2020-08-13 Paramis (9 of 10) Goodwill (Metta)
3:15PM Aug 13, 2020
So, today we come to the ninth of the 10 pāramīs and maybe they are all 10 jewels that live inside of us. Sometimes they are inside of us as jewels in the rough, but with practice, they become the roughness the fades away and they can shine for us. And that one of those, the ninth one is metta. And metta is used, as I said before is usually translated into English as loving kindness and sometimes translating as a word loving. It kind of puts the bar pretty high of what it's supposed to be. And perhaps in that word like goodwill, or well wishing is a lower bar, easy, more accessible, because it's with the word loving kindness kind of implies they're supposed to be love for everyone. And perhaps that's a little bit too high expectation that there can be tremendous goodwill, we will wish people will judge generously and honestly. But some people, it's maybe hard to feel love for hard to feel, you know, loving the way they behave the way they've treated us. Sometimes it's just, it's just difficult. I mean, I don't want to justify or not having love. But it's just the fact that it's often very hard. And if the expectation is that there has to be love always. That's when then we might not connect to what's a little bit easier, maybe quite easier, is it's possible to have goodwill, even for people we feel uncomfortable with or even for people we don't like. And, and rather than feeling ashamed that maybe we feel uncomfortable being with some people or we don't, somehow it's challenging for us. We can still tap into our goodwill and well wishing. Sometimes maybe from a distance. Sometimes it's easier from a distance. And when you're in the presence of someone who's challenging for us, maybe we have to kind of protect ourselves take care of ourselves. It's just too complicated to have the goodwill always present. Maybe someday you can have goodwill, loving kindness present even for situations that are very difficult. But that's something that can build over time. But to set the expectation you're supposed to do that right away, can just be very discouraging.
But good will. We can have goodwill for our enemies go to goodwill for the people who are angry, angry for us. We don't have to love them. Don't have to invite them for tea. But we can step back and say, I sure wish this person, it goes better for this person, I sure hope this person can have a better life and happier life. And I think some of the way they're behaving is represents the fact that they're unhappy. And I want them to be happy. But, you know, that doesn't mean that I have to now you know, just do who's out with love. So they do have goodwill, and for others.
So the pāramīs. There's an ancient Theravada Buddhist text about the pāramīs called the Treatise on Pāramīs. And you can find it in a wonderful website called access to insight. It's a website of all kinds of Theravada Buddhist texts, including translations of the suttas, and Bhikkhu Bodhi has translated this Treatise on the Pāramīa, and I'm very fond of the sections that talk about loving kindness or talking about metta. And I just wanted to read some of them to you, because I feel that probably somebody, they really speak to me, inspire me these passages. And I think they can probably talk about loving kindness, metta and goodwill, maybe in a more more richer way than I could. So this ancient commentary maybe from the like the maybe sixth or seventh century and then Bhikkhu Bodhi translates it, and he translated as loving kindness. I'm going to keep it that way, even though it's not necessarily the only choice that works for people.
"Loving kindness is mentioned immediately after determination because loving kindness perfects that determination to undertake activity for the welfare of others." And just that speaks to me so much. It seems like coming out of this practice that I've done, it just seemed like the most natural thing to live a life, for the welfare of others that that has the greatest meaning. And for me personally, I can't imagine living a life based on anything else. I made a choice. Almost 40 years ago, when I became ordained as a Zen priest, that I was going to live a life that was dedicated towards alleviating suffering in the world.
Because loving kindness perfects determination. So, loving kindness as mentioned immediately after determination, because loving kindness perfects the determination to undertake activity for the welfare of others. Be in order to list the work of actually providing for the welfare of others right after stating determination to do so. For quote, one determined upon the requisites of enlightenment, abides in loving kindness and see because the undertaking of the activity for the welfare of others proceeds imperturbably. Only when determination is unshakable. So determination to practice the determination to follow the truth to be resolved on wisdom, peace, renunciation and, and the truth was a wisdom, truth, renunciation and peace. helps the mind become imperturbable, still steady, unshakable. And then loving kindness can be unshakable to loving kindness has the characteristic of promoting welfare of living beings. So this is where the goodwill is promoting the welfare even for the people who are in our enemies. We want them to be better loving kindness has the characteristic of promoting the welfare of living beings. Its functions is to prove its function is to provide for their welfare, or its function is to remove resentment. Its manifestation is kindness, seeing the agreeable side of beings, is its proximate cause, seeing the agreeable side of beings is a proximate cause. So even people who have trouble with and challenged by or we don't like, there's a practice of looking upon looking for what is enjoyable or pleasant or agreeable about them. Don't harp on the challenges only. It's too easy to kind of have a partial view of people. And when we're really challenged by someone, sometimes it's useful to expand the view to see what is good about this person. Is there anything at all the noble qualities of loving kindness Is should be reflected upon as follows. One resolved upon one's own welfare cannot achieve success in this world. Or, or be or a happy rebirth in their life to come without some concern for the welfare of others. So I don't think much about rebirth myself, but don't think about it.
But this is a powerful idea, when resolved upon one's own welfare cannot achieve success in this world. without some concern for the welfare of others. We can't benefit ourselves without some way. be concerned. What benefits others taking care of others the if you wish to ultimately lead all beings to Nibbana you should begin By wishing for their mundane success here and now. So, if you want people to attain liberation, spiritual liberation, you should also wish them well in the world in a way that they have a world either healthy and taken care of and safe and and have enough food and live it basically, you know, healthy life. And then I like this one, when reflects, I cannot provide for the welfare of I cannot provide for the welfare and happiness of others merely by wishing it let me put forth effort to accomplish it. That's quite something. And quote, now, I support them by promoting their welfare and happiness. Afterwards, they will be my companions and sharing the Dhamma, the Dharma, so we support and help other people out in one way or the other. They then become our companions they share. If dhamma just means goodness or truth, that we're supporting people so that they can come and share with us their goodness or their truth, what's true, share the demo. And then another thought is, these are all ways of developing loving kindness. Quote, without these beings, I could not acquire the requisites of enlightenment, since they are the cause for the manifestation and perfecting of all the Buddha qualities. These beings are, for me, a supreme field of merit, the incomparable basis for planting wholesome roots, the ultimate object of reverence, I interpret this to be all the beings especially the ones who are challenging for us, that we need them so we can really develop our own practice, develop the Buddha qualities, the all the world all these beings that we live in played with All around us. They are the supreme field of merit. They are the people to support and to help and develop. In a sense, this kind of they are the feel the fuel for developing ourselves. There's a strong idea that there's a strong idea that and I think often for some meditators that somehow meditation by itself is going to do all that we need in terms of developing and Buddhism. But we need people to we need to be involved in some kind of contact with other people to be concerned with their welfare bump, bump against them, be polished by them, get smoothed out by them, be reflected in them, that the world of our social world is such an important part of Buddhist practice that without that, maybe we don't really develop as fully as we need to, can to in order to attain full awakening.
Thus, when one should arouse and especially strong inclination, toward promoting the welfare of all beings, and why should loving kindness be developed towards all beings, because it is the foundation for compassion, for window light for one delights in providing for the welfare of, for when one delights in providing for the welfare and happiness of other beings with an unbounded heart, the desire to remove their affliction and suffering becomes powerful and firmly rooted. and compassion is the first of all qualities issuing from Buddhahood their footing Foundation, root, head and chief. So, if you're if you have basic goodwill kindness concerned for the welfare of others, then you'll also develop compassion. and compassion is one of the powerful motivating forces, for engaging in Buddhist practice. We practice for ourselves to make ourselves a person who is a benefit and help other people. So here in the ninth parmi, there's this powerful call towards having the practice be for the welfare of others. And it's important to remember that it's for the benefit of others, that this is the ninth part of me. I have a lot of respect for this slow, steady practice. We practice with what we have, what our needs are, what our situations are. But we know it's good to know that if we as we practice sooner or later, maybe it's later something will shift in our hearts and we'll understand that our our practice can only keep developing and growing in the field of the world of people around us and caring for them and, and having goodwill for them and, and benefiting the world around us and not just living for ourselves. So here the ninth, you know, throw all these parties for her state. Now we're coming to what's born inside? What gets germinates inside this powerful forces of loving kindness and compassion? and may it be that for all of us, that as we keep practicing, the sprouts of loving kindness and compassion, just keep growing and growing, so we can live for the welfare of the world.
So thank you very, very much. And I just want to remind you that tomorrow, after 7:45 we'll have a community meeting for those of you who'd like from the YouTube community, and we'll switch to zoom and that's it. Information is will be posted on the chat. It's already on the IMC calendar. And also on the What's New section of imcs. Little notice for this community meeting we have and so if you want to prepare yourself, you can see where the zoom link is with the password, and I'll talk about it again tomorrow. Thank you