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Lions Roar : March 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2009 52 theRe aRe diffeRent ways of meditating on lov- ing-kindness. based on many buddhist teachings, i will teach you a meditation in which loving-kindness is generated mainly by thinking of and feeling the un- conditional love of the buddha of loving-kindness and Compassion (Avalokiteshvara). we do this through the power of our devotion—the energy that opens our heart with joy and trust—to the buddha. we use four tools to build this meditation: 1. seeing positive images of avalokiteshvara, the buddha of loving-kindness, and his blessings; 2. thinking of these with positive words and prayers; 3. feeling the energy of loving-kindness; 4. trusting without doubt in the power of devotion, loving-kindness, and the buddha’s blessings. in ordinary life, because of our usual habits, we let our own perceptions of external objects and situations control our life. for example, when we perceive a per- son coming at us as a murderer, we will feel frightened. instantly, everything turns into a world of terror. but as soon as we recognize him as one of our best and kindest friends, the whole situation turns peaceful and joyful. similarly, as soon as we see and feel the buddha image as a presence of omniscient wisdom and unconditional love, our mind will change from a negative or neutral state to one filled with positive thoughts and feelings. to the extent that we appreciate and enjoy the uncondi- tional love of the buddha, to that same extent will our heart transform and blossom into a heart with uncon- ditional love. that is why in buddhist meditations we visualize the buddha with enlightened qualities, pray to him or her, and receive blessings for waking up our own inner pure qualities, such as loving-kindness. Opening Meditation it is important to start the meditation with enlightened intention (bodhichitta). think, “i am going to meditate to develop loving-kindness in the hearts of all beings.” Main Meditation in the middle of a pure and boundless sky, visualize the beautiful buddha of loving-kindness sitting on a gi- ant blossoming flower and shining moon cushion. his youthful body, with white complexion, is a body of ra- diant light—clear, luminous, and intangible—as if the light of thousands of moons is shining. his mind is omniscient and knows all simultane- ously. his heart of loving-kindness ceaselessly cares for all beings as if they were his only child. his boundless the fourth, equanimity, is to have the same loving-kind- ness toward every sentient being that you have toward your own loving mother, with no attachments or hatred. if we have true loving-kindness, we experience all the other immeasurable attitudes: compassion for those who are suffering, joy for those who have happiness, and a feeling of equanimity to- ward all beings. we also practice the six perfections, the parami- tas, which form the basis of the bodhisattva path: generosity, morality, forbearance, enthusiasm, tranquility, and insight. loving-kindness is first a thought created by our mind— our stream of consciousness—and it is also an experience en- joyed by the mind. as soon as loving-kindness, unconditional love, is awakened, and for as long as we maintain it, our mind will remain in ultimate peace and joy, without falling into at- tachment. any unhealthy energy that prevents our good nature and qualities from blossoming, such as jealousy, resentment, greed, or ego-clinging, will not be able to arise. we will spon- taneously give rise to positive words and deeds that promote peace and joy in our family, neighborhood, community, and indeed the whole world—directly or indirectly, at a visible or invisible level. the thought of wishing joy for all beings is not vague, shal- low, or superficial. it emerges from the depth of our hearts. it causes our mind, body, and life to blossom with positive a loving-Kindness meditation by tulku thondup Rinpoche ➢ page 97 paintingbygRegsmith Avalokiteshvara, the embodiment of compassion