It’s That Time Again…

Yes…  Dear Dharma Brothers and Sisters,

2015 Metta24Hr

The Big Metta Event

The annual 24-Hour Metta event is back this year, bigger, better and greener. It’ll be held on 19-20 Dec 2015 at Samadhi Vihara, with the theme “green” in respect of the mother nature. For those who are unfamiliar, 24-Hour is a meaningful event mooted by Bhante Mahinda to spread loving kindness across the world. It entails a 24-hour non-stop chanting of Karaniya Metta Sutta (Discourse on Loving Kindness), the copying of Karaniya Metta Sutta and lighting of lamps. participated by more than 20 Buddhist organisations within and outside of Malaysia.

This year, we’ve got some new and interesting activities installed for you:-

  1. Metta Cinema – a showcase of videos, depicting metta actions across the world
  2. Metta Cranes – folding of cranes, to be donated to hospital children
  3. Pass It Notes! – writing of  sweet messages which can make someone smile and be passed around
  4. Metta Memo fridge magnet giveaway
  5. More groups will be joining the chanting

Given the scale of this event, we would require help from many volunteers for the following tasks:-

  1. Set up
  2. Registration
  3. Ushering
  4. Transportation
  5. Lights Offering
  6. F&B
  7. Hospitality
  8. Traffic Control

Please come and join us for this auspicious and meaningful event. Every effort counts!

Sadhu, sadhu, sadhu.

With Metta

 

 

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Mindfulness and Metta

From the “Preparing mindfully for 24hr Metta” series

Mindfulness is a critical technique in the cultivation of metta.  What is mindfulness?  In his book, “Awakening with Metta”, Ven Mahinda defines mindfulness as “being present, with clear awareness of our body, feelings and state of mind”.

Here are salient excerpts from the book:

Mindfulness is a powerful tool in coping with negative situations as well as bringing clarity, calmness and appreciation to positive situations.

It goes hand in hand with metta because as we practise metta more and more, we will become naturally more aware of our own wellbeing as well as that of others.  Likewise, as we practise mindfulness more, we will be more sensitive to our own and other’s happiness.

We can start to practise mindfulness with our own body.  By observing our breathing, in and out, we will begin to notice when we are tired or when we are angry because the pattern of our breathing changes.

We also observe our posture so that we will start to notice how incorrect posture also affects our wellbeing.

Next, we need to be mindful of our feelings.  In our practice of metta we first have to be able to observe the feeling of calmness and quietness within.  Then we have to feel it radiate out.  Observe the quality of the feeling.  Is it soft and gentle?  Does it flow steadily and smoothly?  Are there times when it feels as if there is something blocking?  When practising mindfulness, we just observe and know what the feeling is like, without having aversion to any unpleasant feeling or clinging on to any pleasant feeling.

It is also important to be mindful of our state of mind.  Sometimes we try to apply metta when we get affected by negative emotions such as anger, jealousy, confusion or depression, but we find it difficult because we are so caught up in that emotion.  That is why the effective cultivation of metta requires mindfulness.  Mindfulness helps you to focus on the present.

Once you are mindful, clearly aware of the emotion itself, you have already stepped out of that state.  This is how mindfulness provides the space to overcome negative emotions and instead cultivate positive ones.

On a daily basis we are afflicted by three main negative states of mind: (1) craving or desire, (2) anger or aversion, and (3) delusion.

Mindfulness in particular will help to reduce craving and desire.  Metta will reduce our anger and aversion.  And by practising both metta and mindfulness, we will develop the clarity and wisdom to overcome delusion.

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A guide to the practice of Metta

From the “Preparing mindfully for 24hr Metta” series

How can we cultivate metta within ourselves?  How do we first direct it towards ourselves and then radiate it towards others?

In his book, “Awakening with Metta” *, Venerable Mahinda sets out a comprehensive guide to the practice of metta – whether you’re on your own or with other like-minded persons.

He first reminds us that metta is a great healing force and that it promotes the development of virtues such as compassion (karuna), altruistic joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha).  It also promotes patience, tolerance, gratitude and, above all, a forgiving heart.

“Forgiveness is an important factor, which helps in releasing emotional blockages due to grudges or remorse”, he says, emphasising that forgiveness applies not only to those who have wronged us but also to ourselves.

When we begin our practice of metta by making it our object of meditation, we should first direct it towards ourselves until we begin to experience a sense of wellbeing and calmness within us.

When we are suffused with this feeling of calm and peace, we then radiate loving-kindness in all directions – above, below and all around – until our aura of calm fills the whole room, the building, the surrounding areas and onwards to the city, country, region and the whole world.

After radiating metta in all directions, we direct metta to individuals, beginning with those who are near and dear to us (teachers, relatives and friends).

Following this step, we radiate metta to those who are less well-known or even unknown to us.

Finally, we extend metta to those who are hostile or unfriendly towards us.  If we can truly wish for the wellbeing of those we feel have wronged us, then we have learned to break barriers and our metta will become well established.

Ven Mahinda points out that in order to be able to forgive others and ourselves, we need to have “wisdom and understanding”.

There are three aspects to forgiveness:

  • We need to understand that all those who have cheated, hurt or abused us have done so through ignorance.
  • Whatever happens to us has a reason: there are certain causes and conditions.  We reap what we sow – in this life as well as our past lives.
  • In order to forgive ourselves, we must realise that all the wrong and foolish actions we have done have all been performed as a result of ignorance.

Ven Mahinda urges us to consider this: “Now that we have the opportunity to come to the Dhamma and to realise what is good and bad, we need to aspire to, and make an effort, to set ourselves on the right course: To avoid all evil, to do good and to purify our minds”.

*  Published by Aloka Foundation.  For enquiries contact: enquiries@alokafoundation.org

Ó  Venerable Mahinda 2014

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The many benefits of Metta

From the “Preparing mindfully for 24hr Metta” series

 

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What is Metta?

In “The Buddha and his Teachings”, Ven Narada Maha Thera writes that metta is that which “softens one’s heart … it is defined as the sincere wish for the welfare and genuine happiness of all living beings without exception”.

‘Just as a mother protects her only child even at the risk of her life, even so one should cultivate boundless loving-kindness towards all living beings’ is the advice of the Buddha.

What metta is not: “… carnal love nor personal affection … neighbourliness … universal brotherhood … political, racial, national or religious brotherhood … “

Ven Narada says that metta transcends all these kinds of narrow brotherhood.  It is limitless in scope and range and has no barriers.  It does not discriminate.

“Just as the sun sheds its rays on all without any distinction, even so sublime metta bestows its sweet blessings equally on the pleasant and the unpleasant, on the rich and the poor, on the high and the low, on the vicious and the virtuous, on man and woman, and on human and animal”.

He emphasises that this loving-kindness should be extended in equal measure towards oneself as towards friend, foe and neutral alike.  This subtle point should not be misunderstood, for self-sacrifice is another sweet virtue and egolessness is yet another higher virtue.

The culmination of this metta is the identification of oneself with all beings, making no difference between oneself and others.  The so-called ‘I’ is lost in the whole.  Separatism evaporates.  Oneness is realised.

The antithesis of metta is anger, ill-will, hatred, or aversion.  Metta cannot co-exist with anger or vengeful conduct.

The Buddha states:

‘Hatreds do not cease through hatreds: through love alone they cease’.

Metta not only tends to conquer anger but also does not tolerate hateful thoughts towards others.  He who has metta never thinks of harming others, not does he disparage or condemn others.

A benevolent attitude is the chief characteristic of metta.  He who practises metta is constantly interested in promoting the welfare of others.  He seeks the good and beautiful in all but not the ugliness in others.

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Preparing mindfully for 24hr Metta

As we prepare ourselves for the 24hr Metta event on December 27 & 28, we should mindfully remind ourselves of what metta is – its place in the four Brahmaviharas; what it means; how we can practise it on a daily basis; its benefits; and what we can do to radiate metta for world peace, harmony and stability. Beginning today, we will bring you a series of articles                                              on metta.  We hope you will join us on this journey.

THE SUBLIME STATES OR FOUR IMMEASURABLES

In his landmark book, “The Buddha and his Teachings”, Ven Narada Maha Thera of Sri Lanka writes that man is a mysterious being with inconceivable potential.  Do you agree?

Why is man mysterious?  That’s because he is a complex machine, a storehouse of virtue and a rubbish heap of evil.  So he can be either a blessing or a curse to humanity.  Which would you rather be?

One powerful destructive vice is anger (dosa).  The sweet virtue that subdues this evil force is loving-kindness (metta).

Cruelty (himsa) is another vice that is responsible for many horrors and atrocities prevalent in the world.  Compassion (karuna) is its antidote.

Jealousy (issa) poisons one’s system and leads to unhealthy and dangerous rivalries.  The most effective remedy for this toxic drug is appreciative joy (mudita).

There are two other universal characteristics that upset man’s mental balance.  They are: attachment to the pleasurable; and aversion to the non-pleasurable.  These two opposite forces can be eliminated by developing equanimity (upekkha).

These four sterling virtues are collectively termed “Brahmavihara”, which may be translated as Modes of Sublime Conduct, Sublime States, Divine Abodes or the Four Immeasurables.

The four sublime virtues are also termed illimitables (appamanna).  They are so called because they find no barrier or limit and should be extended towards all beings without exception.  They embrace all living beings, including animals.

Irrespective of religious beliefs, one can cultivate these sweet virtues and be a blessing to oneself and all others.

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Yr4 ~ 2014: 24 Hour Metta Promotion Video

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Posters & Announcements

24hrmetta Event Poster
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Offering of Lights 

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24HrMetta – Illuminating The World With Metta

The 24HrMetta is back! This year’s 24HrMetta will be the event for all to come together to chant and radiate metta for world peace, stability and harmony.

The inaugural 24hrMetta event held on 31 December 2011 to 1 January 2012 drew participation from 30 organisations onsite and offsite via Internet link up. An estimated 550 Sangha members and laity chanted in 24 one-hour slots while 350 others joined in via Internet link up.  Over 1,500 in total streamed in and out of the venue round the clock while 250 volunteers lent a helping hand for the smooth operations.

This year’s 24HrMetta will be held at Samadhi Vihara, at 1B, Jalan Pegaga U12/8, Section U12, Bukit Raja Industrial Zone, 40170 Shah Alam, Selangor (Samadhi Vihara), from 24 November (Saturday) to 25 November (Sunday) 2012.

This year’s round-the-clock metta event will again bring together Buddhists from various Buddhist organisations in Malaysia and overseas to focus on illuminating the world with metta and fostering peace and harmony.

Organised by Aloka Foundation and the Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia (BMSM), this meaningful event will commence at 9 am on 24 November 2012 with the Official Opening by Venerable Mahinda, our Chairman and Spiritual Director. The 24-hr non-stop chanting will commence with the first hour chanting (10.00 am to 11.00 am) by members of the Maha Sangha of all traditions.

Participating Buddhist organisations and groups of devotees from Theravadan, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions will then take turns to chant the Karaniya Metta Sutta or appropriate sutras/mantras in one-hour sessions until 10 am on 25 November 2012.

The highlight of this year’s event is the special Illuminating the World with Metta ceremony at 8 pm on 24 November 2012 in which Ven Mahinda will lead devotees in Metta Meditation followed by Light Offering, symbolically illuminating the world with metta.

The event will then come to a fitting end with a Closing Ceremony in which members of the Maha Sangha will lead in a special session to dedicate merits of the 24hrMetta for world peace, harmony and stability.

In conjunction with the 24th Hr Metta event, there will be:

  • Offer of Lights to the Triple Gem with the wish to illuminate the world with metta and also to dispel the darkness of ignorance with the clarity of wisdom; and
  • Offer of Water to the Triple Gem with the wish to cleanse and purify our minds from defilements

Note: Contact the organizer now to learn how you can contribute to the offering and dedicate the merits to yourself, your loved ones or those in loving memory.

WHY SHOULD I PARTICIPATE?

  • Be part of the chanting and practice of metta marathon
  • Be integral in the 24hr focus on illuminating the world with metta and bringing peace, stability and harmony to the world
  • Make a commitment to participate in a spiritually-enriching event
  • Your participation is an inspiration and encouragement for others to join in too!

Volunteer

  • You may also be part of the team by volunteering your service to make this event a remarkable memory and comfortable for the Sangha Members, Buddhist Organizations, participants and helpers alike

 

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