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The Divine Abiding

The Divine Abiding June 13, 2009

From Bhikkhu Samahita (with minor formatting by me)

The Blessed Buddha once said:

Bhikkhus and Friends:

  • Once the mental release by infinite Friendliness has been developed, frequently practised, firmly established, expanded, made a vehicle, foundation, and brought to full perfection, then it will be impossible for ill-will to take possession of and obsess the mind, for the mental release by infinite Friendliness is the release from all ill-will!
  • Once the mental release by compassionate Pity & tender understanding has been developed, frequently practised, firmly established, expanded, made a vehicle, foundation, and brought to full perfection, then it will be impossible for violence to take possession of and obsess the mind, for the mental release by compassionate Pity is the release from all violence!
  • Once the mental release by mutual Joy rejoicing in other being’s success has been developed, frequently practised, firmly established, expanded, made a vehicle, foundation, and brought to full perfection, then it will be impossible for discontent to take possession of & obsess the mind, for the mental release by mutual Joy is the release from all discontent!
  • Once the mental release by serene, still and imperturbable Equanimity has been developed, frequently practised, firmly established, expanded, made a vehicle, foundation, and brought to full perfection, then it will be impossible for greed & lust to take possession of & obsess the mind, for release by imperturbable Equanimity is the deliverance from all greed!

For those interested in studying the Metta Sutta I’ll again give highest recommendation to go to this site: http://www.ashokaedu.net.

I spent much of last summer and fall teaching and practicing the metta bhavana, or cultivation of loving-kindness. It was every bit as personal for me as it was of academic interest for me. It was a safe way to revisit the painful memories of a relationship unraveling in one of the most painful ways, to accept the humanity of the new “difficult people” in my life and wishing them, “in gladness and in safety,” to be free from suffering.

This year my studies have moved more heavily in the academic direction, discecting the sutta, its commentarial literature, and its language to unlock its deep evocative power and purpose. I am working on this with a good friend who is a practicing Catholic and who is doing parallel work with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

My hope is to show a deep moral-meditative connection between these exercises and thus the two traditions. Who knows what we will find. Who knows how the journey will change us both. And who knows what difference this little academic adventure will have in the world. But this is exactly why we go. Because in the mystery lies hope for a better world.

To bring together spiritual traditions, to meet with great practitioners, to touch the heart of so much history; this, to me, is the divine abiding.

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