Practical Companion – 21

Contemplating the 6 realms

This post summarise the practice of contemplating the 6 realms of existence (aka Samsara)

There is 2 way to practice this, formal or informal.

In a formal setting, we can contemplate the imperfections of Samsara and its inherent risk of suffering before we begin our other practices. For example, if our practice is reciting Amitabha’s name, then we can do this contemplation before we start Buddha Recitation. If we practice Breathing Meditation, we can also do this practice before hand. The objective is to develop a sense of renunciation, so that we can let go of all our mundane concerns before we start our practices. That way, we identify our practice as being more important than the petty concerns in life. For example, if we just had a stressful day at work, this practice help us understand that work is not everything in life. Work is just to help us make a living. What is more important is to utilise this precious human life to achieve liberation from Samsara. In that manner, this contemplation helps us put aside work. That way, we can focus on our practice.

In an informal setting, we can use this contemplation to console ourselves during a set back in life. We understand that Samsara is never perfect anyway. Thus any suffering or setback in life is expectable and just part of Samsara’s imperfection. Our expectation for constant happiness in Samsara is flawed. Therefore, we should just accept our painful situation calmly and deal with our situation as best as we can. Then we can remind ourselves that it is extremely fortunate that we have already obtained Dharma (the way to enlightenment – ultimate happiness)

On the other hand, when life is upbeat and happy, we can also use this contemplation to get a grip of ourselves. It reminds us not to take happiness for granted. After all, the inherent nature of Samsara is full of potential for suffering. For example, when we are in the pink of health, this contemplation help us stay grounded so that we do not become heedless with our diet or over exert during workout.

From the above, we can summarise 2 objective

  1. This contemplation help us let go of all worldly concern prior to our formal spiritual practice. This help us focus on our spiritual training.
  2. This contemplation help us achieve a balanced mental positioning in our daily life. It is meant to help us stay balanced. For some exceptional individuals, this practice may also lead them to complete renunciation of secular life and devote themselves to gaining Nirvana.


Each of us will have different fulcrum point to determine our state of balanced living. (Aka, Middle Path) For some people, spending their entire waking moment engaged in formal practice is a balanced life and for others, that may very well drive them to depression.

It is therefore, very important for us to be TRUTHFUL with ourselves. Is my practice creating happiness in my mind or making me feel sad and depressed? There is no standard approach to practice. We have to decide what works best for ourselves. Give ourselves sufficient time to grow spiritually. For example, I used to love partying in the club when I was in my 20s. So I used to chant mentally in my mind while dancing to the beats of music while partying away. That works for me. Yah, I prefer the club than my meditation cushion back then.

May all be well and happy.

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