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Lesson for mindfulness - part 20  Chapter Four:  Metta (Loving-Kindness)

Lesson for mindfulness - part 20:

Chapter Four:  Metta (Loving-Kindness)

Remedy for mental disharmony

Siri Sudassanarama
sadaham senasuna
Ven. Dr. Mirisse Dhammika thero

As I discussed in Chapters One and Two, the mind is able to control and subdue itself though intense training.

We recognized that the most immediate internal “causes” of “mental disharmony” are unbearable feelings and emotions such as anger, jealousy, hatred, lack of positive relationships and helplessness.

Therefore, if these internal causes can be eliminated, we can potentially prevent “mental disharmony” from arising in the first place. This is where metta comes in.

Metta meditation works to reduce negative emotions and feelings such as anger, jealousy and hatred, and to strengthen positive relationships, the sense of self, and self-esteem in students.

Metta is the supreme virtue, which students should cultivate in their mind.

According to Buddharakkhita, the Pali word metta has numerous meanings such as loving-kindness, friendliness, benevolence, fellowship, fraternity, harmony, inoffensiveness and peace. In texts such as the Visuddhimagga and the Vimuttimagga, metta is defined as strong thoughts for the welfare and happiness of everyone, both oneself and others, without asking for anything in return.

Buddharakkhita states:

“Through metta one refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment, and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind of friendliness, accommodativeness, and benevolence which seeks the well-being and happiness of others”. Metta is not selfish love, which “clings” or attaches to the object of one’s love and pursues the self-centred fulfillment of desires.

When self-centred desires arise, they may be followed by offensiveness, resentment, and animosity in later stages.

Strong egocentric desires cannot tolerate the non-fulfilment of desires or the loss of cherished possessions.

Negative thoughts such as resentment and anger may arise. Metta mediation is first of all a refusal to allow egocentric desires to proliferate by arousing the opposite desires: friendliness, benevolence, harmony and inoffensiveness.

Harvey distinguishes how metta thoughts can be expressed at any time as a mental attitude, in kind words and deeds, which can be deliberately cultivated though metta:

1) The heartfelt aspiration for the happiness and health of a living being, whether oneself or any other; for all wish to be happy.

1) A genuine liking of self and others.

1) A feeling akin to the love of a mother for her young child, but without is tendency to over-attachment, and radiated to a range of people.

1) Rejoicing at the goodness of people.

1) A warm, accepting patience, free from all hatred, ill-will, bitterness festering self-pity, resentment or stoic indifference.

1) A willingness to patiently work without anger toward what life and other people present us.

1) A warm glow of zestful energy in the ‘heart’, which melts some of the icy -encrustations from our ego.