In Tibetan Buddhist teachings, compassion is seen as a key virtue and an essential part of the path towards enlightenment. One way to cultivate compassion is through the practice of loving-kindness meditation, also known as Tonglen meditation. This involves silently repeating phrases of loving-kindness and well-wishes, sending love and compassion to oneself and to others including loved ones, friends, enemies, and all beings.
Mother's Love and Compassion
There is a common belief that a mother's love is the purest form of love because it is unconditional and selfless. A mother's love is often characterized by feelings of warmth, tenderness, and protection towards her children. This love is often strong and enduring, even through challenges and difficult times. A mother will often go to great lengths to ensure the well-being and happiness of her children, and will make sacrifices for their sake.
This kind of love is often considered to be the purest form of love because it is not influenced by selfish or ulterior motives, but rather is driven by a pure and sincere desire to care for and support her children.
Step 1. Generating Compassion
Be seated on your meditation cushion and visualize your mother, whether living or dead, as you remember her best. Visualize her very clearly in front of you. Think of her sitting there, gazing at you with loving eyes and smiling.
Step 2. Recognition of Your Mother's Kindness
To begin with, your mother carried you in her womb for nine months, during which she was constantly concerned for your safety. She avoided actions, foods, and circumstances that might have endangered your health or welfare. Even before you were born, she was thinking about your benefit and making efforts to remove your sufferings.
At all times your mother remained concerned for your well-being.
She often went without sleep at night and worked until her bones grew tired.
She denied herself food and clothing when necessary, and passed up luxuries and comforts for herself so that you might have them.
How can we forget such kindness?
Step 3. Recognition of the Need to Repay Your Mother's Kindness
Having recognized your mother's kindness, you should also recognize your responsibility to repay it.
Step 4. Meditation on Repaying Your Mother's Kindness
Meditate on your mother: Focus on her and think about her, with a feeling of sadness about the plight she is in and her inability to achieve the happiness she longs for.
Practice in this way for a long time, and repeat your efforts regularly.
Imagine that all living beings have been your mother in previous lifetimes.
Step 5. Loving-Kindness Meditation on Repaying Kindness to Other People
When you have used this image of your mother with some success, move on to lovingly visualizing your father, by simply adjusting the details.
From there, work on your kin, your friends, and on strangers for whom you have no feelings. Next, meditate on your enemies, who arouse anger every time you think of them.
Recall that they have all been your own kind mother in past lives, but that they are unable to recognize this because you and them have both changed; in their deluded states, they cannot see that reality. You can really see these enemies as your mother, remember the harm of vengeance and anger.
Short Version of Meditation on Mother's Compassion
Another way to focus this practice on the love of a mother is to silently repeat phrases such as "May I be filled with loving-kindness. May I be well. May I be peaceful and at ease. May I be happy." And then, "May [mother's name] be filled with loving-kindness. May [she] be well. May [she] be peaceful and at ease. May [she] be happy." This practice can help to cultivate feelings of love and compassion towards one's mother and towards all beings.