Metta Bhavana or Loving-kindness

Apr 30th, 2017 | By | Category: Articles, Ayni Books

meditation-1384758_1920By Steve Gooch

RJKD = Reiki Jun Kei Do

Metta Bhavana is the original name of this meditation practice and comes from the Pali language. Metta means (universal) love or friendliness or kindness. It is a heartfelt emotional outpouring. Bhavana means cultivation or development. So the practice is aimed at the cultivation of love and kindness that leaves us in an expanded and beautiful state of mind. It is the expansion of the self beyond all selfish concerns to take an active interest in the welfare of all other beings without exception.

The cultivation of loving kindness is one aspect of a larger practice that is known as brahma vihara, which means ‘the godly or divine abode’. The other three practices are; the development of compassion (karuna), sympathetic joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekka).

There are a number of variations to this powerful self-andother-healing practice of loving kindness, and many books on Buddhist meditation will include at least one method for you to try. It was first taught by the Buddha more than 2500 years ago and is recorded in the Metta Sutta. In its commonest form there are five stages. The method employed within RJKD, whilst sharing the objective, is approached slightly differently. Here is the five-stage method:

The first stage asks that we feel love and compassion for ourselves. We are the focus of the meditation. We begin by bringing our awareness to ourselves and generating feelings of peace and tranquility within us. Then we let these feelings grow and become feelings of strength and confidence and finally we feel love and compassion in our hearts. We can see this as a golden light flooding the body, or feel it simply as an expansiveness in the heart. We can use a phrase such as “I am now filled with love and serenity” that we can say internally to reinforce this feeling. The specific visualization or words are not as important as the feeling that is generated – whatever tools work, these we use.

In the second stage we can bring our attention to someone close to us – a friend or relative maybe. We start by bringing them to mind as vividly as we can and then pay attention to all of their good qualities: their generosity, or smile, or patience or enthusiasm – everything that we can think of. In doing this we make a connection with them and we notice the positive emotional state that arises in us as a consequence. Again this can be reinforced by the repetition of an appropriate phrase such as “May they be well, happy and healthy.” We might also like to visualize our love for our friend flowing from our hearts as a beam of brilliant white or golden light and then either surrounding them or connecting with their heart.

For the third stage we think of someone that we are pretty much indifferent to. We don’t like them, but we don’t dislike them either; they are essentially neutral. It could be someone that we pass regularly in the street, or who lives a few doors down from us. So we bring this person to mind and we begin to reflect on their humanity. We acknowledge that they, like us, are searching for peace and happiness in their lives. In doing this we can share in their desire and so feel our connection with them. Along with internally repeating a suitable phrase this then allows us to generate a feeling of warmth towards them, which we then transform into love and compassion and feel it again as an expanding of the heart as we send out beams of love to this person.

The fourth stage is often the most difficult. Here we think of someone that we actively dislike – an enemy. It doesn’t matter why we dislike them, but it is important that we do dislike them. The more we dislike this person the better for our practice. In the beginning it is essential to try to catch our thoughts and not get carried away with plowing the fields of hatred. Everything sown will ultimately grow, so again we focus on their humanity and their need for love and compassion and understanding. We recognize that they too are searching for the answers, and feeling their way towards happiness out of the suffering that they are experiencing in their lives. As our sense of commonality with them grows, we can again begin to feel a heart connection to them. Even if we have to fake it initially, we can repeat a phrase that wishes them well, and visualize beams of love and light going out towards them from our heart. This will ultimately give way to a sense that our practice is real and that we are no longer faking it. We think of them positively and send out our metta to them as well.

In the final stage we can think of all four people together: our self, our friend or relative, the neutral person and the enemy and we extend feelings of love to all of them. Then we push these feelings out further to everyone around us, and then everyone out in our neighborhood, our town, our country and to everyone throughout the world. We hold the sense of waves of compassion and love spreading out from our hearts to all beings everywhere. Finally we relax out of the meditation and end our practice.


Reiki Jin Kei Do – The Way of Compassion and Wisdom

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Set to fundamentally reshape the way that we think about Reiki as a healing method, this book is a must read for anyone seriously interested in this unique path to self perfection and liberation. In the tradition of Reiki Jin Kei Do the emphasis of practice is on leading the student to a realization of their oneness and ultimate reunification with all-that-is.


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