23. The Arising of Weariness of Samsara in General
Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 23
Take refuge and arouse bodhichitta.
Meditate: Sentient beings in the three realms, my old mothers, are downright miserable. Since time immemorial, they have been ceaselessly wandering in samsara. Some of them have been my parents, my foes, or neutral acquaintances; in all, they all have had some karmic connections with me, and I must arouse compassion for them.
I myself also have been roaming in samsara for innumerable rounds. Should the bodies when I was an ant or gnat be piled together, it would result in a mountain higher than Mount Meru. The tears I have shed, if all were collected, would be vaster than the four great oceans. For the sake of my insatiable desires, countless heads and limbs of mine have been chopped off. Considering all of this, shouldn’t I become extremely disillusioned with samsara!
Whatever I may enjoy in this life—abundant wealth, a loving family and friends, high status, great renown, and worldly splendor—will leave me when I die, just like the illusory enjoyments in dreams that vanish completely upon waking up. In fact, all the pleasures we grasp so tenaciously in life are transient in nature; are they really worth it?
Therefore, resolve: If I do not make an effort in spiritual cultivation, I certainly will continue to suffer in the long lives to come. I vow that, from now on, I must practice the Dharma that will free me from samsara.
Dedicate all the merit of your practice to all sentient beings.
We are now at the second topic, impermanence, which you are to meditate on as we move along. However, of the meditation on the previous topic, the precious human birth with freedoms and advantages, I am afraid many of you still have much room for improvement. Thus I would advise you to repeat it while you start the new set.
At any rate, you must exert yourself in these preliminary practices; the more effort you put in, the easier you’ll find advancing to other practices. It is analogous to farming: If a farmer has carefully planted seeds in soil in the spring, it’s not difficult for him to have a bountiful harvest in the fall; on the other hand, without proper seeding and tending the sprouts meticulously, a good harvest is unlikely to happen, no matter how much it’s wished for.
Please do not feel that I the Khenpo am nagging you too much into practicing the preliminaries. The fact of the matter is, I will reiterate its importance again and again, not only here in the teaching of the preliminaries but also in the formal tantric teachings. I feel very strongly that without laying down a firm foundation of the preliminary studies, no success in Dharma practice can ever ensue.
Who doesn’t want to reach the destination of spiritual journey? To this end, I may serve you as an experienced guide, even though my insight is nothing close to those of the great masters. Nonetheless, in my time of treading the path, I have gained some understanding of the Dharma and met many kinds of practitioners. Two principles unmistakably stand out in my observation: One, of the three trainings of listening, contemplation, and meditation, the “meditation” part is crucial; Two, in terms of meditation, it’s vital to start from the preliminary practices, of which the outer preliminaries is the first step, or else there will be no firm basis. Be sure you bear this in mind!