YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED

1. What is Metta? 

2. What is Mindfulness?

3. How do I practise Metta?

4. How do I practise Mindfulness?

5. How can I be part of the MMMM global initiative?

6. Is MMMM open to all, regardless of age, tradition or faith?

7. Do I need to register to participate in the MMMM initiative?

8. How do I count my practice of Metta and Mindfulness towards the MMMM global tally?

9. Do I need to submit my total accumulation every day?

10. I don’t know how to meditate. Can I still be part of this initiative?

11. Can I count other practices towards the MMMM global tally?

12. How can I improve my practice and develop further?

13. When does the MMMM initiative end?

14. How will my participation in MMMM help the world?

 

Practice Advice from Venerable Mahinda:

Sitting Meditation

Seeking Forgiveness

Dedication of Merits

Making Aspirations

1. What is Metta?

Metta, in Pali (or Maithri in Sanskrit) language, means ‘loving-kindness’, or ‘boundless love’. It is the spirit of friendliness arising from the wish for all beings to be well and happy; a love that breaks the divides between caste, colour and creed. Hence it is also called ‘universal love’.

Metta, being an antidote to anger and aversion, will enable us to remain calm in times of trouble and not react to adverse situations.  Metta also has an important role to play in developing caring and sharing communities.

2. What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness means being clearly aware of all your activities (of body, feelings, mind and the Dhamma) without having grasping or aversion.  Generally, it refers to the awareness of our thoughts, speech and bodily actions.

 

As we develop greater awareness of our activities, the practice of mindfulness will enable us to ‘step out’ of any unwholesome states of mind, providing space for us to cultivate positive states.  Eventually the practice of mindfulness will lead to the silencing of the mind and the development of wisdom and insight into the true nature of life.

 

3. How do I practise Metta?

Metta, or loving-kindness, is the wish to be well and happy. You can meditate on Metta in formal sitting (guided instructions here) as well as radiate this wish at any time during your daily activities. Metta can be practised in all the four postures: standing, walking, sitting or lying down. 

 

At any time, if anger or aversion arises toward any person or any phenomena, try to be aware of it and apply the antidote by mentally noting “METTA, METTA…”. Remind yourself “Be free from anger. Be well and happy.” Then keep a smile in your heart.

 

4. How do I practise Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is about developing clear awareness of all your activities, without having grasping or aversion. Mindfulness can be practised in formal sitting meditation, such as mindfulness on breathing (ĀNĀPĀNASATI, included in the guided meditation instructions), as well as during other formal practices such as reciting mantras or prayers.  Importantly, mindfulness should be applied informally throughout your daily activities, bringing greater awareness and clarity to whatever you are doing.   

For example, whenever any unwholesome state of mind arises, be aware of it and return your attention to whatever you are doing. You may take a deep breath and let go of the unwholesome thought that has arisen.

 

5. How can I be part of the MMMM global initiative?

 

i. Practise Metta & Mindfulness on any one or more of the following:

    -  Formal Meditation on Metta and ĀNĀPĀNASATI 

    -  Metta and Mindfulness practice in daily activities

    -  Mantra chanting, sutras or prayers

    -  Any formal or informal practices that lead to calmness and clarity of mind

ii. Take note of the number of minutes spent in your practice and offer them for the peace, harmony and happiness of all beings.

iii. Send your accumulated minutes to the MMMM organiser to be part of the global tally. 

 

Or you may also submit via our Telegram channel by clicking this link . (Please install the Telegram app on your mobile phone or computer before clicking this link.)

 

6. Is MMMM open to all, regardless of age, tradition or faith?

Yes, we welcome participation from anyone, old or young, from any Buddhist or other faith or tradition.

 

7. Do I need to register to participate in the MMMM initiative?

Not required if you are an individual.

If you are participating as a group, please fill in the New Group registration form and you will be added to the group list. 

 

8. How do I count my practice of Metta and Mindfulness towards the MMMM global tally?

Here are some examples of daily accumulations:

  • Sitting meditation on Metta & Mindfulness of breathing (ĀNĀPĀNASATI): 30 mins in the morning and 30 mins at night. Total 60 mins

  • Recitation of the Great Compassion mantra: 15 mins

  • Recognising that an emotion such as anger, aversion, jealousy or pride has arisen, one turns one’s mind inward to let go of negativity to any person or situation, and to radiate Metta to oneself and others: 10 - 30 mins

  • Setting aside one hour* a day to focus more on Metta and Mindfulness while doing your daily activities: 60 mins

 

(*Note: It’s ok if you’re not able to maintain mindfulness and Metta consistently throughout the whole hour. What is important is your sincere intention and effort to bring your attention back whenever you get distracted.)

 

There are many different ways to practise Metta and Mindfulness across the different Buddhist and other faith traditions. Any practices that inculcate love and compassion, and train the mind to be calm, with clear awareness, may be counted.

 

9.  Do I need to submit my total accumulation every day?

You can choose to submit daily or weekly.

 

10. I don’t know how to meditate. Can I still be part of this initiative?

Yes. You can recite mantras such as “OM MANI PADME HUNG”, or the Great Compassion mantra, sutras or relevant prayers in any tradition. You can also apply Metta, loving-kindness, and Mindfulness in your daily activities.

 

If you would like to learn to meditate, please listen to the guided meditation instructions which are also suitable for beginners.

 

11. Can I count other practices towards the MMMM global tally?

Yes. Any practices that inculcate love and compassion, and train the mind to be calm, with clear awareness, may be counted. For example: recitation of mantras such as “OM MANI PADME HUNG”, or the Great Compassion mantra, sutras or relevant prayers in any tradition.

 

12. How can I improve my practice and develop further?

In order to build up your practice, you may like to set aside a certain hour in the day when you are less busy, when you can slow down and really pay attention to performing your activities with greater Mindfulness and Metta. Once you are able to do one hour a day for one week, the next week you can try to increase to two hours a day and so on, to build up the continuity of your practice.

 

Having a formal practice session at least once a day is recommended, in order to train the mind in a more intensive manner. Practice of any duration can be counted towards the MMMM accumulations. The guided instructions are 15 minutes, but if you have the time, it’s great if you can spend half an hour or even longer. 

Please also refer to PRACTICE ADVICE FROM VENERABLE MAHINDA for further information.

 

13. When does the MMMM initiative end?

The MMMM initiative will be reviewed from time to time at least until the Covid-19 pandemic crisis is over.

 

14. How will my participation in MMMM help the world?

When we come together to practise Metta and Mindfulness, we will generate a collective consciousness of compassionate love and awareness.  By participating in MMMM, you will help us to reach a critical mass in collective consciousness that will bring about a swift and positive change to the critical situation that we are facing with the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

PRACTICE ADVICE FROM VENERABLE MAHINDA

 

SITTING MEDITATION

This refers to the intensive cultivation of three of the eight path factors of the Noble Eightfold Path namely, Right Effort[1], Right Mindfulness[2], and Right Concentration[3]. Listening to the guided meditation instructions, you should first put in some effort to follow the instructions without allowing your mind to be distracted by whatever feelings, sounds, or phenomena that arise.

 

The instructions will guide you in the cultivation of Metta, or Loving-Kindness meditation, and ĀNĀPĀNASATI or Mindfulness of Breathing. You should then keep your attention on your breath. Just breathe in and breathe out naturally, and with each in and out breath, feel yourself becoming more and more relaxed. As the air enters and leaves your nostrils, you may be able to feel a slight sensation — the touch of the breath — either at your upper lip or at the tip of your nostrils. You will then keep your attention around this area as you breathe in and breathe out naturally. If any thoughts or distraction arises, as soon as you become aware that your mind has wandered off, you should return your attention to your breath.  

 

As your mind becomes more calm and peaceful, the breath will become more refined and subtle, and you may not be able to feel the breath sensation at the tip of your nostrils or upper lip. When that happens, you will let go of the breath sensation, and just know that you are breathing in and breathing out. You may feel a slight sensation of the breath appearing and disappearing. Just keep calm and be mindful as you breathe in and breathe out while maintaining your focus just around the tip of your nostrils or upper lip. You should try to sit at least half an hour to forty-five minutes or more.

[1] Right Effort is the effort to prevent and overcome any unwholesome state from arising in the mind, whilst developing and maintaining wholesome states of mind. Unwholesome states of mind refer to thoughts which are conditioned by craving, aversion, and delusion. Wholesome states of mind refer to thoughts that are conditioned by generosity, loving-kindness, and wisdom.

[2] Right Mindfulness refers to the 4 Foundations of Mindfulness, namely mindfulness o the body, feelings, mind (or mental states) and the Dhamma, without clinging or developing aversion towards any of them. The first aspect of mindfulness of the body is ĀNĀPĀNASATI or Mindfulness of Breathing.

[3] Right Concentration refers to the first four levels of mental absorption (Jhānas) or meditative states where the mind is just focused, with clear awareness, on the object of meditation, without any distraction or interference. The mind is also clearly aware of the different meditative states as they arise.

 

FORGIVENESS

Towards the end of our daily devotional practice, we will recite the KHAMĀPANĀ or seeking forgiveness from the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha:

KĀYENA VĀCĀ CITTENA – PAMĀDENA MAYĀ KATAṂ

ACCAYAṂ KHAMA ME BHANTE – BHŪRI-PAÑÑĀ TATHĀGATA

KĀYENA VĀCĀ CITTENA – PAMĀDENA MAYĀ KATAṂ

ACCAYAṂ KHAMA ME DHAMMA – SANDIṬṬHIKA AKĀLIKA

 

KĀYENA VĀCĀ CITTENA – PAMĀDENA MAYĀ KATAṂ

ACCAYAṂ KHAMA ME SAṄGHA – SUPAṬIPANNA ANUTTARA

If by deeds, speech, or thought, I have heedlessly done anything wrong,

Forgive me, O Teacher – Enlightened One, most wise!

If by deeds, speech, or thought, I have heedlessly done anything wrong,

Forgive me, O Dhamma – immediately seen and timeless!

If by deeds, speech, or thought, I have heedlessly done anything wrong,

Forgive me, O Sangha – who have taken the right path, unsurpassed!

 

The practice of seeking forgiveness from the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha is useful for clearing remorse and obscurations which hinder the development and purification of our minds. The wrong views we have, in the name of the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, whether in this lifetime or in our past lives, affect our understanding and progress on the Dhamma’s path. As such, we need to perform the practice of seeking forgiveness again and again, with great sincerity, to clear whatever obscurations that arise and to receive continued blessings, guidance, and protection as we walk the Dhamma’s path.

 

When we are applying Metta and Mindfulness in our daily lives, we should reflect on our practice towards the end of the day. We should rejoice with the effort we have made and seek forgiveness for any shortcomings or lapses in our practice owing to our laziness. We should not be afraid to see our own imperfections and make a determined effort to improve our practice. That is how we maintain the joy of practicing Dhamma and always look forward with enthusiasm to grow in the Dhamma.

 

DEDICATION OF MERITS

We use the terms ‘sharing of merits’ with devās and Dhamma protectors and the ‘transference of merits’ for departed ones. They are essentially the same thing, involving an interaction of energy following the principle that energy flows from a higher level to a lower level. The Pali recitals are as follows:

ĀKĀSAṬṬHĀ CA BHUMMAṬṬHĀ – DEVĀ NĀGĀ MAHIDDHIKĀ

PUÑÑAṂ TAṂ ANUMODITVĀ – CIRAṂ RAKKHANTU LOKA SĀSANAṂ

ĀKĀSAṬṬHĀ CA BHUMMAṬṬHĀ – DEVĀ NĀGĀ MAHIDDHIKĀ

PUÑÑAṂ TAṂ ANUMODITVĀ – CIRAṂ RAKKHANTU DESANAṂ

 

ĀKĀSAṬṬHĀ CA BHUMMAṬṬHĀ – DEVĀ NĀGĀ MAHIDDHIKĀ

PUÑÑAṂ TAṂ ANUMODITVĀ – CIRAṂ RAKKHANTU MAṂ PARAN TI

May all beings inhabiting space and earth, Devas and Nagas of mighty power,

Share in this merit and may they long protect the Dispensation.

May all beings inhabiting space and earth, Devas and Nagas of mighty power,

Share in this merit and may they long protect the teaching of the Dhamma.

May all beings inhabiting space and earth, Devas and Nagas of mighty power,

Share in this merit and may they long protect myself and others.

 

IDAṂ ME ÑĀTĪNAM HOTU – SUKHITĀ HONTU ÑĀTAYO

Let this merit accrue to our departed relatives and may they be happy!

 

The Buddha is known as SĀTTĀ DEVĀMANUSSĀNAM or ‘teacher of gods and humans’. He taught humans as well as non-humans such as devās (or celestial brings) and nāgās (a class of divine serpents). As such, there are many devās and nāgās, as well as humans, who have developed faith and confidence in the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha. They have affinity with the Dhamma and may assume the role of Dhamma protectors, looking after the well-being of those who live in accordance with the Dhamma. There are devās, nāgās, and humans who have vowed to protect the Dhamma. Sharing merits with them enables us to make connection with such beings to receive their blessings and protection.

 

We also dedicate merits to our departed relatives, teachers, and friends. When they come to know that we are doing merits in their name, they will naturally be happy. That is how they will be uplifted energetically and have the opportunity to take rebirth in a higher realm. When one listens to the Dhamma and performs merits (or actions done with joy), one naturally gets inspired and uplifted thus enabling one’s energy to flow from a higher to a lower level, benefitting those who are reborn in the lower realms of existence. Those beings who have taken rebirth in the higher celestial realms will naturally shower their blessings on their loved ones. This is the significance of the sharing or transference of merits. We may also make dedication for the well-being of others, as well as for world peace, harmony, and stability.

 

 

ASPIRATIONS

Aspirations are wholesome wishes or desires which are usually directed for a higher purpose in life, or with a noble intention such as for one’s enlightenment or final liberation. They direct our merits to ripen in a certain manner that will support our Dhamma practice.

Traditionally, from a Buddhist perspective, we consider 3 kinds of aspirations:

  1. For success and happiness in this lifetime

  2. For happiness in the next life ( i.e., to be reborn in a higher realm with opportunities to further one’s practice.)

  3. For the attainment of Nibbāna

We usually make aspirations for ourselves and others after performing some meritorious actions or at the conclusion of one’s meditation practice when our minds are calm and clear.

 

The Pali recital is as follows:

IMINĀ PUÑÑĀ KAMMENA – MĀME BĀLA SAMĀGAMO

SATAṂ SAMĀGAMO HOTU – YĀVA NIBBĀNA PATTIYĀ

DEVO VASSATU KĀLENA – SASSA SAMPATTI HETU CA

PHĪTO BHAVATU LOKO CA – RĀJĀ BHAVATU DHAMMIKO

 

By this merit I have acquired, may I never follow the foolish,

But only the wise, until the time I attain final liberation (Nibbāna).

May the rain fall in due season, may there be the right conditions for all good fortune,

May the world be prosperous and peaceful, may the rulers always be righteous.

 

When we make an aspiration, with wholesome intention, we are creating wholesome kamma at the mental or thought level. Kamma is a volitional or intentional action generated in our mind and expressed through thoughts, speech, and bodily actions. As such, we should do it again and again, especially on auspicious occasions or at sacred sites, when our minds are elevated or inspired and our intentions are strong and clear. By performing merits through sense restraint and our regular practice of Metta and Mindfulness, we create the right conditions for our aspirations to mature and ripen. When a strong aspiration ripens, nothing can stop us from achieving our goal. Hence the importance of renewing our aspirations again and again. In retreat conditions, it is our frequent aspiration and determination that will help us maintain the continuity of mindfulness and ensure swift progress in our practice.