A Wish of Loving Kindness

boy and grandfather

by Andrew Olendzki © 2005

For those without feet, I have love.
I have love for all with two feet.
For those with four feet, I have love.
I have love for all with many feet.

May those without feet do me no harm.
May none with two feet do me harm.
May those with four feet do me no harm.
May none with many feet do me harm.

May all beings, all living things,
All who’ve come to be — one and all —
May they see every blessing!
May no evil at all come to them!

Without limit is Buddha.
Without limit is Dhamma.
Without limit is Sangha.

Translator’s note

This less-well-known metta verse has its origins in an ancient, probably pre-Buddhist, snake charm. It is taught by the Buddha in the Vinaya in response to his hearing of a monk who perished after being bitten by a snake. The first stanza, not translated here, extends loving kindness to the four main groups of snake deities. The Buddha tells the monks that if they adequately develop loving kindness to these snake deities, they will be free of harm from snake bites.

More interesting is the characteristic way in which the Buddha adapts an existing tradition — charms against snake bites — to serve as a vehicle for his own more universal teaching. He expands the cultivation of loving kindness far beyond snakes and reptiles to include insects, animals and all human beings. At the same time he emphasizes the interdependent thinking that one’s best protection against being harmed is to do no harm oneself to others.

The word metta has a more unique scope than even that most protean of English words — love — can easily express. Except for the fact that it throws off the eight-syllable meter of the verse, one can easily substitute words such as friendship, friendliness, deep unselfish caring or loving kindness.

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Khmer Tipitaka 1 – 110

Khmer Tipitaka 1 – 110

The Tipitaka or Pali canon, is the collection of primary Pali language texts which form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism. The three divisions of the Tipitaka are: Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka. ព្រះត្រៃបិដក ប្រែថា កញ្រ្ចែង ឬ ល្អី​ ៣ សម្រាប់ដាក់ផ្ទុកពាក្យពេចន៍នៃព្រះសម្មាសម្ពុទ្ធ

Listen to Khmer literature and Dhamma talk by His Holiness Jotannano Chuon Nath, Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia Buddhism.

Jendhamuni

As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, so the wise are not shaken by blame and praise. As a deep lake is clear and calm, so the wise become tranquil after they listened to the truth... Good people walk on regardless of what happens to them. Good people do not babble on about their desires. Whether touched by happiness or by sorrow, the wise never appear elated or depressed… ~The Dhammapada

Should anyone wish to ridicule me and make me an object of jest and scorn why should I possibly care if I have dedicated myself to others?

Let them do as they wish with me so long as it does not harm them. May no one who encounters me ever have an insignificant contact.

Regardless whether those whom I meet respond towards me with anger or faith, may the mere fact of our meeting contribute to the fulfilment of their wishes.

May the slander, harm and all forms of abuse that anyone should direct towards me act as a cause of their enlightenment.

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