is a method for acquainting our mind with virtue. The more familiar
our mind is with virtue, the calmer and more peaceful it becomes.
When our mind is peaceful we are free from worries and mental discomfort,
and we experience true happiness.
analytical meditation is called simple 'contemplation' and placement
meditation simply 'meditation'.
first seven meditations function principally to help us to develop
renunciation, the determination to escape from samsara.
next twelve meditations help us to cultivate heartfelt love and compassion
for all loving beings, and lead us to the realization that we can
liverate others from samsata only by attaining enlightenment first.
principle obstacle that prevents us from attaining liberation and
enlightenment is self-grasping, a deeply ingrained misconception of
the way things exist.
main function of the last two meditations is to counter, and eventually
to eradicate, this misconception.
to the Lamrim instructions, we can engage in a meditation practice
with any one of three levels of motivation.
three levels of motivation are progressive. By engaging in meditation
practices with the motivation of the initial scope we lay the foundation
for advancing to the second level, and by engaging in meditation practices
with the motivation of the intermediate scope we lay the foundation
for advancing to the third level.
preparatory practices prepare our mind for successful meditation by
purifying hindrances caused by our previous negative actions, empowering
our mind with merit, and inspiring it with the blessings of the Buddhas
and Bodhisattvas. These preparatory practices are performed at beginning
of each meditation session in conjunction with the short prayers found
in the following chapter. It is useful to memorize these prayers.
second part of each practice is contemplation. The purpose of contemplation
is to bring to mind the object of placement meditation. We do this
by considering various lines of reasoning, contemplating analogies,
and reflecting on the scriptures. When through our contemplation the
object appears clearly, we leave our analytical meditation and concentrate
on the object single-pointedly. This single-pointed concentaration
is the third part, the actual meditation.
we first start to meditate our concentration is poor, we are easily
distracted and often lose our object of mediation. Therefore, to begin
with we shall probably need to alternate between contemplation and
placement many times in each session.
Both contemplation and meditation serve to acquaint our mind with virtuous objects. The more familiar we are with such objects, the more peaceful our mind becomes. More detailed instructions on the contemplations and on meditation in general can be found in The Meditation Handbook ,Introduction to Buddhism, Joyful Path of Good Fortune, and Universal Compassion.
fourth part of each practice is dedication. Dedication directs the
merit produced by our meditation towards the attainment of Buddhahood.
If merit is not dedicated it can easily be destroyed by anger. By
reciting the dedication prayers sincerely at the end of each meditation
session we ensure that the merit we created by meditation is not wasted
but acts as a cause for enlightenment.
fifth part of each meditation practice is the subsequent practice.
This consists of advice on how to integrate the miditation into our
daily lives. It is important to remember that Dharma practice is not
confined to our activities during the meditation session; it should
permeate our whole life. We should not allow a gulf to develop between
our meditation and our daily life, because the success of our meditation
depends upon the purity of our condict outside the meditation session.
We should keep a watch over our mind at all times by applying mindfulness,
alertness, and conscientiousness; and we should try to abandon whatever
bad habits we may have. Deep experience of Dharma is the result of
practical training over a long period of time, both in and out of
meditation. Therefore we should practise steadily and gently, withou
being in a hurry to see results.
summarize, our mind is like a field. Engaging in the preparatory practices
is like preparing a field by removing obstacles caused by past negative
actions, making it fertile with merit, and watering it with the blessings
of the holy beings. Contemplation and meditation are like sowing good
seeds, and dedication and subsequent practice are the methids for
ripening our harvest of Dharma realizations.
we genuinely wish to gain experience of the stages of the path we
should try to meditate every day. In this way we can complete the
whole cycle in twenty one days. Then we can begin again. Between sessions
we should try to remain mindful of the instructions on subsequent
practice. Occasionally, when we have the opportunity, we should do
a retreat on Lamrim. By practising like this, we use our whole life
to further our experience of the stages of the path.
The Joyful Path of Good Fortune, Author, pp.. Press., Country, Date.
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