Buddhist Education
Nuances of loving kindness
Daily News, V de Mel
15/11/2013 10:18 (GMT+7)
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Nov 14 -- Loving kindness is very much easier said than done. Especially in a country like Sri Lanka, where Buddhists follow the cultural mode of the Buddha's teachings, it is difficult to practise this sublime human quality.

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Simply speaking, any human being on this plant would find it to practise it.

Loving kindness is the loose English equivalent to the Pali term 'Metta'. In metta comes a complex layer of semantic as well as virtual meanings. It is much more than just loving you friend or neighbour.

Loving someone is easy, but loving the bad side of the very same one is a tough experience - tougher even to imagine. Therefore the metta experience is much more complicated than love, hence it is called loving kindness.

Many misunderstand metta for being able to remain passive when justice happens. If that is so, the world would not evolve into the better. The practical sharpness of metta heightens when faced with justice.

For instance, a practising Buddhist comes across an angry-faced policeman by noontime. The police officer would pick on the Buddhist for no apparent reason. What is expected of the practising Buddhist? To remain passive simply because he has to spread metta or loving kindness?

It sounds hardly the case. The Buddhist, instead, should utilize a bit more hissing, without going to the extent of biting. A parable would explain this much better.

A snake took vows to follow every precept and keep away from sins. He was meditating when a group of children happened to pass by. They were surprised to see this still snake and tried to check if it was alive. The snake remained calm no matter what the kids did to him. His precepts were much more important.

But then that only worsened things.

The snake was badly bruised when his teacher suddenly crept in from nowhere and hissed at the children. This was one valuable moment for the teacher to explain his teachings.

This world is full of people who would exploit your goodness. So make sure you protect yourself against them with a little hissing. A little hissing will be enough and you don't have to go the extent of biting them.

Most importantly you don't have to be aggressive when you hiss. That is only a warning for others not to mess around you. There are many faces to the Buddhist concept of metta. Although it seems a bit tough to practise metta on surface, deep thinking will make it possible. 

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