6/30/2013 – Metta (9th Parami)

Margaret led our reflections on Metta, not just as a meditative practice, but as a state of mind.  The presentation  drew on excerpts from a dharma talk by Rodney Smith

Also helpful (and funny) was a poem by Tony Hoagland’s book “What Narcissism Means to Me”, reprinted here (and followed by a brief quotation from the Samyutta Nikaya on metta as a state of mind)

Phone call – by Tony Hoagland

Maybe I overdid it
when I called my father an enemy of humanity.
That might have been a little strongly put,
a slight overexaggeration,

an immoderate description of the person
who at the moment, two thousand miles away,
holding the telephone receiver six inches from his ear,
must have regretted paying for my therapy.

What I meant was that my father
was an enemy of my humanity
and what I meant behind that
was that my father was split
into two people, one of them

living deep inside of me
like a bad king, or an incurable disease-
blighting my crops,
striking down my herds,
poisoning my wells – the other
standing in another time zone,
in a kitchen in Wyoming,
with bad knees and white hair sprouting from his ears.

I don’t want to scream forever,
I don’t want to live without proportion
like some kind of infection from the past,

so I have to remember the second father,
the one whose TV dinner is getting cold
while he holds the phone in his left hand
and stares blankly out the window

where just now the sun is going down
and the last fingertips of sunlight
are withdrawing from the hills
they once touched like a child.

(From What Narcissism Means To Me, Greywolf Press, 2003)

From Samyutta Nikaya:

“It is in this way that we must train ourselves: By liberation of the self through love, We will develop love, We will practice it, We will make it both a way and a basis, Take a stand upon it, store it up, and thoroughly set it going.” – the Buddha

Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation, page 708:

“Therefore, bhikkhus, you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by lovingkindness, make it our vehicle, make it our basis, stabilize it, exercise ourselves in it, and fully perfect it.’ Thus should you train yourselves.”