The six- syllable mantra, Om Mani Padme Hung, is
the compassionate wisdom of all the Buddhas manifested as sound.
Within it is contained the essential meaning of all eighty-four thousand sections of the Buddha’s teachings.
Uncovering Our Basic Goodness
The purpose of this meditation is to uncover our Basic Goodness, our Inner Radiance, this inner potential that we all have. The cultivation of Loving Kindness and Compassion is the key.
First we use Calm Abiding Meditation, where the mind focuses and refocuses on a chosen technique, such as counting the breath. The mind settles down this way. When one's mind is resting in the present moment of awareness, it is naturally happy. One experiences a fullness, a completeness, a sense of well-being. When our minds have calmed down some, we become less concerned about ourselves, less selfish. Then there is a gap - and the space to open our hearts to others arises.
Opening Our Hearts to Others
The practice of The Four Immeasurables and Tonglen
The First Immeasurable:
May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.
This prayer is the essence of loving kindness. The meditation that goes along with it involves giving away all of one's happiness, which is symbolized by white light. This light radiates out from oneself and touches all beings in general and those in particular that one is praying for.
One should start with contemplating a person or situation that particularly touches your heart. When the force of loving kindness becomes so strong that you could actually give your happiness to this person, then you send out the white light to them. Over time, you will be able to find more soft spots and you can eventually, sincerely spread it out to all beings.
The Second Immeasurable:
May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
This prayer is the essence of compassion. The meditation that goes along it involves taking the suffering of all beings into oneself in the form of black light, which symbolizes their suffering.
Or one can just think that the suffering of others is absorbed into oneself.
Like before, start with a person or situation that particularly touches your heart. When the force of compassion arises such that you could actually take the suffering of another into yourself, then take in their suffering in the form of black light that dissolves into your heart, where it is instantly transformed into brilliant white light that radiates out again to all beings.(As the black light enters your heart, it is like throwing dry wood on a fire. Your heart center blazes even brighter with the white light you are sending out.) By taking in the suffering of others, one becomes enriched and then one has more happiness to give off to others.
Keep alternating this process of exchanging white and black light which is called Tonglen in Tibetan or Taking and Sending.
Just by imagining that it was you in such a difficult situation, you will come to recognize that the need for others to have happiness and be free from suffering is just as important as your own need to have happiness and to be free from suffering.
Just this thought of giving one’s happiness away and taking on the suffering of others is so pure that no harm can ever come to one by practicing it. In Tibet, this practice was given to those with leprosy; as they truly wished others to have their happiness and that the suffering of others would come to them instead, many of the lepers were cured by doing this practice.
The Third Immeasurable:
May their happiness not diminish.
The experience is: by practicing taking and sending over and over, or continuously, an inner feeling of joyfulness arises in your mind all by itself.
The Fourth Immeasurable:
May they abide in equanimity.
Our compassion needs to be impartial, - for all beings. The inner experience is one of meditative equipoise. The mind rests naturally in its pure nature.
By practicing loving kindness and compassion, one’s own negativities are purified and this allows joyfulness and meditative equipoise to arise. That is what happens when our Basic Goodness, this Inner Radiance shines through a little.
The real fruition of this practice arises when the happiness of others becomes as important or more important than your own happiness. That is how clinging to self importance can dissolve into awareness, our Inner Radiance.
Reciting The Mantra of Great Compassion
When a strong feeling of loving kindness and compassion arises and can be sustained, at that time one becomes the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Sending one’s happiness to others and taking the suffering of all beings into oneself, one abides in a state of meditative equipoise.
Remaining as the Bodhisattva in that state of loving kindness and compassion, one can then recite the Mantra of Great Compassion, Om Mani Padme Hung.
(In order for joyfulness and meditative equipoise to arise, it is essential for loving kindness and compassion to be cultivated truly and sincerely. Joyfulness and meditative absorption will naturally arise at some point in one's practice. You are not trying to make your mind joyful or force meditative absorption. Joyfulness and meditative absorption happens because loving kindness and compassion resonates with your pure being and that causes your inner radiance to reveal itself and be experienced.)