Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Metta World Peace" rules!

Wisdom Quarterly

It is not often one can look up to a sports star. (Unless it's a towering human titan with remnant DNA from our gigantic past due to manipulation from fallen space beings like asuras, nagas, and devas). But Ron Artest is different. He would not let anything stand in the way of a name change to wear kindness, friendliness (mettā or maitri in Sanskrit), altruism, and peace like a badge for all to see. (Badges are available from tee-shirt dealers in the form of yellow jerseys for $32.99).

() From the sutra on loving kindness. By the power of this discourse, the "demons" and ogres (yakkhas) do not bring up fearful visions. A person making effort regarding this instruction day and night (by reciting and practicing) sleeps comfortably and is freed of bad dreams among other benefits.

Metta is a Pali (an exclusively Buddhist language) word that means "altruistic love" -- loving kindness, loving friendliness, agape, fraternity, eudaimonia, non-enmity, non-animosity, non-separation.

We are all connected on some level. And in recognition of this, to break down the barriers set up by illusion, we practice loving-kindness meditation. world peace speaks for itself.

And it speaks of one of the results of cultivating metta. The other result is immediate, our own peace of mind, relief, and reconnection.

There are 11 benefits to developing metta, and those are to be expected from someone who develops metta to the level of absorption (jhana). Otherwise, the benefits may sound preposterous and overblown. Metta cultivated to any extent benefits oneself, others, and everyone. It is not possible to benefit others without benefiting oneself.

It is altruism nonetheless, just as harming others invariably harms oneself. Altruism exists but is not achieved instantly. As the delusion of self and separation fall away by progressive insight, metta is the natural outcome. There is no wisdom without compassion.

There are three poisons and their opposites, the Three Antidotes:
  1. Altruism or non-greed (alobha): selflessness, concern for the welfare of others, a traditional virtue in Buddhist and many other cultures, the opposite of selfishness. Instead of being "selfish," one expresses an enlightened self-interest by being both for one's own welfare and the welfare of others simultaneously, knowing that any benefit to others does indeed benefit oneself now and/or in the future
  2. Loving-kindness or non-hatred (adosa): metta, consideration for others, friendliness, nonresistance, acceptance, allowing. It is the opposite of frustration that flows in harmony with others and the situation, accepting what is and choosing what to do from there (even if that means working to oppose it). It is freedom from anger, cruelty, wrath, and annoyance (which is where anger starts).
  3. Wisdom or non-delusion (amoha): insight, realization of the Four Ennobling Truths, which reveals our interdependence and interconnectedness. Far from being alone and separated, we are intimately tied and experiencing much of the same thing. Therefore, just as we would want to be treated we would be wise to treat others. It will come back to us by the mysterious workings of karma.