In my current daily reading (after meditating) I read the quote below and thought it worth sharing with you; it’s so powerfully affirming of the practice. It is a foundation practice in the sense that every benefit really flows from kindness to self and other. My private preceptor Buddhadasa (the guy who ordained me into our order and was a key person in my own training) once said to me that we should start every meditation sit with a short metta ‘shot’ as without metta no insight can arise…..
The practice of meditation is not only the heart of the path to liberation but a source of merit in its own right. Wholesome meditation practices, even those that do not directly lead to insight, help to purify the grosser levels of mental defilement and uncover deeper dimensions of the mind’s potential purity and radiance. Text V,5(1) declares that the type of meditation that is most fruitful for the production of mundane merit is the development of loving kindness (mettabhavana).
The practice of loving kindness, however is only one among a set of four meditations called ‘the divine abodes’ (brahmavihara) or ‘immeasurable states’ (appamanna): the development of loving kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity, which are to be extended boundlessly to all sentient beings. Briefly, loving kindess (metta) is the wish for the welfare and happiness of all beings; compassion (karuna), the feeling of empathy for all those afflicted with suffering; altruistic joy (mudita), the feeling of happiness at the success and good fortune of others; and equanimity (upekkha), a balanced reaction to joy and misery, which protects one from emotional agitation.’
pp. 154, 155 In The Buddha’s Words
I hope you can join us on Thursday night at the Croquet club at 7 pm for our metta practice