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Category Archives: Prayers

Metta Sutra: What Buddha Taught About Loving Kindness

The Metta Sutra, Buddha’s teaching on Loving Kindness, is offered as part of the Summer of Lovingkindness Invitational.  #SOLI. I’ve used the alternate spelling, loving kindness, to help more people discover this beautiful sutra via the search engines

radiating loving kindness © 2010 Mahala Mazerov

Loving Kindness

This is what should be done

By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:

Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.

Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.

Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.

Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.

Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.

Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,
May all beings be at ease.

Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born,
May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.

Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.

Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings:
Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.

Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.

This is said to be the sublime abiding.

By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.

Buddha, Metta Sutra

The Buddha’s discourse on Loving Kindness

Take a moment to recite the Metta Sutra out loud and you’ll experience the beauty of this most well known gatha (verse.)

You can also listen to the Metta Sutra, chanted in the original Pali language by Venerable Indaratana Maha Thera.

It’s hard to believe we’re entering our second month of #SOLI! There’s still plenty of time to leap into the love. You’ll find writing prompts here. Use the #SOLI link or check out the #SOLI hashtag on Twitter for the work of other inspiring writers.

Thanks to all of you who are sharing and spreading Metta, lovingkindness in the world!

Shantideva’s Prayer

Photography as Meditation: The Friday Flower. Sometimes just photos. Sometimes with writing. Appearing on Fridays.

untitled © 2009 - 2010 Mahala Mazerov

May all beings everywhere
Plagued by sufferings of body and mind
Obtain an ocean of happiness and joy
By virtue of my merits.

May no living creature suffer,
Commit evil or ever fall ill.
May no one be afraid or belittled,
With a mind weighed down by depression.

May the blind see forms,
And the deaf hear sounds.
May those whose bodies are worn with toil
Be restored on finding repose.

May the naked find clothing,
The hungry find food;
May the thirsty find water
And delicious drinks.

May the poor find wealth,
Those weak with sorrow find joy;
May the forlorn find hope,
Constant happiness and prosperity.

May there be timely rains
And bountiful harvests;
May all medicine be effective
And wholesome prayers bear fruit.

May all who are sick and ill
Quickly be freed from their ailments.
Whatever diseases there are in the world,
May they never occur again.

May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed;
May the powerless find power
And may people think of benefiting each other.

One of countless exquisite prayers by Shantideva, 8th century poet, scholar, and bodhisattva.

Prayer Dance

Photography as Meditation: The Friday Flower returns! Sometimes just photos. Sometimes with writing. Appearing on Fridays.

a new day © 2009 Mahala Mazerov

I’m finishing this first day of the new year as I finished the last day of the old.

Prayer Dance is what it sounds like, spontaneously arising dance for the purpose of healing and blessing. It’s not something I was ever taught, yet I suspect it’s pretty universal in practice.

Sometimes I move in silence. Other times I blast music as loud as I can. I don’t know why it works, but intense sound creates a cocoon rather than overwhelming my circuits.

Much of the music I’ve been playing these two days comes from Yungchen Lhamo, a courageous Tibetan woman with a voice that is beyond imagining. If you ever have an opportunity to hear her in person, you must go. Aside from her astonishing voice, I am absolutely certain she is a Bodhisattva walking among us.

Here is her song, Tara, from her album Ama. About this song she says:

Thematically , it is about Tara, the female Tibetan deity exemplifying feminine dignity, unselfishness, strength and compassion. Redemptress. When I was very young, I thought I wanted to be a man so that I could help more people. But my grandmother and my mother said you don’t have to be a man to help people.

They used to say “You pray to Tara.”

Now I understand what they meant by that.

Turn your speakers up!

Prayer Dance is beyond words. When I sat down to write afterward, here is some of what was in my heart.

to love and feel loved
to belong
to know our inseparable connection to all beings
for suffering to lead to compassion until the world is free of suffering
to have blessing in our lives and be the source of blessings for others
to be free of doubts, fear, and ignorance
to trust
to value diversity
to honor our interdependence
to have all that we need
to practice generosity
to know our inner strength
for our love to be received
for the best parts of us to come forward
for happiness, laughter, and time to play
for freedom
for kindness wherever we turn
for stillness
to have enough and to be enough
to have equanimity, free of bias
for discernment
for beauty, meaning, and purpose
for comfort
for magic and dreaming
for healing
for understanding
for grace
for dedication and devotion
to heal the war inside us
for peace to prevail
for Bodhichitta to arise where it has not been born
for Enlightenment

What would you add to this list?

May 2010 be a year of abundant happiness for you, your loved ones, and for all beings. I’m grateful to have you in my life.

Gratitude | Gary Snyder | Mohawk Prayer

Photography as Meditation: The Friday Flower Thursday Photo. Sometimes just photos. Sometimes with writing. Appearing on Fridays Thanksgiving.

mother earth water streaming © 2009 Mahala Mazerov

mother earth water streaming © 2009 Mahala Mazerov

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day —
and to her soil: rich, rare, and sweet
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light changing leaf
and fine-root hairs; standing still through wind
and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers teaching secrets,
freedoms, and ways; who share with us their milk;
self-complete, brave, and aware
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing; streaming through all
our bodies salty seas
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep — he who wakes us –
in our minds so be it

Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars — and goes yet beyond that –
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us –
Grandfather Space.
The Mind is his Wife.

so be it.

Gary Snyder (after a Mohawk prayer)

The Dalai Lama on Waking Up:
Getting Out of Bed on the Way to Enlightenment

Photography as Meditation: The Friday Flower. Sometimes just photos. Sometimes with writing. Appearing on Fridays.

sun splashed © 2009 Mahala Mazerov

© 2009 Mahala Mazerov

How we start our morning influences our entire day.

Some of the fortunate, disciplined and/or devoted among us manage to start with meditation, yoga or some small ritual to ground the day in mindful awareness.

But most of us simply hope to take care of the needs of children, partners and pets with a minimum of stress, not gulp down breakfast and be organized enough to rush out the door without leaving anything behind. Even if we’re single or work at home, we spin our way into the chaos of the day far too rapidly.

From my experience, the influence of the day begins in our firsts fluttering moments between sleep and waking. When the alarm clock goes off, with one foot still in dream land and the other slipping out of bed to touch the floor, we’re in a supremely subtle and impressionable state.

This is a precious opportunity to infuse our day with love and awareness. A moment that can easily be lost or destroyed.

When I was an undergraduate in college, the first weeks of my freshman year were punctuated with violent nightmares just as I was waking up.

One morning I woke before my clock radio alarm and discovered I was waking, not to music, but to the local crime news report. In those moments before I was fully conscious I was hearing about beatings, break-ins and other crimes. I changed the station, as well as the time the radio played to ensure that I heard music and not reporting.

The nightmares ended instantly.

I’ve never forgotten how actively my mind is engaged, whether I’m aware of it or not.

Now my morning wake up is another way to bring meditation into my day, much like the prayers I regularly bring to mind. My clock plays dvd music as the wake-up alarm. I wake to music and familiar prayers in Tibetan.

…and I bring to mind these words by the Dalai Lama:

A Precious Human Life

“Every day, think as you wake up,
Today I am fortunate to have woken up,
I am alive, I have a precious human life,
I am not going to waste it
I am going to use
All my energies to develop myself.
To expand my heart out to others,
To achieve enlightenment for
The benefit of all beings,
I am going to have kind
Thoughts towards others,
I am not going to get angry,
Or think badly about others,
I am going to benefit others
As much as I can.”

How do you wake up on your way to enlightenment?

A Brief & Beautiful Prayer

Photography as Meditation: The Friday Flower. Sometimes just photos. Sometimes with writing. Appearing on Fridays.

blush of compassion. © 2009 Mahala Mazerov

blush of compassion. © 2009 Mahala Mazerov

One of the themes you’ll hear me talk about on a regular basis at Luminous Heart is the concept of meditation beyond the cushion. By that I mean more than bringing the fruits of practice into life, and even more than trying to bring mindful awareness into our activities.

For most of us life is moving too fast. Our meditation practices (if we have them) are not established enough to be in the palm of our hands or at the top of our mental response when we most need them.

So when I talk about meditation beyond the cushion I’m referring to ways to continually train your mind in love, compassion and awareness as you move through your day.

One of my favorite practices is a brief and beautiful prayer called The Four Immeasurables. It comes from the Buddhist tradition, but the qualities it exalts are universal. Anyone, of any spiritual practice can recite this prayer:

    May all mother sentient beings boundless as the sky have happiness and the causes of happiness.

    May they be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.

    May they never be separated from the happiness which has no sorrow.

    May they rest in equanimity free from attachment and aversion.

The wish that all beings have happiness is love. The wish that all be free of suffering is compassion. Happiness which has no sorrow is joy. Freedom from bias, attachment and aversion is equanimity.

The Four Immeasurables are traditionally recited three times during meditation sessions, but I love taking them beyond the meditation cushion. I like having something memorized. I recite them when I’m waiting for something or someone, when my mind is chattering or when I’m ungrounded. In truly challenging moments, when I want to reach for some kind of spiritual support, The Four Immeasurables are right there for me.

There’s actually much more meaning than you would imagine condensed in these four lines, but I will leave a detailed exploration for another time.

I believe simply repeating the prayer (silently or out loud) will take you where you want to go, opening your heart and developing the qualities of love, compassion, joy and equanimity for yourself and others.

Recite the prayer for yourself, and let me know how it feels. I’d also like to know the prayers you take beyond the meditation cushion. (Even if you never actually sit and meditate.)

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