Triratna Resources

Dharma Teaching - Beginners Meditation: Introductions to the Metta Bhavana

On Sat, 16 July, 2016 - 23:24
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Centre Team

Introducing Metta Bhavana is a highly-polished 32-page guide to the Metta Bhavana developed by Ruchiraketu in 2004. He introduces it thus:

The ideas given in Introducing Metta Bhavana are to give practical tips for designing experiential exercises while introducing Metta Bhavana to newcomers. I hope they will stimulate more experimentation with an experiential approach to learning.

They are not a complete course in themselves but are provided to supplement whatever teaching you might normally do. Adapt them to suit your own style and purposes. They are not procedures to follow but just examples of an experiential approach for you to modify and adapt for yourself.

Introducing Metta Bhavana is divided into the following sections:

  • Introduction
  • What meditation is and isn’t
  • What meditation is
  • What meditation isn’t
  • The Four types of meditation
  • Short meditation
  • The four types of meditation
  • Option for experiencing the four types
  • The four types of meditation
  • Short experiment – the value in being systematic
  • Becoming aware of the body (body scan)
  • Short experiment – the effect of ‘kind awareness’
  • Preparing for bhavana – what do you not want to change?
  • Preparing for bhavana – ‘maintaining’ before ‘developing’
  • Avoiding the pitfalls in the first stage of the Metta Bhavana
  • Exploring how to develop positive emotions and metta
  • Introduce the idea of intentionally developing positive emotions
  • Introduce the idea of metta
  • Explore (in small groups) how to develop metta
  • Designing a 25 minute loving-kindness meditation in 5 stages
  • Short exploration – scaling questions for positive emotions
  • Other options
  • Exploration – how would you prepare for Metta Bhavana?
  • Life ‘off the cushion’, and a few homework ideas
  • Expressing metta in daily life
  • Some homework ideas
  • Handouts
  • The Four types of meditation
  • Developing loving-kindness (Metta Bhavana)
  • Maintaining then developing (3 steps diagram)

Although the sections are arranged roughly in the order in which they might be used on a meditation course, many of them can be used independently for a single class. Some of them overlap and repeat similar points so it’s worth scanning through them all to choose or adapt the ones you want.

They have all been successfully tried out in meditation courses at the Cambridge Buddhist Centre over the last couple of years. However be aware that whenever you introduce an experiential element, people may not respond in the way that you expect! If you can demonstrate an open and exploratory attitude at such times then they won’t be setbacks but opportunities for learning….

Do let me have your feedback and suggestions for improvements in the comments.

Ruchiraketu August 2004


The Handouts on the Metta Bhavana by Dhammaloka were developed for a retreat at Vajraloka.

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