David's Book : Meditation
[By Dr.David N. Snyder]
When you are feeling unhappy or sorrowful meditate on the arising and cessation of these
feelings. When you see how it ceases you can create that atmosphere so that unhappiness is
limited to a rarity. Meditate on the impermanence of these feelings. There is no permanent
unhappiness. All feelings, even happy ones are impermanent. When we realize this we do not
cling to any of these feelings.
Big Pride / Big Ego
If you are suffering from too large of an ego meditate on impermanence. Sometimes we achieve
some wonderful things, be it fame, riches, etc. When this happens our ego can become too large
and we can become arrogant, unfriendly, pompous, sad, and depressed.
By meditating on impermanence we realize that our situation is just that; impermanent. Soon we
will be gone, whatever we have achieved will eventually be forgotten.
To avoid becoming too cynical or concerned about trying to achieve an impossible immortality
we can focus on the present and not dwell on the past or the future.
Ill-Will / Anger
Meditate on loving-kindness. First meditate on loving-kindness to oneself, then to family, then
to friends, then to all other humans, and then to all beings.
Meditate on kamma and the fact that whatever happens to oneself can be karmic results.
Meditate on goodwill.
Aversion to Meditation
Sometimes we do not feel like doing meditation. One of the best ways to discipline oneself to
participate in meditation is to get involved with a group such as at a Dhamma center.
Through peer pressure or wanting to belong to the group encourages us in trying times to
continue the practice.
Meditate on sympathetic joy. Joy is one of the characteristics of meditation. The tranquil,
peaceful, relaxed states provide a joy similar to a ―runner‘s high or the ―second wind.
One must be patient with meditation. Gradually transformations for the better will occur.
Wisdom insights do not come immediately either but come after diligent, patient practice.
Meditate on repulsiveness. Meditate on the different stages of decomposing of the human body.
When we have lust there is too much attachment to the human body and ideas of beauty.
Meditate on impermanence. As we meditate on the different stages of a decomposed body the
lust will fade.
Meditate on loving-kindness, compassion, joy with others, and equanimity.
Sloth and Torpor
Sloth and torpor are hindrances to enlightenment. Sometimes we can become sluggish both
physically and spiritually. Reflect on and try to practice moderation in food. Again, it must
be pointed out the scientifically proven fact that eating in the evenings, especially large meals
can make you sluggish and obese.
Meditate on impermanence and the fact that we may die at any moment and we may not have
another chance at salvation for another million years or more.
Worry and Doubt
Worry and doubt are hindrances to enlightenment. They can be eradicated by learning and
extensive reading. Worry and doubt primarily indicates ignorance or lack of knowledge. If we
read more and learn more, our worries and doubts fade. Always question matters rather than
worry about them. Associate yourself with monks, nuns, and other intelligent people. Seek
guidance when needed from these intelligent people and find the answer for yourself. Gain
confidence in yourself through learning, reading, knowledge, and wisdom. When you have
confidence in yourself you do not waste time with worries and doubts.
The Four Supreme Efforts and the Four Divine Emotions
The Four Supreme Efforts
1. Not to let an unwholesome thought arise which has not yet arisen.
2. Not to let an unwholesome thought continue which has already arisen.
3. To make a wholesome thought arise which has not yet arisen.
4. To make a wholesome thought continue which has already arisen.
The Four Supreme Efforts combine the important factors of Right Thought and Right Effort of
the Eightfold Middle Path. Our thoughts can permeate our being and define who we are. They
can run wild and left unchecked can produce numerous unwholesome actions. So we must guard
our sense doors and thoughts.
We do not need to suppress any thoughts. We simply observe the thoughts without applying any
pressure, no clinging or aversion. When we become mindful of our thoughts we gain more
control and we can stop ourselves from doing an unwholesome action. It is when we are ―lost‖
in our thoughts without mindfulness and concentration that we may act upon them in an
The last two Supreme Efforts are written in the positive with the encouragement of the
wholesome thoughts. When we have wholesome thoughts, like those that are rooted in
compassion, loving-kindness, sympathetic joy, or equanimity, then we should encourage their
The Four Divine Emotions
3. Altruistic joy (sympathetic joy with others)
The Four Divine Emotions are known in Pali as the Brahma-viharas and are also known as the
divine abidings or the divine abodes. They are emotional states to be strived for. By practicing
and developing the divine emotions, we will have a peaceful and patient daily life practice.
Loving-kindness is a soft, affection and care for others and yourself. It is not a hard, romantic
type of love and not a love that includes extreme attachment or controlling feelings.
Compassion is like an open heart that cares for everyone. It includes empathy, being able to see
the other person‘s position and caring for and about them.
Altruistic joy, sometimes is called sympathetic joy or appreciative joy. It is the ability to be
happy when you see others happy. Their joy becomes your joy as you welcome less suffering
and happiness of others.
Equanimity is the balanced state of mind. It is the middle way state of mind that is neither
clinging nor pushing away.
Each of the four brahma-viharas has what is called a near enemy and a far enemy. The near
enemy is a state of mind that is close to the brahma-vihara and is sometimes mistaken as the
good emotion, but is actually ―a near enemy‖ and not the correct mental state. The far enemy is
virtually the opposite of the brahma-vihara and is completely off the mark for the emotion that is
strived for. This is shown in this table:
Brahma-vihara Near enemy Far enemy
Loving-kindness Selfish affection Painful ill-will
Compassion Pity Cruelty
Altruistic Joy Exuberance Resentment
Equanimity Indifference Craving, clinging
The Four Supreme Efforts and the Four Divine Emotions, like much of the Buddha‘s teachings,
could be summarized to the following two words: emotional intelligence.
In 1995, Daniel Goleman, published the best-seller, Emotional Intelligence. In this book he
showed that more than intellectual intelligence, such as I.Q., what is a far greater scale of a
person‘s success is how well they deal with social and emotional issues. Emotional intelligence
refers to getting along with others, knowing how and when to act, not letting things bother you,
and success features, such as persistence, determination, and deferred gratification.
Dr. Goleman provides references from many studies to show the importance of the emotional
skills for success. He explains how even residual amounts of anger (which some people feel are
necessary to get the anger ―off your chest‖) leads to further, escalated anger. A person even
with a small amount of anger can enter a ―flooding‖ state, where there is an overwhelming
amount of anger with adrenaline, where no rational decisions can be made in this state and it
needs a long recovery time before settling down. Many people who have killed loved ones
report that they ―just snapped‖ in the heat of some arguments. (Goleman, 1995)
The Buddha on anger and emotional intelligence:
―One who repays an angry man with anger thereby makes things worse for himself. Not
repaying an angry man with anger, one wins a battle hard to win. He practices for the welfare
of both – his own and the other‘s – when, knowing that his foe is angry, he mindfully maintains
his peace. When he achieves the cure of both – his own and the other‘s – the people who
consider him a fool are unskilled in the Dhamma. Samyutta Nikaya 7.616-618
―Monks, one who has four qualities should be considered a superior person. What are these
four? Even when asked, a superior person does not reveal the faults of others, and still less so
when not asked. Further: even unasked, a superior person reveals what is praiseworthy in
others, how much more so when he is asked. Further: even unasked, a superior person reveals
his own faults, how much more so when he is asked. Further: even when asked, a superior
person does not reveal his own praiseworthy qualities, still less so when not asked. When asked,
however, and obliged to respond to questions, he speaks of his own praiseworthy qualities with
omissions and hesitatingly, incompletely and not in detail. Anguttara Nikaya 4.73
The emotional intelligence traits lead to peace and tranquility in interpersonal relations, to
Dr. Goleman writes near the end of his book:
―Great spiritual leaders, like Buddha and Jesus, have touched their disciples‘ hearts by speaking
in the language of emotion, teaching in parables, fables, and stories. Indeed, religious symbol
and ritual makes little sense from the rational point of view; it is couched in the vernacular of
the heart. (Goleman, 1995)
*************to be continued**********