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Old 12-17-2007, 12:34 PM
Location: Y-Town Area
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There is another way of speaking about the two types of meditation. In this case, they are differentiated into 1) meditation that perceives the object and 2) meditation in which our mind is transformed into a specific affective state. An example of the former is meditating on impermanence and emptiness. These are subtle objects that we must use analytical meditation to perceive. An example of the latter is meditation on the four immeasurables (brahmaviharas)--love, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Here we are not trying to perceive a subtle object, but are practicing to transform our minds into those mental states. For example, everyone admires the quality of love, but we cannot just say, "I should love everyone," and expect our deepest feelings to change. First, we must free our minds from the gross obstacles of attachment to friends, hostility to people who threaten or harm us, and apathy towards strangers. On this basis, we then train our mind to recognize the kindness of others, which arouses in us a natural wish to reciprocate and share our kindness with them. After this we meditate on love and cultivate a genuine wish for all sentient beings to have happiness and its causes. Initially that feeling will arise in us but will not be stable. Anger may still flash into our mind making our good feelings towards others disappear. We need to cultivate love continuously and do so with a focused mind. The greater our concentration, the more stable and penetrative the experience will be.
--from Guided Meditations on the Stages of the Path by Thubten Chodron, foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama, published by Snow Lion Publications
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