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We close the first full day chanting Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu after an evening of radiating metta and practising the Seven-Fold Puja together, dedicating the merits of a days study, discussion, meditation and ritual.
Earlier today, in his presentation, Saccanama evoked Metta through a variety of canonical and poetic sources, referring to the seminars which Bhante led on the Karaniya Metta Sutta, edited in Living with Kindness, as well as various suttas from the Pali Canon. He described the crucial place of empathy and imagination in any experience of metta or compassion and took us through the cultivation of loving-kindness as a response to ill-will, conflict, and violence - as a path to beauty, insight, and spiritual community.
“A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own.“ – Shelley
Each day we’ll have a presentation on an aspect of metta in the mornings, (which you’ll be able to watch as soon as our internet speed allows!), and the afternoons will be devoted to the Bodhicitta practice, variations on a theme, led by a few members of the team drawing on their own approaches and inspirations.
This afternoon, during the practice, I continued to be affected by a story I heard yesterday. A Manchester United player, accepting the trophy for their recent Europa League win, dedicated the trophy to the victims of the recent Manchester bombing and said that if he could exchange the trophy for their lives, then he would. The language of dedication and exchange is natural and instinctive to us as human beings - to dedicate ourselves for the benefit of others, and the wish to exchange suffering for ease, as simple as the breath flowing in and out. The heart of the Bodhicitta practice.
“Then, with his heart filled with loving-kindness, he dwells suffusing one quarter, the second, the third, the fourth. Thus he dwells suffusing the whole world, upwards, downwards, across, everywhere, always with a heart filled with loving-kindness, abundant, unbounded, without hate or ill-will, leaving nothing untouched in the sensuous sphere.” – Tevijja Sutta, Digha Nikaya
May All Beings Be Happy.