Let none deceive another, Or despise any being in any state. Let none through anger or ill-will Wish harm upon another. Even as a mother protects with her life Her child, her only child, So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings;“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 .
In this verse of the metta sutta, we learn the importance of having no ill-will. There is no deception in the practice of metta. Pretending or acting kind is not real metta. Most of us encounter irritating neighbors, colleague, relatives and associates at one time or another. We can be kind and courteous towards them but do not really mean it. In another word, our metta is in appearance only. We shouldn’t mistake such civility and false pretense as metta. Metta is really from the bottom of our heart.
To achieve this, we need to generate metta towards our “enemy” during our metta meditation. We need to practice until there are real metta inside our mind and we genuinely have loving kindness towards people or beings whom we hate or despise. If we are afraid of bugs, we will need to practice loving kindness towards them too. In this manner, we train our mind to have metta towards all beings without exception.
As stated in the verse, we have to practice and train our mind so that it doesn’t entertain anger or ill-will, and we don’t want to think bad thoughts or have ill intentions towards others too. If we practice mindfulness, we will know ill-will and anger brewing in our mind. We need to stop such negative thoughts instead of allowing it to “brew and ferment”
Loving kindness is akin to a mother’s love. It is unconditional and also protective. The degree of kindness is to the extent of self-sacrifice. This is indeed a tall order and not easy to fulfill. However, we should not think that it is unachievable and give up. We can start small and practice loving kindness gradually.
I guess the tip / trick is to embrace other sentient beings as our dearest child. Instead of distancing ourselves, true metta requires our acceptance of others and to love without expectations. Believing in rebirth allows us to think that all other beings could have been related to us in some distant past. When we learn to look upon others as family, this world becomes a family. In that manner, Buddhism teaches us to care for one another (including non-humans). Isn’t this message from Buddha great?
May all be well and happy