Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A child’s loving-kindness (metta)

Wisdom Quarterly via Gary Sander (Against the Stream); Tuhoc; Snap-shooter
A Buddhist novice (samanera) soon learns that cultivating loving-kindness or metta toward a puppy is far easier than developing it toward people (Tuhoc).

The Buddha made famous the Karaniya Metta Sutra, the cultivation of friendly loving-kindness as a universal or "boundless" radiance. It transcends all of the limits of ego and extends out to encompass ALL living beings everywhere. Many of us adults are not ready for this; we have too many fears, judgments, and prejudices. But children are, given their "beginner's mind" and general innocence. They have not yet judged the world and all the living beings in it. Maybe we may one day be able to get back to that. Buddhist blogger John Pappas ( developed a great way of conveying the message to children.

This is a child’s prayer of loving-kindness.

May moments that arise and pass be free.
May I float in this moment but still be me
Free from anger but still able to roar like a beast.
Free from sadness but open to a tear at least.
Free from pain but not soft like my teddy bear.
Free from suffering but open to change and care.
Free from sickness but open to days in bed.
This is all I said. I said. I said. More

"Am I ugly?" For some our own suffering sensitizes us to the suffering of others, at least for anyone who ever went through high school.

The Buddha's advice on Loving-Kindness
The Amaravati Sangha (Sutta Nipata 1.8) via
This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
Who knows the path of peace:

Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble not conceited, but
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened by 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.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born --
May all beings be at ease!

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;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.

Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding [brahma vihara].
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

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