Wednesday, November 14, 2018
a new version of the "basic friendliness" phrases
Last night I gave a talk at Boundless Way Temple, tracing my personal history with the practice of "metta" or "basic friendliness," more commonly translated as "loving-kindness." This practice is a part of a much longer set of instructions on cultivating basic friendliness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity: the Four Heavenly Abodes. I originally heard the phrases in English from Michelle McDonald, a Vipassana teacher, who taught a version that had a very affirmative quality. ("May I be safe and protected from harm.") My friend and fellow Buddhist teacher, also from the Vipassana tradition, Bob Stahl and I looked into the original Pali versions of these phrases, and found that they were more in keeping with our non-dual understanding of practice: that it's possible to meet, or be in relationship with, whatever might be troubling us. We changed the Pali phrase usually translated as "May I be free from fear" into "May I be free in the midst of fear." And then, just recently, based on the teachings of Lama Justin von Bujdoss and his Tibetan Buddhist ancestor Gampopa, I started using the word "rest." Here is the latest version of the phrases that I've found most helpful recently:
May I find rest in my fear.
May I find rest in my mental distress.
May I find rest in my physical distress.
May I find rest and be at ease.