Saturday, May 3, 2008

How to train yourself to practice compassion and loving-kindness

Suppose a man came with a hoe and a basket, and he said, "I shall make this great earth to be without earth"; and he dug here and there and strewed here and there, and spat here and there and relieved himself here and there, saying "Be without earth, be without earth." What do you think, bhikkhus, would that man make this great earth to be without earth? — No, venerable sir. Why is that? Because this great earth is deep and measureless; it cannot possibly be made to be without earth. So the man would reap weariness and disappointment.

So too, bhikkhus, there are these five modes of speech that others may use when they address you. Their speech may be timely or untimely, true or untrue, gentle or harsh, for good or for harm, and may be accompanied by thoughts of loving-kindness or by inner hate. Now this is how you should train yourselves here: "Our minds will remain unaffected, we shall utter no bad words, we shall abide friendly and compassionate, with thoughts of loving-kindness and no inner hate. We shall abide with loving-kindness in our hearts extending to that person, and we shall dwell extending it to the entire world as our object, with our hearts abundant, exalted, measureless in loving-kindness, without hostility or ill-will." That is how you should train yourselves.
-Majjhima Nikaya, Sutta 21

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