Lesson
5

Lifetimes

3 of 3

The practice of equanimity — summing up

We are aiming to develop a strong feeling of love and compassion for everyone, but this cannot be done without first seeing the equality of all beings through meditatively cultivating equanimity. This is done in two ways.

  • One way to break down rigid classifications of people is by reflecting first with respect to friends, then neutral persons, and then enemies: "Just as I want happiness and don't want suffering, so this friend wants happiness and doesn't want suffering. And equally, this neutral person wants happiness and doesn't want suffering. And equally, this enemy wants happiness and doesn't want suffering."

  • Another way is to reflect on the changing relationships with beings over the course of lifetimes, beginning with neutral persons, then friends, and finally enemies. If you do not believe in rebirth, play the rebirth game as a technique for making your mind more flexible.


The process is also likened to smoothing a wall so that the mural of compassion can be painted.

Gradually these practices will make it such that nobody is exclusively in any category. If you alternate back and forth between both techniques, they fortify each other. The rigidity of the categories of beings is broken down in order to make a smoother field, so that the crop of compassion can be planted. The process is also likened to smoothing a wall so that the mural of compassion can be painted. Otherwise you will continue to adhere to certain people as just enemies.

Which is stronger for you in developing equanimity?

  • The first meditation: Just as I want happiness and don't want suffering, so Betty wants happiness and doesn't want suffering.

  • The second meditation: Over the course of lifetimes Betty has been friend, neutral person, and enemy numerous times.

For me, both are effective but with different impacts. After I had practiced this over several months, my first teacher, the Kalmyck Mongolian scholar-adept Geshe Wangyal, had me stay up all night doing it.

Go through everyone you've ever known, contemplating in these ways.

At the end of a session of meditation, remember to dedicate its value to the welfare of many different sentient beings. This is a way for us to get out of paranoia and to face our enemies. It is most powerful to dedicate the value of your own virtue to such strong, ignorant people. May they gain some advancement from it.




Moving to the next step

Now that you have practiced equanimity, along with several booster meditations, you have a firm foundation for the remaining meditations leading to compassion.