Scriptural

Metta Sutta – Chapter 8

Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful, Not proud or demanding in nature.

“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 .

You have your rights to behave unreasonably and I have my rights to respond Bodhily.

We cannot control how people behave nor can we dictate how situations unfold, but we can control how we react. If we believe in the Buddha Dharma, we try to live our life accordingly. In this sutta, the training is built upon loving kindness.

For that to be possible, we need to live peacefully and calmly.

This is easier said than done because most of us loose our cool when we encounter unreasonable people or challenging situations. In order for us to keep our composure and be calm, we need to equip ourselves with wisdom and skills. Once we loose our cool headedness, keeping a state of loving kindness is quite impossible.

Wisdom relates to our mind. It gives us the right views / perspective and it provides us the right understanding / Interpretation to an event. For example, a popular teaching attributed to Thich Nhat Hanh talks about blames and expectation, and compares it to growing vegetables. If our crops do not grow or bear fruits, we examine ourselves to find out what we are doing wrongly. We do not blame the plants. Unfortunately, when it concerns human relationship, we blame others instead of self-examine. If we possess such wisdom, then our conflict with others would minimize.

In another teachings by other masters, we are taught to think that difficult people are karmic creditors coming after us for the wrongs we did them in our previous life. In that manner, we are just settling what we owe and should be happy that it will clear away our future misfortune.

Or we can look upon problematic people as spiritually immature. Just like a kid throwing tantrum. We kind of visualize someone wearing diapers and throwing a fit? Thus we become patient and kind with them.

Put simply, Buddhist wisdom gives us the flexibility to interpret difficult situations in a manner that is conducive for our mental balance. This is because we strongly believe that it is more valuable keeping our loving kindness than winning a fight.

As we practice more, we develop skills that give us mastery over ourselves. We no long loose control easily. When we maintain our cool, we have better control over our speech and actions. Skillfulness also means doing or saying things that benefit others and ourselves. Some people are good at using humor to defuse a situations whereas others rely upon their persuasion skills. And sometimes, keeping silent or simply walking away is a good solution.

Having discussed all the above, the most important thing is our conviction that loving kindness is of paramount importance. Once we decide that it is what we want, we will change ourselves accordingly.

As we progress in our practice, we become humble and accepting. We are less likely to be demanding. AND THAT THOUGHT CAN BE PRETTY SCARY!

Basically, it sounds like we turn into a chicken that allows everyone to walk all over us? Many beginners have this doubt and this question never fails to be asked. I had that same question when I was eighteen years old too.

When we are brought up to fight for our rights and respect, to retaliate and protect ourselves, the Buddha’s teachings seem to contradict “common sense”

Having practiced for many years, I can assure you that turning into a Chicken is not easy. Because we have a huge ego that prevents us from changing. Instead of worrying that we become a Chicken, I think the worry should be about us hurting someone and getting into a big mess.

I was already practicing meditation when I hit my classmate in the face, just because I felt insulted.

I was already observing the five precepts when I said the most hurtful things to my mother.

So before we get carried away by our huge ego and imagine we can become a saint after hearing a few Dharma verses, I think we should be more grounded.

Trust me, becoming a chicken is not that simple.

May all be well and happy


Metta sutta

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