Metta — loving kindness or friendliness — is a foundational theme in Early Buddhism and from the beginning has been understood as essential to a balanced practice. In addition to cultivating the heart, metta has always also been framed as an excellent way to develop deeper samadhi, unity of mind. This week, Sam guided our reflections, drawing on talks by several different dharma teachers to shape our discussion.
Sam read from the original text, the Metta Sutta, of which you can find many translations here:
Here’s the version Sam read:
He who is skilled in good, and wishes to attain that state of Peace, should act thus:
he should be able, upright, perfectly upright, amenable to corrections, gentle and humble.
He should be contented, easy to support,
unbusy, simple in livelihood,
with senses controlled, discreet,
not impudent, and not greedily attached to families.
He would not commit any slight misdeeds that other wise men might find fault in him. May all beings be well and safe,
may their hearts rejoice.
Whatever beings there are —
weak or strong, long or short,
big, medium-sized or small, subtle or gross,
Those visible or invisible,
residing near or far, those that have come to be or have yet to come, (without exceptions)
may all beings be joyful.
Let one not deceive nor despise another person, anywhere at all.
In anger and ill-will,
let him not wish any harm to another.
Just as a mother would protect her
only child with her own life,
even so, let him cultivate boundless thoughts of loving kindness towards all beings.
Let him cultivate boundless thoughts
of loving kindness towards the whole world — above, below and all around,
unobstructed, free from hatred and enmity.
Whether standing, walking, seated
or lying down, as long as he is awake, he should develop this mindfulness. This they say, is the divine abiding here.
Not erroneous with views,
endowed with virtues and insight,
with sensual desires abandoned,
he would come no more to be conceived in a womb.
Sam also read a passage from The Tassajara Cookbook p.347 (by Edward Espe Brown), a story about offering food to a statue of the Buddha.
The sangha then listened to a Pali chant here:
Finally, we heard excerpts from the following two talks: