Inspiring Solutions for Difficult Times
By Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Also available as an audiobook on CD
This book is about transformation.
Based on a famous Buddhist poem, Training the Mind in Seven Points, it shows how true mental freedom and lasting happiness can be achieved by transforming our mind.
The fundamental insight underlying this book is that the world we experience is a reflection of our mind and so if we want to experience the world in a positive way we need to develop a positive mind.
The supremely positive mind is universal compassion, which is developed using the special meditations in this book.
As we gradually replace our habitual self-cherishing with a genuine cherishing of others, we find our powers of transformation increase. Eventually we reach the point where we can transform any situation, however unpleasant, into a positive experience and an opportunity to make progress in our spiritual development.
“It could be read with profit by anyone whose religion demands the exercise of compassion.” —FAITH AND FREEDOM
A Meditation on Love
There are three kinds of love: affectionate love, cherishing love, and wishing love. We can understand these by considering the following example. If a mother is reunited with one of her children after a long separation, she is very happy and feels great affection for her. This special feeling of affection is affectionate love.
Out of affection, the mother considers her child to be very precious and wants to take special care of her. This special feeling of caring is cherishing love. Because she has affectionate love and cherishing love for her child, if she sees that she is unhappy she immediately wishes to restore her happiness. This wish for others to be happy and to help them to achieve happiness is wishing love.
First we need to generate affectionate love and then cherishing love for other living beings. Then, if we meditate on their lack of happiness, we will naturally develop wishing love. It is this wishing love that is our motivation for engaging in the practice of giving. Motivated by such love, we resolve, “I will give happiness to all living beings.”
In Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life Shantideva explains how to meditate on giving:
And to accomplish the welfare of all living beings,
I will transform my body into an enlightened
We begin by thinking:
May my virtuous karma ripen upon all living beings, and thus may they attain both temporary and ultimate happiness.
With this strong prayer, we imagine that our body transforms into a wishfulfilling jewel, sparkling with light, whose rays reach all six realms of samsara. These rays purify all environments throughout the six realms and bestow upon all the beings inhabiting them everything they could possibly desire.
The beings in the hot hells receive cooling rain, those in the cold hells receive warming sunshine, hungry ghosts receive food and drink, animals receive wisdom, human beings fulfil all their wishes and needs, demi-gods receive peace and satisfaction, and gods gain freedom.
We develop the conviction that they are all fully satisfied and experiencing uncontaminated bliss, and we generate a feeling of great joy at their newly found happiness. We then maintain this feeling of joy by meditating single-pointedly on it for as long as possible.
This meditation on giving happiness to others is a supreme method for accumulating merit and increasing our mind of love.
© Geshe Kelsang Gyatso & New Kadampa Tradition