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.“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 .
This week, we are returning to the verses in the Metta Sutta and I hope everyone had tried to keep loving kindness in our mind. Do you sleep more peacefully at night? Did the universe respond favorably to kindness in your mind? This week, we are going to examine how to practice Metta. Remember not to forget all those requisites we explored in earlier chapters because they determine the quality of our practice. Buddhist practice cannot be faked and needs to arise from a true heart, if you want to see good results.
Before we explore the practice, there is one more requisite to examine.
Let them not do the slightest thing that the wise would later reprove.
The wise here refers to morally upright people. In another word, we should only perform deeds that are moral and upright. Actions that are generally acceptable to the society that we live in. That way, we do not get into trouble with the laws and we do not attract animosity from the society. In that manner, it is easier for us to practice Metta. I think it is a practical advise.
If we examine how Buddhism spread peacefully to various corners of the world, it is due to this practical approach in life. We respect the social sensitivities without losing sight of the Dharma essence. Thus, Buddhism assimilated local cultural practices when it arrives at the shore of different places.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety, May all beings be at ease.
Loving-kindness is simply a state of mind that is rich in goodwill.
We delight in seeing others safe and we wish that they are well and happy. Wishing them an ease of being. Good health, enough water and food, place to stay, and etc.
A simple test is to ask ourselves frankly and reflect, “Do we feel delighted and excited when we hear horrible situations happening to others?” What was your first reaction (in your mind) when you first heard of Covid-19 in Wuhan, China? If we feel entertained, that is a bad state of mental conditioning. Some people may even celebrate it as a good business opportunity and start to buy-off essentials for profiteering.
To practice Metta, we simply need to condition our mind to have goodwill.
If we see a window cleaner dangling outside our office window, we wish them a safe day. Yes, it is as simple as that. That is Metta.
If we see a plane taking off or flying in the sky, we wish that plane safe voyage. I learnt this practice from my mother. I used to travel for work and since she lived near an airport, she would simply prayed for all the planes taking off and landing to be safe. Loving kindness is a goodwill that is without condition. Just like a mother’s love.
This mind training is very practicable. When we lookout for opportunity to wish others well, we create opportunity to love and be kind. Again, it is important not to fantasize how we are going to help others because that is just wishful thinking.
As we practice Metta, it will gradually manifest in our speech and actions. The process is a gentle one and will progress according to our personal inclinations and readiness to help others. No need to be judgmental about ourselves.
Also do not forget to wish ourselves, “May I be well and happy.”
May all be well and happy