Buddhist Vihara offers metta meditation as solution for nightmares

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Pujitha Kuruwita, Independent Mail, Anderson, South Carolina: Anula would shiver, scream and wake-up in cold sweats from her nightmares every day. She would dream of someone killing her, someone cutting her limbs, she would be lost in a dark desert with horrible beasts, someone would chase her with a gun, she would be bitten by a snake and she’s so scared of snakes. She suffered from these gruesome and horrifying nightmares for many years, till at the Buddhist Vihara the Bhikkhu told her to practice “metta meditation” for few minutes before bed.

“Metta meditation” or “meditation of loving kindness” would become very easy to do with practice. One can practice metta mediation while sitting, standing or while being engaged in daily activities. Metta, a “pali” word, is translated to English as loving-kindness, friendliness, benevolence, friendship, amity or sympathy. It means wishing goodwill for your self and others, withholding all self-interests. As a result, your mind would be free of ill-will, hatred, jealousy and be filled with kindness, love and non-violence.

The Bhikkhu explains it best:

To begin … relax, quiet your mind and your self. You can begin by practicing metta to your self. Say out-loud or think to yourself, “May I be safe. May I be well. May I be peaceful. May I be happy. May I be strong.

When we practice true love to ourselves, we begin to think, just like we want to be happy, others want to be happy too. This is the foundation to practicing metta to others.

After practicing metta to yourself, practice metta to your loved ones. Your husband, your children, your friends, your family members. Practice saying “May they (whoever you think of) be safe. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be happy. May they be strong.

Then think of those you have neutral feelings toward. Practice loving kindness meditation toward them.

Afterward, think of those of whom you have a distaste for, those whom you find it difficult to forgive, those whom you had a conflict with, those whom you are angry with or fearful of. Think, May they be safe. May they be well. May they be peaceful. May they be happy. May they be strong.

And finally, think may all living beings be safe. May all living beings be well. May all living beings be peaceful. May all living beings be happy. May all living beings be strong.

You will begin to feel a sense of relief. Your heart will be light. You will feel happy and peaceful

If you practice metta meditation everyday, you will sleep well, wake-up easily, you will have pleasant dreams, your face will be beautiful, people will love you, also you will be free of hatred, jealousy, ill-will, and danger.

After these words, Anula practiced metta meditation before bedtime daily and it has been sweet dreams for her ever since!

May you be safe ! May you be well ! May you be peaceful ! May you be happy ! May you be strong!

Punya Pujitha Kuruwita visits the Buddhist Vihara in Greenville. She lives with her husband and 3-year-old daughter in Central.

Original article no longer available

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