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.

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