The end of collection is dispersion …


I’m not claiming to be any expert, but I love the meditation on the clarity of the mind. So I thought I’d do some articles and invite your comments.

Here is a quick meditation we can do for starters:


We breathe out whatever is on our mind, and all scattered thoughts, gently opening up a space in our awareness.

We enjoy our in-breath as light, drawing it into our heart, allowing our own awareness naturally to be drawn into the heart along with it. Its aspect is light, its nature is peace. We can ride the rays of light into our heart, where they join with the inner light of our pure potential, our natural good heart.

We can focus on a peaceful, light experience at our heart, not a care in the world, allowing our mind to settle here without pushing or expectation. Whatever level of peace we are experiencing, we enjoy ourselves.

We can add to this experience of peace by becoming aware of the mind itself. We simply recognize that we are experiencing our own mind. Clarity. Something that is empty like space, that can never possess form, and that is the basis for perceiving objects.

Our mind is like an inner empty space that has no shape, no color, no size, no physical properties. But that clarity has the power to perceive, to cognize, to remember, to imagine, and even to create reality. It is awareness. And if we get a sense of that clarity, then we gently abide with it, feel absorbed into it.

If we become aware of other thoughts or sounds, rather than rejecting them we simply ask, “What is it that is aware?” We are using the distraction or sound to bring us back to the clarity because the awareness of it is also clarity. And then again we gently abide there, moment by moment.

We allow all our thoughts in this way to dissolve back into the clarity, like waves settling into a still, clear ocean. And we stay there as long as we want, knowing we can always return here.

We always go for what we want

human life cycle 2This meditation, part of Mahamudra, has been practiced for centuries by Buddhists as the method to pacify all distractions, to gain single-pointed concentration and mindfulness, to understand the conventional and ultimate nature of the mind, and to become enlightened. It has so many benefits. If we think about some of these benefits, we may go for it, because we always go for what we want.

And we’ll also be more likely to put effort into this meditation if we compare these benefits with the samsaric alternative. I was reading that famous quote from the Vinaya Sutras recently, where Buddha talks simply and to the point about the sufferings of the cycle of impure life:

The end of collection is dispersion.
The end of rising is falling.
The end of meeting is parting.
The end of birth is death. ~ Joyful Path of Good Fortune page 285

How does thinking about this change the way we relate to our own life? For the first, for example, we can see that we popped out naked and gradually acquired stuff, maybe a lot – clothes, possessions, friends, a bank account, a mortgage, a garage full of clutter. But the end of collection is dispersion, so instead of thinking “These are mine forever” it is more realistic to think “I’m going to lose these.” Then we’ll naturally be less inclined to seek refuge in them, and more inclined to seek refuge in the happiness that comes from absorbing within to meditate on our own naturally peaceful mind.

death awareness 2At the end of their lives, people often understand pretty well that the end of rising is falling. Maybe we don’t start with much of a reputation, unless we are Prince Harry; but as life goes on it can be that we become better known, and our renown and position increases. Then we retire and shuffle around in our slippers. No one is that interested any more in what we have to say. The other day a friend wrote to me about the funeral of another friend’s father, a colorful bigwig in Fleet Street back in the day, but who, after a slow, painful decline, still ended up in a box:

B was a very big character and obviously widely loved. For me, as always with a death, there is that emotional incomprehension that someone can be there (in a box) and yet no longer there.

There are countless examples of positions gained and lost – the person coming to mind just now is the new Republican Presidential front runner (Ed: oops, spoke too soon 🙁 ); but the fact is we are all bound for a fall however high we have risen. And that is not to mention all our future who da manlives, where we will continue to cycle around and around on a karmic wheel — migrators, Buddha called us, if not refugees. This is unless we can use our lives to train our minds, in which case the older we become, the better off we become; and at the end of our life and in future lives we have a wealth of happiness to help ourselves and others.

As for “the end of meeting is parting”, what effect does contemplating this have on our social life?! Buddha says “parting”, not “partying”!! It is more like, “Hi honey, great to meet you, did you know we were going to part?” How many of our friends do we really feel we are going to lose? Forever?! We say things like “I’m always going to be there for you,” but the fact is we’re not. For most of us, although intellectually we may know it, we feel that this friendship will last forever. It always seems like such a surprise or disappointment when a good friendship ends for whatever reason. But contemplating the truth of this, because I’m afraid it is true, we will naturally stop seeking security where it cannot be found and start to seek it in the clarity of our own root mind, from which all of this stuff comes anyway (more later). And if we do really want to be there for people, and not to lose them, we need to become enlightened as soon as possible.meeting and parting

As for the last line, “The end of birth is death”, not much more to say. Except that if you die today, where will you be tomorrow?

The appearances of this life, as it says in Heruka Tantra, are as fleeting as a flash of lightning. Perhaps we have a few hundred months left to get through the elusive doorway to liberation and enlightenment if we’re lucky. But if we do apply the effort to make that journey, what will it be like? Our mind will be the inner light of wisdom permanently free from mistaken appearances, utterly blissful, able to bless each and every living being every day, pervading all phenomena, and pervaded by universal love and compassion.

Or we could opt for the usual old birth, sickness, ageing, and death instead.

Next installment here. Your comments are welcome!

Author: Luna Kadampa

Based on 40 years' experience, I write about applying meditation and modern Buddhism to improve and transform our everyday lives and societies. I try to make it accessible to everyone anywhere who wants more inner peace and profound tools to help our world, not just Buddhists. Do make comments any time and I'll write you back!

23 thoughts on “The end of collection is dispersion …”

  1. Hi,
    Thanks for this wise advice. It’s going to help tremendously as I’m trying to console someone whose parent is in a coma and most probably won’t recover.
    This person is angry at the world and blaming others for the current situation.
    Just have to be skillful when sharing the wisdom.
    May you receive all the Buddha’s blessings.

  2. Hi again. Also, I love these Mahamudra meditations on the clarity of the mind. Also, don’t you think those seven points on the renunciation meditation are helpful for us in relation to this meditation? Meditation on true suffering: aging, sickness and death, being separated from what we wish, encountering what we don’t wish, and failing to satisfy our desires. I love Geshela’s explanation in that old meditation handbook and How to Solve Our Human Problems the best. Renunciation seems to help me understand emptiness better. It’s like when I see it’s a cycle, I realize no sense in focusing on one stage and I find it easier to mentally let go of things I don’t get. Sickness and aging become less solid. Delusions become less intimidating. All these things become less imposing, chunky and rigid in meditation, and so then you realize the trick/key is to keep meditating so they become less chunky in everyday experience.

  3. Luna, I love this article. Thank you for sharing you wisdom. What a treasure!🙏

  4. Hi Luna,
    Thanks for the truth that I find so helpful. Been battling since receiving HYT this year. It’s more realizing and seeing my delusions more clearly. Went through all sorts of internal battles regarding whether I’m putting dharma into practice and along comes your amazing clarity about the importance of opting for liberation as opposed to Samsara.
    Reboot, reset and get the spiritual GPS working.

  5. Lovely as always Luna – your quote from Heruka Tantra just helped me dissolve away a huge obstacle I’ve had in peacefully accepting the outcome of this election. “The appearances of this life are as fleeting as a flash of lightning. ” Thank you xo

  6. Love to read all your articles.
    Particularly love nature of the mind.
    This reminder of samsara vs liberation is very meaningful to me.
    Thank you

  7. I’ve moved your teaching to my “Treasures” folder, where I can access it with ease! That should tell you how much I agree & find this teaching invaluable – thank you!

  8. Thank you si much for this post.

    Does anyone who received Guru Sumati Buddha Heruka empowerment can practice Mahamudra ?

  9. Thank you for this article Luna. Just reading it made my mind feel more at peace. That’s without doing the meditation, which you described in such an enticing way.

  10. Dear luna Kadampa,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful posts! Lately I have found several things that I really needed to read, right when I needed them. I’m a long-time Kadampa practitioner who still struggles from time to time with anxiety and worries without any basis even in ordinary appearances. I’ve just had a really tough day of panic, and just reading this post made me feel better. I use your posts when I teach meditation classes too. (Funnily enough, this week, I’ve just been asked to teach a GP class in “Dealing with Stress” – I seem to get these opportunities just when I need them!)

    All the best from KMC Vancouver, Canada, and keep up the inspiring work!

    1. Sorry to hear you had a bad day. The bonus is that you will be able to speak to people’s hearts when you teach that class 🙂 Glad to have been of some help.

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