Home » Excerpts » At The Beginning, Middle And End Of Meditation

Life doesn’t stay in place, 
even for just a moment. 

– Gampopa

Gampopa said, “When you first begin to practice, you must be like a deer locked in a pen, or a prisoner in jail, urgently seeking a way out of samsara. In the intermediate stages of practice, you must be like a farmer during the harvest. Once he has determined that it is time to reap his crop, he works at it continuously, no matter what anyone tells him. Just as a farmer works to make the most of the crop he has grown, we who now have opportunities and conditions which are so valuable to our practice, should use them immediately, understanding that there is no time to be wasted.

“In the final stages of practice, you should be like someone whose work is drawing to a close, and who is looking forward to the time when he can put it aside and dwell at ease. With regard to how much time there is for practice, you should be like someone who has just been hit by an arrow and who is trying to get rid of it. He does not bother about who shot it or where it came from – he just acts swiftly to remove it.

“When you meditate, you should be like a mother who has lost her only child, but its image is still with her, whatever she is doing. Then, in the later stages of practice, which are concerned with realizing emptiness – the final nature of all phenomena – you should be like a herdsman who has brought all is beasts home. He has had much to watch for and cope with, but now they are all home safely, and he feels relaxed, his mind is free. If you repeatedly meditate on impermanence, attraction for the things of this life will be lessened. This will make it easy for the Buddhas to bestow blessings on you. If you achieve great realization of impermanence, the Buddhas will appear to you and foretell your future lives, including the one in which you will complete the path.”

The Life Of Gampopa
Jampa Mackenzie Stewart

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