2021-06-07 Mettā Sutta (1 of 5) Foundations for Goodwill
2:29AM Jun 8, 2021
So for this week, I like to focus on metta loving kindness, but in a particular way. On Friday, I heard my friend Paul Heller, who spoke here a few weeks ago for the 7am. For a week, he gave a wonderful talk, where he divided up the discourse on loving kindness into four parts, it was very nice to hear him and I was inspired by this four part division. And so I thought I would do that for this week is to take a look at the the kind of the funded fund foundation of teachings that tributed to the Buddha, on loving kindness. That's a particular poem, that, that then it can be divided into four parts that kind of the poem on loving kindness. And, and if you want to read my translation, which is what I'll use, you'll find it in the What's New, in the homepage of IMC his website under reflections from Gil, you also find it. The part we're going to talk about today in in little description of the YouTube description on the on, of what's happening here and the but underneath the photograph underneath the video, if you do show more, I put this section that we're going to talk about. But please don't read it now and get distracted, we'll go through it. And that Paul's talk is not recorded, so for for public use. So.
So we find in the ancient teachings of the Buddha, that loving kindness gets emphasized a lot of the four Brahma viharas, the four kinds of love that were championed in the ancient world. loving kindness gets the most most attention. And it encompasses quite quite a bit, but encompasses the desire to be friendly, and all the good qualities of that comes flows out of friendliness, helping people when they're in trouble, or friends in trouble supporting people when things are going well, or caring for them. Being kind, but the fundamental way of seeing it is a goodwill, what comes out of our goodwill. And the Goodwill's in nice translations, because the opposite of loving kindness is sometimes seen to be ill will, and the kind of certain kind of hostility towards others. And so in this discourse on loving kindness, it's divided into four parts or can be divided to four parts. And the first part is not really about loving kindness itself, but can be seen as the the, the, the support for it, the way of being in the world, being with ourselves, that makes room for makes the ability to have goodwill, grow in us and develop. And some people will refer to this section as being ethical, kind of, kind of, kind of an ethical teaching. But so many of what's talked about is not ethical in the sense of how we relate to other people, but how we are in ourselves. And so maybe the word integrity has as integrity and ethics sometimes are considered near synonyms of each other. And so maybe this is qualities of integrity that this involves, I'd like to think of it as different things like make some room for the heart qualities to come. And if we want to have more metta more kindness in our life, more friendliness, then it's not just a matter of, of kind of just drumming it up, I see if we can just call it evoke it automatically. Or better, rather, create the conditions for where it's more likely to flow out of us more likely to be here for us. So it's a little bit of indirect way of cultivating loving kindness, not to do it directly, but to prepare the ground for it. And many things that are important to do in life. We prepare for it too. We adjust ourselves accordingly. And so we're ready for this situation that we're going to do and so I'm Put in, in the chat, the this section of it. And it's not quite formatted very well this way. But so there's totally different places you can do it, you do it, or you can just listen to me as I go read it. So I'll read it first, and then we'll discuss it. So the discourse on loving kindness, to reach the state of peace, those skilled in the good, should be capable and upright, straightforward and easy to speak to gentle and not proud, contented and easily supported, living lightly, with fewer duties, wise and with census calmed, not arrogant, and without greed for supporters. And they should not do the least thing that the wise would criticize. So here, the explicit discussion here is not about loving kindness, but to reach the state of peace. And more more kind of close reading of the metta suta. It's, it's can be understood as being utilizing or being supported by loving kindness, on the path to liberation and freedom. So rather than loving kindness being an adjunct or something, it's no different from the path of freedom, liberation, it's actually very much on it. And the cultivation of this form of love supports the movement towards liberation. And those skilled in the good. And there's a lot of lot of words in the suitors that are related this word good. My favorite is the word beautiful kalyana. skilled in what's beautiful,
skilled and what is beneficial, skilled and what is wholesome, which is a topic for the last week. So there's a skill, again, just the word skills related to the word wholesome kusala. There is skilled in the good. And, and what follows is karma, the skills that we can develop, and I like it, think of it as skills. Because that doesn't, we have to listen to this and think worse, you'd automatically be this way, there's an ideal and therefore you should be this way. But rather, these are things to cultivate, to develop these things to work towards. These are valuable states that shouldn't be overlooked. And, and if you want to live a purposeful life, this cultivating these are phenomenally supportive. So being capable and upright. So I think the word capable here means I able to apply oneself. That's how he saw I understand it, not so much that we're capable and doing a lot of different things. But rather, we're capable of engaging in the practice of cultivating skills, cultivating yourself in ways. And upright, I think is is. In the ancient world, this idea of being upright, like sometimes it isn't in English, has meaning of being having certain kind of integrity, and integrity that allows a person to stand upright, without feeling diminished or feeling, be a little belittling themselves are feeling shy or feeling somehow less than or something because of who they are. But they kind of have integrity, it allows in a very simple way to be upright. hold myself straight and confident confidence. straightforward, means to be direct and how we speak and not go round about just say things as they are in a kind of simple, straight way. Easy to speak to. Means that means that if someone needs to give us feedback about something that's difficult, we're easy to receive that. We're not automatically defensive, we don't go into the attack mode. But if someone has to say something to us, we're there to listen and be there without automatically defending ourselves, not automatically agreeing or being pushed over by the other people. But it's easy for you to come to us and say By the way, I need to talk to you I want to talk to you about something and that was difficult for me. Gentle and not proud, so upright but not proud and proud here. Sometimes in modern English, the word pride has very positive connotation. So what proud here means is to be puffed up a certain kind of conceit and gentle and which was kind of the topic for the day. Meditation we had certain kinds of gentleness. And I like the reference point for gentle for me is to understand it better is to appreciate the opposite of it. That to not be gentle, makes the heart and mind kind of crowded, usually, to be harsh to be mean to be rough with people, there is a kind of engagement and involvement, that that doesn't make room for freedom, for love for kindness, for the kind of inner cultivation of the heart, that the path of freedom involves. So a gentleness and contented and easily supported. So these are values that are a little bit more focused on monastics easily they can be for anyone, monastics are supposed to be very contented with having of just a few things just enough to be comfortable. And through the eyes of modern world, the monastic life can be seen as aesthetic, but in time of the Buddha was clearly not to be Ascetic. There are people who are much more seriously ascetics and the Buddhists, rather, the Buddhist monastics have just enough to be comfortable, just enough clothes, just enough housing, just enough food, and just enough medicine. But not more than what's needed contented with what's what keeps us the basics comfortable. And that's kind of a fascinating reference point. content with just enough to keep us alive healthily, and easily supported from an aesthetic not to be want a lot from other people and you know, their supporters and, and trying to acquire more and more from the donors sick support them. Similarly, living lightly and with few duties, not being so busy. Because having a lot to do and lots of responsibilities, doesn't make space and time that this these hard qualities need in order to flower.
wise and with senses calmed, and the senses calmed. So the eyes are calm, we see the world in a calm way, we're not always darting about looking, the ears are calm. So that the taste buds are calm, we don't have you know what more and more food something like that. Not the arrogant and without greed for supporters. And they should not do the least thing that the wise would criticize. So for the people who in your life, who you really respected, and value for being being wise people do not do something that they would be critical of. Mostly it means don't be unethical. Don't be mean. Don't be don't have ill will. But to use the reference points or those who are wise, to how to care for yourself, and also how to relate to yourself. Don't do these things that the wise would kind of that's not quite right. And so it's a tall order. But it's kind of a call, to be careful also with how you are when you're alone in the privacy of your own life. Are you also there living in a way that those who you respect would not be critical of and so your life is transparent or harmonious, whether you're alone or not ready to bring these qualities, all these qualities to your life when you're living alone and quietly from your privacy of your own for your own situation, or when you're in the world public with others, that you would be capable and upright, straightforward and easy to speak to gentle and not proud, contented and easily supported, living lightly and with fewer duties wise, and with census calmed, not arrogant and without greed for supporters. And not the least not doing the least thing that the wise would criticize. So this sets the stage then for an attitude, a orientation towards others, that can be said to be that of kindness or friendliness, goodwill metta and that'll be the topic for the next section of the metta suta tomorrow. So thank you. And if you're at all inclined, you might want to memorize today this section, some people find tremendous benefit from memorizing the metta suta. And it's this this version is not the one we usually use here at IMC we use the monastic one that's comes out of the monastery or by Gary Or Amaravati and England because as a nice kind of chanting kind of quality, but either one and and thank you