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,“Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha’s Words on Loving-Kindness” (Sn 1.8), translated from the Pali by The Amaravati Sangha. Access to Insight (BCBS Edition), 2 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.08.amar.html .
The Buddha’s dharma is the way of peacefulness. Besides the message of non-violence, we must not forget that peace comes from each one of us. We have to prefer peace to conflict and that preference must arise from our mind.
In another word, we need to have calm abiding in our mind. A preference towards a peaceful mind. Once we establish that preference, it is then up to us to practice mind training and prevent our thoughts from stirring up our emotions and feelings.
When we practice and knows how to achieve tranquility in our mind, then it is said that we know the path of peace and are walking that path daily. Here’s an example.
You were watching TV in the evening and you saw an offensive message from some politician. Thoughts began to surface in your mind, ideas, doctrines, popular beliefs. Then an idea arose. “Let me bring some enlightenment into society by blogging or tweeting about it.” Thoughts of what to post started to ferment. Then another thought came in, “What if the supporter of that politician troll me or say something nasty.” “No, I shall courageously stand up for what I believe is right.” More thoughts and ideas appeared. Before you even realized it, you were thinking about it in bed, tossing and turning because somehow, the mind had linked that stupid message from TV with something your boss said during the day! Now you are offended about work treatment and getting respect from your boss.
This is what Buddhist call a monkey mind/ busy mind. It swings from thought to thought. Thus, the conflict is brewing in our mind. As we become more engrossed with that line of thoughts, our emotion begins to stir. In this example aversion is being generated.
To practice Metta successfully, we cannot confuse it with busy concerns. Having loving kindness in our mind doesn’t mean we keep our thoughts busy with concerns. One moment we wondered if our aged parents is healthy and the next we think about our children’s progress in school. Then we think about that poor polar bear standing on melting ice….
That is not the correct way to practice Metta meditation.
Therefore the first verse is actually very important. It gives us a heads-up about the correct way of practice. We will explore ‘able and upright’ in the next post.
May all be well and happy.