should emphasize accomplishing the concentration of tranquil abiding observing emptiness. An explanation of this can be found in the book Modern Buddhism in the section A Simple Training in Ultimate Bodhichitta. When, through the power of this concentration, we experience a special wisdom called ‘superior seeing’ that realizes the emptiness of all phenomena very clearly, we will have progressed from being a Bodhisattva on the path of accumulation to being a Bodhisattva on the path of preparation. In the practice of wisdom, at this stage we need to emphasize increasing the power of our wisdom of superior seeing by continually meditating on the emptiness of all phenomena with bodhichitta motivation. Through this, when our superior seeing transforms into the path of seeing, which is the direct realization of the emptiness of all phenomena, we will have progressed from being a Bodhisattva on the path of preparation to being a Bodhisattva on the path of seeing. The moment we attain the path of seeing we are a Superior Bodhisattva and no longer experience samsara’s sufferings. Even if someone cuts our body piece by piece with a knife we have no pain because we have the direct realization of the way things really are. Having completed the path of seeing, to make further progress we need to engage continually in the meditation on the emptiness of all phenomena with bodhichitta motivation. This meditation is called the ‘path of meditation’. When we reach this stage we will have progressed from being a Bodhisattva on the path of seeing to being a Bodhisattva on the path of meditation. Having completed the path of meditation, when our wisdom of the path of meditation transforms into an omniscient wisdom that is permanently free from all mistaken appearances, this omniscient wisdom is called the ‘Path of No More Learning’, which is actual enlightenment. When we reach this stage we will have progressed from being a Bodhisattva on the path of meditation to being an enlightened being, a Buddha. We will have completed the ultimate goal of living beings. The Bodhisattva’s initial training in accumulating merit or wisdom is the Bodhisattva’s path of accumulation; the Bodhisattva’s training in accumulating merit or wisdom that is a preparation for attaining the path of seeing is the Bodhisattva’s path of preparation; the Bodhisattva’s training that is the initial direct realization of emptiness is the Bodhisattva’s path of seeing; after completing the path of seeing, the Bodhisattva’s training that meditates continually on emptiness is the Bodhisattva’s path of meditation; and Buddha’s omniscient wisdom that is attained through completing all the trainings of Sutra and Tantra is the Path of No More Learning, the state of enlightenment. THE OBJECT OF THIS MEDITATION The object of this meditation is our determination and promise to sincerely practise the six perfections. We should learn to develop this determination and promise through contemplating the above explanation of the purpose of this meditation. When, through this contemplation, a firm determination and promise to sincerely practise the six perfections develops in our heart, we have found the object of this meditation. THE ACTUAL MEDITATION From our heart we should think: Just as all the previous Buddhas generated the precious mind of bodhichitta and accomplished all the stages of the Bodhisattva’s path, so will I too for the sake of all living beings generate the precious mind of bodhichitta and accomplish all the stages of the Bodhisattva’s path, the practice of the six perfections. We hold this determination firmly and remain on it single-pointedly for as long as possible. Through continually engaging in this meditation we will develop a spontaneous wish to complete our training in the six perfections, the Bodhisattva’s path. This wish is the realization of this meditation. During the meditation break we should apply irreversible effort to training in the six perfections and to accumulating the collections of merit and wisdom. In this way we can make progress moment by moment towards the attainment of enlightenment.

 
 

5 TRAINING IN MEDITATION ON EMPTINESS

THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEDITATION

The purpose of this meditation is to permanently free our mind from all mistaken appearances, which are the main obstruction to the attainment of enlightenment. However, without understanding emptiness correctly there is no basis for this meditation. Therefore, with the following explanation we should strive to understand the meaning of emptiness. A simple explanation is as follows:
For example, we normally see our body within its parts – the hands, back and so forth – but neither the individual parts nor the collection of the parts are our body because they are the parts of our body and not the body itself. However, there is no ‘our body’ other than its parts. Through searching with wisdom for our body in this way, we realize that our body is unfindable. This is a valid reason to prove that our body we normally see does not exist at all. Also, we normally see our self within our body and mind, but neither our body, nor our mind, nor the collection of our body and mind are our self, because these are our possessions and our self is the possessor; and possessor and possessions cannot be the same. However, there is no ‘our self’ other than our body and mind. Through searching with wisdom for our self in this way, we realize that our self is unfindable. This is a valid reason to prove that our self we normally see does not exist at all. We should apply these reasons to all other phenomena, so that we will understand that all phenomena we normally see or perceive do not exist. In conclusion, we will understand that the real meaning of emptiness is the mere absence of all phenomena we normally see or perceive.

THE OBJECT OF THIS MEDITATION

The object of this meditation is the emptiness of all phenomena, the mere absence of all phenomena we normally see or perceive. We should learn to perceive clearly the mere absence of all phenomena we normally see or perceive through contemplating the above explanation of the purpose of this meditation. When, through this contemplation, a deep knowledge of the mere absence of all phenomena we normally see or perceive develops in our mind, we have found the object of this meditation.

THE ACTUAL MEDITATION When a deep knowledge of the mere absence of all phenomena we normally see or perceive develops in our mind, we should hold this knowledge and remain on it single-pointedly without forgetting it. Through continually training in this meditation we will develop a deeper knowledge that functions to reduce or cease our self-grasping. This is the realization of this meditation. During the meditation break we should learn to recognize that the things we normally see are like illusions; which means that although we see them they do not exist.

6  MEDITATION ON RELYING ON OUR SPIRITUAL GUIDE

THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEDITATION

The purpose of this meditation is to receive the powerful blessings of all Buddhas. We need to rely sincerely and purely on our Spiritual Guide. The reason for this is very simple. The ultimate goal of human life is to attain enlightenment, and this depends on continually receiving the special blessings of all Buddhas through our Spiritual Guide. All Buddhas attained enlightenment with the sole intention of leading all living beings along the stages of the path to enlightenment through their emanations. Who is the emanation who is leading us along the stages of the path to enlightenment? It is clearly our present Spiritual Teacher, who is sincerely and correctly leading us along the paths of renunciation, bodhichitta and the correct view of emptiness by giving these teachings and showing a practical example for others to follow. Understanding this we should strongly believe that our Spiritual Guide is an emanation of Buddha, and develop and maintain deep faith in him or her.

THE OBJECT OF THIS MEDITATION

The object of this meditation is our deep faith in our Spiritual Guide. We should learn to develop this faith through contemplating the above explanation of the purpose of this meditation. When, through this contemplation, deep faith in our Spiritual Guide develops in our heart, we have found the object of this meditation.

THE ACTUAL MEDITATION

From the depths of our heart we should think: It is clear that if I rely sincerely and purely on my Spiritual Guide I will receive the powerful blessings of all Buddhas through my Spiritual Guide, so that I can easily make progress in and complete my practice of both Sutra and Tantra. Through this I can fulfil my own and others’ wishes. In this way we generate deep faith in our Spiritual Guide and remain on it single-pointedly for as long as possible. Through continually training in this meditation we will develop the spontaneous faiths of admiring faith, believing faith and wishing faith, which is the realization of this meditation. During the meditation break we should apply strong effort to sincerely practise our Spiritual Guide’s teachings on renunciation, bodhichitta, correct view of emptiness, and the generation and completion stages of Tantra. In summary, if we sincerely and continually practise the union of the stages of the paths of Sutra and Tantra we will quickly make progress from a lower state to higher and higher states until we become an enlightened being, a Buddha. This means that we will have permanently awakened from the sleep of ignorance, we will be able to see everything of the past, future and present directly and simultaneously, and we will become the source of happiness for all living beings. How wonderful!