Talk 6 recording
Metta, Karuna, Mudita, Upekka
In many Buddhist traditions, the teachings are said to have two wings, like the wings of a bird: wisdom and compassion.
Wisdom — clearly seeing
comes from the practice of mindfulness, training the mind to attend to direct experience,
Cutting thru of delusion, or subjective bias, stories we tell ourselves
With the clarity, wisdom arises understanding interconnectedness of everything — when we see that we are all connected, complicated intricate web
People, trees, earth, beings, compassion naturally arises
compassion embedded in mindfulness training, not separate
nonjudgmental attitude: kind and friendly
compassion practices, heart practices
to cultivate compassion, we train in the Brahma Viharas,
heavenly abodes, 4 immeasureables
incompatible with a hating state of mind, and in that they are akin to Brahma, the divine
they are called abodes (vihara) because they should become the mind's constant dwelling-places where we feel "at home"; they should not remain merely places of rare and short visits, soon forgotten.
Hatred can never cease by hatred.
Hatred can only cease by love.
This is an eternal law. –the Buddha
When we see, feel, know that we are all connected, hatred can only cease by love, compassion is the only wise response, not right or wrong, wise
4: l-k, compassion, sympathetic (appreciative) joy, equanimity
We all have the potential to abide in loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.
When we train in these qualities, they become an inner resource, gift, like wealth, more valuable than any outer riches.
Love, kindness, care, peace don’t have to be dependent on ideal circumstances; rather, we can learn to awaken and develop these qualities so they so they becomes the natural dwelling place of the heart.
All these capacities are said to be of the “heart” because they are deeper and more stable than thoughts about loving.
Deep, not entangled in the shallowness of selfishness
stable when not compromised by fear, aversion, and craving
caring for a child, protecting a child
quality of devotion arising viscerally from the heart
heart practices: relational, practice for ourselves but also others
benefactor, friend, neutral, difficult, all beings
involve attitudes and intentions that arise out of instincts embedded in our physiology, neurology, and psychology.
they appear easily when we are at ease, they can feel like the natural working of our inner life.
“near enemy” quality or experience that can be mistaken for a helpful quality or experience.
The near enemy is a kind of counterfeit of what we’re actually aiming for, and it’s unhelpful because while the genuine article helps free us from suffering, the counterfeit doesn’t.
Far enemy or opposite
phrases: inclining the mind, planting the seeds of intention, over time, see that qualities of unconditional friendliness and compassion arise naturally
whatever the mind ponders upon becomes the inclination of the mind
neurons fire together wire together
metta: loving-kindness, unconditional friendliness, gentle friendliness
Metta is exemplified by the bond between a mother, parent, and her newborn child
offering friendliness to everyone
not just friendly to those we like, those we know, people who are us, but to everyone without discrimination; we like, don’t like, similar to us and different, kind and unkind
gentle rain: non selective, falls everywhere, evenly
near enemy: selfish affection, conditional love, I love you, what you do for me.
Codependent, out of needing you to be, or do something
far enemy: ill-will, road rage, easily triggered
“May all beings be well; may all beings be happy; may all beings find peace.”
wish to be happy
is the ultimate growth of a person.
It is becoming softer in your words
in the sound of your voice
and in your whole being.
The gaze from your eyes
becomes a warm "feeling into"
because in the people around you
you recognize yourself.
It has nothing to do with weakness
it is much deeper.
It is the power
that causes you to wake up and live.
People who become gentle on the inside
realize who they are themselves.
You don't judge others anymore
you're no longer hard.
You don't need to prove yourself all the time
at the expense of others
because every "other"
is an ongoing miracle
you enjoy the sun and the rain
and all the small things.
Often you can see this kindness
in people who suffered a lot
they see and hear things differently
They who become gentle
have won over themselves.
A grateful breath of freedom
rises up inside of you
you love the people
because you have learned
to love yourself,
Not the way you would like to be
but just the way you are.
compassion: Karuna: when metta meets suffering
love in face of suffering
quiver of heart:
feel visceral sensation, quivering of the heart followed by a move to act
mother child relationship that remains undisturbed by fear and aversion when the child is suffering.
allows for sustained and unobstructed presence of mind, knowing what to do, taking action
not always easy, arises from willingness to come close to suffering
see a person living on the street- turn away, block out, detached, not see
because it hurts
need equanimity for balance
near enemy of compassion: feel pity, sentimentality, overwhelm;
open to suffering without drowning in it
self and other circles, no compassion separate
compassion connected circles
not lose self in other
come from place of equanimity , where wisdom and l-k meet
unconditional steadiness of heart
practice is the transformation of consciousness that increasingly makes compassion the response to suffering our default setting
not turn away, not melt in sentimentality
Compassion's far enemy is cruelty. Cruelty is devoid of mercy.
“May all beings be free from suffering; May all beings have joy and ease.”
Sympathetic Joy, unselfish joy
Appreciative joy for ourselves
Parent-child connection when the child begins to express its own creative nature. Mudita is the ability to join and support this expanding spirit
Hardest to cultivate, we often have the thoughts…
Jealousy, carried away by it or turn away
Incline to wholesome
Near enemy: exuberance, hypocrisy, insincerity,
Far enemy: Resentment, jealousy
I’m happy that you’re happy.
May your happiness continue.
May your happiness increase.
May your good fortune shine.
May all your dreams come true.
Equinimity Inner Peace
And in the particular circumstances when we have no role in the welfare of others, upekkha is the wish that we ourselves not become agitated while keeping our hearts open and responsive, perhaps available for when we can help.
the power of observation, the ability to see without being caught by what we see.
Equanimity's exemplar is the mother child relationship as the child leaves home. The parent's roll is fulfilled and, now, it is time to cut the ties that bind. She now belongs to the universe of her own karma. With a heart full of good will, compassion and appreciative joy we stand at the threshold of her departure.
Equanimity may be seen as the balancing factor that keeps us stable in the opening of the heart.
Upekkha is the quality of remaining stable in the midst of everything.
As a quality of heart, equanimity helps us not completely base our happiness on the actions and feelings of others.
Equanimity is a container of balance that helps hold all of the other Brahma-viharas.
We are able to separate our wishes for someone from reality, and not cling to how somebody else should act.
Although we may have compassion or wish well for somebody else, this doesn’t mean it will “cure” them or take away all of their suffering. Rather, the heart practices are about opening our own hearts.
Equanimity is the ability to dwell equally with
pleasure and pain,
loss and gain,
praise and blame,
fame and disrepute.
It means that we are able to move equally in both directions as the need arises, without clinging and aversion toward one or the other polarity.
Equanimity doesn’t mean not caring. When we open our hearts, we can
connect to all things, and that’s as it should be. The point of equanimity is not
to lose one’s heartfelt connection with the things going on around us. Rather,
it means balancing that connection with a clear recognition of the way things
are. So, for example, we see what we genuinely cannot control, no matter
how obsessed we might become with trying to. We see how much things are
constantly changing. Even in the midst of intense devoted activity, we can be
served by seeing such truths clearly and remaining balanced.
Indifference is the near enemy of equanimity. Indifference is the pretense of equanimity.
Instead of releasing attachment to a preference of how we want things to be (Equanimity), when we are indifferent we are detached from the way things are. It is the quality of apathy that pretends not to care. It is a cold distance from a heartfelt sense of life.
Sense of superiority, disconnection
The far enemy of Equanimity is restlessness or agitation, as we cling desperately to the way we want things to be, or try to push away the things we don't want.
Clinging, striving, pushing, forcing
· All beings are the owners of their karma. Their happiness and unhappiness depend upon their actions, not upon my wishes for them.
· May we all accept things as they are.
· May we be undisturbed by the comings and goings of events.
· I will care for you but cannot keep you from suffering.
· I wish you happiness but cannot make your choices for you.
“May I be open and balanced and peaceful.”
Things are as they regardless of how I want them to be
“Your happiness and suffering depend on your thoughts and actions and not my wishes for you.”
“May we learn to see the arising and passing of all things with equanimity and balance.”
“May you have true equanimity.”
“May you be balanced and peaceful.”
When developed, these qualities help to balance one another. Because love, compassion and joy can lead to excessive attachment, they need to be balanced with equanimity. Because equanimity can lead to excessive detachment, it needs to be balanced with love, compassion and joy. Together, they express optimal mental harmony.
May you be safe
May you be healthy and happy
May you be free for suffering
May you know peace
may my mind turn in this direction
wish not prayer
benefactor: easy to feel friendly, loving, kindness towards—person you know, a pet, a teacher who has been an inspiration
self: learn to be our own friend
friend, maybe someone you know suffering
difficult : not the most difficult, start with easy, edge into unconditional
conditional unfolds into unconditional,
stands right at the edge of unconditional and conditional
establish concentration, restful awareness followed by the phrases
victims of human trafficking
males and females
near and far
born, yet to be born
all beings everywhere
let go of phrases, resting in awareness
I teach one thing and one thing only: suffering and the end of suffering. – the Buddha
Compassion knows we are in this together.
We are practicing with and for everyone.
Thich Nhat Hahn
You are me, and I am you.
Isn't it obvious that we "inter-are"?
You cultivate the flower in yourself,
so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself,
so that you will not have to suffer.
I support you; you support me.
I am in this world to offer you peace;
you are in this world to bring me joy
If anybody asks you what the Path is about,
it’s about generosity.
It’s about morality.
It’s about concentration.
It’s about gaining insight through focused self observation.
It’s about the cultivation of subjective states
of compassion and love based on insight.
And it’s about translating that compassion and love into actions in the real world.
The Buddha first taught the meta-meditation as an antidote to fear a group of monks were afraid of spirits in the woods the Buddha gave them the method meditation and they believe this would protect them they believe the tree spirits became moved by the beauty of the energy feeling the forest and resolve to care for and serve the monks
What unites us as all human beings is an urge for happiness which is at heart yearning for union for overcoming our feelings of separateness the opposite of meta-is hatred
Meta-is the ability to embrace all parts of ourselves as well as all parts of the world
Over time Jon like everyone else has changed and grown in his understanding. Nothing is fixed, everything's changing, perhaps there are some truths that are deeper and more stable than others but nothing is fixed and perfect as it is.
Jon's 7 attitudinal factors and beginnig attitude towards the practice strongly emphasize the wisdom side of the teachings. The wisdom of being present, the wisdom of awareness, the deep freedom that comes from a wiser discernment around how to direct our attention and where to put our energy and our focus.
In the Buddhist traditions they say that the great bird of awakening flies with two wings: one wing is wisdom and the other wing is compassion.
Wisdom without compassion can be flat. A little heartless. Like the way you can say something to someone that's completely true and clearly said but you aren't feeling a connection with the person and where they're at with this and you end up hurting them. Sometimes quite badly. Wisdom without compassion.
But compassion without wisdom is off balance too. We can have all kinds of other sympathetic and empathetic interactions that may have elements of compassion but are off balance and sticky in all kinds of ways. we can help in ways that don't help, that even harm.
Jon was aware that he'd made this somewhat narrow selection I think - he felt this was the side of these teachings he realized would be accepted and embraced by the sociey of the time. And he was right. He certainly modeled compassion in his teaching ofmindfulness. If you watch that Bill Moyer's TV show about him from 1992 you'll see some very touching compassionate interactions between Jon and the ordinary suffering people in his class who are meeting all of this for the first time.
And Jon also started changing his language a bit over time. Saying it's not "mindfulness" but "heartfulness". Riffing on an interesting aspect of the Chinese-based languages that the same character - shin or kokoro - means both mind and heart.
And research has shown that the linking of wisdom and compassion happens organically which is great news for those of us who want to trust in some kind of inherent goodness in people.
Research by Shauna Shapiro and others has shown that people increase in compassion from taking an MBSR class - and MBSR doesn't mention compassion particularly in the curriculum. It's all implied. But opening our minds to what's really happening seems to naturally open our hearts. We can deeply see that we all want happines and we all don't want to suffer. But mindfulness also shows us an essential pre-condition for practicing compassion: that we all do, in fact, suffer. Without mindfulness of suffering there can be no compassion.
I can relate to this as my own Zen tradition also emphasizes wisdom and leaves compassion largely implied - and lived through the realtionships of people in the community and teacher and student.
But later on when Jon revised his great book on MBSR FCL in 2013 he adds a kind of postscript to his list of 7 attitudinal foundations:
[read Full Catastrophe Living, p. 31]