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Mettá Bhavana The Development of Loving-Kindness
Mettá Bhavana is a meditation practice that balances the
Insight Meditation. During Insight Meditation we are mostly concerned with
purifying the mind and making insights into a more profound reality. In
Mettá Meditation, we are concerned with the development of wholesome
qualities of mind and to share this merit with all beings. Mettá, indeed,
can be developed only if one gives it to boundless beings without
discriminating and without expectation of some thing in return. It should
be free of selfishness or attachment. The object of Mettá meditation
should be infinite beings. Therefore Mettá should be extended towards all
beings without exception. May all beings be well and happy, it embraces
all living beings.
This meditation simply uses the power of positive thinking and self-suggestion.
As soon as I say to myself "I need a holiday", I have made a
suggestion to myself. I thing it over and then I make a decision to organise
one. This is positive thinking. Soon enough, I go on holiday. That's the
outcome, the result of suggesting a holiday to myself, of thinking about it and
then making a positive decision.
This meditation uses these techniques to develop good qualities we already have
and introduce new wholesome qualities. Once I feel established in these
qualities, I can easily share them with others. We are all too familiar with the
negative side. If I'm depressed, for instance, and I go out with some friends,
it isn't long before everyone whishes I hadn't come. I make everyone miserable.
Depression is catching!
I'm sure you have experienced walking into a room where there has been an
argument and felt the 'atmosphere'. But in this meditation we try to develop
quite the opposite states of mind --- friendliness, compassion, joy and
peacefulness. It is these we try to share with others and this is called the
Sharing of Merit. Here is a simple formula, but once you feel you understand it,
you can add to it or make up your own if you wish.
Before we send out wholesome qualities to other beings, we have to develop them
in ourselves, so we should given Mettá to ourselves.
Firstly, therefore, one should give Mettá to oneself:-
May I be free from anger and hatred.
May I be free from greed and selfishness.
May I be free from fears and anxiety.
May I be free from all pain and suffering.
May I be free from ignorance and delusion.
May I be free from all negative states of mind.
May I be happy and peaceful.
May I be liberated from bondages.
May I experience Nibbanic peace within.
Then practice Mettá towards all beings sharing peace and happiness:-
May all beings free from anger and hatred.
May all beings free from greed and selfishness.
May all beings free from fears and anxiety.
May all beings free from all pain and suffering.
May all beings free from ignorance and delusion.
May all beings free from all negative states of mind.
May all beings be happy and peaceful.
May all beings liberated from bondages.
May all beings live in Peace and Harmony.
May all beings experience the Nibbanic peace within.
After this, we can bring to mind family, friends, teachers and others and offer
them goodwill in the same way. We can even bring to mind people we dislike or
who dislikes us and offer them at least an attitude of 'no harm'.