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Meditation takes energy. You need courage to confront some pretty difficult mental phenomena and the determination to sit through various unpleasant mental states. Laziness will not serve. In order to pump up your energy for the job, repeat the following statements to yourself. Feel the intention you put into them.

Mean what you say.

"I am about to tread the very same path that has been walked by the Buddha... an indolent person cannot follow that path. May my energy prevail. May I succeed."



Universal Loving Friendliness


Vipassana meditation is an exercise in mindfulness, that is, in ego-less awareness.

It is a procedure in which the ego will be eradicated by the penetrating gaze of mindfulness.

The practitioner begins this process with the ego in full command of mind and body. Then, as mindfulness watches the ego function, it penetrates to the roots of the mechanics of ego and extinguishes ego piece by piece.

There is a full-blown catch-22 in all this, however. Mindfulness is ego-less awareness. If we start with ego in full control, how do we put enough mindfulness there at the beginning to get the job started?

There is always some mindfulness present in the moment.

The real problem is to gather enough of it to be effective. To do this we can use a clever tactic. We can weaken those aspects of the ego that do the most harm so that mindfulness will have less resistance to overcome.

Greed and hatred are the prime manifestations of the ego process. To the extent that grasping and rejecting are present in the mind, mindfulness will have a very rough time. The results of this are easy to see.

If you sit down to meditate while you are in the grip of some strong obsessive attachment, you will find that you will get nowhere.

If you are all hung up in your latest scheme to make more money, you probably will spend most of your meditation period doing nothing but thinking about it.

If you are in a black fury over some recent insult, that will occupy your mind just as fully.

There is only so much time in one day, and your meditation minutes are precious. It is best not to waste them.

The Theravada tradition has developed a useful tool that will allow you to remove these barriers from your mind at least temporarily, so that you can get on with the job of removing their roots permanently.

You can use one idea to cancel another. You can balance a negative emotion by instilling a positive one.

Giving is the opposite of greed. Benevolence is the opposite of hatred.

Understand clearly now: this is not an attempt to liberate yourself by auto-hypnosis.

You cannot condition enlightenment.

Nibbana is an unconditioned state.

A liberated person will indeed be generous and benevolent, but not because she has been conditioned to be so.

She will be so purely as a manifestation of her own basic nature, which is no longer inhibited by ego.

So this this medicine according to directions, it will bring temporary relief from symptoms of the malady from which you are currently suffering. Then you can get to work in earnest on the illness itself.

You start out by banishing thoughts of self-hatred and self-condemnation. You allow good feelings and good wishes first to flow to yourself, which is relatively easy.

Then you do the same for those people closest to you.

Gradually, you work outward from your own circle of intimates until you can direct a flow of those same emotions to your enemies and to all living beings everywhere.

Correctly done, this can be a powerful and transformative exercise in itself.

At the beginning of each meditation session, say the following sentences to yourself.

Really feel the intention:


May I be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to me. May I always meet with spiritual success. May I also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life. May I always rise above them with morality, integrity, forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom.


May my parents be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to them. May they always meet with spiritual success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life. May they always rise above them with morality, integrity, forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom.


May my teachers be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to them. May they always meet with spiritual success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life. May they always rise above them with morality, integrity, forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom.


May my relatives be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to them. May they always meet with spiritual success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life. May they always rise above them with morality, integrity, forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom.


May my friend be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to them. May they always meet with spiritual success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life. May they always rise above them with morality, integrity, forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom.


May all indifferent persons be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to them. May they always meet with spiritual success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life. May they always rise above them with morality, integrity, forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom.


May all unfriendly persons be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to them. May they always meet with spiritual success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life. May they always rise above them with morality, integrity, forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom.


May all living beings be well, happy, and peaceful. May no harm come to them. May they always meet with spiritual success. May they also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life. May they always rise above them with morality, integrity, forgiveness, compassion, mindfulness, and wisdom.




Once you have completed these recitations, lay aside all your troubles and conflicts for the period of practice. Just drop the whole bundle.

If the come back into your meditation later, just treat them as what they are, distractions.

The practice of universal loving friendliness is also recommended for bedtime and just after rising. It is said to help you sleep well and to prevent nightmares. It also makes it easier to get up in the morning.

And it makes you more friendly and open toward everybody, friend or foe, human or otherwise.



~from Mindfulness in Plain English, Chapter Nine, Set-Up Exercises by Bhante Gunaratana
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