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Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

May 12, 2019

The meditation on your future self is intended to help us create a new reality for our self.  It combines imagining a new, freer, happier version of yourself and the purification of your karma (previous thoughts and actions). This meditation also helps us have some experience of the emptiness of our self, rather than intellectualizing the subtle concept. You begin by deciding what amazing new way of being you want to bring about, such as going back to school, getting fit etc. You can also choose a limiting habit or behavior you want to free your self of. Then get ready to go down the rabbit hole.

Meditation of Your Future Self has four parts:

1. Imagine your future self. How wonderful do you feel? How is your life different? What positive affects does this new self have on others? Try to imagine it very vividly and feel it.

2. Release. Release is the first power of purification. It is sometimes translated as regret, but it never has the connotation that we are somehow bad. We should not feel guilty about what we have done in the past. Instead,  carefully consider what it really is you are releasing. What has this done to to you in the past? 

3. Promise: Promise is another power of purification. In this context, we make our self a promise of what we will change. We also make a promise of what we will do tomorrow. Each day that we are trying to change, we should remind ourselves in the morning of our promise. We need to go through this process of change one day at a time. Thus, re-stating the promise to yourself each morning is very important.

4. Support. The power of support in the purification process is when we rely on and ask for help to a holy being. Pray to God, Buddha, Buddha of Compassion, any holy being you connect to, or just pray without naming anyone. A simple prayer like "Please help me to do this" has so much power to help transform you. 

Repeat this promise at the start of each day. You can also journal about what you experience or discover. Use these questions to contemplate or journal about your experiences:

1. Write about your future self.

2. Release. What have you discovered so far about what you need to release?

3. Promise. How did it go with your promise today? What do you promise to do tomorrow?

4. Support. Write out your prayer. Alternatively, write a letter to the holy being you are asking to help you and supercharge your path to change. You can also write down sayings or quotes that remind you of your promise or understand more deeply...what ever helps you.

Even the gods cherish

Those who are without toxins,

Who have abandoned conceit,

Whose senses are calm,

Like horses well-tamed by a charioteer.


For a person

Who, like the earth, is untroubled,

Who is well-practiced,

Who is like a pillar of Indra,

Who is like a lake without mud,

There is no more wandering.


Calm in mind, speech, and action

And released through right understanding,

Such a person

Is fully at peace.


The person who

Has gone beyond faith,

Knows the Unmade,

Has severed the link,

Destroyed the potential [for rebirth],

And eliminated clinging

Is the ultimate person. (97)*


In village, in forest,

In low land, in high land:

Delightful is the place

Where the arahant dwells. (98)


Delightful are forests

Where the public does not delight.

There the passion-free delight,

Not seeking sensual pleasure.

--Buddha, the Dhammapada


Buddha, The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. Shambala, 2011. pp. 22-23.

Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment Volume 3. Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor. Snow Lion, (kindle edition), pp. 1270-1282, 1431, 1969-1975.

Ve, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rimpoche. Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness. Translated by Shenpen Hookham. Longchen Foundation, 1994, pp. 19-72.