What is Meditation
We should also put the advice from Je Tsongkhapa’s heart, The Three Principal Aspects of the Path to Enlightenment, into practice by training in meditation on the stages of the path to enlightenment, known as ‘Kadam Lamrim’.
We should know that if we do not find the object of our meditation, our meditation has no function.
If these determinations come from the depths of our heart we have found the object of our meditation, and our meditation will then be greatly effective.
Because this determination comes from our heart, out of meditation we will maintain this determination continually day and night and we will put it into practice by sincerely practising the three higher trainings. Through this we will attain permanent liberation from the sufferings of this life and countless future lives, known as ‘nirvana’.
normally determination does not come from our heart but remains only intellectual or superficial.
-we forget our determination and we ignore our practice of the three higher trainings. In this way we are cheating ourself!
I request you: please reverse this sad situation.
In general, the definition of meditation is a mind that is single-pointedly focused on a virtuous object and whose function is to make the mind peaceful and calm.
We want to be happy all the time, even during sleep. How can we do this? We can do this through training in meditation because meditation makes our mind peaceful, and when our mind is peaceful we are happy all the time, even if our external conditions are poor.
Since the actual method to make our mind peaceful is training in meditation, we should apply effort to this training.
Whenever we meditate, we are performing an action or karma that causes us to experience peace of mind in the future.
From this we can understand the importance of training in meditation. The difference between concentration and meditation is that concentration is necessarily a mental factor but meditation can be either a mental factor or a primary mind.
The object of concentration can be anything, but the object of meditation is necessarily a virtuous object.
Whether an object is virtuous or non-virtuous depends on our position. For example, when our enemy harms us and we practise patience, our enemy is our virtuous object, the object of our patience, but if instead we get angry with him he is our non-virtuous object, the object of our anger. So it is our choice whether someone or something is our virtuous object or non-virtuous object. We should learn to use all living beings as our virtuous objects, the objects of our compassion and patience, and all phenomena as the objects of our training in emptiness. There is no greater Dharma practice than this.
There is a threefold division of meditation: 1. Meditation of a person of initial scope 2. Meditation of a person of middling scope 3. Meditation of a person of great scope An additional explanation is as follows. For these meditations to be effective we should keep the practice of the preparatory prayers, Prayers for Meditation or Offering to the Spiritual Guide or the Guru yoga of Heart Jewel, as our daily practice. This is because to attain realizations of the following meditations, the meditations of Kadam Lamrim, we need to accumulate great good fortune, or merit, we need to purify obstacles, negativities and non-virtuous actions, and we need to receive the powerful blessings of all the Buddhas of the ten directions through our Spiritual Guide.
We should know that the Request Prayer of the Stages of the Path in Offering to the Spiritual Guide, or Lama Chopa in Tibetan, the Prayer of the Stages of the Path in Prayers for Meditation and the Request to the Lord of All Lineages in Hundreds of Deities of the Joyful Land According to Highest Yoga Tantra, are the condensed Lamrim practices.
To those who sincerely wish to attain realizations of Kadam Lamrim I would like to request: ‘Please memorize our precious Lamrim books such as Joyful Path of Good Fortune and Modern Buddhism. Through this, if you practise sincerely and continually, you will gain the actual realizations.’
An additional practical advice is as follows. If we really wish to attain realizations of the meditations of persons of initial scope, middling scope and great scope, we should memorize the essential explanation of the purpose of each meditation. Then, in the actual meditation, we should mentally repeat the essential explanation of the purpose of the meditation while concentrating on its meaning, completely free from distractions. This is a powerful method to attain realizations of these meditations that will make our whole life joyful, our samsaric problems cease, and all our actions of benefiting others effective because we are able to show such a good example. - we are storing huge precious jewels of Dharma in the store of our mind. Later, for us, Dharma will come naturally from our mind day and night, even during sleep. This is because the treasury of our mind will be full of the jewels of Dharma, which will never decrease; the more we use them the more they will increase. Thus, our own Dharma practice will be greatly effective, and our actions of benefiting others through teaching Dharma will be greatly effective. All of this is my own experience; I hope many people will do the same.