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Metta Prayer

May 4, 2012

I would like to continue yesterday’s conversation about prayer. Recently our sangha has chanted the Metta Prayer at end of our evening practice:

Metta Prayer

May I be filled with loving-kindness
May I be free from suffering
May I be happy and at peace

May each of us be filled with loving- kindness
May each of us be free from suffering
May each of us be happy and at peace

May all beings be filled with loving-kindness
May all beings be free from suffering
May all beings be happy and at peace.

We dedicate the positive energy of our practice for the well-being of all life.
Of particular concern to various members of the sangha are:____________
May all attain the awakened Way.

I have found that this simple, repetitive prayer has helped me to remember that the essential reason for my ongoing efforts is to uphold my vow to free all living beings. Everyone who embarks on a disciplined inner work of any kind has a deep wish for something that often remains elusive. Our bodhisattva vows inform this wish with an immediate, urgent, relevance. Lama Zopa Rinpoche, one of my Tibetan teachers, once said that he tries to make everything that he does into the “causes and conditions for the enlightenment of all beings.”

I am a long way from that kind of life. In fact I have often noticed that not only do I not manifest the dharma and the Buddha in my actions but sometimes I even contradict them. I have found that reciting the Metta Prayer has helped me to keep the bodhisattva vows in my mind and most important, it has helped me to find the place of my heart where I can experience real, objective feelings such as compassion.

I have recently begun to chant the Metta Prayer after a short sitting at the end of my day. I have found that this has helped me to return to what is really most important to me at this time in my life. I have found that it is a good way for me to “release myself” from my ordinary egoistic constraints as I let go of the day.

Bows,
Stephen

From → Zen Buddhism

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