The First Power: Compassion Practice
Cultivate empathy by becoming aware of the suffering and confusion of all sentient beings. Also become aware of your own suffering and confusion, but try to see it as relatively small. Your empathy includes the awareness of your suffering and confusion, as well as suffering and confusion of another living being.
Then gradually transform your empathy into loving-kindness. Generate compassion for your own suffering and confusion. Generate compassion for the suffering and confusion of other living beings. Feel compassion for yourself without feeling stuck in your suffering. Feel compassion for other sentient beings without feeling that they are stuck in suffering.
Compassion is not just the mere awareness of suffering. Compassion has hope. It has wish. It has drive. Compassion with drive arises through empathy. That compassion is focused not on the symptoms of suffering, but on the causes of suffering. You can exercise this several times—generate empathy, transform the empathy into compassion, and then into compassion with drive, focusing on the root and not getting distracted with symptoms of suffering.
During the meditation on compassion, if you feel overwhelmed, look at the nature of suffering as impermanent. The nature of suffering of yourself is created by causes and condition. The nature of suffering and the confusion of other living beings is also created by causes and conditions, and are in the nature of impermanence. Through wisdom, try to dissolve that overwhelmed, impossible feeling.
Then go back to compassion with drive and hope, compassion without expectation, compassion with dedication, compassion with calmness, compassion with clarity. Compassion abides with hope and dedication, free from expectation. There is a sense of feeling empowered and not feeling powerless.
Reflect: I will cherish this mind of compassion-empathy, and make prayers so that others can also cultivate it.
The Second Power: Acknowledging our Actions Without Guilt
Bring attention to any karma related with body, speech. and mind. In this case, we are referring to karma that does not correspond with the nature of reality, the nature of cause and effect, but instead is driven by egotistical self-cherishing.
Acknowledge this type of karma related with body, speech, and mind. Some of this may not necessarily be about harming other living beings, but about harming yourself. It may not necessarily be about violence to other living beings, but about violence towards yourself. Acknowledge all such karma. Acknowledge it but do not fall into feeling guilt.
At this moment, reflect, “I am influenced by my mind, my intention, my thoughts. My mind, intention, and thoughts are influenced by afflictions. My afflictions are influenced by my egotistical behavior. My karma and imprints influence my egotistical behavior. There is nothing specific to take the blame here. It is just a chain reaction.” Acknowledge this karma and at the same time try to see it as a chain reaction with nothing specific on which to put the blame.
Based on this, do not feel guilty or consider yourself to be someone punishable. But generate the willingness to make a difference in the present and future, to take the next opportunity. There will be a second chance. There will be a third chance.
The Third Power: Shaking Our View of an Intrinsic and Permanent Self and Karma
The self, the “I” is not to blame. The misunderstanding of the nature of reality is a chain reaction. The nature of reality is empty of intrinsic existence, influenced by cause and conditions. There is nothing to feel guilty about and no one who is punishable.
What I deserve is the awareness of dependent origination, the lack of intrinsic existence.
Now feel hopeful through the awareness of dependent origination and the awareness of the lack of intrinsic existence, the never ending potential and possibilities.
The Fourth Power: Prayer and Inspiration to Engage in the Right Path
And the fourth: “May I be able to abide in the right path.”
This is the karmic “reset” button. I want to strengthen the mindfulness of my body, speech, and mind. And I wish this not only for myself, but for everyone—may all sentient beings, friends, enemies, and strangers strengthen the mindfulness of body, speech, and mind.
I dedicate any virtue that I accumulated through my practice. I rejoice in my practice of virtue—not judging but rejoicing. Likewise, I will not judge another practitioner’s practice. I will rejoice.
Then dedicate all the merit for the liberation of all sentient beings.
This virtue is like adding a drop of water to the ocean. As long as the ocean exists, this drop of water will exist. My dedication is like a drop of this water put into the ocean of enlightened virtuous karma.
Through the power of rejoicing and dedicating, abide in the state of joy for a little bit.