To Awaken – Metta teachings

Statues: from the Cave of the Thousand Buddhas, China

Dear friends, never lose sight of the fact that the power to transform, to unbind, to awaken, to heal and be healed lies *within* you.

Books, teachers, wise sayings, spiritual friends, the dharma—are, at their best, simply pointers to the reality of *your* individual goodness, *your* individual power for self-evolution and awakening. The relationship of this precious individual goodness and being to the ultimate, the All, to the divine, to the Whole, to What Is, is for each of us work out and discover for ourselves.

God, Buddha, Christ, spirits, angels, gurus, teachers, cannot do it for us. The secret way to the divine, to liberation, is true self-expression, which is not other than the Universe coming to know itself in each particular one— the One revealed in the Many, and the Many revealed in the One.

My best sense present sense is that we are each of us invaluable, irreplaceable individual aspects of this Great Awakening. The seeming paradox of sensing the “kingdom of heaven within,” the “True Self,” the “Buddha nature,” or whatever one might want to call the ineffable, is that the more one senses one’s own inner light, the more one has the joyous sense of “God with us,” or of the deathless “Buddha nature, of the quickening Christ-spirit—of that which is universal and deathless. We are individual, but we are family; we are the Many, yet we are the One. This kind of poured out tonight, as I was writing, so I thought I’d share it. Of course, as the saying goes, “your mileage may vary! Gasshō to your individual sense of the highest good and the deepest humanity!

~ Steven

How Many Gifts Did You Receive Today? – Metta Teachings

Kindness is being aware

Appreciation is a wonderful gift to have. To thank someone for a kindness is to literally touch the heart of another.  Through lovingkindness, everyone and everything can flower again from within.When we discover the knowledge of our own goodness and that of others, self-blessing happens naturally and beautifully. Here’s a nice note from Swami Chinmoy on gratitude and appreciation.


Every day in our multifarious activities, either we express ingratitude or we express gratitude to our fellow beings.Ingratitude is not our inability to acknowledge the gifts we receive from others. Ingratitude is our deliberate unwillingness to acknowledge the gifts we receive from others. Gratitude is receptivity, the receptivity that acknowledges others’ gifts, others’ love and concern. Each time we express gratitude, we expand our hearts.

Receptivity can be increased. How can we increase our receptivity? We can increase it by cultivating it. The farmer cultivates the ground and then he sows the seed. He waters it and eventually the seed germinates and grows into a sapling and a tree. Here also, when we cultivate our gratitude-heart, we get the opportunity to sow our pure love there. This pure love grows into true concern, and true concern eventually becomes inseparable oneness.

When we want to pick a beautiful flower from a tree, we look around to see if anybody is observing us. We feel that nobody should know that we had to take the flower from some other place. We want to show the world at large that this flower was ours right from the beginning. In order to do that, we try to destroy the branches of the tree.

We receive gifts from our friends in the inner worlds but we don’t want others to know about it. So we speak ill of our inner friends, consciously or unconsciously. We want to make the world believe that we are self sufficient, but the rest of the world knows that we are receiving something from others. Ingratitude is nothing but a sense of inferiority, an inferiority complex. The gifts we get from others we do not want to acknowledge. We are afraid to expose ourselves to others.

Ingratitude, impurity and the doubting mind go together. It is impurity that divides and separates us and does not allow us to have the feeling of oneness or gratitude. And this impurity unconsciously or consciously is treasured by the doubtful mind. Gratitude, purity and the loving heart always go together. The gratitude flower grows in our purity heart. Purity expands our heart. Purity awakens our entire being within to the highest level of consciousness. The heart is self giving. And what is self-giving today becomes tomorrow God-Delight and God Perfection.

-Swami Chinmoy

Laughter Is Good For You – Metta Teachings

Laughter, joy and happiness is healthy for you. They say laughter is the best medicine. It can cure illness and extends life.  A good laugh boosts the immune system, relieves depression and stress, relaxes all the body’s muscles, is good exercise for the heart and helps prevent heart attacks, it cleanses the lungs, and provides an overall sense of well being.

We don’t need to wait for someone else to bring us happiness – happiness is a choice we can make at any time we want.  You can choose to look on the good side of things and take life more lightly, or you can choose to think gloomy and sad.  It’s up to you. Life is the movie you see through your own eyes – it’s up to you how you take it.

Jolly laughing Buddha

In Plum Village, we laugh all day long, yet not one of us has a private bank account.  There is a belief that unless you have a lot of money, unless you hold a high position in society, you cannot be truly happy. It is hard to let go of that belief until you see the truth that happiness is possible in another way. Seeing that will make the future possible for our children. So I think in Buddhist circles we have to reorganize so that we can show people a way of living happily based on mutual understanding, not materialism. Just a dharma talk isn’t enough, because a dharma talk is just a talk. Only when people see such an unmaterialistic community, when they see such a way of life, will they be convinced.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Romanic Paris has its own culture of joy and this street sculpture is no exception..

Greet everyone you meet with a warm smile.
No matter how busy you are,
don’t rush enounters with co-workers, family and friends.
Speak softly. Listen attentively.
Act as if every conversation you have
is the most important thing on your mind today.
Look your children and your partner in the eyes when they talk to you.
Stroke the cat, caress the dog.
Lavish love on every living being you meet.
See how different you feel at the end of the day. ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

(from ‘Simple Abundance : A Daybook of Comfort and Joy’) ~


Look to this day, for it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the realities and verities of existence.
The bliss of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power.
And yesterday is but a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision.
But today – well lived – makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day.

~ Sanskrit proverb ~

Compassion – Metta Teachings

I thought this might be interesting to you folks. I really enjoy the writings on “Metta,” Loving Kindness and like to add them to the blog from time to time.  This little piece says so much about  Compassion and how it can be achieved and that is by taking one small step at a time.

“Compassion is not a magical device that can instantly dispel all
suffering. The path of compassion is altruistic but not idealistic.
Walking this path we are not asked to lay down our life, find a
solution for all of the struggles in this world, or immediately rescue
all beings. We are asked to explore how we may transform our own
hearts and minds in the moment.

Can we understand the transparency of division and separation? Can we
liberate our hearts from ill will, fear, and cruelty? Can we find the
steadfastness, patience, generosity, and commitment not to abandon
anyone or anything in this world? Can we learn how to listen deeply
and discover the heart that trembles in the face of suffering?

The path of compassion is cultivated one step and one moment at a
time. Each of those steps lessens the mountain of sorrow in the

Pema Chodron – Buddhist Nun

photo source: Jeff Moore

Compassion and Loving Kindness – Metta Teachings


Ajahn Brahmavamso is a wonderful Theravadan monk whose wit and humor help bring the dharma alive.  Given recent events, I thought it would be good to give people who are not familiar with him a feel for Ajahn Brahm’s skill as a teacher. I think this is one of the best, most
inspiring metta instructions I’ve ever posted.

Loving-Kindness Meditation (Metta)

Ajahn Brahmavamso:

Metta is the Buddhist word for “loving-kindness.” It refers to the
emotion of goodwill, that which wishes happiness for another. It
embraces forgiveness, because Metta says: “The door to my heart is
open to you. No matter who you are or what you have done, come in.” It
is that kindness which does not judge and is given freely, expecting
nothing in return. The Buddha compared Metta to a mother’s love for
her child (Sn, 149). A mother may not always like her child or agree
with everything it does, but she will always care for her child,
wishing it only happiness. Such openhearted, non-discriminating
kindness is Metta.

Metta meditation is that meditation which focuses the attention on the
feeling of loving-kindness, developing that beautiful transcending
emotion until it fills the whole mind. There are many methods for
developing Metta meditation. Here is just one way.

To Light a Fire, Start with “Kindling”—Someone or Something You Love

One way you can develop loving-kindness meditation is by choosing some
object, which you find easy to feel loving kindness toward. The simile
I often use is that of lighting a fire. You need kindling to light a
fire. One can’t put a match to a big log and expect the match to
ignite that log. The log is far too big. So you have to find
something, which will take the flame easily, something, which is easy
to light. It could be some of the firelighters you get for barbecues,
or paper, or straw — anything that takes the fire very easily will do.
You build up the first flames of loving-kindness on that kindling and
then later one can put on more solid pieces of wood.

First of all one uses just twigs and then branches, then you can put
big logs on that fire. It’s always the case that only when there’s a
big roaring fire — really strong and very hot — only then can you put
on the big “sappy logs.” The big sappy logs in this simile stand for
your enemies. Sometimes for many of you, the biggest sappy log is
yourself! When you find the fire of loving-kindness is very strong,
you can put yourself on that fire, “dry out” and ignite the biggest,
sappiest log of all.

Once the fire is strong, you can give loving-kindness towards even
your worst enemies. It may surprise you that you can actually do this.
You think of this person towards whom you’ve always had anger and
wanted revenge, and you find that you are now in a mind state where
you can actually love them, really give them goodwill. And you’re not
playing around either. It’s actually happening! This is the result of
the gradual process of development of this emotion called

Now as to the “kindling”, this is where you use your power of
imagination and visualization together with your mental commentary.
Here you encourage the commentary, but you keep your commentary just
to a certain topic. You’re, as it were, “psyching yourself up” to
develop loving-kindness towards a small visual object, an imaginary
object. Don’t be afraid of imagination, because visualization and
imagination are tools of the mind that you can use to your benefit.

Keeping your eyes closed, imagine in front of you a small kitten or a
puppy or a baby or whatever you find it easy to generate
loving-kindness towards. (I personally like using a small kitten.)
Imagine it to be abandoned, hungry, afraid, and in your mind open your
heart to it. Take it up gently, in imaginary arms, and use inner
speech to say: “May you not feel so afraid. Be at peace. May you be
happy. I will look after you, be your friend and protector. I care for
you. Whatever you do, wherever you go, my heart will always welcome
you. I give you my love unconditionally, always.”

Say those words inside (or similar one’s that you make up) with full
meaning, even though it is to a being only in your imagination. Say
them many times until you feel the joy of Metta arise in you heart
like a golden glow. Stay with this exercise until the feeling of Metta
is strong and stable.

Metta Includes Compassion

Loving-kindness includes compassion, so you can use compassion to
generate Metta. You look at that imaginary being and focus on its
suffering, real or potential. You see the fact that it is subject to
pain — not just physical pain but also the mental pain of loneliness
and rejection. You see how very vulnerable it is. When I do this with
my little imaginary kitten I always think that there’s no one else in
the whole world to look after that small being. If I don’t look after
it, if I don’t take it in, I just imagine what sort of death that
little being is going to have — cold, rejected, hungry, thirsty and
sick. When I start to see the suffering (the dukkha), in that being
and how it is so vulnerable to pain, then straight away it encourages
compassion in me towards it. I want to protect and care for it.

As soon as that compassion, that sense of looking after the little
being comes up, it’s very easy at the same time to have
loving-kindness, (which is basically goodwill). Compassion is goodwill
towards someone who’s suffering. In this instance it’s goodwill to
ease the suffering of that imaginary being, and if its not suffering,
to make its happiness even more delightful. I deliberately generate
feelings of goodwill, of kindness, of compassion and of care.

All of these words are centering in on this concept of
“loving-kindness”, and I enter into a commentary with myself at this
time, just imagining what might happen to that being, imagining
looking after it, saying words of kindness, of protection. I do
imaginary exercises like getting eye contact with that little being.
When you can actually contact the imaginary being’s eyes it becomes
very emotional. Then I just keep on developing those images. I
continue that commentary until such time that the loving-kindness
towards that imaginary being is really, really strong.

You will find — at least I find anyway — that it’s so much easier to
light a fire of loving-kindness on such easy kindling. First of all,
my imaginary kitten is a lovely furry animal. It’s imaginary, so I can
make it whatever I want. It’s young. If it were actually real even
little kittens can sometimes be pests. But if it’s imaginary you’ve
got full control over it to make it as furry, or as soft as you like.
It purrs at the right time, and it doesn’t poo on your lap. So you can
do everything you want, just to make it a very nice little being. It’s
imaginary. You’ve got control over it.

Choose An Object You Can Relate To

One person I know didn’t have much empathy towards little animals, nor
did she like children. What she did was very innovative. She’d just
been planting some small flowers in some pots in her house; so she
just imagined a small plant in the earth. Just like the little kitten
or the puppy, the plant is also a being that needs care and
protection. She put all her motherly instincts, which she didn’t
really have towards children, towards that little plant, nurturing it
and just imagining it growing.

When it was a young seedling, it was just so tender and so easily hurt
and broken. It had a long way to go before it was a full fledged
flower. She imagined herself nurturing it, protecting it, loving it,
caring for it until such time that the little flower burst forth and
repaid her kindness with this beautiful smile of a flower in bloom.
She really “got off” on that. That was for her the first time that
meditation actually seemed to work. It was the first time she wasn’t
waiting for me to ring the bell. So this is another way of developing
loving-kindness, instead of towards an animal or a human being,
towards even a plant. And you can do that.

The point is, as long as you are nurturing this emotion and making it
grow, you’re allowed to use your commentary, and it’s good to use it
at this point to keep the fire burning. When you put a match to a
piece of paper, you’ve got to blow; you’ve got to fan. You’ve got to
keep it going.

Sometimes you need two or three matches to get it alight. You work
until the fire is going, and once loving-kindness is going, always
remember to experience the warmth from time to time. So you’re working
to get the fire going, but you’re also pausing now and again, to
experience the result of your work. And as you see the result of your
work, it gives you encouragement.

So you’re just using this imaginary “kindling” as a means to develop
loving-kindness, to get it started. As you go along, quite naturally
you’ll be aware of the feel of loving-kindness. When the flame starts
to take and there’s a fire starting, you can feel its warmth.
Loving-kindness when it gets started is a very pleasurable emotion.
Once you start to feel its warmth, then you really get into it.

How Metta Grows and Expands its Horizons

Now let go of the imaginary being, and imagine in its place a real
person, someone very close to you emotionally, your best friend maybe.
Choose someone to whom you also find it easy to generate and maintain
loving-kindness towards. With inner speech say to them: “May you live
in happiness. I sincerely wish you joy. I give you my love, without
discrimination. You will always have a place in my heart. I truly care
for you.” — or similar words of your own design. Use whatever arouses
the warm glow of Metta in you heart. Stay with this person. Imagine
they are right before you until the Metta glows bright and constant
around them.

When the Metta glows bright and constant, let go of the image of that
person. Substitute another close acquaintance, creating the feeling of
Metta around them using your inner speech in the same way: “May you
live in happiness…”

Next substitute a whole group of people, perhaps all of the people who
are in the house you are in. Develop the caring glow of Metta around
them, all in the same way. “May you all be happy and well…”

A Lotus of Love in Our Hearts

See if you can imagine Metta to be a golden radiance coming from a
beautiful white lotus flower in the middle of your heart. Allow that
radiance of loving-kindness to expand in all directions, embracing
more and more living beings, until it becomes boundless, filling up
all that you can imagine. “May all living beings, near or far, great
or small, be happy and at peace…” Bathe the whole universe in the
warmth of the golden light of loving-kindness. Stay there for a while.

Now imagine yourself, as if looking in a mirror at yourself. Say with
your inner speech, with full sincerity:

   “I wish me well. I now give myself the gift of happiness. Too long
the door to my heart has been closed to me; now I open it. No matter
what I have done, or will ever do, the door to my own love and respect
is always open to me. I forgive myself unreservedly. Come home. I now
give myself that love which does not judge. I care for this vulnerable
being called ‘me’. I embrace all of me with the loving-kindness of

Invent your own words here to let the warmth of loving-kindness sink
deep inside you, to that part which is most frightened. Let it melt
all resistance until you are one with Metta, non-limiting
loving-kindness, like a mother to her child.

When you feel it is time to conclude, pause for a minute or two to
reflect on how you feel inside. Notice the effect that this meditation
has had on you. Metta meditation can produce heavenly bliss. Now
imagine that golden glow of Metta one more time, originating from the
beautiful white lotus in your heart. Gently draw that golden light
back into the lotus, leaving the warmth outside. When the glow is a
tiny ball of intense light in the center of the lotus, gently close
the petals of the lotus, guarding the seed of Metta within your heart,
ready to be released again in your next Metta meditation. Open your
eyes and get up slowly.


Now to recapitulate what we’ve covered so far: when you practice the
above method of Metta meditation, it is helpful to use easy objects at
the beginning. Again Metta meditation is like lighting a fire. You
start by using some paper and kindling which easily takes the flame.
Once that is alight, you put on some thicker sticks, and when these
are burning well, you add some bigger pieces of wood. Eventually, once
the fire is established, you can put on the big pieces of fuel.

When the fire is roaring you can even put on a big, wet and sappy log,
and there is enough heat for that to catch light and burn too. In this
simile, the “big, wet and sappy log” stands for your “enemy,” someone
you find it especially hard to forgive and be kind to. This enemy is
often yourself. Once Metta has been established on the easy objects,
though, you will be surprised at how even the “enemy” can “take the
flame” of Metta. You find, in this way, that you can actually love
your enemy.

article from Metta Refuge

I Have Arrived, I Am Home – Metta Teachings

Youtube – Deva and Miten singing In The Light Of Love.

A favourite you tube from the past.


“You should go back to your feelings and make peace with them and embrace them, even unpleasant feelings and unpleasant emotions. And if you deny that home, you will be a wanderer all your life. Your home is your perceptions, your mental formations, your consciousness, they are part of your home within.That is the reason why you try and run away from your home. Consumption is what you use in order to forget your home.”

-Thich Nhat Hanh


Last week was  spent in my collecting memorabilia,  (‘things’) together and placing them all in the garage. The memorabilia, in this case, are the many items, ornaments, wall-hangings, paintings, brass Buddhas, shawls and other things I’d bought during my visits to India.  I came to the decision, sometime this winter, that everything must go…. ‘I’ll have a garage sale and sell them all.’  I’d thought, during the dark winter nights.  I’d  finally reached a firm decision about the garage sale, sometime after Christmas. It had taken several years to arrive at this monumental decision of wanting to let  go of  my things. However, once this decision had been  reached, I felt  freer somehow.  Do I feel sentimental about my “things?” – actually, no I don’t. Not only my Indian items but much of my English China too was for the chop. A collection of china dolls and other ornaments will go to my daughter, the rest of my nik-naks, books etc. will all go to the charity shops.

My memorabilia, my things, were part of my home and gave me a sense of who I am. (I thought.) Now, I don’t think of them as being part of me. I don’t want “things”, I only want to live simply.  A life that does not demand that I spend time cleaning and taking care of things that really do not belong to this present moment.

The problem with acquiring things is that they become burdensome after a while. They need attention. They require a place in the house to be looked at, to be appreciated. We buy things to give us pleasure but the pleasure is not always lasting. The house, over time, becomes a museum.

I only wish I’d had this wisdom years ago before I began acquiring things. Pretty as  ‘things’ are, they don’t make us happy. In my case, it was only after several moves and all the packing and storing that “things” require, I realised that my acquisitions took up a lot of my time and hoarding them, cost money. I could have had a better home by living with less.  Giving up the acquisitions of youth and moving on is a good step. It’s one that  helps break with the past and moves me consciously onward  to a more unfettered future. I can grow old not having to worry about my daughter having to take care of a lifetime of acquisitions later on.

I want to share with you some of the wisdom about living simply from Thich Nhat Hanh, in an interview with  Parabola Magazine several years ago. Here is an excerpt.

“At Plum Village the monastics have three changes of clothing, an eating bowl, and a little pocket money – that is all their belongings. You said that too many comforts can be a danger to remaining mindful. In our Western world, and in other parts of the world as well, people seem to believe that by acquiring more comforts, they will have happier homes. Simplicity would also seem to be an important ingredient toward happiness in the home.

We chop carrots mindfully. We brush our teeth mindfully. We become good friends with the self.

Each time our fears arise, we welcome them. We welcome all of our feelings and emotions, happy, sad, fearful. We embrace them as a mother embraces a crying child. We embrace our fears, we calm them and recognise them. We find peace and happiness within our selves. We let go of who we should be or who we would want anyone else to be. It is a slow process.

Only when we are friends with our selves, all of our selves, can we then take care and love another. And to love another takes deep looking, deep caring, deep listening. It takes time. A home is not made of acquisitions. It is made of attention and love.”

Metta Or Loveliness – Metta Teachings

Metta embraces all beings and all conditions, without exception.

I have posted this you tube seveal times before, having enjoyed the chant. This is a newer you tube  but the  Metta chant is once again by Emee Ooi.

Metta, which can be translated from Pali as ‘love’ or ‘loveliness’ is the true nature of metta. Everything in the world can blossom and grow with the power of metta. When we look deep into our hearts and find our own  ‘metta,’ we can then open our hearts to all.  Metta is the first of the brahma-viharas, the seat of the heavenly abodes. The others are compassion, sympathetic joy or gladness and equanimity – all of these emotions steam from metta.

Metta refers to a strength of heart that can stay steady in the face of pleasant and unpleasant circumstances. Sometimes we may not feel warm-hearted, yet with deep commitment to no hatred and dedication to care for all beings we express loving kindness and the intention of good will in challenging circumstances.

What is the purpose of metta practice?

The Buddha first taught loving kindness to a small number of monks who were practising meditation  in a thick forest haunted by tree spirits. The monks were terrified of spirits and wanted to go somewhere else, but the Buddha  told them to stay, with instructions to cultivate metta. As the monks became skilled in metta, the tree spirits stopped their harassment  of the monks and began to appreciate their presence. They went so far as to serve the monks during their retreat. The Buddha had already told them  that he would protect them from all harm and he had. What actually happened, was the loving energy that vibrated from the meditating monks, had good results on the trees spirits, who were lifted by the beauty of the peacefulness.  The Buddha’s ministry continued with excellent results in metta.  He taught metta to a wide variety of students and in a number of distinct situations. He taught metta as a method for gladdening the mind, as a way of strengthening concentration, as an offering of generosity, as a way of meeting both verbal and physical abuse, as a way of overcoming fear and as a way of living in concord in community. Metta is a heartful practice that serves profound purposes.

Tibetan hanging painting symbolising a state of exalted consciousness, surrounded by subsidiary states.

(c.1800 Gouache on cloth.)

The bud

stands for all things,

even those things that don’t flower,

for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;

though sometimes it is necessary

to reteach a thing its loveliness,

to put a hand on the brow

of the flower,

and retell it in words and in touch,

it is lovely

until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing.

–Galway Kinnell


I have to thank Sharon Salzberg for this poem. It appears in her book ‘Loving Kindness’

The Meaning Of Metta – youtube Imee Ooi Metta in Pali

Metta – loving kindness Imee Ooi

I am hoping to add another page to my blog about the Buddhist teaching of Metta. (Loving Kindness) It is a teaching most of us can benefit from.   According to the cosmology of Buddhism there are numberless world- systems inhabited by infinitely varied categories of beings in different stages of evolution. Our earth is only a speck in our world-system, which again is a minute dot in the universe with its innumerable world-systems. Towards all beings everywhere one should radiate thoughts of boundless love. This is developed in the next method of practice, the universalization of metta.

The universalization of metta is effected in these three specific modes:

l. generalized radiation (anodhiso-pharana),
2. specified radiation (odhiso-pharana),
3. directional radiation (disa-pharana).

According to the Patisambhidamagga, the generalized radiation of metta is practiced in five ways, the specified radiation in seven ways, and the directional radiation in ten ways. These ten directional ways may be combined with the five categories of general radiation and with the seven categories of specified radiation, as we will show. In each of these modes of practice, any of the four phrases of the standard metta formula — “May they be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily” — may be used as the thought of radiation. Thus four types of thought applied to five, seven, and 120 objects of metta amount to 528 modes of radiation. Any of these can be used as a vehicle for attaining absorption (jhana) through the technique of metta-bhavana.

Generalized Radiation

The five ways of generalized radiation are as follows:

l. “May all beings (sabbe satta) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.” 2. “May all those that breathe (sabbe pana) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

3. “May all creatures (sabbe bhuta) be free from hostility, free from affliction. free from distress; may they live happily.”

4. “May all those with individual existence (sabbe puggala) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

5. “May all those who are embodied (sabbe attabhavapariyapanna) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

Specified Radiation

The seven ways of specified radiation are as follows:

1. “May all females (sabba itthiyo) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.” 2. “May all males (sabbe purisa) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

3. “May all the Noble Ones (sabbe ariya) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

4. “May all worldlings (sabbe anariya) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

5. “May all gods (sabbe deva) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

6. “May all human beings (sabbe manussa) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

7. “May all those in states of woe (sabbe vinipatika) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

Directional Radiation

The ten ways of directional radiation involve sending thoughts of metta to all beings in the ten directions. This method, in its basic form, is applied to the class of beings (satta), the first of the five generalized objects of metta. But it can be developed further by extending metta through each of the five ways of generalized radiation and the seven ways of specified radiation, as we will see.

1. “May all beings in the eastern direction be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

2. “May all beings in the western direction be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

3. “May all beings in the northern direction be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

4. “May all beings in the southern direction be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

5. “May all beings in the northeastern direction be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

6. “May all beings in the southwestern direction be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

7. “May all beings in the northwestern direction be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

8. “May all beings in the southeastern direction be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

9. “May all beings below (in the downward direction) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

10. “May all beings above (in the upward direction) be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

“May all those that breathe life in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

“May all creatures in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

1-10. “May all those with individual existence in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

“May all those who are embodied in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

“May all females in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

“May all males in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

“May all Noble Ones in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

“May all worldlings in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

“May all gods in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

“May all human beings in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”

“May all those in states of woe in the eastern direction… above be free from hostility, free from affliction, free from distress; may they live happily.”


In this technique of universalizing metta, each of the five categories of generalized radiation refers to the total dimension of animate, sentient, or organic existence, belonging to the three mundane spheres, namely, the kamaloka, the sphere of sensory existence where desire is the primal motivation; the rupaloka, the realm of the radiant Brahma gods with subtle form; and the arupaloka, the realm of the formless beings with pure mental life. Whether it is a “being,” or that which “breathes,” or a “creature,” or that which has “individual existence,” or that which “is embodied” — all refer to the totality of animate existence, the distinction being that each term expresses comprehensively a certain aspect of life in its entirety.

While visualizing each category one should keep in mind the specific aspect expressed by its designation. If one trains the mind in the manner of a “mental drill” after having exercised it with the first two methods, the meaning of the five unspecified or generalized terms will become clear. By the time one has completed the two methods, the consciousness will be sufficiently developed and all-embracing. And with such a consciousness, when each of these universal concepts is grasped, the universalization becomes effortless. It may be pointed out that visualization of each of these is no longer of individual objects, but of a concept which is total and all-embracing. The radiation in this case becomes a “flowing out” of love in abundant measure towards the conceptualized mental object — all beings, all creatures, etc.

Each of the seven categories of specified radiation comprehends a part of the total range of life, and in combination with the others expresses the whole. Itthi refers to the female principle in general, incorporating all females among the devas, human beings, animals, demons, spirits and denizens of hell. Purisa means the male principle evident in all the spheres of existence, and both itthi and purisa together comprehend the entirety. Again, from another angle, the ariyas or the spiritually transformed seers, and the anariyas or worldlings bound to the wheel of becoming, comprehend the totality. Ariyas are those who have entered the transcendental path; they are to be found in the human world and the celestial worlds and therefore they constitute the tip of the pyramid of sentient existence. Worldlings are in all the spheres of existence and constitute the body of the pyramid from the base to the tip, so to say. Likewise, the three categories of deva, manussa and vinipatika — gods, human beings, and those fallen into states of woe — comprehend the totality in terms of cosmological status. Devas, the radiant celestial beings, comprise the upper layer, human beings the middle layer, and vinipatikas the lower layer of the cosmological mound.

The “mental drill” in terms of directional radiation, the radiation of metta to the above twelve categories of beings in the ten directions, makes the universalization of metta a most exhilarating experience. As one mentally places oneself in a particular direction and then lets love flow out and envelop the entire region, one literally transports the mind to the sublimest heights leading to samadhi, concentrated absorption of the mind.

When one projects this total wish for others to dwell happily, free from hostility, affliction and distress, not only does one elevate oneself to a level where true happiness prevails, but one sets in motion powerful vibrations conducing to happiness, cooling off enmity, relieving affliction and distress. It will be seen, therefore, that universal love simultaneously infuses well-being and happiness and removes the mental and physical suffering caused by the mental pollutants of hostility, enmity and anger.

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