2021-06-08-Mettā Sutta (2 of 5) Intentions of Good-Will
10:50PM Jun 8, 2021
So then, continuing on this topic of the metta suta, the discourse on loving kindness, attributed to the Buddha, we don't know if really the Buddha wrote it or composed it. But that's the attribution of the tradition. It's a beautiful little text series of verses that, as I said, yesterday, is considered the foundational text for loving kindness, practice or living, but that the fundamental purpose of the text is to reach the state of peace, liberation and freedom. And that, and that to do so, it's important to develop these different qualities. And not a lot of these can be seen as expressions of the seven factor, second factor of the Eightfold Path, right intention, right resolve, and which is said to be a renunciation, non hostility, or non ill will. So renunciation, non ill will, and non cruelty, non violence. And this idea and attacks were there, in the Pali tradition, where there's a lot of these negative prefixes, the not, ill will the not cruelty. It's understood in that tradition, that that encompasses not the opposite. It's not just the absence, it involves the presence of the opposite. And you could say, Why don't you say the opposite. And the reason is that the opposite of non ill will, could be a range of different attitudes, not just one. And so by the when we let go of ill will, then we are available for the range. And wherever is appropriate at that time, sometimes it might be loving kindness, sometimes compassion, sometimes generosity. Sometimes. It might be patience, or, or it might be equanimity, or it might be, you know, different things. And, and so we're not limited just to one, however. So in this opening of the text we talked about yesterday, all of those can be seen as expressions of renunciation, non ill will, and, and non cruelty, especially the first two. And so they're straight, gentle and not proud, contented, easily supported, living likely, with fewer duties with all about renunciation of a certain kind of healthy letting go wise with census calm, not arrogant, without greed for supporters, they should not do the least thing that the wise would criticize. So then the next one is, describes the the, the intention, the motivations, the aspiration, of loving kindness, it's the heart's wish, that others be happy. And here, it's put in the context of reaching the state of peace is in the context of becoming liberated oneself, that one develops and cultivates this care and goodwill for others. That if the path of liberation is only about me, myself and mine, there's no liberation. That the way we close down and hold ourselves in check and gripped in ourselves sense of self, when we're only focusing on our own practice and our own welfare actually limits the movement towards freedom. And so here we are, next next section of this is now including a care for the others in the world, a kind of relaxing of the barriers, the relaxing of the strong sense of separation and otherness and meanness and me against you, or it's all about me, and what's good for me. But now there's an opening, relaxing of that strong grip of self into mouth in a relaxed open way, having the goodwill go out and include the welfare of others as well. And, and so the shooter goes on. And so it's
those skilled in the good it should be. And then it says, All these kind of ethical things and then it goes they should also reflect as follows, they should consider as follows, may all be happy and secure. May all beings be happy at heart. all living beings, whether weak or strong, tall, large, medium, or short, tiny or big, seen or unseen, near or distant, born or to be born, may they all be happy. So it's not just as simple goodwill to them, people that you love, here, it's a kind of a universal goodwill, May all beings be happy. And the universality of it is not easy to come to. But as we begin, we begin with love towards those that we care about those who it's easy for. And then the practice is to begin expanding it. What does it take to relax and open and, and, and be inclusive in our goodwill, so that we can genuinely have goodwill for the whole world. And part of the advantage of this, in terms of the benefit of this in meditation practice is that this really frees up there's restrictions on the heart, the constrictions of the heart, the limitations we have by by keeping our love bounded or in check, there's something about opening up the windows of the heart completely all the windows, so that the radiance of the heart can be in all directions, not limited by anything, an unlimited heart. This, of course, is a very large ideal. And, and so one of the things that are very useful to consider is that we're talking here about intention. And intentions don't necessarily mean that we feel loving, it means that we have the intention to do so we have the desire to be loving to have goodwill. And, and if they requirement is to feel that to have an emotional feeling of love, that could limit and hinder a person from actually practicing it or feeling, you know, feeling that they're doing the practice well. It's enough to have the intention, that's what begins, intention is considered a seed, and you plant that seed, so something can begin to grow. And over time, something important will grow within us exactly what that is for any one individual. I don't want to say for some it might be emotional for some it might be as has more cognitive quality to it. And 10 comes with understanding and, and ideas that really are all encompassing. And, but it does involve a releasing of clinging, elite releasing of self preoccupation, begins just by an intention. And so I think that it's very valuable, to simply have the desire to have goodwill. Even if you don't have any goodwill, you might want to consider whether it's a good idea to have it, yes, I would like to have it. I'd like to have it someday I wish I could do it. And rather than berating oneself or diminishing the value of that, because it's just a desire, and we can't actually have the goodwill. The idea is to celebrate appreciate, the desire is actually quite phenomenal. This member desires intentions are so important part of human life. When we have wholesome desires, it's good to appreciate that, especially if the alternative is unwholesome desires. And, and so the desire to have goodwill is enough in itself, it's a beginning. And then to appreciate that and and then maybe give it voice. And one of the ways that loving kindness practice is practiced is by in one's own mind maybe quietly giving voice to it saying saying words that express it and there's something about giving voice that is good for the heart. Some of you if you're driving a car or if you're alone some time, you might try speaking out loud. Express expressions of goodwill may be very personal expressions of it. That you have for others or for all beings, or to do it with a classic phrases and or you do it from the these phrases that are from this meta suta
may all be happy and secure. They all be happy and safe. They all beings be happy at heart and And then all is really emphasized here, the all encompassing nature's in all directions, no limitations to your goodwill, all living beings, whether they're weak or strong, tall, large, medium or short, tiny or big, seen or unseen, near or distant, born or to be born, may they all be happy. And and this is not just human beings, I think tiny and big and all that means the smallest little creatures to the largest scene, an unseen, doesn't just means the people you don't see. But even the bacteria, the insects that are so small, you don't see them. So this all encompassing nature of this goodwill. And so what it what does it take to do that. So it takes intentionality, and he takes having some desire, which come with which we have to appreciate the desire has important role in our life. And, and did learn how to be wise with desires or desires or wholesome and beneficial. So we don't succumb to the limitations of expectation and demand and sex success and failure. That we don't hijack the desire with clinging and craving, and grasping, it'll compulsive desire, but just an open handed, free kind of generosity of heart, where we wish we wish well for people we wish for their welfare. It doesn't have to be publicly known. So some people are afraid to kind of develop good goodwill or have this intention because if they people know about it, they'll be taken advantage of or it's embarrassing or something awkward. But this goodwill we're cultivating doesn't have to be publicly known, it can be your secret, that you're really sitting there just wishing that, that people are angry with you or annoyed with you, wishing for their welfare wishing they can be happy. And it might be wholesome enough to wish their welfare and happiness because if they're happy, they probably wouldn't be so mean to you. They'd be a lot better shape. So, these beautiful words may all be happy and secure. May all beings be happy at heart? How can those words, be intentions or desires or aspirations that live in you in a way that has integrity way that is really comes out of you and flows out of you and is valuable for you? One of the ways that the many ways to answer that question, but one of the ways is that comes out of meditation is to have a non cluster phobic mind. To have a mind that's not so busy with thoughts and other desires, and Ill wills and annoyances and fantasies. There's no room for the quieter emotions, the emotions of goodwill of love and kindness. So to live a calm life, can make room for frequent connection to the intention that desire for goodwill. So may you explore this next day, maybe it may explore maybe by repeating to yourself and seeing what what it brings up for you and your heart and your mind your body. Just repeat to you yourself. The phrases may all be happy and secure. May all beings be happy at heart. You don't have to even feel any goodwill saying them. But what happens to you if you make those a mantra for the day? Just keep coming back to them and back to them and living with them? What is it? What do you learn about yourself? And what do you learn about your heart in doing so. So thank you. And there's a copy of my translation of the metta suta in the IMC website and the homepage, and in the bottom right hand corner, there's a little section called what's new. And in this section, there's a little line that says reflections from Gil and there you'll find the discourse on loving kindness.
So thank you and then I look forward to continuing tomorrow.