Loving Kindness: My Favorite Sutra
By Jeremiah Suarez
My favourite sutra is Discourse on Advantages of Loving-kindness. Each day, I contemplate it. I clear my mind first and realize what’s most important to me. I want to walk the middle road, and live a life full of contentment and peace. Having a peaceful countenance day by day, hour by hour, second by second, is the mantra of my existence. To be part of the Sangha and be a true Buddhist, I must be peaceful in my treatment of others, as well. Loving Kindness.
Buddhism may be the hardest path to follow, in my opinion, as breaking free of clinging and seeking a peaceful path can seem nearly impossible at times.
At those times, and every day, I seek out the sutra of Buddha, the Discourse on Advantages of Loving-kindness and I try to repeat if often. It speaks of 11 benefits that you can enjoy if you can achieve metta, according to the Buddha.
Buddha taught, “eleven advantages are to be expected from the release (deliverance) of heart by familiarizing oneself with thoughts of loving-kindness (metta), by the cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle (of expression), and also as something to be treasured, by living in conformity with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice, and by establishing them.”
I want follow the Dharma although it’s a constant struggle to give up my habitual nature as I yearn to follow the Buddha’s words and teachings as well as I possibly can.
I meditate on this sutra often, as I strive to reach my goal. If I can but focus on loving-kindness all the time and make it a point to meditate on this, it can allow me to deal with the stresses and problematic events of my life each and every day. To look at things in this way is what gives me strength to follow Buddhism fully and completely. As I said before, I don’t find it easy but my effort is second to none.
This discourse is just a short sutra (and I’ve included a translation of it below.) But what more needs to be said? I especially like when the Buddha says that we must think of loving-kindness as much as possible. For it is only when you meditate on being as giving of your heart as possible that you can identify the result in your actions. The better I am at this the more I can reap the benefits of treating my fellow brothers in this world with a contagious kindness. But not just to humans, I must show peace and kindness towards animals, as well. In this way, I enjoy animals and the best way I can seek peace with them is to not eat meat. By being a vegetarian I can achieve what the Buddha said, to be “dear to non-human beings.” And yes, another by-product or result of my endeavours, is that I will be a happier person on the inside, as well. We all must be able to laugh as much as possible as life is too short to worry and react in ways that only increase your negativity. Therefore, I always look at the light-hearted side of life.
I try to recite this sutra as much as possible, and if I find myself faltering for the words, I read and meditate on them a little bit extra for that day or even for a few days. I find other sutras comforting as well, but I like this one the most as it teaches me to do my best at achieving loving-kindness, and the positive results it can bring not only to me, but to the world around me.
Discourse 6 – Discourse On Advantages Of Loving-kindness
Thus have I heard:
On one occasion the Blessed One was living near Savatthi at Jetavana at Anathapindika’s monastery. Then he addressed the monks saying, “Monks.” — “Venerable Sir,” said the monks, by way of reply. The Blessed One then spoke as follows:
“Monks, eleven advantages are to be expected from the release (deliverance) of heart by familiarizing oneself with thoughts of loving-kindness (metta), by the cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle (of expression), and also as something to be treasured, by living in conformity with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice, and by establishing them.
What are the eleven?
“He sleeps in comfort.
He awakes in comfort.
He sees no evil dreams.
He is dear to human beings.
He is dear to non-human beings.
Devas (gods) protect him.
Fire, poison, and sword cannot touch him.
His mind can concentrate quickly.
His countenance is serene.
He dies without being confused in mind.
If he fails to attain arahantship (the highest sanctity here and now, he will be reborn in the brahma-world.
“These eleven advantages, monks, are to be expected from the release of heart by familiarizing oneself with thoughts of loving-kindness, by cultivation of loving-kindness, by constantly increasing these thoughts, by regarding loving-kindness as a vehicle (of expression), and also as something to be treasured, by living in conformity with these thoughts, by putting these ideas into practice and by establishing them.”
So said the Blessed One. Those monks rejoiced at the words of the Blessed One.
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