Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Lovingkindness Meditation

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Lovingkindness chant

leavesHere’s a beautiful lovingkindness chant from the Theravadin tradition that I first came across while on retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts.

This kind of chant can be a meditation in its own right. As you learn the meaning it becomes a series of reflections and aspirations which help retrain the mind. Even when you don’t understand the meaning fully it can be a mindfulness practice which helps us develop calm and focus. And also, as long as you’re chanting these Pali words you won’t be doing so much of that tiresome thinking that causes worry, stress, anger, etc.

It comes with a very pleasant lilting tune, and here is a version of the traditional Pali chant, by the Venerable Ariya Ñana.

And as an added bonus, here’s a modern setting of the metta chant by Imee Ooi, a self-taught composer and arranger who is classically trained in piano and has done numerous musical works for television networks in and out of Malaysia.

Aham avero homi May I be free from enmity and danger
abyapajjho homi May I be free from mental suffering
anigha homi May I be free from physical suffering
sukhi attanam pariharami May I take care of my own happiness

Mama matapitu May my parents
acariya ca natimitta ca teacher, family, and friends
sabrahmacarino ca fellow Dhamma farers

avera hontu be free from enmity and danger
abyapajjha hontu be free from mental suffering
anigha hontu be free from physical suffering
sukhi attanam pariharant may they take care of their own happiness

Imasmim arame sabbe yogino May all meditators in this place
avera hontu be free from enmity and danger
abyapajjha hontu be free from mental suffering
anigha hontu be free from physical suffering
sukhi attanam pariharantu May they take care of their own happiness

Imasmim arame sabbe bhikkhu May all monks in this place
samanera ca and novice monks
upasaka – upasikaya ca laymen and laywomen disciples
avera hontu be free from enmity and danger
abyapajjha hontu be free from mental suffering
anigha hontu be free from physical suffering
sukhi – attanam pariharantu May they take care of their own happiness

Amhakam catupaccaya – dayaka May our donors of the four supports: clothing, food, medicine and lodging

avera hontu be free from enmity and danger
abyapajjha hontu be free from mental suffering
anigha hontu be free from physical suffering
sukhi – attanam pariharantu May they take care of their own happiness

Amhakam arakkha devata May our guardian devas
Ismasmim vihare in this monastery
Ismasmim avase in this dwelling
Ismasmim arame in this compound

arakkha devata May the guardian devas
avera hontu be free from enmity and danger
abyapajjha hontu be free from mental suffering
anigha hontu be free from physical suffering
sukhi – attanam pariharantu may they take care of their own happiness

Sabbe satta May all beings
sabbe pana all breathing things
sabbe bhutta all creatures
sabbe puggala all individuals (all beings)
sabbe attabhava – pariyapanna all personalities (all beings with mind and body)
sabbe itthoyo may all females
sabbe purisa all males
sabbe ariya all noble ones (awakened beings)
sabbe anariya all worldlings (those yet to attain awakening)
sabbe deva all devas (deities)
sabbe manussa all humans
sabbe vinipatika all those in the woeful planes
avera hontu be free from enmity and dangers
abyapajjha hontu be free from mental suffering
anigha hontu be free from physical suffering
sukhi attanam pariharantu may they take care of their own happiness

Dukkha muccantu May all being be free from suffering
Yattha-laddha-sampattito mavigacchantu May whatever they have gained not be lost
Kammassaka All beings are owners of their own Kamma

Purathimaya disaya in the eastern direction
pacchimaya disaya in the western direction
uttara disaya in the northern direction
dakkhinaya disaya in the southern direction

purathimaya anudisaya in the southeast direction
pacchimaya anudisaya in the northwest direction
uttara anudisaya in the northeast direction
dakkhinaya anudisaya in the southwest direction

hetthimaya disaya in the direction below
uparimaya disaya in the direction above

Sabbe satta May all beings
sabbe pana all breathing things
sabbe bhutta all creatures
sabbe puggala all individuals (all beings)
sabbe attabhava – pariyapanna all personalities (all beings with mind and body)
sabbe itthoyo may all females
sabbe purisa all males
sabbe ariya all noble ones (awakened beings)
sabbe anariya (those yet to attain awakening)
sabbe deva all devas (deities)
sabbe manussa all humans
sabbe vinipatika all those in the woeful planes

avera hontu be free from enmity and dangers
abyapajjha hontu be free from mental suffering
anigha hontu be free from physical suffering
sukhi attanam pariharantu may they take care of their own happiness

Dukkha muccantu May all beings be free from suffering
Yattha-laddha-sampattito mavigacchantu May whatever they have gained not be lost
Kammassaka All beings are owners of their own kamma

Uddham yava bhavagga ca As far as the highest plane of existence
adho yava aviccito to as far down as the lowest plane
samanta cakkavalesu in the entire universe
ye satta pathavicara whatever beings that move on earth

abyapajjha nivera ca may they be free of mental suffering and enmity
nidukkha ca nupaddava and from physical suffering and danger

Uddham yava bhavagga ca As far as the highest plane of existence
adho yava aviccito to as far down as the lowest plane
samanta cakkavalesu in the entire universe
ye satta udakecara whatever beings that move on water

abyapajjha nivera ca may they be free of mental suffering and enmity
nidukkha ca nupaddava and from physical suffering and danger

Uddham yava bhavagga ca As far as the highest plane of existence
adho yava aviccito to as far down as the lowest plane
samanta cakkavalesu in the entire universe
ye satta akasecara whatever beings that move in air

abyapajjha nivera ca may they be free of mental suffering and enmity
nidukkha ca nupaddava and from physical suffering and danger.

Comments

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Comment from Jeano
Time: July 6, 2007, 12:10 pm

THANK YOU for posting the lovingkindness chant. I’m listening to it now and it has taken the tense feeling in my heart and “the tiresome thinking” batting around inside my head and is reminding my spirit of its true preference for harmony. I’ll be back. What a saving grace this morning!

Jeano

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Comment from ralph
Time: July 25, 2007, 7:49 pm

hi i have decided to name my baby disaya and i think its great to have a web site with all this helpful info

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: July 25, 2007, 8:25 pm

“Disaya” makes a beautiful-sounding name. If you’re interested, the Pali dictionary entry for the root word, disa, is here. The -aya ending makes the word locative (i.e. “in the direction”).

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Comment from jenny
Time: August 8, 2007, 1:51 am

thank you for posting this beautiful chant – it has many many layers and levels of compassion
there is also a simple version I was introduced to by my yoga teacher – I don’t think it is here on this site, but I could be wrong. it is as follows (repeated with strong visualisation using ‘you’ ‘we’ etc)
‘may I be blessed with loving kindness
may I be well
may I be peaceful and at ease
may I be happy’
which is easy to remember when you are washing the dishes or driving the car!
love
jenny

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Comment from Tejas
Time: November 8, 2007, 4:43 pm

For anybody who has suffered from suicidal thinking and/or serious anxiety, have these chants or any other type of meditation helped you deal?

Thanks!

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Comment from Andy
Time: December 20, 2007, 7:58 am

(In repy to tejas)
Hi Tejas
I used to have both anxiety and suicidal thoughts pretty much as the background to my daily experience, with the occasional bout of hopelessnes taking me over and seemingly affecting everyone around me as well.
There were many reasons for this, which were all to do with the way i veiwed myself and the world. it seems somewhere along the way i picked up the notion that i was unworthy and that everyone else deserved to be happy but me.
personally I discovered this by simply practicing the four foundations of mindfullness of which mindfullness of breathing is one.
I still do this practice today as it (as you might discover) has the power to end all a persons pointless struggles with the way things are and just enjoy being in the flow.
Most of what caused anxiouty and stress in the mind and body comes about because of the so called five hinderences, so i reccomend mindfullness of the five hinderences over any thing else as a way to find joy and ease in your life
Take care and hope you find what works for you

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Comment from Beckie
Time: March 22, 2008, 9:09 pm

Beautiful! Thank-you.

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Comment from rebellemichelle
Time: August 7, 2008, 9:42 am

This was so beautiful and helped me actually start a meditation practice. I have been dabbling in Buddhism for years and only have really become serious about it. My belief has always been that loving kindness has the power to change the world and I try and practice loving kindness above all else.

this chant put everything into the most beautiful words. I will keep it in my heart always

Metta

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Comment from Cathy
Time: November 23, 2008, 3:34 pm

Absolutely beautiful! This, I think, encapsulates what lovingkindness means. It brought tears to my eyes.

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Comment from Cathy
Time: November 23, 2008, 4:00 pm

I’ve been looking on Wildmind’s website for this chant. Where is it available for purchase, either CD or mp3?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: November 23, 2008, 5:15 pm

Hi Cathy,

I’m afraid I don’t know of any recorded version of this chant apart from the Imee Ooi one above. I don’t think the CD is available but it’s widely available as an MP3 online. But alas, I’ve been unable to find a recording of the traditional version.

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Comment from Aleeze
Time: April 22, 2009, 3:16 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve been visiting your website for a number of years now
and this beautiful loving kindness chant finally moved me to post a comment.
Gratefully,
Aleeze

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Comment from Deborah
Time: June 18, 2009, 8:34 am

This chant is absolutely beautiful. I just happened to stumble on it and I love it. Has it been recorded yet? If not do you have some idea when it will be recorded?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: June 18, 2009, 9:43 am

Hi Deborah,

I’m not sure if I understand your question. Do you mean has it been released as a CD? If so, I believe the Imee Ooi chant is available on a CD called “The Chant of Metta.” It’s available on Amazon (currently at an extortionate price) and also from Malaysian retailers, such as this one. Update: it’s also available from this US retailer.

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Comment from Natasha
Time: October 2, 2009, 6:00 am

I have the second loving kindness chant. I used to have it in my old mp3 player, but it’s history now. Thank you!

With metta,
Natasha.

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Comment from searchng man
Time: April 24, 2010, 3:01 pm

A wonderful chant, really soothing… May it continue to give solace to troubled minds….

A recorded verson is available on youtube.

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Comment from Josie
Time: August 30, 2010, 6:34 pm

Hello – I have been desperately trying to find the MP3 chant which contains Sukhi Attanam Pariharamni – as above but I cannot download it – would you please advise – thanks in advance – Josie

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: August 30, 2010, 8:55 pm

Try right-clicking on this link, Josie: http://www.wildmind.org/audio/Ariya-Nani-metta-chant.mp3

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Comment from wendy
Time: January 30, 2011, 12:58 pm

thank you so much for such wonderful information. I recently started trying to find my path..through buddhism. After a pregnancy last year..and miscarriage at 13 weeks..i began to really lose it..I met someone who began to help me..she is a buddhist..i have had a terrible fear of losing my mind..as i felt so distraught. I am so grateful for finding your site as well..I will begin to practice metta..and again thank you..I have been so afraid..and i realize now that there is nothing to fear..only to learn…bless you

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: January 30, 2011, 1:49 pm

I’m sorry to hear of your loss, Wendy. Are you familiar with the story of Kisa Gotami and her dead child? The story about her described her as experiencing “sorrow to the point of madness,” but the Buddha skillfully brought her to an awareness of the universality of impermanence.

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Comment from Mumof4
Time: March 2, 2011, 5:48 am

It is 5:43 am and I have been battling depression for a week..I hate meds..they make me feel worse..i have 4 beautiful children I have lost my family to cancer and I had a terrible childhood..I dont know how to move forward and feel anything but out of it..How can I get past this without medication? I know I dont want to die I need support…the panic attacks are paralyzing…I have these bouts of depression every yr or so but this time its pretty bad…if only I knew how to cope and knew that people love me…I am so tired of just laying here..I have pills for depression and anxiety and i just sit and look at them think is there not another way? If someone knows the way please tell me..I will listen..I will follow…I dont want to end up in the hospital..

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: March 8, 2011, 11:50 am

Hi, Mumof4.

I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been battling depression. It sounds really tough. You might want to check out a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class or Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression class, if there’s one in your area. They can really help deal with the kind of thing you’re going through.

Failing that, have you considered talking to a therapist? Talking through your feelings might well help.

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Comment from Mumof4
Time: March 12, 2011, 1:44 pm

Thanks for your note…My bday was tues and I did nothing…I finally gave into the anti depressant this am..I am suppose to take 75mg of wellbutrin a day 2x a day however I am really sensitive to meds so I took half of the 75mg and I made it…nothing too serious..Tonight I will take the 75mg…I have also become plagued with agrophobia which i have never ever had..I have had panic attacks in the past but never did I stay in the house for days…I am just terrified that once the meds kick in I will have a set back..My husband is not at all supportive..he believes that these types of illnessess are made up and pill poppin is an excuse..Thats why I seek the help of others as my own family is deceased…I think the right support from others that are like me would be a huge help….

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: March 15, 2011, 4:18 pm

I do hope that you seek the kind of help I suggested. With the kind of suffering you’re experiencing you really need professional help. Meditating may not even be a good idea right now, without very close supervision.

I hope things get better for you, and I hope you’re actively seeking help.

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Comment from Mumof4
Time: March 15, 2011, 4:52 pm

I tried the wellbutrin..seemed like I was doing ok and suddenly i am taking a slide..Im trying so hard to hold it together…I am going to take something for my anxiety in a few mins those dont seem to be helping either..if it doesnt improve i will probably admit myself..The problem is the hospital is just going to once again medicate me…The dr makes his rounds to see how meds are doing but other than that you sit in your room or socialize with others and thats not really what i want…:(

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: March 15, 2011, 6:47 pm

Again, I’d suggest looking into Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression or Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Those are meditation-based therapies that might help you, without you being drugged up to your eyeballs.

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Comment from Morgan
Time: March 16, 2011, 10:50 am

Mumof4, I have a daughter who suffers from serious depression, anxiety, panic attacks, the whole gamut. She has been going to a therapist and they’ve tried her on different medications to find which one works best for her. She is doing much better now as a resut.

I would agree with Bodhipaksa that getting outside help is extremely important. Especially if you are not getting much support at home.
So many people don’t understand what depression is and just how devastating it can be. They think you should “just be happy and get over it”! It doesn’t work that way though. Most people need help. Going to the hospital is one step. But finding yourself a good therapist or trying the Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction programs are essential to getting better.

As my daughter found out after resisting getting help for a long time, you can’t do it alone. Sometimes we need to lean on others for support.

I truly hope you find it like my daughter did. You deserve and have the right to be happy. May you find the path that will take you there.

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Comment from Mumof4
Time: March 16, 2011, 1:18 pm

Morgan, thank you for your kind words…I appreciate it alot…I have no support at all…I am constantly punished for my illness…Doesnt anyone understand that I would give anything to be back to my old self…however I am not going to kill myself or apologize for what I cannot help…I love my kids to death and they are the reason I push to get better…I hate meds because I dred the next time I have an episode…it truly is scary..I have called a therapist and I am waiting for an appointment…just knowing someone cares does actually help…Hes constantly telling me how I dont really realize how much I effect everyone in our house..:( It hurts just knowing my issues are a burden however I will get better and will then deal with those that arent strong enough to deal with me..I am busy taking care of everyone else thats why my stuff waits to the last minute..thanks again..I hope your daughter continues to thrive…

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Comment from Morgan
Time: March 16, 2011, 9:21 pm

Mumof4, I am so happy to hear that you are getting help. No one asks to be sick in any way. People can be very unfair. They don’t blame someone with cancer or Parkinson’s or other such disease for getting it and they don’t take the attitude of “just get over it”. But when it comes to depression and anxiety, the lack of undersanding is quite appalling.

You say you dread meds because you dread the next time you have an episode. Does that mean that you are having a bad reaction to your meds? That is quite possible. My daughter has had side effects to her meds that can be the exact opposite of what those meds are supposed to do. Even more important that you find someone who can monitor your meds and adjust them as needed!

Mumof4, hang in there! It can get better with time. Take time to take care of yourself, too. That is so important. Moms especially get so caught up in taking care of their families that they forget to look after themselves. Be good to yourself. Take time to replenish both mind and body. It will give you added strength to deal with your depression.

Good luck!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: March 16, 2011, 9:50 pm

Meds can be atrocious. Often the side effects will include the very symptoms they’re supposed to alleviate, but the side effects can be worse (e.g. side effects of medications for depression can include suicidal thoughts). There are cases where people have been prescribed yet further medication to control the worsening of their symptoms (cased by side effects) and so on, with the condition becoming more and more severe. Plus the clinical trials for these drugs can be anything but scientific. The pharma companies are allowed to throw out the trials that show their drugs don’t work, and keep those that do. It’s really hard to know what these drugs actually do, sometimes. I think you’re right to be wary.

The most supportive thing anyone can have is compassion and understanding, and it doesn’t sound like you’re getting much of that. Even at the best of times, a lack of perceived support can be deeply distressing. Morgan is right that you need to take time for yourself. As you say, you put off seeking help because you’re busy trying to help others. What happens when we do this is that we become like a field from which crops are constantly being harvested, without the soil being fertilized (nourished) or allowed to go fallow (rest). We all need nourishment and rest so that we can give more in the long term.

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Comment from mumof4
Time: March 17, 2011, 9:13 am

Morgan and Bodhipaksa, thanks for the encouragement…the meds started off ok as iam highly sensitive so I beg for low doses…after a few days angry like woah constant to now ringing in my ears…and really unpleasant thoughts…I know a lot is trial and error but its scary….I can’t even tell my husband I’m going to the drs this am as he just doesn’t get it…I take care of everything…I have 4 kids..12..7..6..5….no family and obviously no support…this is hell….I’m terrified…I want to be here for my kids I just don’t know what the answer is…like yest I woke up to a flat tire…he stayed in bed while I called a tow truck and arranged for a ride to pick it up..I get the kids up and ready take them to school and pick them up I do groceries handle bills and I appreciate that he works but iam not god..even my three kids 2 of them only 11 months apart…its rough and even worse when I can’t be honest about what’s going on with me…he says my problems are effecting the whole house…is that suppose to make me feel better?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: March 17, 2011, 1:07 pm

Your husband’s response is probably based on the assumption that you can just “snap out of it” if you see that your depression’s having an effect on others. As Morgan says, that’s about as sensible as thinking that someone can just pull their socks up and stop having Parkinson’s or diabetes (which would also have an effect on others).

I’d suggest that it might be useful to see that his attitude is inevitable as long as he has that particular view of depression. It’s not anything personally directed at you.

It sounds like you’re doing remarkably well coping with your family. Good luck at the doctor’s.

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Comment from Morgan
Time: March 17, 2011, 3:19 pm

Momof4, do you have any close friends that you can confide in? Would there be anyone your husband would listen to in terms of getting proper knowledge about what depression is all about?

Often times, people like your husband base their opinions on a lack of facts and understanding. He doesn’t appear open to listening to you but maybe there is someone else, a doctor he trusts or even a mutual friend that you know understands depression.

To be honest, I had no concept of depression either. When I found out my daughter suffered from it, my instinctive reaction was “just be happy”. I think that people who don’t suffer from depression cannot fathom just how devastating an illness it is. Now that I know, my attitude towards my daughter’s illness is very different. So maybe your husband can be educated, too.

I agree with what Bodhipaksa said about medication. If you read the pamphlets the drugstore gives you about all the side effects you wonder why anyone would ever take them! Sounds like you may be a lot like my daughter in that she is VERY sensitive to medications and if there is a side effect to be suffered, she’ll suffer it. It’s so stupid, for instance, to read that an anti-depressent will actually make some people violent or depressed or suicidal! Some side effects! And the Pharma companies are still allowed to put this stuff out for human use. Makes you wonder.

I do hope you find a responsible therapist who knows how to manage medications sensibly. A lot of psychiatrists are nothing but pill pushers so you have to be really choosy with who you see.
I hope all goes well for you. You have not only my sympathy but my prayers.

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Comment from Quinn
Time: March 17, 2011, 3:59 pm

Hello Momof4, my name is Quinn and I’m Morgan’s daughter. I just wanted to talk to you about your depression. I’ve suffered with depression my whole life so I know what you’re going through. I know how hard it is to get up every morning and face the day. And I know how scarey it can be to take the meds! I’m on a new one right now called Cymbalta. It’s very good and it comes with fewer side effects. The one I was on before made me sleep walk. It was terrible. I was even taking my pills in my sleep! I did all sorts of stuff. But the Cymbalta stopped it all and I had no side effects taking it. It might be something you’d like to mention to your therepist.
One thing I find helps me get through the day is doing something special just for me. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, just something as simple as making a cup of your favourite tea, playing a favourite CD in the background while you work, stepping outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air. Little things like that that make you feel better.
And talk to someone. You can’t beat depression alone, that’s one thing I’ve learned. The best approach to managing your depression is to take some meds for it (once you find the one that’s right for you) and talking to someone who can teach you coping skills. I’m sorry to hear that your husband is not supportive. I can only imagine how frustrating that must be. I’m glad though that you have your kids. You need to hold on to them and think that for their sake, you’ll get the help you need.
I will keep you in my prayers.

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Comment from Mumof4
Time: March 17, 2011, 5:17 pm

Morgan and Quinn, your notes are so uplifting and I appreciate them soo much more than you both will know..Morgan its touching that you passed my story to your daughter..just too kind..

I am [Mumof4: I didn’t think it was wise for you to post your email address publicly, so I’ll pass it on privately to Morgan and her daughter].

So I can be a little more personal without the whole world seeing..Thanks again…

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Comment from Tracy
Time: May 24, 2012, 2:55 am

I play this everynight after doung 10-15 minutes of Vipassana practice as taught by SN Goenka. Not sure why but everytime this is played it brings tears in my eyes and at the same time makes me feel very relaxed. Anyone else feels the same? I understand that when meditating you are only to observe things the way they are; however emotions get better of me when I play this for practicing Metta Sutta.
Any comments helpful.
Metta to all

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Comment from Catherine
Time: August 23, 2013, 2:52 pm

This was indeed helpful in calming my fragmented mind this Friday. May I be happy !

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Pingback from On Meditation (Aka My Healing Process) | discoveringmetta
Time: March 31, 2014, 1:30 am

[…] chant that I originally learned on retreat at IMS can be found here in original Pali (the language of the Buddha) and in English along with a recording of the chant. […]

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Time: May 20, 2014, 11:20 pm

[…] here’s one in audio form from the Theravadin tradition. It’s too long to post, but there is a full translation provided on the […]

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