Metta (Lovingkindness) Practice

Metta practice is a way of cultivating lovingkindness toward ourselves and others. It has been a part of the Buddhist tradition from its earliest days. This method involves repeating (either silently or out loud) a set of phrases. You simply repeat them without any concern for thinking about them or “meaning” them. They are like an internal combustion engine that is heart expanding and energizing. Our set of phrases is a bit different from some of the traditional forms you may hear or read about. Try them and see what you discover.

This practice is a specific relief for anxiety and depression. When engaging this practice it is most important to repeat the metta phrases first for oneself. Often it is recommended to do this for six months before expanding the practice, first toward someone you cherish or admire, then for someone you feel neutral toward, then toward someone you perhaps have some struggle or conflict with, and finally for all beings.

It is very helpful to check in with a teacher about how this practice is unfolding for you. One caution is that this practice is not intended as some kind of “self-improvement” project, to help you “be more kind” or “be more loving or compassionate.” It is simply a way to connect with these qualities already present in our Buddha heart-mind, even when we are confused or caught by our conditioning.

Note: In times of danger, I will add at the beginning of the set this line:
May you be safe from harm;


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Metta for oneself

May this body be at ease;
May this heart be open;
May this mind be boundless;
May this being awaken. 


Metta for Another

May your body be at ease;
May your heart be open;
May your mind be boundless;
May we awaken together.  

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metta for a group

May our bodies be at ease;
May our hearts be open;
May our minds be boundless;
May we awaken together. 

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Metta for All Beings

May all bodies be at ease;
May all hearts be open;
May all minds be boundless;
May all beings awaken together.