LOVING-KINDNESS MEDITATION

Meditation Candle

A Loving-Kindness Meditation

May all beings be happy and peaceful  

(free from suffering and distress) 

May all beings be safe and secure 

(free from fear and harm) 

May all beings be healthy and prosperous 

(free from pain, illness, and lack) 

May all beings live joyfully and with ease 

(free from struggle and conflict) 

(Metta Bhavana: The Cultivation of Universal Loving-kindness) 

This excellent meditation derives from the Discourse on Loving-kindness (Metta Sutta) given by the Buddha 2600 years ago. The loving-kindness he spoke of then is still the deepest need of the world today. The Pali word metta (maitri in Sanskrit) means universal loving-kindness, friendliness, and goodwill free from expectation and possessiveness.  

However, this is not the ordinary, sensual, emotional, or sentimental kind of love that most people commonly express. Metta has a far greater significance than this. Metta is an all-embracing love—a sincere desire for the happiness and well-being of others. Metta is without any selectivity or exclusion.  

If we select a few people we love and exclude someone we do not like, this is a lack of understanding of Metta. With the sublime heart of love, we express care and concern for all beings through benevolent thoughts, feelings, and words, as well as through selfless acts of kindness and generosity.  

The benefits of practicing this form of meditation are immense. We develop the valuable skill of concentration. We dissolve the barriers in our hearts that create separation between ourselves and others. We transform fear and negativity into courage and kindness, and we learn to care for and love all beings without exception.  

The simple yet powerful radiance of our loving-kindness brings protection from harmful influences and offers blessings and beneficence to all it touches. Even if we do not recognize the immediate effects of our practice, nevertheless, we should always persevere and never doubt or underestimate the power of loving-kindness!  

The Buddha does not offer us his teachings merely to be studied and recited. He asks us to follow and practice the instructions so they become a reality in our awareness, in our actions, and in our ways of life. It is action, not speculation; it is practice, not theory that really matters.  

Therefore, we should not be satisfied with the mere recitation of the Metta Sutta. We must strive to know and feel its meaning. We must allow the teaching to suffuse our entire being, and have the heartfelt intention to bring it into full practice in our daily lives. Cultivating the noble principles offered here in the Metta Sutta is the very essence of Buddhist dharma.

The loving-kindness meditation is covered under the following headings:

In summary, this is a most beautiful and profound sutta (sutra) from Buddha Shakyamuni regarding the very heart of Dharma: Loving-kindness. An excellent translation of the Discourse on Loving-Kindness (Karaniya Metta Sutta) is also presented; certainly inspiring enough to read every day! In addition, the verses of the Loving-Kindness Meditation (Metta Bhavana/Cultivation of Universal Loving-Kindness) have also been offered, along with a commentary and instructions for practicing the Loving-Kindness meditation.

For a PDF copy of this information, click on Loving-Kindness Meditation.

For a definition and description of metta, click on metta.

 

Source: Used with permission from Neil Steven Cohen at Naljor Prison Dharma Service, PO Box 1177, Mount Shasta CA 96067. ( http://www.naljorprisondharmaservice.org/whatweoffer.htm)

Photo Credit: Intellimon Ltd.