Three Gates Meditation

Recite the Aspiration Prayer

May what I’m about to do yield favorable results.

May it give me the capacity to benefit others.

May it help me overcome ignorance and limitation.

May it clear away all obstacles on the path.

May it lead me to the union of wisdom and compassion.

om ah hum so’ha 

Center and align the body in seven mindful steps

  1. legs stable and comfortable, hips slightly higher than the knees
  2. spine elongated, chin slightly tucked in
  3. shoulders level, neither hunched forward nor pushed back
  4. arms hanging loose at the sides, without any tension
  5. hands on the lap, the left below, the right on top; thumbs touching lightly in the center
  6. the tip of the tongue resting lightly against the front of the palate
  7. the gaze unfocused, low; about a foot or a foot and a half into the space in front of you

Center and align the breath in five mindful steps

  1. breathe continuously, without stops or interruptions (three full breaths)
  2. breathe softly, without noise
  3. breathe smoothly, without pushing or pulling the breath
  4. breathe evenly, without favoring the inhalation or the exhalation
  5. relax the abdominal muscles and breathe deeply, to your full capacity, but not so deeply that the breath is interrupted

Center and align the mind in four mindful steps

  1. direct your full attention to the tip of the nose, and feel the sensation of the air as it enters and leaves the tips of the nostrils
  2. direct your full attention to the left nostril only, and feel the sensation of the air as it enters and leaves the left nostril
  3. direct your full attention to the right nostril only, and feel the sensation of the air as it enters and leaves the right nostril
  4. direct your full attention to both nostrils simultaneously, and feel the sensation of the air as it enters and leaves both nostrils

Humming

  1. with mental attention on the forehead, produce a humming sound in a low-pitched tone (repeat three times)
  2. with mental attention on the throat, produce a humming sound in a high-pitched, but comfortable, tone (repeat three times)
  3. with mental attention on the chest, produce a humming sound in a naturally-pitched tone (repeat three times)
  4. rest in the resonance of the humming for three to five full breaths  

Eight Gazes

  1. direct the gaze forward and slightly up, and continue to breathe (five breaths)
  2. direct the gaze up and to the right, and continue to breathe (five breaths)
  3. gently direct the gaze to the right, and continue to breathe (five breaths)
  4. direct the gaze down and to the right, and continue to breathe (five breaths)
  5. direct the gaze down and to the left, and continue to breathe (five breaths)
  6. direct the gaze to the left, and continue to breathe (five breaths)
  7. direct the gaze up and to the left, and continue to breathe (five breaths)
  8. direct the gaze forward and slightly down, and continue to breathe (five breaths)

Rest in the Empty Luminosity

  1. if and when you see light, continue to look forward (do not ‘follow’ the light)
  2. hear the unstruck, unfabricated, spontaneous, high-pitched sound (HRIH)
  3. continue to gaze on the light and hear the sound until they fade

Recite the Dedication Prayer

By the merit accrued through all my virtuous acts,

May all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

May all embrace happiness and the causes of happiness.

May all abide in Peace, free from self-grasping.

May all attain the union of wisdom and compassion.

om ah hum so’ha

 

About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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5 Responses to Three Gates Meditation

  1. Pingback: Acquiring Mental Qualities

  2. Pingback: Three Main Benefits of Breath Meditation | Cognitive Critique

  3. Dharma fool says:

    Dear Tashi,

    These are really the same quality of breath, aren’t they?:

    “breathe softly, without noise (three full breaths)
    breathe smoothly, without pushing or pulling (three full breaths)
    breathe evenly, without favoring the inhalation or the exhalation (three full breaths) ”

    Breath softly, smoothly and evenly, 3 x 3 x 3

    When I do this I don’t even think about it now. Is there anything we need to keep in mind?

    Sonam

    • Tashi Nyima says:

      Yes. We ‘normally’ (but unnaturally) breathe noisily and forcefully, and tend to extend the inhalation more than the exhalation, or viceversa. We’re just re-establishing the natural breath.

      • Dharma fool says:

        Just as we normally, but unnaturally, obscure our Natural Perfection with noise and force? The breathing taught has alleviated stitches & sore spots that used to occur in my shoulders and back during sitting meditation. I still have to monitor it, but long, slow, deep breaths are getting easier — and more normal.

        Thank you, Tashi.

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