Loving Kindness (Metta) is beneficial to all life

The Reviler, a Buddhist story …

Once while the Blessed One stayed near Rajagaha in the Veluvana Monastery at the Squirrels’ Feeding Place, there lived at Rajagha a Brahman of the Bharadvaja clan who was later called “the Reviler.” When he learned that one of his clan had gone forth from home life and had become a monk under the recluse Gotama, he was angry and displeased. And in that mood he went to see the Blessed One, and having arrived he reviled and abused him in rude and harsh speech.

Thus being spoken to, the Blessed One said: “How is it, Brahman: do you sometimes receive visits from friends, relatives or other guests?”

“Yes, Master Gotama, I sometimes have visitors.”

“When they come, do you offer to them various kinds of foods and a place for resting?”

“Yes, I sometimes do so.”

“But if, Brahman, your visitors do not accept what you offer, to whom does it then belong?”

“Well, Master Gotama, if they do not accept it, these things remain with us.”

“It is just so in this case, Brahman: you revile us who do not revile in return, you scold us who do not scold in return, you abuse us who do not abuse in return. So we do not accept it from you and hence it remains with you, it belongs to you, Brahman…”

[The Buddha finally said:]

“Whence should wrath rise for him who void of wrath,
Holds on the even tenor of his way,
Self-tamed, serene, by highest insight free?

“Worse of the two is he who, when reviled,
Reviles again.

Who doth not when reviled,
Revile again, a two-fold victory wins.

Both of the other and himself he seeks
The good; for he the other’s angry mood
Doth understand and groweth calm and still.

He who of both is a physician, since
Himself he healeth and the other too —

Folk deem him a fool, they knowing not the Norm.”

(Samyutta Nikaya, Brahmana Samyutta, No. 2. Verses translated by C. A. F. Rhys Davids, in “Kindred Sayings,” vol. I.)

Metta is the Buddhist practice of cultivating loving kindness, goodwill, amity, harmony, friendliness, and peace in your own disposition.  Also known as the sublime attitudes, this meditation cultures life supporting qualities.

As we continue our meditation practice and our heart opens up to others, the practice of metta naturally becomes easier and much more successful. Metta is a state of mind.  Its object is the lovable Being.  It is part of the Anatta, or non-self teachings, and is of utmost value.

Benefits of the practice:
1) Helps to overcome anger and other violent, destructive mental states
2) Helps to develop the minds ability for insight
3) Develops a health relationship with other living beings; good for family, society and the world

Its practice cultivates patience:
1) To accept events without anxiety and anger
2) Helps to avoid unnecessary trouble and difficult circumstances
3) With patience more opportunities present themselves
4) Nurtures greater longevity and success in any undertaking
5) Helps to develop other qualities of human life

The five impediments to Metta (Loving kindness) meditation practice are:
1) Sensual desire
2) Ill will
3) Laziness and torpor
4) Restlessness and worry
5) Skeptical doubts

Loving kindness can be directed to oneself, family, friends, country, and the world.  Its object of attention can be sentient and insentient beings, humans and animals, the directions of the compass, or other focus as you desire.  Here are some examples of metta practice:

Personal metta:

The Loving Kindness affirmation is best repeated softly, out-loud to yourself, in a quiet and settled environment.  Take your time during the practice.     

Recite the following lines softly … 

May I be free from suffering
May I be happy
May I be healthy
May I be at peace

For the second round, substitute “I” for the name of a Loved One.  For example:

May Father be free from suffering
May Father be happy
May Father be healthy
May Father be at peace

There are three more rounds.  Substitute “I” for the name of an Acquaintance, then for the name of a Difficult Person in your life, and then with “All Sentient Beings.”

So there are five rounds, preceding from self “I” to “All Sentient Beings.”

1 – Self
2 – Loved One
3 – Acquaintance
4 – Difficult Person
5 – All Sentient Beings

Change in the object of Metta
 
1. Self (puja puggala) I
2. Loved one (atipiya puggala) Usually listed as 2nd to avoid the cultivation of attachment, which leads to pride, jealousy, and possessiveness.  Family, relatives.
3. Acquaintance (majjhatta puggala) Indifferent person, a coworker, mailman, store clerk, etc. 
4. Difficult Person (apiya puggala) An unpleasant person, enemy, hostile, we dislike them, are repulsed and angry with them.   
5. All sentient Beings All living creature, large or small.  

 
Unspecified metta:
(Add this to the end of each verse: free from suffering, happy, healthy, at peace)

May all women be …
May all men be …
May all nobles be …
May all worldlings be …
May all deities be …
May all humans be …
May all unhappy states be …

So the first round is …

May all women be free from suffering
May all men be free from suffering
May all nobles be free from suffering
May all worldlings be free from suffering
May all deities be free from suffering
May all humans be free from suffering
May all unhappy states be free from suffering

2nd round is:

May all women be happy
May all men be happy
May all nobles be happy
May all worldlings be happy
May all deities be happy
May all humans be happy
May all unhappy states be happy

… etc. 

Directional metta:
(Add this to the end of each verse: free from enmity, free from mental suffering, free from physical suffering, able to take care of themselves happily)

May all beings in the Easterly direction be …
May all beings in the Westerly direction be …
May all beings in the Northerly direction be …
May all beings in the Southerly direction be …

So the first round is …

May all beings in the Easterly direction be free from enmity
May all beings in the Westerly direction be free from enmity
May all beings in the Northerly direction be free from enmity
May all beings in the Southerly direction be free from enmity

2nd round is:

May all beings in the Easterly direction be free from mental suffering
May all beings in the Westerly direction be free from mental suffering
May all beings in the Northerly direction be free from mental suffering
May all beings in the Southerly direction be free from mental suffering

etc.  

Universal metta to all beings:

May all beings be free from enmity
May all beings be free from danger
May all beings be free from mental suffering
May all beings be free from physical suffering
May all beings take care of themselves happily

Verse    
May all beings be free from enmity sabbe satta all beings – sentient beings with feelings
May all beings be free from danger sabbe pana all living things – beings that breath and live
May all beings be free from mental suffering sabbe bhuta All creatures – beings that arise owing to their kamma
May all beings be free from physical suffering sabbe puggala All individuals – beings seen as individuals
May all beings take care of themselves happily sabbe attabhavapariyapanna All personalities – beings with personalities

 

Forgiveness

Metta can create an atmosphere of good will. Show kindness in bodily deed, speech and thought.   Here are some other examples.

May I be free from mental suffering
May I be free from physical suffering
May I be free from samsara suffering

May I be free from suffering today
May I be free from suffering tomorrow…

May all beings be free from suffering
May all living things be free from suffering
May all creatures be free from suffering
May all individuals be free from suffering
May all personalities be free from suffering
May all females be free from suffering
May all males be free from suffering
May all deities be free from suffering
May all humans be free from suffering
May all unhappy states be free from suffering

*

As far up as the highest existence
As far down as the lowest existence
In the entire universe
Whatever beings that move
on earth,
on water
or
in air
may they be free
from suffering and enmity
from physical suffering and danger

May my father and mother
And teachers
Relatives and friends
And fellow Brahma farers
May they be free from enmity
Be free from mental suffering
Be free from physical suffering
Take care of themselves happily

*

Let no one deceive another
nor despise anyone anywhere
in anger or ill-will
let them not wish each other harm

*

Just as a mother might guard her son
with her life, her only child
just so toward all beings
let him cultivate boundless mind

*

Let loving thoughts for all the world
me maintained boundlessly
above, below and all around
unchecked, without hate or enmity

*

Standing, walking
or sitting
or lying down
so long as he
is not sleepy
he should develop this mindfulness

*

All beings, all living things
all creatures, none exempted
may all see good fortune
may no harm come near

*

Measureless is the Buddha
measureless is the Dhamma
measureless is the Sangha
but finite re the creeping things
snakes, scorpions
centipedes, spiders
lizards, rats
made by me in this warding
made by me in this protection
may those beings go away
I revere the Exalted One
I revere the seven Sammasambuddhas

*

From the Dhammapada:

He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me of my property. Whosoever harbor such thoughts will never be able to still their enmity.

Never indeed is hatred stilled by hatred; it will only be stilled by non-hatred — this is an eternal law.

Do not speak harshly to anyone. Those who are harshly spoken to might retaliate against you. Angry words hurt other’s feelings, even blows may overtake you in return.

Forbearance is the highest observance. Patience is the highest virtue. So the Buddhas say.

Let a man remove his anger. Let him root out his pride. Let him overcome all fetters of passions. No sufferings overtake him who neither clings to mind-and-body nor claims anything of the world.

Conquer anger by non-anger. Conquer evil by good. Conquer miserliness by liberality. Conquer a liar by truthfulness.

Guard your mind against an outburst of wrong feelings. Keep your mind controlled. Renouncing evil thoughts, develop purity of mind.

Hatred is not overcome by hatred
It is overcome by Love
This is the eternal Law

Conquer anger by love
Conquer evil by good
Conquer miser by liberality
Conquer the liar by truth

Love all others

The practice of meditation and loving kindness quickens the human spirit. 

When we can see everyone as an expression of ourselves, we would love them just as dearly. Just as a flower blossoms so to our awareness can expand to embrace the well being of all.  When all around are darkness and gloom, and you feel tossed about like a boat in a tempest, give yourself another day.  Build on hope and loving kindness.  The sparkle of life and its enchantment will more freely flow through your veins. 

Exercise meditation and loving kindness each and every day.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 25th, 2011 at 2:32 pm and is filed under Principles for better living. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

 

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