Loving Kindness

“You should train yourselves thus:

We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by loving-kindness,
make it our vehicle,
make it our basis,
stabilize it,
exercise ourselves in it,
and fully perfect it.

Thus should you train yourselves.”

– Buddha, from the Samyutta Nikaya

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You are what you “eat”

“We digest and assimilate all of our thoughts and our mental states, and they become part of our conditioning. There are mental states and impulses that are terribly detrimental, and in meditation we can learn to recognize them as they arise. You could be sitting quite calmly eating your breakfast, when an impulse of hatred, or ill will, or contempt arises. Just like a scuba diver watching a bubble rise, you watch it come up. Then it may pop; or you may go along for the ride and develop it. Then it becomes more like oil on paper, and starts to suffuse your mentality, in which case you have to live with it for a while.

Judgment as an expression of wisdom is not in the business of judging the self. It is in the business of recognizing what are wholesome and unwholesome mental factors. 

When ill will arises, wise judgment recognizes it. ” Aha! I’ve heard of you! You are the worst affliction I can suffer from. You completely destroy all loving – kindness. You’re the enemy of my happiness, the enemy of my relations with other people. If I go along with you, you’ll destroy all my happiness and all my friendships and I’ll make myself a thoroughly miserable person. I recognize you” … That is wisdom and some judgment too. ” 

– Excerpt from The Four Immeasurables – B Alan Wallace. 

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The gift of insults

The Buddha saw how much misery came from foolish offences done only out of vanity and pride. The Buddha said:

“If a man foolishly does me wrong, I will return to him the protection of my ungrudging love; the more evil comes from him, the more good shall go from me; the fragrance of goodness always comes to me, and the harmful air of evil goes to him.”

A foolish man learning that the Buddha observed the principle of great love which commends the return of good for evil, came and abused him. The Buddha was silent, pitying his folly. When the man had finished his abuse, the Buddha asked him, saying:

“If a man declined to accept a gift made to him, to whom would it belong?”

The man answered:

“In that case it would belong to the man who offered it.”

“Well,” said the Buddha, “you have railed at me, but I decline to accept your abuse, and request you to keep it yourself. Will it not be a source of misery to you? As the echo belongs to the sound, and the shadow to the substance, so misery will overtake the evil doer without fail.”

The abuser made no reply, and Buddha continued:

“A wicked man who reproaches a virtuous one is like one who looks up and spits at heaven; the spittle soils not the heaven, but comes back and lands on the person. The slanderer is like one who flings dust at another when the wind is contrary; the dust does but return on him who threw it. The virtuous man cannot be hurt and the misery that the other would inflict comes back on himself.”

The abuser went away ashamed, but he came again one day and took refuge in the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

– A story from the Buddhist texts. 

The woman at the well

Ananda, the favorite disciple of the Buddha, having been sent by the Buddha on a mission, passed by a well near a village. He saw a girl by the well who was called Pakati, a girl of the Matanga caste. He asked her for water to drink. Pakati said:

“O Brahman, I am too humble and mean to give you water to drink, do not ask any service of me lest your holiness be contaminated, for I am of low caste.”

And Ananda replied:

“I ask not for caste but for water”;

And the Matanga girls heart leaped joyfully and she gave Ananda a drink.

Ananda thanked her and went away; but she followed him at a distance. Having heard that Ananda was a disciple of Gotama Sakyamuni, the girl followed him back to the Buddha and cried:

“O Lord help me, and let me live in the place where Ananda your disciple dwells, so that I may see him and minister unto him, for I love Ananda.”

The Blessed One understood the emotions of her heart and he said:

“Pakati, your heart is full of love, but you do not understand your own sentiments. It is not Ananda that you love, but his kindness. Accept, then, the kindness you have seen him practice unto you, and in the humility of your station practice it unto others. Verily there is great merit in the generosity of a king when he is kind to a slave; but there is a greater merit in the slave when he ignores the wrongs which he suffers and cherishes kindness and good will to all mankind. He will cease to hate his oppressors, and even when powerless to resist their usurpation will with compassion pity their arrogance and supercilious demeanor.

“Blessed are you, Pakati, for though you are a Matanga you will be a model for noblemen and noble women. You are of low caste, but Brahmans may learn a lesson from you. Swerve not from the path of justice and righteousness and you will outshine the royal glory of queens on the throne.”

– An old Buddhist story.