MEDITATION ON RENUNCIATION
 
THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEDITATION
 
The purpose of this meditation is to enter, make progress on and complete the path to liberation. To achieve this aim we need to consider what we should know, what we should abandon, what we should practise, and what we should attain. 
 
BIRTH AGING SICKNESS DEATH AND OTHER TYPES OF SUFFERING
 
We also have to experience the sufferings of separation, having to encounter what we do not like and not fulfilling our wishes – which include the sufferings of poverty, and of being harmed by humans and non-humans and by water, fire, wind and earth.

THE OBJECT OF THIS MEDITATION
 
The object of this meditation is our determination to liberate ourself permanently from the sufferings of our countless future lives. This determination is renunciation. We should learn to develop this determination through contemplating the above explanation of the purp
ose of this meditation. When, through this contemplation, a firm determination to liberate ourself permanently from the sufferings of this life and of countless future lives develops in our heart, we have found the object of this meditation.
 
THE ACTUAL MEDITATION
 
From our heart we should think:
 
    There is no benefit in denying the sufferings of future lives; when they actually descend upon me it will be too late to protect myself from them. Therefore I definitely need to prepare protection now, while I have this human life that gives me the opportunity to liberate myself permanently from the sufferings of my countless future lives. If I do not apply effort to accomplish this, but allow my human life to become empty of meaning, there is no greater deception and no greater foolishness. I must put effort now into liberating myself permanently from the sufferings of my countless future lives.
 
 
We hold this determination firmly and we remain on it single-pointedly for as long as possible. Through continually training in this meditation we will develop a spontaneous wish to liberate ourself permanently from the sufferings of our countless future lives. This wish is the realization of this meditation. The moment we develop this realization we enter the path to liberation. In this context, liberation refers to the supreme permanent peace of mind known as ‘nirvana’, which gives us pure and everlasting happiness.

During the meditation break we should put our determination into practice by making progress in our training on the actual path to liberation.

 

MEDITATION ON OUR DETERMINATION TO RECOGNIZE, REDUCE AND ABANDON OUR SELF-GRASPING IGNORANCE, THE ROOT OF SAMSARIC REBIRTH

THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEDITATION

 To fulfil the aim of our renunciation.

In Sutra of the Four Noble Truths Buddha says, ‘You should abandon origins.’ In saying this Buddha is advising us that if we wish to liberate ourself permanently from the sufferings of our countless future lives we should abandon origins. ‘Origins’ means our delusions, principally our delusion of self-grasping. Self-grasping is called an ‘origin’ because it is the source of all our suffering and problems, and is also known as the ‘inner demon’.

Delusions are wrong awarenesses whose function is to destroy mental peace, the source of happiness; they have no function other than to harm us. 
Our self-grasping ignorance is a mind that mistakenly believes that our self, our body and all the other things we normally see actually exist.
Because of this ignorance we develop attachment to the things we like and anger at the things we do not like.
Because of being polluted by this inner poison, our mind sees everything in a mistaken way, and as a result we experience hallucination-like sufferings and problems.
Self-grasping can be likened to a poisonous tree, all other delusions to its branches, and all our suffering and problems to its fruit; it is the fundamental source of all our other delusions and of all our suffering and problems. Through this we can understand that if we abandon our self-grasping permanently, all our suffering and problems of this life and of countless future lives will cease permanently.

The great Yogi Saraha said: ‘If your mind is released permanently from self-grasping, there is no doubt that you will be released permanently from suffering.’ To release our mind from self-grasping we need to understand that our I and mine we normally see do not exist.

THE OBJECT OF THIS MEDITATION
determination to abandon our self-grasping ignorance. 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 abandon our ignorance of self-grasping develops in our heart, we have found the object of this meditation.

THE ACTUAL MEDITATION

From our heart we should think:
Since I want to liberate myself permanently from all the sufferings of this life and countless future lives, I must apply great effort to recognizing, reducing and finally abandoning my ignorance of self-grasping completely.

We hold this determination firmly and we remain on it single-pointedly for as long as possible. Through continually training in this meditation we will develop a spontaneous wish to recognize, reduce and finally cease completely our ignorance of self-grasping, the root of all suffering. This wish is the realization of this meditation.

During the meditation break we should put our determination into practice.

 

MEDITATION ON OUR DETERMINATION TO ENGAGE IN THE ACTUAL PATH TO LIBERATION, THE THREE HIGHER TRAININGS

THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEDITATION

Encourage ourself to engage in the actual path to liberation, the three higher trainings.

In Sutra of the Four Noble Truths Buddha says, ‘You should practise the path.’ - an inner path, a spiritual realization that leads us to the pure happiness of liberation and enlightenment.

These trainings are called ‘higher’ because they are motivated by renunciation. They are therefore the actual path to liberation that we need to practise.

The nature of moral discipline is a virtuous determination to abandon inappropriate actions. When we practise moral discipline we abandon inappropriate actions, maintain pure behaviour and perform every action correctly with a virtuous motivation. Moral discipline is most important for everybody in order to prevent future problems for ourself and for others. It makes us pure because it makes our actions pure.
Moral discipline is like a great earth that supports and nurtures the crops of spiritual realizations. Without practising moral discipline, it is very difficult to make progress in spiritual training. Training in higher moral discipline is learning to be deeply familiar with the practice of moral discipline, motivated by renunciation.

The nature of concentration is a single-pointed virtuous mind. For as long as we remain with this mind we will experience mental peace, and thus we will be happy. When we practise concentration we prevent distractions and concentrate on virtuous objects. It is very important to train in concentration, as with distractions we cannot accomplish anything. Training in higher concentration is learning to be deeply familiar with the ability to stop distractions and concentrate on virtuous objects, with a motivation of renunciation.
The practice of moral discipline prevents gross distractions, and concentration prevents subtle distractions; together they give rise to quick results in our Dharma practice.

The nature of wisdom is a virtuous intelligent mind that functions to understand meaningful objects such as the existence of past and future lives, karma and emptiness.
Worldly intelligence is deceptive, whereas wisdom will never deceive us. It is our inner Spiritual Guide who leads us to correct paths, and it is the divine eye through which we can see past and future lives, and the special connection between our actions in past lives and our experiences in this life, known as ‘karma’.

The subject of karma is very extensive and subtle, and we can understand it only through wisdom. Training in higher wisdom is learning to develop and increase our wisdom realizing emptiness through contemplating and meditating on emptiness with a motivation of renunciation.

At this point we should know that persons, phenomena, samsara, nirvana, suffering and happiness exist because they have a function. However, the persons, phenomena, samsara, nirvana, suffering and happiness we normally see or perceive do not exist because they are mistaken appearances and false objects that are not real objects of knowledge. From this we can understand that there is no contradiction between meditating on renunciation or compassion and meditating on selflessness, or emptiness.

The three higher trainings are the actual method to attain permanent liberation from the suffering of this life and countless future lives. This can be understood by the following analogy. When we cut down a tree using a saw, the saw alone cannot cut the tree without the use of our hands, which in turn depend on our body. Training in higher moral discipline is like our body, training in higher concentration is like our hands, and training in higher wisdom is like the saw. By using these three together, we can cut down the poisonous tree of our self-grasping ignorance, and automatically all other delusions – its branches – and all our suffering and problems – its fruits – will cease completely. Then we will have attained the permanent cessation of the suffering of this life and future lives – the supreme permanent peace of mind known as ‘nirvana’, or liberation. We will have solved all our human problems and accomplished the real meaning of our life.

THE OBJECT OF THIS MEDITATION 
Our determination to practise the three higher trainings. 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 practise the three higher trainings develops in our heart, we have found the object of this meditation.
THE ACTUAL MEDITATION
From our heart we should think:
Since the three higher trainings are the actual method to attain permanent liberation from the suffering of this life and countless future lives, I must put great effort into practising them.

We hold this determination firmly and we remain on it single-pointedly for as long as possible. Through continually training in this meditation we will develop a spontaneous wish to practise the three higher trainings. This wish is the realization of this meditation. During the meditation break we should put our determination into practice.

 

MEDITATION ON OUR DETERMINATION TO ATTAIN TRUE CESSATIONS

THE PURPOSE OF THIS MEDITATION
To prevent us from being satisfied with a merely temporary cessation of particular sufferings, which is deceptive.

‘You should attain cessations.’ In this context, ‘cessations’ refers to true cessations, which means the permanent cessation of suffering and its root, self-grasping ignorance.
Every living being without exception has to experience the cycle of the sufferings of sickness, ageing, death and rebirth, in life after life, endlessly. Following Buddha’s example, we should develop strong renunciation for this endless cycle.
Buddha did not encourage us to abandon daily activities that provide necessary conditions for living, or that prevent poverty, environmental problems, particular diseases and so forth. However, no matter how successful we are in these activities, we will never achieve permanent cessation of such problems.
We should remember the preciousness of our human life.

Because of their previous deluded views denying the value of spiritual practice, those who have taken rebirth as animals, for example, have no opportunity to engage in spiritual practice, which alone gives rise to a meaningful life. Since it is impossible for them to listen to, understand, contemplate and meditate on spiritual instructions, their present animal rebirth itself is an obstacle.
This combination of freedom and the possession of necessary conditions is the special characteristic that makes our human life so precious.

THE OBJECT OF THIS MEDITATION

Determination to attain permanent liberation from all the sufferings of this life and our countless future lives, known as ‘nirvana’. 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 permanent liberation from all the sufferings of this life and our countless future lives, the supreme inner peace of nirvana, develops in our heart we have found the object of this meditation.

THE ACTUAL MEDITATION
From our heart we should think:

I should not be satisfied with a merely temporary cessation of particular sufferings, which even animals can experience. I must attain the supreme inner peace of nirvana.

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 permanent liberation, the supreme inner peace of nirvana. This wish is the realization of this meditation. During the meditation break we should apply effort to put our determination into practice.