Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Lovingkindness Meditation

Sit : Love : Give

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What the Buddha said about metta

forestBhikkhus, whatever kinds of worldly merit there are, all are not worth one 16th part of the release of mind by universal friendliness; in shining, glowing, beaming & radiance the release of mind by universal friendliness far excels & surpasses them all.
Itivuttaka 27

As a mother even with own life protects her only child, so should one cultivate immeasurable loving-kindness towards all living beings.
The Metta Sutta

He who both day and night takes delight in harmlessness sharing love with all that live, finds enmity with none.
Samyutta Nikaya. I, 208

What are the eleven advantages of Metta ?

  • One sleeps Happy!
  • One wakes Happy!
  • One dreams no evil dreams!
  • One is liked and loved by all human beings!
  • One is liked and loved by all non-human beings too!
  • One is Guarded & Protected by the divine Devas!
  • One cannot be Harmed by Fire, Poison, or Weapons!
  • One swiftly Attains the Concentration of Absorption!
  • One’s appearance becomes Serene, Calm, & Composed!
  • One dies without Confusion, Bewilderment, or Panic!
  • One reappears after death on the Brahma level if one has penetrated to no higher level in this very life!

Anguttara Nikaya XI.16

They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They may address you with a mind of good-will or with inner hate. In any event, you should train yourselves: ‘Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person’s welfare, with a mind of good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with good will and, beginning with him, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with good will equal to the great earth — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.
Majjhima Nikaya 21

When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should direct one’s thoughts to the fact of his being the product of his actions: ‘This venerable one is the doer of his actions, heir of his actions, born of his actions, related by his actions, and is dependent on his actions. Whatever actions he does, for good or for evil, to that will he fall heir.’ Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.
Anguttara Nikaya V.161

I have good will for footless beings,
good will for two-footed beings,
good will for four-footed beings,
good will for many-footed beings.

May footless beings do me no harm.
May two-footed beings do me no harm.
May four-footed beings do me no harm.
May many-footed beings do me no harm.

May all creatures,
all breathing things,
all beings — each & every one —
meet with good fortune.
May none of them come to any evil.
Anguttara Nikaya IV.67

The disciple of the Noble Ones, who in this way is devoid of coveting, devoid of ill will, undeluded, clearly comprehending and mindful, dwells, having pervaded, with a mind of lovingkindness, one quarter; likewise the second; likewise the third; likewise the fourth; so above, below, and across; he dwells, having pervaded because of the existence in it of all living beings, everywhere, the entire world, with the great, exalted, boundless thought of amity that is free of hate or malice.

He lives, having pervaded, with a mind of compassion, one quarter; likewise the second; likewise the third; likewise the fourth; so above, below, and across; he dwells, having pervaded because of the existence in it of all living beings, everywhere, the entire world, with the great, exalted, boundless thought of compassion that is free of hate or malice.

He lives, having pervaded, with a mind of joy, one quarter; likewise the second; likewise the third; likewise the fourth; so above, below, and across; he dwells, having pervaded because of the existence in it of all living beings, everywhere, the entire world, with the great, exalted, boundless thought of gladness that is free of hate or malice.

He lives, having pervaded, with a mind of equanimity, one quarter; likewise the second; likewise the third; likewise the fourth; so above, below, and across; he dwells, having pervaded because of the existence in it of all living beings, everywhere, the entire world, with the great, exalted, boundless thought of equanimity that is free of hate or malice.

Kalama Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya 3.65

“There are these five ways of subduing hatred by which, when hatred arises in a monk, he should wipe it out completely. Which five?

“When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should develop good will for that individual. Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

“When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should develop compassion for that individual. Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

“When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should develop equanimity toward that individual. Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

“When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should pay him no mind & pay him no attention. Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

“When one gives birth to hatred for an individual, one should direct one’s thoughts to the fact of his being the product of his actions: ‘This venerable one is the doer of his actions, heir to his actions, born of his actions, related by his actions, and has his actions as his arbitrator. Whatever action he does, for good or for evil, to that will he fall heir.’ Thus the hatred for that individual should be subdued.

“These are five ways of subduing hatred by which, when hatred arises in a monk, he should wipe it out completely.”

Aghatavinaya Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya, 5.161)

For one who mindfully develops
Boundless loving-kindness
Seeing the destruction of clinging,
The fetters are worn away.

If with an uncorrupted mind
He pervades just one being
With loving kindly thoughts,
He makes some merit thereby.

But a noble one produces
An abundance of merit
By having a compassionate mind
Towards all living beings.

Those royal seers who conquered
The earth crowded with beings
Went about performing sacrifices:
The horse sacrifice, the man sacrifice,
The water rites, the soma sacrifice,
And that called “the Unobstructed.”

But these do not share even a sixteenth part
Of a well cultivated mind of love,
Just as the entire starry host
Is dimmed by the moon’s radiance.

One who does not kill
Nor cause others to kill,
Who does not conquer
Nor cause others to conquer,
Kindly towards all beings —
He has enmity for none.

(Itivuttaka, 1.27)

Comments

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Comment from Indigo
Time: October 17, 2012, 6:08 am

Hello, and thank you so much for this wonderful information.
I have a couple of questions I am not sure whether you can help with or not, but here goes :-)
1. When practicing lovingkindness, how do you respond if people around you warm to you, but misconstrue your kindness and friendliness, and then become disappointed that you don’t want a “relationship” with them?
2. When practicing lovingkindness but still having to be part of the world work wise, how do you reconcile others expectations that you must be “tough” to negotiate deals etc, that kind, gentle people are “pushovers” and should be taken advantage of, or treated with toughness?
3. This all kind of rolls up to how much is it my responsibility to change my own behaviours based on what I perceive others expect of me? I know some people who do this unconsciously, and others who don’t do it at all a they have no consciousness of others perceptions. But once you are aware, how much is it my responsibility to change myself, and how much should I be “true to myself” and expect others to change around me – even knowing it may not get the response I seek?
4. Once you start practicing lovingkindness, is it usual for animals to start turning up in your life? I have had unusual amounts of wildlife in my house recently – even parrots!
Thanks, that’s all :-)

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: October 29, 2012, 4:16 pm

Well, that’s two couples of questions, rather than “a couple.” They’re rather large questions as well, and it would take an article-length reply to do them justice. I’ll add these to my list of topics to address in either a blog post or an extra article in the lovingkindness section of our site.

Thanks for asking!
Bodhipaksa

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: November 19, 2012, 1:49 pm

Hi, Indigo.

I replied to your questions (the first three of them, anyway) here.

As for the fourth question, I’m afraid I don’t know. I haven’t heard of that happening generally, although when I ran a retreat center in Scotland the wild birds got tame enough that they would fly up and perch on my head and fingers. I think they picked up that we weren’t a threat. But that only happened with me in that particular place, and it hasn’t happened since.

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Comment from Silvia
Time: June 22, 2013, 11:33 am

Hello Bodhipaksa
I am having some trouble understanding in which way thinking ‘This venerable one is the doer of his actions, heir to his actions, born of his actions, related by his actions, and has his actions as his arbitrator. Whatever action he does, for good or for evil, to that will he fall heir’ should help me get over my hatred for him.
Unless what is meant by *hatred* in this context is resentment arising from something the individual said or did, I just cannot imagine what is meant by this. Thanks for your help!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: June 22, 2013, 12:08 pm

Yes, I think this is to do with things like being resentful to someone because of something they’ve done, or that we think they’ve done. Or we may hate someone because they’ve harmed us or other people. Or we may just be angry with them.

And what we’re reflecting on is that this person makes their own choices and faces the consequences of those choices. The word “actions” in the quote is actually karma/kamma.

In reflecting in this way we’re taking the things the other person did less personally. We tend, I think, to believe that we need to “punish” the other person. And hatred and resentment are ways to punish others. They’ve evolved as methods of showing social disapproval, so that the other person will feel bad and stop acting in ways that aren’t appropriate for the social group they’re in. And perhaps they have done something that deserves punishment. But the problem is that usually our resentment ends up punishing only (or mainly) one person — us! We certainly have more opportunities than the other person has to experience our resentment, and resentment hurts. And so we end up hurting ourselves.

So when we reflect that the other person is going to face the painful consequences of their actions without our intervention, we can lose that sense that we need to inflict the “punishment” of resentment or hatred on them, and so we stop punishing ourselves. It’s not that we revel in their potential suffering in the future. That would be unskillful. It’s just that we realize that resentment is pointless, and that punishing the other person is probably not our business.

Also, it’s not that karma punishes anyone. The results (vipaka) of karma are a natural consequence of the actions. One way or another, the person who acts unskillfully is going to experience painful consequences because of what they’ve done.

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Comment from Alice
Time: November 11, 2013, 9:22 am

So true, and yet so easily forgotten. Habits of judgment and resentment don’t give up easily but don’t serve the betterment of life. Let the consequences of the actions be enough. This will take lots of practice.

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