Simple Loving Kindness Meditation

Good morning, my friends. The esteemed Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr. For the Nobel Peace Prize for his peaceful work to bring an end to the Vietnam War.

He called his work “Engaged Buddhism.” While older monks sought to remain above the fray in the the country’s civil war, Thay, as he’s known to his students today, led a group of younger monks who worked actively to stop the war. 

For his trouble, the victorious North Vietnamese exiled him from the country. Their loss was the West’s gain. He established his Plum Village Monastery in France and began sharing his message of peace and compassion with western readers.

My favorite book of his is Peace Is Every Step. The book is filled with wisdom and insight into our struggles as human beings and ways to release ourselves from them.

In that book, Hanh shares a simplified version of a Metta (Loving-Kindness) meditation that I have used off and in for many years. It’s a fantastic mantra for meditation, but is also a fantastic aspirational affirmation.

May I be happy.
May I be peaceful.
May I be free from suffering.

May all beings be happy.
May all beings be peaceful.
May all beings be free from suffering.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you are awesome!

Ray

Meanderings on Enlightenment 1990

I wrote straight out of a very powerful visualization meditation on a warm spring afternoon in 1990. I came across it this morning and thought I’d share.

Just in case no one else reminds you today, YOU are awesome!

Stay safe. Stay well. Stay inspired!

Ray

PLEASE HELP me reach 1000 subscribers on YouTube. Thanks for your support!

Please Help! I need your help to reach 1000 subscribers on YouTube and take my channel to the next level. Will you take a moment and subscribe?

Inter-Being – Day 271 of 365 Days to a Better You

Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the 1968 Nobel Peace Prize by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He did not win the Nobel, but it was a great honor nonetheless. He was banished from his home country Vietnam during the Vietnam War. He led a group of Buddhist monks who were actively seeking peace in their country which invited the disdain of both sides.

“Thay” (teacher), as he is known by his followers, founded a retreat called Plum Village in France. Vietnam’s loss has been the West’s gain. For the past 45 years, Thich Nhat Hanh has taught, written, and spoken on his brand of “Engaged Buddhism” in Europe, the U.S., and around the world.

I first became aware of his work about 30 years ago when I picked up a book titled “Peace is Every Step”. Since I have read many of his other books. One of my favorite passages from any of his books – in fact one my favorite things I’ve ever read – is his brief essay on Inter-being.

Today I’d like to share this beautiful and powerful insight with all of you. I hope it transforms the way you think about the interconnectedness of the people and things around you.

Stay inspired!

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Support Us

Inter-being

If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix “inter-” with the verb “to be,” we ha vea new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.

If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And wesee the wheat. We now the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. “To be” is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.

Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of “non-paper elements.” And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without “non-paper elements,” like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.

Cultivating Equanimity – Day 264 of 365 Days to a Better You

The standard dictionary definition for equanimity is mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation.

In Buddhism, equanimity is one of the four sublime states of being. The Buddhist teacher, Gil Fronsdal, describes it this way.

Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is rather the steady conscious realization of reality’s transience. It is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will.

Sounds like a quality I’d like to develop more fully, but how?

Broadly speaking, meditation, prayer, or communing with nature can gain you temporary equanimity. The goal, though, is to bottle it so you can take with you into life’s adversity and, “Keep your head when all about you are losing theirs,” as Rudyard Kipling put it.

Buddha described seven qualities that create equanimity. These are qualities you and I can develop with or without Buddhist practice.

  1. Virtue or integrity
  2. Faith
  3. Well-developed mind
  4. Well-being
  5. Wisdom
  6. Insight
  7. Freedom

If this topic interests you and you’re wanting a little deeper dive, I’ve outlined the seven qualities and how to achieve them here.

Have a fantastic evening, my friends! Thank you all for your support of this blog and my work.

Ray

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Support Us

15 Buddha Quotes to Live By – Day 251 of 365 Days to a Better You

Siddhartha Gautama, better known to the world as the Buddha, was born a prince in northern India about 2600 years ago. His father was told his son would either be a world king or a great spiritual teacher. Wishing his son to expand the power of his kingdom, King Suddhodana ordered that he be immersed in the richest worldly pleasures to prevent him from pursuing the spiritual path.

However, at 29, Siddhartha was exposed to illness, aging, and death. These were all forbidden knowledge to him. His charioteer, against orders, explained that all human beings, including one day the young prince, experience these things. Then he saw a monk and was awakened to his true life’s purpose. The rest, as they say, is history.

Beginning with his famous Fire Sermon, the Tathagata taught for 47 years. He left us a wealth of wisdom. Here are 15 quotes we can all apply to our lives.

All these centuries later, these words are easy to read, but the challenge of a lifetime to live.

  1. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfish thoughts cause misery when they speak or act. Sorrows roll over them as the wheels of a cart roll over the tracks of the bullock that draws it. All that we are is the result of what we have thought: we are formed and molded by our thoughts. Those whose minds are shaped by selfless thoughts give joy whenever they speak or act. Joy follows them like a shadow that never leaves them.
  2. Let none find fault with others. Let none see the commissions and omissions of others. But, let one see one’s open acts done and undone.
  3. A mind unruffled by the vagaries of fortune, from sorrow freed, from defilements cleansed, from fear liberated — this is the greatest blessing.
  4. Therefore, bhikkhus, you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will develop and cultivate the liberation of mind by lovingkindness, make it our vehicle, make it our basis, stabilize it, exercise ourselves in it, and fully perfect it.’ Thus should you train yourselves.
  5. Radiate boundless love toward the entire world.
  6. Some do not understand that we must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels immediately.
  7. All conditioned things are impermanent’ — when one sees this with wisdom, one turns away from suffering.
  8. Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.
  9. Irrigators channel waters. Fletchers straighten arrows. Carpenters shape wood. The wise master themselves.
  10. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
  11. The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.
  12. Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.
  13. If you understood the power of giving as I do, you would never let a meal pass without sharing.
  14. The root of suffering is attachment.
  15. The greats of the past only show the way. You must walk the path yourself.

Namaste, my friends, namaste!

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot. He’s been studying and practicing personal development for 30 years. He’s also studied many of the world’s spiritual traditions and mythologies.

Find more TAS motivational content.

Website | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | PayPal