Presented by Jhampa Shaneman
These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity. These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.
December 16, 90
There is a certain spirit and energy to Christmas even for a Buddhist that is generated at this time. It a time of warmth, caring and sharing which is wonderful and worthwhile to rejoice at the Christian time and being happy for what they are doing. This being the case, I thought we could drop the meditations we have been doing and do a bit of meditation with mantra, as Jesus was the manifestation for love and compassion, we will meditate on the Buddha of Love and Compassion, Avalokiteshvara.
How do you meditate on love? This is hard to touch especially if you are not overly expressive with your emotions. If we say we are going to meditate on love and you get given this mantra and you recite this mantra, but is it doing anything for your generation of love and compassion? The idea behind love and that is not the love behind worldly attachment, for example I love my wife but that is because there is some reasons why what she does for me, so in that way that love is not as pure as it could be. It has some strings attached in a sense. So when you speak of pure love and spiritual love, this love has that quality that there are no strings attached. That when the love is given there is no need for something to be given back. Often if we are not spiritually inclined, our love is actually a statement of our need rather than a statement of our joy.
For example I love you because I need someone around me, security, or to feel good. That sort of affection is not the one we want to generate because it makes problems, especially when that type of love does not get what it wants, then there is a lot of anger, jealousy, hurt feelings. That is obviously not a very spiritual endeavor.
In spiritual terms, love is termed the joy of wanting others to be happy. If you want someone to be happy, and if I give them this or do this for them, I know it will make them happy. If you have that, then you have what is called the basis of spiritual love or pure love because pure love is that which wants to bring joy to another person. You can relate to it, at certain times when you have started to feel love towards someone before you start having conditions on it, then very much it is an expression of joy. And you would love to do all sorts of things for that person in the fullness of your experience of movement of love for them! And in that is something pure. The trouble is after you do it, you think they should be more considerate of you or there should be something coming back because you have done this for them. That is non spiritual love because of the conditions and expectations which are also along with it. Therefore this love can bring a lot of unhappiness.
Rather we want to work with an emotion where there is joy in being able to give happiness for another person. You can say that what you get back from that is maybe the knowledge of how joyful that can be and how good it can make you feel where you do something where you know there are no strings attached to it. That you know that will bring happiness for the other person.
That is the quality or style of mind that you need to have to start generating a spiritual love which brings joy and happiness into the world, brings people to a sense of more sharing and openness. When you recite the mantra and meditate, if you focus on the Buddha of Love and Compassion, and he has different aspects, but generally he is seated with his two hands folded in front of his chest. In his hands is a jewel. In Buddhism you never pray with flat hands because it is considered that you are not really offering anything. Because a prayer is an offering in the sense that I pray this can come about. You are offering your sincere wishes. So you put your thumbs inside your hand and offer a prayer. You are offering the jewel of a beautiful thought. In that way it is something which is precious.
He has a pure white form for the purity of his being. He has no needs and the white color is symbolic that he is free, not having any expectations and such for when he gives love. His hands hold a wish fulfilling jewel to his heart. Love is the ultimate wish fulfilling jewel, when there is pure love, then that love gives all that is necessary to sentient beings or who is the recipient of it. A parent is a wish fulfilling jewel for the child. The real wish fulfilling energy is love, the energy that wants to give happiness for others.
When you meditate on the Buddha of Love and Compassion, he is in the space before you or you can have him on the crown of your head facing the same way as you. He is beautiful and white, clear like crystal so you could look through it if you looked strongly. He is also adorned with beautiful jewels and ornaments which is the symbol of the richness of his realizations. He is a Buddha, therefore he is full of the wealth of enlightenment. From the wish fulfilling jewel in his hands you can visualize many light rays going out bestowing all sentient beings wishes. For those without food, they give food, those without clothes, they give clothes. Medicine for those who are sick, love and kindness for those who are lonely. They give whatever is necessary for sentient beings, the intention of that Buddha is to fulfill those needs.
It is important in the meditation, for ourselves to identify with the intention to do that, rather than the actual capacity. Because when you do the meditation and it is all finished, then you think no one is any better! But that does not mean that something has not changed! You mind is changing. It is becoming nicer, and so your mind opening up and becoming more kind is the manifestation of love and compassion. Rather than having expectation that the outer world is going to change because of your meditation, it is not, it is going to be the same, what is going to change is your mind. As your mind does change and develop greater qualities, you will be able to help others better and assist them more directly, more manifestly than you have been able to in the past.
That is what you should focus on. Not on the actual happening of something outside because you will not see it that way. But if you change, then all sorts of things can change in the outside world. So focus on that your heart is opening and starting to merge with the Buddha of Love and Compassion. And in merging with that allow yourself to feel blessed and developed in this regard. Principally it is having joy in seeing others happy, and in wanting to see others happy. A mixture of those two where there is real joy in it.
That is the meditation for the evening.
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