Thursday, June 22, 2006

Loving-Kindness in Speech

From the Dhammapada:
Just like a blossom,
bright colored
but scentless:
a well-spoken word
is fruitless
when not carried out.

Just like a blossom,
bright colored
& full of scent:
a well-spoken word
is fruitful
when well carried out.

Metta, or loving-kindness, is a key component of Buddhist teachings. Related to compassion, it is the act of extending loving, kind actions, thoughts, and speech to every being. Think of your closest loved one. Loving-kindness almost wells up of its own accord, doesn't it? Now think of the last guy who cut you off in traffic, or who spilled something on you at a ball game. Loving-kindness is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, is it? :)

Sometimes it's easy to think we're doing well in our practice of metta. But the true test is whether you are radiating loving-kindness not only in your thoughts, but in your speech and actions. As the Buddha noted in the quote above, "a well-spoken word is fruitless when not carried out."

1-Minute Contemplation: This one is a little different than normal. Smile at two people you see today on the street, on the bus or train, in the store, or wherever it is you find yourself. Don't just give that little lips-pursed polite smile you give the person whose gaze you briefly meet when they get on your elevator. No, first spend a few seconds to mentally wish this person complete happiness, then truly smile at him or her with that wish in mind. Let us know how it goes!


deepsat said...

It does go well. A smile and wish in the heart for another person is such a beautiful thing! Life's a full cirle, the wish will come back! I wish every human being had the compassion for other. The world would be so beautiful then!!

Don Iannone said...

Thanks Mike. Advice we can surely hang our hat on, and a lovely flower as well. You are that. I am that. All of us are that.

Mike said...

Deepsat: I wish for the same thing you do.

Don: That's the beauty of Metta. From a Buddhist perspective, it meshes perfectly because the whole idea of interbeing inherently involves Metta. But non-Buddhists can see the importance as well, and benefit the world highly from the practice.

Bren Murphy said...

Beautiful, succinct and poignant post - I really like how you have given examples of Metta and a basis for practice.
Kindness Manifesto
Thank you
with gratitude,