Results 1 to 34 of 34


  1. #1


    Hi Guys,

    A comment by Roky on another thread reminded me that I have been meaning to introduce a touch of "Metta (Loving Kindness) Practice" around here for awhile. Well, now is a good time.

    For those not familiar with the word ...

    Mett? (a word in the ancient Buddhist P?li language) has been translated as "loving-kindness," "benevolence," "good will," "love" and "sympathy." It is one of the ten P?ramit?s (Virtues) of Buddhism. The mett? bh?van? ("cultivation of mett?") is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism. The object of mett? meditation is loving kindness (but, of course, without demands or attachment). Traditionally, the practice begins with the meditator cultivating loving kindness towards themselves, then their loved ones, friends, strangers, enemies (perhaps the most difficult part of the practice) and finally towards all sentient beings.
    While I do not intend this to replace our core practice of Shikantaza by any means, I have taught at some Zen Sangha that have well introduced a bit of Metta Practice (we have similar practices in Soto Zen Buddhism, but this really comes from the Vipassana tradition). I think it adds a little something vital to our practice on the "Compassion" side of the equation.

    I might suggest a few minutes of Metta practice as a nice way to end the day before bed (or following the closing of your evening Zazen), perhaps in the form of reciting or chanting the following ... and it is also good during your day when encountering folks who "just tick you off"! :evil:

    (Because we have folks in the Sangha very experienced in this Practice, please offer any insights and comments you can, and we can adjust how we do the following. The following is still in "Beta" version, and I will post the chant as a permanent suggested practice once we get it refined. For reasons of our Soto Practice, I have modified some phrasing to be more embracing of conditions as they are) ...

    To begin, take a few moments to quiet your mind, and focus your attention on the experience and sensations of loving kindness. You will begin by offering Metta to yourself. If distracting thoughts arise, acknowledge them, let them pass, and return to your Metta practice much as in Shikantaza. While reciting, try to maintain the experience and sensation of loving kindness to the people and other beings mentioned.

    1. May I feel safe and free of enmity.

    2. May I be peaceful and content.

    3. May I be healthy or at ease in my ills.

    4. May I have ease of well being, and accept all the conditions of the world.

    Next, repeat the chant with a specific close loved one in mind ...

    1. May she(he) feel safe and free of enmity.

    2. May she feel peaceful and content.

    3. May she be healthy or at ease in her ills.

    4. May she have ease of well being, and accept all the conditions of the world.

    Then, repeat in succession for a specific close friend, a specific neutral person (someone you neither like nor dislike), a difficult person (no need to start with the most difficult person, but someone whom you have a distaste for ... However, it is a good practice to add true enemies or hateful individuals), then all beings:

    1. May they feel safe and free of enmity.

    2. May they feel peaceful and content.

    3. May they be healthy or at ease in their ills.

    4. May they have ease of well being, and accept all the conditions of the world.
    I do not want to say it is a "prayer" or not (most folks hanging around Treeleaf long enough know that I am an open minded agnostic who "winks" at heaven ... just in case :wink: ) ... or it may be just our aspiration for a better world. We can leave it at that, for that is enough.

    What do you think?

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2


    Seems fine to me

    Long ago I did this when I went to some Friends of the Western Buddhist Order (FWBO) retreats, but we did it for the full meditation period. Personally I like the idea of it being a shorter stand alone practise as you suggest.

    In gassho, Kev

  3. #3


    It's odd that this is coming up just as I was thinking of adding this to my practice. Thank you, Jundo!

  4. #4
    Member roky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    silver city, new mexico, usa


    thanks much, jundo

    my first teacher was into no goals, no focus, but he made an exception for metta -- he felt a boost was needed to counteract the effect of "negative" conditioning, "closing of the heart" -- so he felt it was a bit of cheating, but recommended it anyway-- and no "buts" -- you just send out the love, and let it go, light on the conceptualization

    at the very least, i've found it is a good "thermometer" -- last time i did a long retreat, it was almost 2 weeks before i could send metta to myself -- and way back, it was a looooooong time before i could send it to my mom

    some folks have a lot of trouble with sending it to their "self" -- with this, and any difficult subjects, it seems to help to visualize the person's face, in a happy state-- for the real bad guys, even see them at an early age(baby adolf!!!?? - whoa!)
    and it can be very simple, say,"may jundo be free from his troubles, may he live happily" -- staying with it a bit, finding that warm spot in the heart, moving on to the next person -- eventually being able to do it for "all beings" -- and some folks need to change the order around, whatever works -- i definitely can't do my self first -- and see the rationalization, like, "wait, i cant love adolf, he's too bad"

    i think stephen levine, among others, did a good job with it -- think he said something about loving yourself as you would your only child

    and yes, this can be done overboard -- but i think shikantaza practice will counteract that tendency " -- without the balance, the metta can become "forced", not genuine, a bit like another drug -- it should be used to bring the person back to a healthy state, not to keep going off into bliss land -- but for anyone feeling very closed down, that is not a concern

    i think it should be used like medicine -- too much of even a good medicine is not healthy, just like not taking medicine when you need it can jeopardize wellness -- in my own practice, its not like a vitamin to be taken indefinitely -- but it is another way of finding out "what you're up to", how closed down you've become -- again -- and giving it a gentle nudge in the other direction

    gassho, bob

  5. #5


    Oh Jundo, you are a man after my own heart. *sniff*

    I've been doing metta before shikantaza. But I don't sit on the zafu while I'm doing it because I kind of like to keep them separate (sometimes I metta while I'm doing kinhin or just sitting on a chair or bed). I don't care what anyone says, metta-karuna is the main point of practice for me. I could care less about "enlightenment". Then top it off with some Bodhisattva vows and I'm ready for bed.

    My practice 'chant' or 'prayer', if you will, is similar to what you posted, Jundo, except I end with "may I take care of myself happily". Then when I add other people I end that part with "may we take care of ourselves happily". I DON'T CARE IF IT'S CORNY! :mrgreen: I do kind of like your's better.

    I think it works great with Shikantaza because getting too much into metta is a sort of attachment or delusion. On the other hand, practice with no metta seems...empty ( :wink: ) to me.

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Redding California USA


    I'll give it a try.


  7. #7


    I was not familiar with this practice, it would seem to be a wonderful addition to our Shikantaza. Thank you Jundo Gassho Kent

  8. #8


    Before i started here i used to do Vipassana style stuffs. I still do this from time to time as it is - on a sort of as needed basis ops:
    not while "just sitting" but before hand. I think its a fine idea, so long as it makes your "belly warm"- non-do it! If it really doesn't feel right then toss it to the curb with trash. I know I have heard that somewheres...

    with much Metta and a deep Gassho, Dirk

  9. #9


    I find that the practice of mudita, or sympathetic joy, is a very nice complement to metta practice. (Though I think it's somewhat false to say these are different practices, instead of aspects of one single practice.) Just taking notice of the joy of others around you and letting it into your heart, it makes it easier to love. I like doing this on the train. Some kid giggling, or someone drunkenly singing, or any number of odd things, become so contagious, and the love just flows. Of course compassion is the other "bookend" to metta--opening oneself to the pain of others. It can hurt, but it can also be an even more powerful way to open the heart than sympathetic joy. I tend to start with mudita because I find that one the easiest, especially on hard days. And if I can get that going, the other stuff comes too, eventually.

  10. #10


    In my family, we have been doing a very simple metta practice with our daughter since she was 3 or 4. Every night, when we put her to bed, we say the following:

    "I love myself,
    May I be healthy, happy, and peaceful inside.
    I spread this loving-kindness out;
    May Mommy and Daddy,
    Grandmas and Grandpas,
    Aunties and Uncles,
    Cousins, friends, and everyone else
    be healthy, happy, and peaceful inside.
    I am thankful for them all, and all that I have."

    My wife put this together, and I find it is a nice way to end the evening, and it is a form of metta practice that even a child can understand.

    Feel free to borrow/expand on it, if you like.



  11. #11


    Greetings Jundo!

    I think this is great. Sometimes one needs a more forceful action to improve one's orientation.

    who loves sitting along with Jundo

  12. #12


    Hi Jundo... I'm very glad to begin doing this -- became interested in metta practice a few months ago but couldn't find a way into it on my own.


  13. #13


    Hi all,

    I find that it is a good practice for some work situations, too. You know, the one where the very irritating customer or coworker shows up at your door. It has helped me find folks to be a lot less irritating over time.



  14. #14
    Member roky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    silver city, new mexico, usa


    steph - sounds like you have more experience with metta practice than i do -- hope it helps some

    gassho, bob

  15. #15


    Being a huge fan of Pema Chodron, I've been familiar with this for some time now, though have been havig a somewhat difficult time actually putting it into practice. Another she teaches which I enjoy and that I have had interesting experiences with is Tonglen.

    Thanks Jundo!

  16. #16


    Hello all,

    I too think it would be a great addition to our practice. I have read about Metta in Tricycle magazine and have been wanting to try it. I just wasn't sure how to get thank you Jundo, I welcome the introduction.

    Leland - thank you for sharing your bedtime Metta that you use with your child. I've been trying to come up with a similar practice to help my children express gratitude for all the people and love that we have in our life. Your post has inspired me and I'm going to write one of my own from your example.

    one love and one heart,
    Kelly Rok

  17. #17


    Thanks Jundo

    I think this is a wonderful daily practice to add to my regular sitting & God knows with some of the people I work with I need it

    Zencast also advocates this practice and some of the talks and guided Metta meditation can be found here: ... h&search=1

    Kind regards


  18. #18


    I've had some really positive experiences with this practice and I'm so glad we're exploring it here at Treeleaf!

    Thanks for the Zencast link, Jools. I like to listen to podcasts on my way to work.

  19. #19


    No problem - if you like those podcasts you will like these

    You can also find these on iTUNES

    Kind regards


  20. #20


    Jools. Thank you for posting the podcast.

    I use this Metta practice (method 1), which is pretty much the same as what Jundo posted: ... el365.html
    (A extensive article about Metta)


  21. #21


    Love is action. When you practice loving-kindness, you are the first person to benefit from this practice.

  22. #22


    I have been aware of metta practice for some time, but only dabbled in it. Interestingly, my life is at a point where metta, as a practice, seems appropriate. So here I go...

    I like method 1, Will. Thanks. The wording seems to flow a little better than in Jundo's version.
    Sorry, Jundo.

  23. #23


    ...blissful light, with a Chenrezig on the tip of each ray, streams out of you and touches each and every sentient being--those whom you like, those whom you don't, and those you don't know. When this glowing light touches each sentient being, it performs two functions: it purifies them of their negativities, and it inspires them to realize all the stages of the path to enlightenment. We may start imagining the light touching the beings in the room and gradually spreading out to those in the area, the country, the continent, the world, and the universe. Or we can start with our friends and family, then radiate light to strangers, and finally to those who have harmed us or of whom we're afraid. Or, we can first radiate light to human beings, then animals, hungry ghosts, hell beings, demi-gods, and gods. We can use our creativity and imagination when doing this visualization. Each meditation session can have a different emphasis.

    It's very easy to love sentient beings in a general way. But it's more effective to be specific in our visualizations. Send light to the guy who cut you off on the highway. Send light to the IRS employee who questioned your tax return. Send light to the terrorist who thinks that killing others in the name of God will cause him to be reborn in heaven. Send light to government leaders who think that bombing others solves problems. Send light to your teenager who leaves his room a mess and gets mad when you comment on it. Send light to specific people you know and care about, people who are having problems, strangers, and people you don't like. Send it to hospitals, the Middle East, the inner cities, and Beverly Hills. There's suffering everywhere. The light frees sentient beings from their suffering.

    --from Cultivating a Compassionate Heart: The Yoga Method of Chenrezig by Thubten Chodron, foreword by H.H. the Dalai Lama, published by Snow Lion Publications

    Many blessings,

  24. #24
    Member roky's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    silver city, new mexico, usa


    as may have been previously pointed out, basic awareness(zazen) is considered by some to be a pure form of metta -- twas thaddeus golas(lazy man's guide to enlightenment), for instance, who pointed out that it is a willingness to be aware of whatever "is" that is the most basic form of love -- that is, if we have co-created this all, then it is a willingness to be present with our creation -- and rejecting any of it, denying it, is self-hate -- ithis does not mean passively agreeing with it, it is appropriate to take action -- if you are unwilling to conceive of dangerous people, however, you will probably bump into them alot

    in its least new-agey form, awareness is simply "attention" -- anyone who has worked with the profoundly developmentally disabled, has seen the effect of simple attention -- or with a child -- what we all want, as social beings, is attention, and its most potent form, touch -- for this reason, the old technique of "timing out" is effective, much more effective than negative touch(hitting)

    another form of attention: respect -- when you are acknowledged, with no manipulation -- as in "gassho"

    and, of course, samu, as we go about our work with a caring attitude -- when i'm sanding the boat in hot sun, sweat running off me, onto the paint, beginning to want to be elsewhere, thats resistance -- when i note that, just come back to the sanding motion, no time, thats love -- think stephen levine called the technique "soft-belly"

    as thaddeus pointed out, then, the "technique" is "no resistance" -- whatever comes up, note it(not literally), and move on(no choice, anyway!) -- we might then call zazen an "unfocused" metta -- what is referred to as "metta" is powerful in that it is focused, not choiceless, awareness -- we somewhat more aggressively focus that awareness to open our heart towards that which we have previously resisted, to attain a certain goal -- but therein also lies its weakness -- which is why i think both forms of attention, both unfocused(zazen), and focused(metta) are helpful, in balance


    gassho, bob

  25. #25


    Quote Originally Posted by lora
    ...blissful light, with a Chenrezig on the tip of each ray, streams out of you and touches each and every sentient being--those whom you like, those whom you don't, and those you don't know. When this glowing light touches each sentient being, it performs two functions: it purifies them of their negativities, and it inspires them to realize all the stages of the path to enlightenment.
    Thank you, Lora. I had to do a bit of research to realize that "Chenrezig" is Avalokiteshvara, also known as, Kannon Bodhisattva!

    From an absolute point of view, Chenrezig is without origin; he exists primordially. However, there is a beginning of his manifestation in the physical realm.

    Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light who reigns in the Land of Bliss, one day conceived that in order to help beings a deity in the form of a young man should be manifested. His right eye then emitted a beam of white light that took the form of Chenrezig. ... Chenrezig's body then emitted six beams of light that produced emanations whose destiny was to act for the benefit of all in each of the six realms of being: humans, gods, demigods, animals, hungry ghosts, and hell beings.

    He thus worked for many eons. Then one day, he looked with the eye of knowledge from the top of mount Meru, the center of the Universe, to see if he had liberated many beings and if the number of beings in samsara (cyclic existence) had diminished. Alas, he saw that they were still innumerable.

    He was very sad. Being discouraged, he thought, "I do not have the capability to help beings; it is better that I rest in nirvana (liberation from cyclic existence)."

    This thought contradicted his promise, and he burst into a thousand pieces and felt intense suffering.

    Amitabha, by the power of his grace, reconstructed the body of Chenrezig. He gave him eleven faces and a thousand arms similar to the thousand spokes of the universal monarch's wheel and a thousand eyes, symbolic of the thousand buddhas of the present kalpa. Chenrezig could henceforth help the beings in this form as well as with his other forms of two or four arms. Amitabha asked Chenrezig to take his promise with still more vigor than before and then transmitted to him the six syllable mantra: OM MANI PADME HUNG.
    Oh, those Tibetans know how to tell it, baby! They are just so much more colorful than we are. Makes me want to burst into a thousand pieces! Tonight, I offer Metta to Ven. Thubten Chodron.

    Quote Originally Posted by roky
    as may have been previously pointed out, basic awareness(zazen) is considered by some to be a pure form of metta -- twas thaddeus golas(lazy man's guide to enlightenment), for instance, who pointed out that it is a willingness to be aware of whatever "is" that is the most basic form of love
    One historical danger in Buddhist practice arises from the perspective tasted whereby, in emptiness and in dropping all divisions, there is no "victim", no "victimizer" and no possibility of harm or violence. So, this leads to the conclusion that we "save all sentient beings" by realizing that there are no sentient beings with a "self" in need of saving. Thus, everybody is "saved" from the outset!

    Over the centuries (and with many many exceptions), this led to an attitude of withdrawal and indifference to social injustice and suffering in this world and body (after all, according to some schools of Buddhism, this world is supposed to embody suffering ... and the point of Buddhism is to be freed from this world, not to repair this world).

    Social engaged Buddhism is rather a response to all that.

    Gassho, Jundo (beaming rays of Chenrezig to all of you)

  26. #26


    I found this on moonpointer,com and thought it a great description of the metta developing porcess:
    Imagine spending your life in a little room with only one locked window so dirty it barely admits any light. You'd probably think the world was a pretty dim and dreary place, full of strangely shaped creatures that cast terrifying shadows against the dirty glass as they passed your room. But suppose one day you spill some water on the window, or a bit of rain dribbles in after a storm, and you use a rag or a corner of your shirtsleeve to dry it off. And as you do that, a little of the dirt that had accumulated on the glass comes away. Suddenly a small patch of light comes through the glass. Curious, you might rub a little harder, and as more dirt comes away, more light streams in. Maybe, you think, the world isn't so dark and dreary after all. Maybe it's the window.

    You go to the sink and get more water (and maybe a few more rags), and rub and rub until the whole surface of the window is free of dirt and grime. The light simply pours in, and you recognize, perhaps for the first time, that all those strangely shaped shadows that used to scare you every time they passed are people - just like you! And from the depths of your awareness arises an instinctive urge to form a social bond - to go out there on the street and just be with them. In truth, you haven't changed anything at all. The world, the light, the people were always there. You just couldn't see them because your vision was obscured. But now you see it all, what a difference it makes! This is what, in the Buddhist tradition, we call the dawning of compassion, the awakening of an inborn capacity to identify with and understand the experience of others.

    - The Joy of Living: Unlocking the Secret & Science of Happiness

  27. #27



  28. #28


    Being a very visual person, I have used (am using) a method by Ayya Khema. She suggests imagining a soft yellow light radiating from within. That light is metta. The yellow color, warm and friendly, induces metta within ourselves. The yellow light grows as we become more comfortable and moves out of ourselves to emcompass our family, friends, aquaintances, etc. until we have infused the universe with that yellow glow. It is very peaceful and relaxing and after the meditation I have more love for myself and others.



  29. #29


    Hi All,

    I will be introducing a suggested daily Metta Practice during next week, which I will recommend we all try daily (there's sure no harm in that!! ). With all the other things on our plate for the Jukai, Rakusu sewing, etc., I have waited a bit.

    Anyway, please look for that in the coming week. Gassho, Jundo

  30. #30


    Thanks Jundo,

    I am going to give it a try keeping your instructions in mind . I like the formulations a lot, especially the "with ease" part.



  31. #31


    We just recently posted a talk from the Toledo Zen Center about Metta Practice, perhaps some will find it helpful:


    - Rin

  32. #32


    My metta practice the other morning evolved into a visualized group hug that started with me and then included teacher Jundo, my dad, a friend, a neighbor, and ended with Osama bin Laden. It was pretty cool!

  33. #33


    Hi everybody,

    I think Jundo's initiative to introduce Metta practice is very important. Since I started sitting ( yesterday and a longtime ago) I have met countless people involved on the Zen path and I want to share a very clear observation I made over the years: Zen can be practiced with great enthusisam, dedication but if compassion is not cultivated the guys can end up like army boys and skinheads, harsh, almost violent and often abusive. I don't exagerate. As I started, in my teens, I was one of them; Intolerant and dead sure to be right surrounded by a flock of shaved ultra-sitters can could beat the lifeout of anybody different. If we are not careful enough, we may fall into this trap even in the name of holy crusades against the fake Dharma! It ranges from people jocking about other Zen teachers or traditions to the most extreme folks who confuse Zeal and Zen. In fact the traditional Japanese Zen monastic training can be seen as an army training, a boot camp style approach in which bullying, physical abuse are a daily reality. Dogen warned his students about the fact that one had to balance practice, compassion and wisdom, and people needed the "spirit and attitude of an old woman, of a grandmother". Otherwise, Zen that doesn't cure anything won't help your original problem and even give you a very good ground to make it worse. I have countless examples of this and I am sure you also do. My daily practice is to say thank you for everything and to everybody, and even for things I don't necessarily like or enjoy. It is a simple practice, and you can do it everywhere, in any kind of situation. Very handy and quick. You will be amazed how a smile and thank you can change the chemistry in your brain and turn the angry beast into a much more open being. The other practice I sometimes do belongs to a different Buddhist tradition, it is popular in american trantric circles and it is called tonglen. You accept and drink and take more and more of this negativity on the in breath and send, radiate and breath out joy, light, health, love. It is also very simple.

    Gassho and...Thank you :wink:


  34. #34


    Well said Taigu
    Kind regards

Similar Threads

    By Jundo in forum RECOMMENDED DAILY Metta PRACTICE
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 06-08-2022, 01:02 AM
  2. New Essay Posted on How to Practice Metta
    By Jundo in forum Archive of Older Threads
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 12-12-2009, 02:49 AM
    By Jundo in forum Archive of Older Threads
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 10-26-2008, 03:20 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts