Practice of Loving Kindness

One of the important sutta that is widely recited in the Theravada tradition is the Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha’s Words on Loving-Kindness

This sutta may be recited as a protection against supernatural disturbance. Here’s why and let us learn what Buddha taught.

During the Buddha’s time, monks would receive training instructions from Buddha. After that, they would retreat to forest , caves and such secluded places to practice on their own. This tradition of training is still being practiced today. Sometimes, monks or practitioners may experience supernatural disturbances in these places. This is because some supernatural beings have not encountered Buddhism and the presence of monks/ practitioners may alarm them or they may mistaken that their spiritual territory is under threat by the monks/practitioners.

This sutta was taught because a group of monks were disturbed by supernatural beings and they seek help from Buddha.

Buddha then taught this sutta for their protection. It is noteworthy that Buddha taught love as a solution to hostility.

The first part of the sutta states the prerequisites of the person seeking protection. From this sutta, it is apparent that we have to examine ourselves and make sure we are blameless in the first place. Such an approach in life promote peace. In our modern world, we are taught to look at other people critically, play the blame game. Buddhism preaches the opposite. We examine ourselves critically before pointing our fingers at others. Naturally, if everyone on Earth does that, WORLD PEACE.

The second part is the method of practice. The training of Loving Kindness (Metta). In order for our practice to be successful, we should ensure we meet the requirement in part 1.

Part 1

This is what should be done by one who is skilled in goodness, And who knows the path of peace: Let them be able and upright, Straightforward and gentle in speech, Humble and not conceited, Contented and easily satisfied, Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways. Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful, Not proud or demanding in nature. Let them not do the slightest thing That the wise would later reprove. Wishing: In gladness and in safety, May all beings be at ease.

The above narratives appears to describe an amiable and simple personality. One who is kind and upright, without schemes and arrogance. A person who is not overly burdened by the stress of daily affairs. Whose conduct is praise worthy. Very importantly, the mind should be full of goodwill.

I guess, we can take reference from the 5 precepts of a Buddhist laity to gain insight about praise worthy conducts.

Part 2

Whatever beings there may be, weak or strong, without exception, long, large, middling, short, subtle, blatant, seen & unseen, near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

For me, the above stanza help to cultivate a mind that is all embracing and inclusive. Not limited to humans or people whom we know but all types of beings. We sincerely wish them happiness.

Let no one deceive another or despise anyone anywhere, or through anger or irritation wish for another to suffer.

A sincere wish and prayer that all insincerity, discrimination, hate, and ill-will stop. In practice, we usually start by developing goodwill and loving kindness towards ourselves. Then we extend that loving kindness towards our love ones. Then to strangers and all other beings like animals, unseen beings (example, hungry ghost and angels etc) Finally, we extend loving thoughts towards those that we dislike and hate.

As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings.

This describe the unconditional love that a practitioner must develop

With good will for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart: Above, below, & all around, unobstructed, without enmity or hate.

In practice, this is radiating loving kindness in all direction. This mental exercise does not have a subject. Instead it is just all embracing and radiating outwards.

Whether standing, walking, sitting, or lying down, as long as one is alert, one should be resolved on this mindfulness. This is called a sublime abiding here & now.

Beyond our meditation session, we should try to keep this loving kindness in our mind. If we practice chanting, this practice will compliment our practice too.

Not falling into wrong views — being virtuous, endowed with insight, lust in the senses discarded — verily never again will he return to conceive in a womb.”

In Buddhism, we consider 4 types of rebirth in Samsara. (1) Birth from a womb -humans and animals (2) Birth from an egg (3) Birth from moisture (4) Birth by miraculous manifestation (Ghost and angels)

Practice of metta meditation with success will free us from rebirth in lower state of Samsara. This is also why Buddhist constantly emphasize that if one wish to go to heaven, all we have to make sure is to be good in action, speech and thoughts.

May all be well and happy.

Categories: Articles, Meditation, Mysticism

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