Guided Meditations For Beginners | Thubten Chodron http://thubtenchodron.org The Thubten Chodron Teaching Archive Wed, 24 May 2017 20:27:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Guided meditation on working with disturbing emotions http://thubtenchodron.org/2016/11/keeping-perspective/ Sun, 13 Nov 2016 01:34:37 +0000 http://thubtenchodron.org/?p=75465

  • Developing an expansive mind to put the present election in perspective
  • Guided meditation

YouTube Video

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Guided meditation on working with prejudice http://thubtenchodron.org/2016/11/anger-hatred-antidotes/ Fri, 11 Nov 2016 23:40:18 +0000 http://thubtenchodron.org/?p=75450

  • A guided meditation
  • Releasing fear and anger of someone we are prejudiced against

YouTube Video

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Meditation to raise consciousness for a healthy relationship with nature http://thubtenchodron.org/2013/06/meditation-natural-environment/ Sun, 16 Jun 2013 04:51:51 +0000 http://thubtenchodron.org/?p=27125

We have to protect mother earth like our own body.
Geshe Thubten Ngwawang (Hamburg, Germany)

Foto de Gueshe Thubten Ngawang.

Geshe Thubten Ngawang (Photo by Jens Nagels)

Geshe Thubten Ngawang once gave a teaching on how to meditate on the four immeasurables, combined with prayers to support a good relationship with mother earth. This teaching was published in a book entitled Contentment and Non-Harming. Through practicing this meditation, I gained a strong conviction that we can change our attitude towards mother earth and the four elements so that many more generations can live on a healthy planet with good soil, fresh, clean water, and pure air, where the elements are in harmony.

I feel great responsibility not to destroy our nature as far as possible, not to waste natural products but to protect our closest friend or mother, the earth. We have to protect mother earth as we would protect our own body.

Geshe Thubten Ngawang emphasized that sentient beings are totally dependent on the four elements: “To survive as one single human being depends on the friendliness of other sentient beings—human beings and animals—as well as on the natural produce of this earth.” This interdependence makes our actions extremely important if we want to live a meaningful life that benefits both ourselves and others.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama has spoken on this topic in the past 20 years as well. In a talk given in 1990, he said,

In the past the perennial snow mountains of Tibet had very thick snow. Older people say that these mountains were covered with thick snow when they were young and that the snows are getting sparser, which may be an indication of the end of the world. It is a fact that climate change is a slow process taking thousands of years to realize its effect. Living beings and plant life on this planet also undergo change accordingly. Man’s physical structure too changes from generation to generation along with the change in climatic conditions.
(HHDL, India, December 29, 1990)

I am sad to hear that we may be facing the end of the world. I am unhappy to see the suffering of sentient beings that might come with all these environmental changes. However, I can’t blame others for not protecting our natural environment. What good would that do? I have to work on my own behavior and by this, set a good example. I also can support organizations that speak up on these issues, which are concerned about the future of this planet and all the living beings who will live on it. From a Buddhist perspective, that might be even our own mindstream in a human, animal, or whatever form that is experiencing the karmic result of our current actions.

To raise awareness, to develop more compassion and a sense of our interdependence with mother earth, with each and every sentient being on this planet as well as plants and the four elements—water, fire, earth, and wind—I would like to share with you Geshe Thubten Ngawang’s meditation on how to protect our environment like our own body:

Buddha, whose thoughts and actions were full of wisdom and compassion, taught the four immeasurables:

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes.
May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss.
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment, and anger.

Geshe Thubten Ngawang combined the four immeasurables with the four elements. His meditation outline is as follows (lightly edited by me):

Meditation to raise consciousness for a healthy relationship with nature

With concentration we imagine the Buddha in front of us, brilliant and made of transparent light. He is full of compassion and love for each and every sentient being. From his heart, cooling light and nectar enters into us and into our environment. It purifies all negativities, especially the four elements, from all dirt and destructions. We combine with these visualisations good wishes for all sentient beings, for their happiness and end of their suffering. May nobody harm the natural environment.

The ground of equanimity

Think: “How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings would abide on the far-reaching plain of equanimity, that is free from the delusion of being attached to friends and having ill will towards enemies. May all sentient beings train in equanimity. I myself will do my best so every being can be inspired by and follow my example. May all holy beings give their blessings for this.”

The earth and the other major elements are the closest companions of sentient beings. Only through their cause do we have access to what sustains our lives. All elements carry, hold together, ripen, and move. But in our ignorance, we think that we have attained everything on our own. The friendliness of the elements can’t be paid off. May we especially care about the earth element and stop poisoning the ground and food with chemical substances.

The earth element has the function of carrying, the water element holds together, the fire element supports ripening, and the wind element brings growing and increasing. Through the elements and the work of sentient beings, we have all the necessary conditions to be alive. Through the power of the elements we have air to breathe, water to drink, and food, clothes and much more that we take from nature.

Reestablish the visualisation of the Buddha in front of you. He gave up all afflictions and obscurations and has real love that is as stable as the king of the mountains. Imagine that through the power of his love, nectar in form of light and a soft, cool rain flows through head of each and every sentient being. It fills their whole body and mind. From their body light and nectar streams out to the environment. The sentient beings and their environment become purified of all destruction that has been caused through the earth element, e.g., through chemically processed food. All physical and mental sicknesses of the beings will be healed.

Through this purification, the positive powers of the earth element grow, and as long as living beings remain, plants, forests and harvests will exist on every part of this planet. Through this, benefit and well-being of body and mind of the beings will be attained and they receive new energy.

The water of loving-kindness

Think: “How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings in every realm would have happiness and its causes. May they realize that they lack happiness because their mindstream is not filled with the humidity of loving-kindness. May they have happiness. May I do all my best to make it possible and may the holy beings give their blessings.“

All resources are important for all sentient beings’ lives now and in the future. How wonderful it would be if every sentient being would realize that and protect their environment like their own body. May they especially see the water as a very rich treasure and may it be free from poisonous substances.

Again nectar and light flows from the Buddha into each sentient being and purifies them from mental obscurations and their causes, especially from attachment to fabricated objects of attraction. The nectar purifies all human beings of their greed, which causes them to engage in harmful actions like killing animals and eradicating entire species. Through the light and nectar human beings feel love for all sentient beings and wish each and every sentient being happiness and the causes of happiness.

The light and nectar also fill the water element in their environment and purifies it of all poisonous substances. They fill all the water resources on this planet. All this water will bring causes of well-being to each and every sentient being.

The warmth of compassion

Think: “No sentient being wants to suffer, not even in our dreams. But we are not aware that we have to create the causes of happiness, that we have to give up the causes of suffering. Through hurting others we experience suffering day and night. How wonderful it would be if each and every sentient being would be free from suffering and its causes. May they attain this. May I do my best to support sentient beings to attain freedom from suffering and its causes. May the Buddha therefore give his blessings.“

Without our natural environment, no sentient being could survive even for one day. How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings would realize that and refrain from destroying the environment—our forests, soil, water and air, and from killing species of animals.

We think we are intelligent and educated, but in reality we don’t know the difference between wholesome mental states and unwholesome mental states that are caused by wrong views. As a result, we do not know how we can achieve long-lasting happiness and remove suffering. Overwhelmed by these mental states, we are under the control of our afflictions. Our mind is a slave to our misconceptions and afflictions.

In this situation, sentient beings do a variety of activities that bring harm to the natural environment and their inhabitants. Such actions are causes for suffering. Therefore I request you, refuge object, to protect through your compassion me and all sentient beings from suffering and its causes. Free us from the pain in our mind that is caused by the wish to hurt others—through hatred, miserliness, and crime.

Please purify the environment, especially the atmosphere, from the causes of climate change and other destructions that are causes by the heat/fire element, e.g., through the burning of fossil fuels and other toxic substances. May all sentient beings have the good fortune to breath clean air free from pollution.

Nectar and light streams from the Buddha and purifies me and all sentient being from physical and mental suffering. The light and nectar also heal the air, soil, forests, and plants on this planet. Also through the power of the Buddha, the fire element becomes harmonious and supports growth and fertility.

All human beings realize now that the result of virtuous actions is happiness, and the result of harmful actions is suffering. Even the most subtle thought to hurt others will increase.

The harvest of rejoicing

Think: “Sentient beings wish happiness for themselves, but they experience suffering due to their self-centeredness. The basis is wrong views that lead to wrong actions. How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings could live in prosperity, free from any kind of suffering. May this come true. May I bring it to fruition. May the refuge beings give their blessings of support.”

May all human beings who are using the natural resources of this planet realize that these resources are important for survival. May they all realize that they should not waste natural resources for the good of a minority.

Through the prayers we direct towards the holy beings, who feel deep compassion for us, beams of multicolored light and blissful nectar stream forth into all sentient beings. All physical pain and mental suffering is removed, especially any imbalance between the four elements. Through the power of the Buddha, the light and nectar causes all sentient beings to refrain from any destructive or exploitative behavior, and to lead a life with mindfulness, in harmony with their natural environment.

Light and nectar from all sentient beings comes out from their body and removes all the outer destructions and dysfunctions through the wind element and their results, like poverty, sickness, and shortage of food. This leads to a reestablishment of the natural functioning of the wind. The elements regenerate in harmony. Natural resources are refilled and harvests everywhere increase. The whole environment is in harmony so each and every sentient being that will live in the future will have healthy food and pure water. Forests, plants, and other resources of the earth will lead to a contented life with well-being, and without any lack.

German original: Die Umwelt schützen wie den eigenen Körper

This article is available in Spanish: Meditación para una relación saludable con la naturaleza

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Meditación para una relación saludable con la naturaleza http://thubtenchodron.org/2013/06/cuatro-inconmensurables/ Sat, 15 Jun 2013 12:58:50 +0000 http://thubtenchodron.org/?p=13243

“Tenemos que proteger a la madre tierra como lo hacemos con nuestro cuerpo”.
Gueshe Thubten Ngwawang (Hamburgo, Germany)

Foto de Gueshe Thubten Ngawang.

Gueshe Thubten Ngawang (Foto por Jens Nagels)

Gueshe Thubten Ngawang una vez dio una enseñanza sobre cómo meditar en los cuatro inconmensurables, junto con plegarias para obtener una buena relación con la madre tierra. Esta enseñanza fue publicada en un libro titulado Contentment and No-harming. Él nos comenta: “A través de la práctica de esta meditación, adquirí una convicción fuerte de que podemos cambiar nuestra actitud hacia la madre tierra y los cuatro elementos; de manera que muchas más generaciones puedan vivir en un planeta sano con buena tierra, el agua fresca y limpia y el aire puro, donde los elementos estén en armonía.”

Siento una gran responsabilidad de no destruir la naturaleza en la medida de lo posible, ni desperdiciar los productos naturales, para proteger a nuestra amiga más cercana o madre, la tierra. Tenemos que proteger a la madre tierra como protegeríamos a nuestro propio cuerpo.

Gueshe Thubten Ngawang enfatizó que los seres sintientes dependen totalmente de los cuatro elementos: “Para sobrevivir cada ser humano depende de la amabilidad del los otros seres—seres humanos y animales—así como los productos naturales de la tierra”. Esta interdependencia hace que nuestras acciones sean muy importantes si queremos vivir una vida significativa que sea de beneficio para nosotros y los demás.

Su Santidad el Dalai Lama también ha hablado de este tema durante los últimos 20 años. En una conferencia que dio en 1990, dijo:

“En el pasado, las montañas de nieve perenne del Tíbet estaban cubiertas por capas de nieve muy gruesas. Los ancianos dicen que esas montañas estuvieron cubiertas con capas de nieve gruesas cuando fueron jóvenes, pero la nieve es cada vez más escasa, lo que puede ser un indicio del fin del mundo. Es un hecho que el cambio climático es un proceso lento y que toma miles de años darse cuenta de su efecto. Como consecuencia de eso, los seres vivos y la vida vegetal del planeta también sufren cambios. La estructura física del hombre también cambia de generación en generación junto con el cambio de las condiciones climáticas”.
(SSDL, India, diciembre 29, 1990)

Me entristece saber que podemos estar ante el fin del mundo. Me siento infeliz al pensar en el sufrimiento de los seres sintientes que puede venir con todos estos cambios ambientales. Sin embargo, no puedo culpar a los demás por no proteger nuestro entorno natural. ¿De qué serviría eso? Tengo que trabajar en mi propio comportamiento y de este modo dar un buen ejemplo. También puedo apoyar a organizaciones que hablan de estos temas y que están preocupadas por el futuro de este planeta y de todos los seres vivos que van a vivir en él. Desde una perspectiva budista, ese podría ser nuestro propio continuo mental en una forma humana, animal o cualquier otra forma que esté experimentando el resultado kármico de nuestras acciones actuales.

Para crear conciencia, para desarrollar más compasión y el sentido de nuestra interdependencia con la madre tierra, con todos y cada uno de los seres sintientes de este planeta, así como con las plantas y los cuatro elementos—agua, fuego, tierra y viento—me gustaría compartir con ustedes la meditación de Gueshe Thubten Ngawang sobre cómo proteger el medio ambiente como si fuera nuestro propio cuerpo.

El Buda, cuyos pensamientos y acciones estaban llenos de sabiduría y compasión, enseñó los “Cuatro inconmensurables”:

Que todos los seres sintientes tengan felicidad y sus causas.
Que todos los seres sintientes se liberen del sufrimiento y sus causas.
Que todos los seres sintientes nunca se separen del gozo libre de aflicción.
Que todos los seres sintientes moren en la ecuanimidad, libres de prejuicios, apego y enojo.

Gueshe Thubten Ngawang combinó los cuatro inconmensurables con los cuatro elementos. El esquema de la meditación es el siguiente (ligeramente editado por mí):

Meditación para una relación saludable con la naturaleza

Nos concentramos e imaginamos al Buda frente a nosotros, brillante y hecho de luz transparente. Está lleno de compasión y amor por todos y cada uno de los seres sintientes. De su corazón sale una luz refrescante y un néctar que entran en nosotros y en nuestro entorno. Éstos purifican todas las negatividades, especialmente de los cuatro elementos, de toda la suciedad y destrucción. Combinamos buenos deseos para todos los seres sintientes, con estas visualizaciones, para su felicidad y para que termine su sufrimiento. Que nadie dañe el medio ambiente.

El suelo de la ecuanimidad

Piensa: Qué maravilloso sería si todos los seres sintientes moraran en la planicie de la ecuanimidad de largo alcance, quienes estarán libres de la ilusión del apego a los amigos y la mala voluntad hacia los enemigos. Que todos los seres sintientes se entrenen en la ecuanimidad. Yo mismo haré todo lo posible para que cada ser pueda sentirse inspirado y siga mi ejemplo. Que todos los seres santos otorguen sus bendiciones para este propósito.

La tierra y los otros elementos principales son los compañeros más cercanos de los seres sintientes. Es sólo a través de su causa que podemos tener acceso a lo que sostiene nuestra vida. Todos los elementos llevan, mantienen unidos, maduran y avanzan. Sin embargo, en nuestra ignorancia, pensamos que hemos alcanzado todo por nuestra cuenta. La amabilidad de los elementos no puede ser pagada. Que nos preocupemos especialmente por el elemento tierra y dejemos de envenenar el suelo y los alimentos con sustancias químicas.

El elemento tierra tiene la función de realizar, el elemento agua se mantiene unido, el elemento fuego apoya la maduración y el elemento viento produce crecimiento e incremento. A través de los elementos y el trabajo de los seres sintientes, contamos con todas las condiciones necesarias para mantenernos vivos. A través del poder de los elementos tenemos aire para respirar, agua para beber, alimentos para comer, ropa para vestir y mucho cosas más que tomamos de la naturaleza.

Restablece la visualización del Buda frente a ti. Él renunció a todas las aflicciones y oscurecimientos y tiene el verdadero amor que es tan estable como el rey de las montañas. Imagina que a través del poder de su amor, un néctar en la forma de luz y un suave flujo de lluvia fresca que fluyen a través de la cabeza de todos y cada uno de los seres sintientes. Llena todo el cuerpo y mente con este néctar. De su cuerpo, fluyen luz y néctar hacia el medio ambiente. Los seres sintientes y su entorno se purifican de toda la destrucción que ha sido causada por el elemento tierra, por ejemplo, a través de los alimentos procesados químicamente. Todas las enfermedades físicas y mentales de los seres son sanadas.

A través de esta purificación los poderes positivos del elemento tierra crecen, y mientras los seres vivos permanezcan, en todas partes de este planeta existirán: plantas, bosques y cosechas. A través de esto se logra el beneficio y bienestar de cuerpo y mente de los seres y reciben nueva energía.

El agua de la bondad amorosa

Piensa: Qué maravilloso sería si todos los seres sintientes en cada reino tuvieran felicidad y sus causas. Que puedan darse cuenta de que carecen de felicidad porque su continuo mental no está lleno de la humildad de la bondad amorosa. Que puedan tener felicidad. Que yo pueda dar lo mejor de mí para hacerlo posible y que los seres santos confieran sus bendiciones.

Todos los recursos son importantes para la vida de todos los seres sintientes, ahora y en el futuro. Qué maravilloso sería si todos los seres sintientes se dieran cuenta de eso y protegieran su medio ambiente como su propio cuerpo. Que puedan ver a el agua, en particular, como un tesoro muy rico y que pueda estar libre de sustancias tóxicas.

Una vez más el néctar y la luz fluyen desde el Buda hacia el interior de cada ser sintiente y purifican los oscurecimientos mentales y sus causas, especialmente del apego a los objetos fabricados que generan atracción. El néctar purifica a todos los seres humanos de su avaricia, el cual los lleva a participar en acciones dañinas como la matanza de animales y la erradicación de especies enteras. A través de la luz y el néctar, los seres humanos sienten amor por todos los seres sintientes y le desean a cada uno felicidad y las causas de la felicidad.

La luz y el néctar también llenan el elemento agua en su medio ambiente y la purifican de todas las sustancias venenosas. Llenan todos los recursos hídricos del planeta. Toda esta agua traerá causas de bienestar para cada uno de los seres sintientes.

La calidez de la compasión

Piensa: Ningún ser sintiente quiere sufrir, ni siquiera en sus sueños. Pero no estamos conscientes de que tenemos que crear las causas de la felicidad, y renunciar a las causas del sufrimiento. Al herir a los demás, experimentamos sufrimiento día y noche. Qué maravilloso sería si cada uno de los seres sintientes estuvieran libres del sufrimiento y sus causas. Que puedan lograr esto. Que yo haga mi mejor esfuerzo para apoyar a los seres sintientes para que logren liberarse del sufrimiento y sus causas. Que el Buda otorgue sus bendiciones.

Sin nuestro entorno natural, ningún ser sintiente podría sobrevivir ni un sólo día. ¡Qué maravilloso sería si todos los seres sintientes se dieran cuenta de esto y se abstuvieran de destruir el medio ambiente -nuestros bosques, suelo, el agua y el aire- y de matar especies de animales.

Creemos que somos inteligentes y educados, pero en realidad no sabemos la diferencia entre los estados mentales saludables y los estados mentales perjudiciales causados por puntos de vista equivocados. El resultado, no sabemos cómo podemos lograr la felicidad duradera y eliminar el sufrimiento. Abrumados por estos estados mentales, estamos bajo el control de nuestras aflicciones. Nuestra mente es esclava de nuestros conceptos erróneos y aflicciones.

En esta situación, los seres sintientes llevan a cabo diversas actividades que dañan al medio ambiente y sus habitantes. Tales acciones son la causa de sufrimiento. Por eso les pido, objetos de refugio, el cual, a través de su compasión, nos protejan a mí y a todos los seres sintientes del sufrimiento y sus causas. Liberarnos del sufrimiento que hay en nuestra mente, el cual es causado por el deseo de herir a otros -a través del odio, la avaricia y la delincuencia. Por favor, purifiquen el medio ambiente, especialmente la atmósfera, de las causas del cambio climático y otros destrozos que son causados por el elemento calor/fuego, por ejemplo, a través de quemar combustibles fósiles y otras sustancias tóxicas. Que todos los seres sintientes tengan la fortuna de respirar aire limpio y libre de contaminación.

Néctar y luz fluyen del Buda y nos purifica a mí y a todos los seres sintientes del sufrimiento físico y mental. La luz y el néctar también sanan el aire, el suelo, los bosques y plantas de este planeta. También, a través del poder del Buda, el elemento fuego se vuelve armonioso y apoya el crecimiento y la fertilidad.

Todos los seres humanos ahora se dan cuenta de que el resultado de las acciones virtuosas es la felicidad y el resultado de las acciones dañinas es el sufrimiento. Incluso el pensamiento más sutil de herir a los demás se incrementará.

La cosecha del regocijo

Piensa: Los seres sintientes desean felicidad para sí mismos, sin embargo, experimentan sufrimiento debido a su egocentrismo. La base es los puntos de vista erróneos que conducen a las acciones equivocadas. Qué maravilloso sería si todos los seres pudieran vivir en la prosperidad, libres de cualquier tipo de sufrimiento. Que esto pueda hacerse realidad. Que yo pueda lograr esto. Que los seres del refugio den sus bendiciones de apoyo.

Que todos los seres humanos que están utilizando los recursos naturales de este planeta se den cuenta de que estos recursos son importantes para la supervivencia. Que todos se den cuenta de que no deben desperdiciar los recursos naturales por el bien de una minoría.

Mediante las plegarias que dirigimos a los seres santos, quienes sienten una compasión profunda por nosotros, fluyen rayos de luz multicolor y un flujo de néctar maravilloso hacia todos los seres sintientes. Todo el dolor físico y el sufrimiento mental son eliminados, en especial cualquier desequilibrio entre los cuatro elementos. A través del poder del Buda, la luz y el néctar hacen que todos los seres sintientes se abstengan de cualquier comportamiento destructivo o de explotación, y que obtengan una vida con atención plena, en armonía con su entorno natural.

La luz y el néctar de todos los seres sintientes salen de su cuerpo y elimina todas las destrucciones y disfunciones externas, junto con sus resultados, a través del elemento aire, tales como la pobreza, la enfermedad y la escasez de alimentos. Esto lleva al restablecimiento del funcionamiento natural del viento. Los elementos se regeneran en armonía. Los recursos naturales son recargados y las cosechas se incrementan en todas partes. El medio ambiente está en armonía, de modo que todos y cada uno de los seres sintientes que vivirán en el futuro tendrán comida sana y agua pura. Los bosques, plantas y otros recursos de la tierra, darán lugar a una vida de satisfacción con bienestar y sin carencias.

El artículo original en el idioma alemán: Die Umwelt schützen wie den eigenen Körper

Versión Inglés: Meditation to raise consciousness for a healthy relationship with nature

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Outline for meditation: Attachment http://thubtenchodron.org/2013/05/contemplate-care-others/ Wed, 15 May 2013 14:43:32 +0000 http://thubtenchodron.org/?p=64686

What is attachment?

Couple holding hands.

Attachment sees the desired thing as permanent, pleasurable, pure and existing in and of itself. (Image by Cher VernalEQ)

Attachment is a mental factor which exaggerates the good qualities of an object, person, idea, etc. or projects good qualities which aren’t there and then wishes for and clings to the object. It sees the desired thing as permanent, pleasurable, pure and existing in and of itself.

  1. What specific things am I attached to?

  2. How do I view that person or thing when I’m attached to it? How does it appear in my eyes?

  3. If that person or thing exists the way it appears to my attached mind, why doesn’t everyone see it that way? Why do I sometimes feel differently about it?

  4. What is a more realistic attitude toward that person or thing?

The disadvantages of attachment

  1. It breeds dissatisfaction and frustration because we continually want more and better. This prevents us from enjoying what we have.

  2. It causes us to go up and down emotionally according to whether we have what we’re attached to or not.

  3. It motivates us to connive, manipulate, and plot to get what we want. We act hypocritically with ulterior motivations, damaging our relationships with others.

  4. It motivates us to act unethically to get what we’re attached to, thus harming others and increasing our own sense of self-hatred and guilt.

  5. It causes us to waste our lives, chasing after pleasures, none of which we can take with us when we die. Meanwhile, our potential to develop inner qualities such as love, compassion, generosity, patience, and wisdom goes untapped.

The relationship between attachment and anger

When we are strongly attached to something, we become disappointed and angry if we don’t get it or are separated from it once we have it. Think of an example in your life when that has been the case. Then examine:

  1. Why do I get angry? What is the relationship between my expectations and my anger? What did I expect from the person, thing or situation that it didn’t have or do?

  2. Were my expectations realistic? Was the problem in that person or thing, or in my thinking the person or object had qualities that he, she, or it didn’t?

  3. What is a more realistic view of that person, thing or situation? How does this new view affect how I feel and relate to that person, etc.?

The relationship between attachment and fear

  1. Attachment causes us to fear not getting what we want or need. Recognize examples in your life in which you have been worried or anxious about not getting what you want. Then examine:

    • Do I really need those things? What is the worst case scenario that could happen if I didn’t get them? Is that likely to happen? Even if it did, would I be completely without tools to handle the situation or are there things I could do to handle it effectively?

    • What would happen if I gave up being attached to that person or thing? What would my life be like?

  2. Attachment causes us to fear losing what we have. Recognize examples in your life in which this is the case.

    • What is the worst case scenario that could happen if I lost what I was attached to? What internal tools do I have that could help me deal with the situation if that happened?

    • What would it feel like if I gave up being attached to that person or thing?

  3. Attachment leads to codependent relationships and to remaining in harmful situations out of fear of change.

    • What am I attached to that makes me remain in that situation?

    • Is that something worth being attached to? Is it in fact as wonderful as my attachment thinks it is?

    • What would happen if I gave up being attached to it? What internal and external tools do I have to help me deal with the situation?

Antidotes to attachment

The attitude to cultivate is one of balance: by eliminating the exaggerations and projections we put on things, we can be more balanced in relating to them. Free of grasping and compulsiveness, we can be involved and caring in healthy ways.

The points below are for repeated reflection. An intellectual understanding of them alone does not yield the force necessary to stop destructive patterns. Thus, it is beneficial to think repeatedly about these points by making examples of them in our own lives.

Setting our priorities

Reflecting on our mortality helps us to see clearly what is important in our life.

  1. Imagine a circumstance in which you are dying: where you are, how you are dying, the reactions of friends and family. How do you feel about dying? What is happening in your mind?

  2. Ask yourself:

    • Given that I will die one day, what is important in my life?

    • What do I feel good about having done?

    • What do I regret?

    • What do I want to do and to avoid doing while I’m alive?

    • What can I do to prepare for death?

    • What are my priorities in life?

Attachment to material possessions

  1. Contemplate the disadvantages of being attached to these things.

  2. Think of the transient nature of what you’re attached to. Try to accept that change is the very nature of existence and that it is not realistic to expect anything external to be a lasting source of happiness. By letting go of attachment, we can enjoy something when it’s there and be relaxed when it isn’t.

  3. Even if I get this, will it bring me ever-lasting happiness? Will it solve all my problems? What new problems will arise from getting it?

  4. Consider the undesirable qualities of the object. This doesn’t lead to a negative view of the person or thing, but simply allows us to take a more global view of it, thus countering the lop-sided attachment. Feel the spaciousness that comes from seeing the object for what it is.

Attachment to the body

  1. Contemplate the changing nature of the body, from fetus, to infant, child, adult, old person. Will my body live forever?

  2. Is my body composed of pure substances? Is it inherently beautiful? After death, what will my body becomes? Is it worthy of being attached to?

  3. Is there some inherent essence that is my body? Am I my body?

  4. We must take care of our body, keeping it clean and healthy, because it is the basis of our precious human life. Through protecting this body, with wisdom and without attachment, we will be able to practice the Dharma and to benefit sentient beings.

Attachment to people

  1. Attachment and love are different emotions, although our feelings for a particular person may be a mixture of them.

    • What is the different between loving someone and being attached to him or her?

    • How does my attachment and the expectations it engenders in me interfere with my loving this person?

    • Do I see the person realistically? What are his or her bad habits? What are his or her limitations?

    • Try to accept the person’s good qualities as well as weaknesses, so that your attachment would decrease and you could love him or her more.

  2. Is it realistic to think that my relationship with this person will last forever? Will this person live forever? Must I become depressed or feel lost if the relationship changed or if the person died? How can I process the grief that results from change? How could I feel and act?

  3. Is there some unchangeable essence that is this person—something that always is and always will be him or her?

Attachment to ideas

We often cling to our ideas about how things should be done, to our opinions of who others are and what they should do, to our beliefs about the nature of life. We then become upset when others disagree with our ideas.

  1. When someone criticizes my ideas, is he or she criticizing me?

  2. Is something right just because I think it?

  3. What would happen if I did things the other person’s way? How can I let go of the fear of losing power or getting taken advantage of? Would that necessarily happen if I did things the other person’s way?

  4. If we see defects in the other person’s plan or idea, we can express these in a kind way, without being defensive of our own views. Imagine feeling open and undefensive, speaking firmly and clearly to another.

Attachment to praise, approval, and reputation

  1. How do praise, approval or reputation benefit me? Do they prevent illness or extend my lifespan? Do they really solve the problem of self-hatred and guilt? Do they purify my negative karma or make me closer to liberation or enlightenment? If not, why be attached to them?

  2. Praise, approval and reputation may feel nice, but if our attachment to them causes us to be angry, jealous or insecure, and thus to act negatively, then what is the sense of clinging to them?

  3. Think of all the new problems that they create. Others expect more of us because they no longer see us realistically, but idealistically. They are thus more likely to judge us when we make small mistakes.

  4. Imagine receiving all the approval, praise and reputation you ever craved for. Imagine people saying or acknowledging all the things you had ever hoped they would. Enjoy the good feeling of this. Then ask yourself, “Will this really make me everlastingly happy?

Feeling gratitude for the kindness we have received from others

To develop our sense of being interconnected with all others and being the recipient of much kindness from them, contemplate:

  1. the help we have received from friends: the support and encouragement we have received from them, etc. Do not think of these acts in a way that increases attachment, rather recognize them as acts of human kindness.

  2. the benefit we have received from parents, relatives and teachers: the care they gave us when we were young, the protection from danger, our education. The fact that can speak comes from the efforts of those who cared for us when we were young, our teachers, etc. All talents, abilities and skill we have now are due to the people we taught and trained us. Even when we didn’t want to learn and were unruly, they continued trying to help us learn.

  3. the help received from strangers: the buildings we use, clothes we wear, food we eat, we drive on were all made by people we do not know. Without their efforts in society, we wouldn’t be able to survive.

  4. the benefit received from people we do not get along with and people who have harmed us: they show us what we need to work on and point out our weaknesses so that we can improve. They give us the chance to develop patience, tolerance and compassion, qualities which are essential for progressing along the path.

Love

Love is the wish for others to have happiness and its causes. For each group of people, think of specific individuals and generate love for them. Then generalize that feeling to the entire group.

  1. Begin by wishing yourself to be well and happy, not in a selfish way, but because you respect and care for yourself as one of many sentient beings. Gradually spread this to friends, strangers, difficult people and all beings.

  2. Think, feel, imagine, “May my friends and all those who have been kind to me have happiness and its causes. May they be free of suffering, confusion and fear. May they have calm, peaceful and fulfilled hearts.”

  3. Generate the same feelings towards those who are strangers.

  4. Spread the feeling to those who have harmed you or who you do not get along with. Recognize that they do what you find objectionable because they are experiencing pain or confusion. How wonderful it would be if they were free of those.

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Outline for meditation: Anger http://thubtenchodron.org/2013/05/antidotes-hatred-contemplation/ Wed, 15 May 2013 14:07:34 +0000 http://thubtenchodron.org/?p=64677

Anger can arise towards people, objects, or our own suffering (e.g., when we’re sick). It arises due to exaggerating the negative qualities of a person, object, or situation, or by superimposing negative qualities that aren’t there. Anger then wants to harm the source of the unhappiness.

Young woman looking down.

Patience is the ability to remain undisturbed in the face of harm or suffering. (Image by Louise LeGresley)

Patience is the ability to remain undisturbed in the face of harm or suffering. Being patient does not mean being passive. Rather, it gives the clarity of mind necessary to act or not to act.

Mind is the source of happiness and pain

  1. Remember a disturbing situation in your life. Recall what you were thinking and feeling. Examine how your attitudes created your perception and experience.
  2. Examine how your attitude affected what you said and did in the situation.
  3. Was your attitude realistic? Was it seeing all sides of the situation or was it viewing things through the eyes of “me, I, my and mine”?
  4. Think of how else you could have viewed the situation and how that would have changed your experience of it.

Conclusion: Determine to be aware of how you are interpreting things that happen in your life and to cultivate beneficial and realistic ways of looking at things.

Is anger destructive?

By examining your own life experiences, check:

  1. Am I happy when I’m angry?
  2. Do I communicate effectively with others when I’m angry?
  3. How do I act when I’m angry? What is the effect of my actions on others?
  4. Later, when I’m calm, do I feel good about what I said and did when I was angry? Or is there a sense of shame and remorse?
  5. How do I appear in others’ eyes when I am angry? Does anger promote mutual respect, harmony, and friendship?

Looking at the situation from the other’s viewpoint

  1. Usually we look at a situation from the viewpoint of our own needs and interests and believe that how the situation appears to us is how it objectively exists. Now, put yourself in the other’s shoes and ask, “What are my (i.e., the other’s) needs and interests?” Se how the situation appears in the other’s eyes.
  2. Look how your “old” self appears in the eyes of others. We can sometimes understand why others react to us the way they do and how we unwittingly increase the conflict.
  3. Remember that the other person is unhappy. Her wish to be happy is what motivates her to do whatever it is that disturbing us. We know what it’s like to be unhappy, so try to develop compassion for this person who is unhappy, but who is exactly like us in wanting happiness and avoiding pain.

Transforming criticism

  1. Examining whether what the other says is true or not. How he says it isn’t important, it’s the content.
  2. If what he says is true:
    1. We say we want to improve ourselves. This person is telling us how and thus is kind for helping us in this way.
    2. If what he said is as true and obvious as if he were to say “You have a nose on your face,” why become angry at what there is for others to see?
  3. If what he says isn’t true, why become angry? It is like he is saying, ” You have horns on your head.” We know we don’t, so why become angry at what is clearly another’s misapprehension?

Our buttons

When we are angry, it’s usually because someone pushed our buttons—she said or did
something that touched our sensitive points.

  1. She can push our buttons because we have them. Our buttons are our own responsibility.
  2. Examine what your buttons are and think about how to free yourself from them.
  3. Examine how your attachment to a person, thing, relationship, or situation is related to the anger you experience when that thing is harmed, denied, or ended.
  4. Apply antidotes to that attachment in order to protect yourself from pain and anger.

How did we come to be involved in the situation?

  1. Examine what actions we did recently that directly or indirectly led to the conflict. This can help us understand why the other person is upset and how the situation evolved. It also may reveal our own hidden motives or careless behavior.
  2. Recognize that unpleasant situations arise due to our having harmed others earlier in this life or in previous lives. If we see our own destructive actions (negative karma) as the principle cause, we avoid blaming others. Most importantly, we can learn from past mistakes and resolve to abandon acting harmfully in the future.

Can we do something about it?

Ask yourself “Can I do something about this unpleasant situation?”

  1. If so, than anger is out of place because you can improve the situation.
  2. If not, than anger is useless because nothing can be done. To paraphrase St. Francis: Please guide me to change what can be changed, to accept what can’t, and to be able to distinguish between the two.

The kindness of the person who harms us

Remember the kindness of those who harm us:

  1. They point out our mistakes so that we can correct them and improve our character.
  2. They give us the opportunity to practice patience, a necessary quality in our spiritual development. To become a Buddha, we need to perfect our patience. To develop patience, we need someone who harms us. We can’t practice patience with those who are nice to us. Therefore, those who harm us are kind because they provide an essential condition for our spiritual development.

Is it their nature?

Think of the person who harmed you and ask, “Is it this person’s nature to act like this?”

  1. If it is, than there is no reason to be angry, for it would be like being annoyed at a fire for burning.
  2. If it isn’t, again anger is unrealistic, for it would be like getting angry at the sky for having clouds in it.

The taking and giving meditation

In situations in which we can help others by acting or speaking, we could do that. In situations in which we can’t, doing the taking and giving meditation is very effective.

  1. Generate love, the wish for others to have happiness and its causes.
  2. Generate compassion, the wish for others to be free from pain and problems and their causes.
  3. Do the taking and giving meditation:
    1. Take the problems and confusion of others by inhaling it in the form of black smoke.
    2. This turns into a thunderbolt or bomb which completely obliterates this black lump of selfishness and ignorance at your heart.
    3. Feel the open space, the lack of all wrong conception about yourself and others.
    4. In this space, imagine a white light that radiates to all beings and think that you are increasing and transforming your body, possessions, and positive potential into whatever others need and giving it to them.
    5. Imagine them being satisfied and happy and rejoice that you’ve been able to bring this about.

When you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, or helpless in confront of the world’s problems or suffering:

    Do the meditations “Is it their nature?” and “Can we do something about it?” Because we are in cyclic existence, it’s natural that these things arise. We can accept them as what is, and at the same time, be remembering that all beings have the Buddha potential, we can generate the motivation to become a buddha ourselves so that we’ll have the compassion, wisdom, and skill necessary to benefit others more effectively.

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Breathing meditation http://thubtenchodron.org/2005/09/concentration-instructions/ Sun, 04 Sep 2005 14:45:46 +0000 http://thubtenchodron.org/?p=4349

Stabilizing meditation

  • Breathing as the object of meditation
  • Purpose and benefits

Breathing meditation (download)

Mindfulness and introspective alertness

  • Visualizing and holding the object
  • Noticing distractions and applying antidotes

Two important mental factors (download)

Guided meditation

  • Preparing the body and mind
  • Establishing the object of meditation

Guided meditation (download)

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Purification meditation http://thubtenchodron.org/2004/10/clean-clear-mind/ Thu, 07 Oct 2004 09:56:17 +0000 http://thubtenchodron.org/?p=12759 om ah hum.]]>

Om Ah Hum spray painted on bricks.

Om Ah Hum

  • Focus on breath
  • Visualize Shakaymuni Buddha in the space in front of you
  • Request the Buddha´s guidance and set your aspirations
  • Visualize white light radiating out from the brow of the Buddha, flowing into your brow filling your entire body, imagine the light purifying all negative actions committed by your body
  • Visualize red light radiating out from the throat of the Buddha, flowing into your throat filling your entire body, imagine the light purifying all negative actions committed by your speech
  • Visualize blue light radiating out from the heart of the Buddha, flowing into your heart filling your entire body, imagine the light purifying all negative actions committed by your thoughts and mind
  • Chant om ah hum
  • Imagine the Buddha on the crown of you head, facing the same direction as you.
  • He melts into golden light and dissolves into you and settles into your heart chakra in your chest
  • Feel like your mind and the Buddha´s mind have become inseparable
  • Your body has become clean and clear
  • The light at your chest radiates outward filling your whole body and radiates out to all the other living beings, in your room, state, country, world and universe

Purification meditation om ah hum (download)

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Meditations on kindness, gratitude and love http://thubtenchodron.org/2002/10/appreciating-others/ Fri, 04 Oct 2002 14:50:10 +0000 http://thubtenchodron.org/?p=6341

Introduction

  • Purpose and types of meditation
  • The Four Noble Truths
  • The nature of altruism

Love 01 (download)

Developing love and compassion

  • Meditation techniques
  • Self-centeredness and cherishing others

Love 02 (download)

Meditation on kindness and gratitude

  • Benefits received from others
  • Developing open-heartedness

Love meditation 01 (download)

Meditation on love

  • Wishing others to have happiness and its causes
  • Contemplating the levels of happiness

Love meditation 02 (download)

Advice for the practice

  • Practicing daily
  • Developing stable and long lasting feelings

Love meditation 03: Advice (download)

Preparation

We begin the meditation by focusing on our breath in order to let our mind settle down. So simply breathe normally and naturally, without forcing your breath. Let your breathing pattern be as it is. And then focus your attention either at the nostrils, or at the abdomen. And simply experience the breath as it goes in and out.

So if you’re focusing at the nostrils, you’re going to feel the sense of touch as the air passes through your nostrils and goes along the upper lip.

If you’re focusing at your abdomen, you’re going to be aware of the rise of your abdomen as you inhale, and aware of its falling as you exhale.

So for a few minutes, just let your breath be. Focus on your breath, be aware of being nourished by the environment, by the breath which connects you to the environment you live in.

If distractions arise, don’t follow them. Acknowledge them, be it a sound or an intruding thought, but don’t get involved in it, don’t make a story about it. Just recognize something else has come into your field of attention, and then return your attention back to the breath.

So let’s just do that for a minute or two to let our mind settle down and become more concentrated.

Pause

Meditation on kindness and gratitude

Two girls walking down a path, one with her arm around the other.

When we realize how much benefit we’ve received from others, we develop warmth and open-heartedness toward them. (Photo by Raul Lieberwirth)

First we’re going to do the meditation on kindness, to help us see that we’ve received a lot of benefit from others. When we reflect on the benefit we’ve received from others, let’s not get hung up on whether or not others had the intention to benefit us. That’s not the issue at this point; here, it is simply the fact that we have received benefit from others. Regardless of what their intention is, the bottom-line is that their actions have helped us in one way or another.

And as we contemplate this benefit we’ve received or the kindness we’ve received from others, let’s let our heart open in a feeling of gratitude towards them. This gratitude does not mean a feeling of obligation but a real warmth and open-heartedness, and feeling of connection and happiness, and affection, when we see others.

So begin by thinking of the benefit that we’ve received, the kindness we’ve received from our friends and relatives. The help they’ve given us in moving house, or when we’ve been sick, in encouraging us in our projects, in listening to us when we have something we want to talk over with them. So think of all of the various ways that we have been helped and supported by our friends.

And as we contemplate this, we don’t want to let the attitude of attachment and clinging arise towards these friends. We don’t want to cling to them because they’ve helped us, but simply to acknowledge the kindness that they’ve shown so that we don’t take them for granted, so that we don’t just expect their kindness and fail to recognize it.

So by making some examples from your own life, really reflect for a few minutes on the kindness that you’ve received from your friends and those who are dear to you.

Pause

Our friends encourage us when we’re feeling down. They’re kind in often pointing out our faults to us in kind ways so that we can correct them. They take care of us when we’re ill. They do many small favors for us in our life. They just make life easier. And we’re able to share a lot of things with them. And so really appreciate our friends. Let’s not take them for granted. And really feel ourselves as the recipient of their care and let our heart open in a feeling of gratitude and affection towards them.

Pause

Then we consider the kindness of strangers. So here we think about all the people whom we don’t know, without whose efforts, we wouldn’t be able to function, we wouldn’t be able to survive. Think of all the people and the animals, all the living creatures that go into growing our food, transforming the food, packaging it and selling it. All the people who work in the mines, at the iron and the steel factories, the truck factories and the automobile factories, to produce the vehicles that then we drive, or the vehicles that transport our food to the store.

Let’s think of all the people who build the roads that we drive on. People who work at the public utilities board so that we have gas and electricity and water, things we take so much for granted. That we wouldn’t have these things without the work and the effort of so many people.

Think of the people who work at the telephone company. Think of the people who work in government offices. Again our lives are so intertwined with everybody in the society, not just in our own country and community, but internationally now. That we’ve received so much from these others. We don’t know the people who made our house, [inaudible] electricians, the carpenters, [inaudible] engineers, construction workers—so many people made our home and made the office we work in, the other buildings we use, so let’s open our heart to feel the connection and gratitude to them for all the work they’ve done. They may not have had us in mind particularly when they did their work, but that’s not important. The bottom-line is, that they worked hard, and we’re receiving benefit from them. And we don’t even know who those people are to be able to thank them.

When we think of how many goods we use that have been made in other countries, who are those people who made the goods, what are their [inaudible] conditions, what pain and happiness do they have, and think of how we use the things that they’ve made with so much effort, and we don’t even know who they are to be able to say “Thank you.” And yet without their efforts and their actions, we wouldn’t have the things that we use in our daily life. So make many, many, many examples from your life. Just take one object in the room where you are, and trace back how many living beings were involved in its existence. How many living beings we’ve received kindness from. And again let your heart open in a feeling of gratitude and affection for those beings, even though we don’t know them, because they have been kind to us.

Pause

And let’s think specifically of the kindness of our family. The fact that as infants, we couldn’t take care of ourselves. We couldn’t feed and clothe ourselves, protect ourselves from the elements. Others took care of us. Often our parents are the direct care-givers, sometimes our parents couldn’t take care of us, so they arranged for other adults to take care of us. They wanted us to live, they made other arrangements even though they couldn’t do it. And we’ve received benefit from those other adults.

So think of all the time we spent as infants—people feeding us, changing our diapers, cuddling us when we cried, all the times they’ve had to rescue us when we almost fell off the edge of the bed or choked on something that we’ve stuck in our mouth. Those of you who have children know how much care it takes to take care of infants and toddlers, and we’ve been recipient of that exact same care simply because of the fact that we have lived. Others protected us during that time when we couldn’t take care of ourselves.

They taught us to speak. Our family also is generally involved in our education. So our ability to speak and communicate, we often take for granted, but we don’t have this ability by ourselves. It’s because our family taught us. We don’t have our education by ourselves, and our knowledge by ourselves, it’s because our family taught us, or they sent us to school and made arrangements for other people to teach us. Because they encouraged us to learn.

It’s very important to reflect on the kindness of our family or whichever adults took care of us when we were young, and also the kindness of our teachers. All the teachers who had thirty kids in their class tried to take care of us the best they could. They didn’t give up on us even though sometimes we acted quite obnoxiously.

It’s important to be able to look into our childhood, at our parents and our teachers, and reflect on their kindness, and reflect on how difficult it must have been on them sometimes to raise us and to bring us up. Because as children, we may not have been the easiest people to be with, the most cooperative living being. They often had to discipline us, to teach us some manners, to teach us how to get along with others, and even though we didn’t like their discipline, somehow we did learn that we have to be aware of and be sensitive to others’ needs and concerns, we can’t just trample through life not caring how we affect others. So we learn this from our parents, our family, from our teachers. And in spite of things that may not have gone well in our childhood, different painful things that may have happened, the fact still remains that we do receive a tremendous amount of benefit from others. So let’s let ourselves feel the recipient of that benefit and kindness, and open our hearts in a sensation of gratitude and affection in return.

Pause

And then let’s think of the benefit we’ve received even from people who have harmed us. In spite of the harm we’ve received from others, we have all grown. And actually it’s not even in spite of the harm, it’s because of the harm, and if we look back upon those painful episodes in our life, we can see that we did come out of them stronger, we developed our own internal resources, we were shaken up and challenged out of our complacency, and so this growth, although it may have been painful, although it may have been difficult, although we may have felt we weren’t ready for it yet, still, we grew, we’ve developed, and all of that came about due to the people who did harm us and challenge us, the people who put us in difficult situations.

So if we can appreciate our own internal strength and resources, then we can also appreciate the people who cause those qualities to develop. And feel some gratitude towards them. In other words, people don’t have to wish us well in order for us to benefit from them. And we can still feel gratitude and affection no matter how they treated us or what their attitude towards us was, simply by the fact that we did benefit from what they did.

And the people who harmed us, or who make us feel threatened, people who we disapprove of, also gave us the opportunity to practice patience. We can’t practice patience with people who’re kind to us. We can only practice patience with the people who threatened us or who we disapprove of or who have harmed us. The development of patience is a very essential quality for spiritual practice, and this arises on the basis of the people who have disturbed us. So again, we have received a lot of benefit from those people because without them, we couldn’t develop patience. Without patience, we couldn’t develop ourselves spiritually or internally to be of greater benefit. So let’s let ourselves feel a sense of gratitude also towards the people who we don’t get along with very well, or who we mistrust, because they’ve enabled us to practice patience, because they’ve enabled us to find internal resources and talents and skills and qualities to cope with difficult situations that we didn’t know we had before.

Pause

And so let your mind rest in this feeling of affection and gratitude. As that feeling arises, then let your mind rest in it. Let your mind become stable in that feeling of gratitude and affection. Keep the mind focused on that feeling without letting it get distracted towards other things.

If you wish to conclude your meditation session at this point, please dedicate the positive potential as instructed in “Conclusion” below.

Meditation on love

We’ll go on now to do the meditation on loving-kindness. In loving-kindness, we’re wishing others to have happiness and its causes. And so we have to think deeply about what happiness means, because there’re different levels of happiness. So we’re wishing others to have not only happiness in the sense of good food, cloths and shelter, we’re wishing them not only to have happiness of this life—good friends, career fulfillment, happy family, serene environment and so on, we’re wishing them to have the happiness that comes through internal spiritual development, the happiness also that comes through being free of grudges and belligerence and spite, the happiness that comes through being able to forgive and apologize, the happiness that comes through being able to open our hearts in affection to others no matter how they’ve treated us in return, the happiness that comes through seeing that every living being has the potential to actualize and realize and expose the clear light nature of their mind and the internal good nature of their mind.

So as we’re wishing others happiness, let’s think deeply of the meaning of happiness, the various levels of happiness: the short-term happiness, but especially the long-term happiness that comes through internal growth.

So here we start, again first with our family and our friends… but actually before we start
with them, let’s start with ourselves. And let’s wish ourselves to be well and happy. And let’s wish ourselves to have temporal happiness, the good things of this life, as well as the deeper, long lasting happiness that comes through spiritual development. Let’s spend a minute or two wishing that kind of happiness for ourselves, imagining ourselves being happy, thinking in detail of the kind of happiness that we wish for ourselves.

Pause

And then let’s expand that wish for happiness to include our friends and family, thinking again of specific people, and wishing them both the temporal happiness of this life, but also the long-term happiness that comes through spiritual growth. So as in all these meditations, make them very personal and think of specific people that you generate these feelings towards, here in this case, your own family and friends, and really imagine them being happy.

Pause

And then wish this happiness for strangers, all the people in the society, internationally, who contribute to our complex, interdependent world, and who we’ve received benefit from, all these people who we don’t know, who want happiness, who want to be free of suffering with the same intensity that we do, let’s also wish them to be happy, both the happiness that comes from food and education and shelter and so forth this lifetime, and the happiness that comes through being free of ignorance, anger and attachment, the happiness that comes through spiritual development. Let’s imagine them being happy and really wish that for them, thinking of all the different people who contributed to our survival who we don’t even know.

Pause

And then let’s think of the people that we don’t get along with very well, how they also want to be happy, they also want to be free of suffering. And that if they were happy, if they were satisfied, if they were free from the neurotic tendencies that propel them to do the things that we find troublesome, if they have that kind of happiness, then we’d all get along much better. So when we wish others happiness, it’s not necessarily wishing that they have everything they want, because sometimes people want things that in fact destroy their own happiness, e.g. alcohol and other substances [inaudible] abuse, so when we wish people happiness, we’re not necessarily wishing that they have everything they want, we’re wishing that they have the things they need to survive off, and that they have the circumstances in their life so that they can recognize their own inner potential, so that they can recognize the fruitlessness of their destructive behavior, so that they can generate a sense of positive self-worth and confidence and make their lives meaningful. And so that kind of happiness we can certainly wish for everybody, no matter whether they’ve helped us or harmed us, or they’re neutral towards us. So here concentrate especially on the people who we have difficulty with, and wanting them to be happy and free of suffering.

Pause

And let’s let that feeling of love spread to all living beings throughout the universe, whoever they are, whatever they’re experiencing, and so by feeling that affection and interconnection, and love wishing them to be happy, compassion wishing them to be free of suffering, just hold those feelings in the mind, let the mind and the heart rest in it. Let those feelings become our nature.

Pause

Conclusion

And then to conclude, let’s dedicate all the positive energy and potential that we’ve accumulated through our meditation, and let’s imagine sending that out, dedicating it to the welfare of each and every living being, ourselves and all others.

A word of advice

So these meditations have been gone through rather briefly. Again you can do them on your own or press the pause button so that you can contemplate each point more fully. It’s good to do them on a regular basis, because we can really see the difference in our mind after we do this kind of meditation. But because we’re unfamiliar with these feelings they often aren’t sustained for a long time in our daily life. But if we take time to nourish ourselves internally the same way as we take time to nourish our physical body, then these attitudes can become more stable and more long lasting in ourselves.

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Metta (loving-kindness) meditation http://thubtenchodron.org/2002/04/cultivating-goodwill/ Thu, 11 Apr 2002 16:22:50 +0000 http://thubtenchodron.org/?p=7624

Purpose

  • Description of metta meditation
  • Cultivating kindness and goodwill

Metta meditation explanation 01 (download)

Effects of meditation

  • Nurturing loving-kindness
  • Positive consequences on our lives and those of others

Metta meditation explanation 02 (download)

Guided meditation

  • Recognizing human kindness
  • Wishing happiness to others

Guided metta meditation (download)

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