by Peter Morrell
The main purpose of meditation is to purify the mind of bad thoughts and to bring calm and tranquillity to the otherwise chaotic flow of thoughts, sensations and feelings. Meditation aims to dampen these chaotic movements. Buddhist meditation aims to dampen the three poisons and achieve greater equanimity of being, and so slow or stop the karmic treadmill. Detachment, calm abiding and mindfulness are the primary aims, leading ultimately to more advanced practices such as developing greater compassion and practising visualisations. It is the three poisons of desire, hatred and illusion that drive the karmic treadmill upon which we all pound away-wanting things, hating things and self-delusion, which is ignorance of the nature of self and samsara. These form the basis of forming strong likes and dislikes and indulging them endlessly.
Out of the tranquillity of deep meditation, a pure awareness of mind can emerge that also leads in some cases to an appreciation of all living beings as a pure spiritual essence that we all have in common. This can bring us closer to all living things and an intimate sense of feeling for their welfare. This can form the beginning of a very early form of genuine compassion, because you can then begin to see what are to the fore in people are often mostly the secondary adventitious aspects-the anger, resentment, frustrations and other defilements-these are all secondary overlaid upon a deeper mind. We do not always see below this secondary material, this karmic level, to appreciate the deeper more subtle essence of all living things, which is in fact more like an egoless mindstream. It also leads us to appreciate the egoless nature of mind and how ego is a product a secondary feature, not a primary feature of mind.