Metta Sutta | The Sermon on Unconditional Love
I take the Metta Sutta (the Buddha’s Sermon on Unconditional Love) with me whenever I go anywhere to teach. It is my favorite Buddhist scripture. It makes this dramatic promise: Maintaining an attitude of good will toward all beings, no matter who they are or what they’ve done, is the source of personal happiness and the end of suffering. And, although the sermon is short, I think it includes a summary of the instructions the Buddha gave for developing the kind of mind that can maintain such unwavering good will.
I know the sermon by heart, but I take it with me so I can make copies and give it to the people I teach. Click the link to the right labeled "the sermon on unconditional love" if you want to read it. Perhaps you’d like to have a copy in front of you as you listen to this talk I gave about the Metta Sutta on January 11, 2007, at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. As part of the talk, I invite the group read it aloud with me. I invite you to do the same.
I gave this talk on the fourth day of a seven day silent retreat. Participants at the retreat were spending their days reciting, quietly, in their minds, blessings for themselves, for each other, for the people in their lives, for everyone in the world. A sample set of blessings (there are several suggested formal sets, and some people make up their own) is:
May I feel safe
May I feel happy
May I feel strong
May I live with ease.
If you like, you might try sitting in a comfortable chair for fifteen minutes, reciting these blessings for yourself, or for someone else, before you begin to listen to the talk. Or, you might go for a walk, indoors or out, for fifteen minutes, reciting as you walk.
Whenever you are ready, click the play button below to hear the talk.
(If you enjoy this talk and this practice, you can click the link on the side of this page to Dharma Seed Tape Library where many of my talks, and those of my teaching colleagues, are archived.)