It was an intimate meditation session of trio tonight. We started at 6p.m. sharp and meditated to a 5-minute guided breathing meditation by the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research team. We sat in a row facing the window and had the lights on. Another tryout session, perhaps. How different does it feel to meditate in a circle as compared to meditating in a row? And how different is it to meditate in a group as compared to meditating alone in the room?
We started to talk about Buddhism in general and how meditation affects different aspects of our lives, be it our studies, relationships, hopes and dreams. Because only one of is Buddhist, we are referring to the practice of meditation rather than a religious doctrine. We touched upon karma and what it means by cause and effect. An analogy was to plant a seed for the tree to grow and bear fruit in the future. This topic led us to the power of aspiration.
The power of aspiration is the pure mental wish we can make. As ordinary people, our mind does not have the strength to make this wish of aspiration come true immediately, but that’s all right. The sincerity we put into the wish will insure that sooner or later the effect will materialize. Therefore, the power of aspiration is that we repeatedly make the wish: “May I become capable of eliminating self-cherishing. May I become capable of perfecting treasuring others as more important than myself.” As we approach the force behind this aspiration, it actually manifests more and more like that, until it becomes an actuality in our mind.
This power of aspiration means that whatever virtuous activity we do, whatever meditation we do, whatever training in the instructions we do, we pray: “May my bodhichitta increase and come to include all living beings. May it also be born in all living beings. May it increase in those in whom it has been born, and may this increasing bodhichitta really come to benefit all living beings.” We make this aspiration prayer for the benefit of all living beings at the end of any virtuous activity we perform or after any meditation we do.
Over tea, we each thought carefully for a moment about one wish we harbour and shared it with the group. We took the green leaves and hang our hopes on the wishing tree. One day our wishes will come true! We ended the session with a solid, short silent meditation and dedicated the merits to all. What a lovely night it was!