Monday, April 1, 2013

Dying To Be Me

Searching all directions
with one’s awareness,
one finds no one dearer
 than oneself.
In the same way,
others are fiercely dear 
to themselves.
So one should not hurt others
if one loves oneself. 

~ The Buddha, Udana ~


Is Loving Yourself Okay?

by Bodhipaksa

Loving yourself has a bad press in the West. We often associate it with being self-centered and not caring about others. In fact, we have a tendency to want to put ourselves down to avoid being thought of as self-centered. 

But in the Buddhist tradition, which has produced countless outstandingly generous and selfless individuals, there is an emphasis on developing love for yourself as an indispensable prerequisite for loving others.


The Practice of 
Loving-Kindness (Metta)
As Taught by the Buddha in the Pali Canon

compiled and translated by Ñanamoli Thera 

Right at the start, the meditation of loving-kindness should be developed towards oneself repeatedly in this way: 
"May I be happy and free from suffering" or 
"May I keep myself free from 
hostility and trouble and live happily" 
(though this will never produce the full absorption of contemplation). 

It is by cultivating the thought "May I be happy" with oneself as example, that one begins to be interested in the welfare and happiness of other living beings, and to feel in some sense their happiness as if it were one's own: 
"Just as I want happiness and fear pain, 
just as I want to live and not to die, 
so do other beings." 


Facets of Metta

by Sharon Salzberg

Contemplating the goodness within ourselves is a classical meditation, done to bring light, joy, and rapture to the mind. In contemporary times this practice might be considered rather embarrassing, because so often the emphasis is on all the unfortunate things we have done, all the disturbing mistakes we have made. Yet this classical reflection is not a way of increasing conceit. It is rather a commitment to our own happiness, seeing our happiness as the basis for intimacy with all of life. It fills us with joy and love for ourselves and a great deal of self-respect.

Significantly, when we do metta practice, we begin by directing metta toward ourselves. This is the essential foundation for being able to offer genuine love to others. When we truly love ourselves, we want to take care of others, because that is what is most enriching, or nourishing, for us. When we have a genuine inner life, we are intimate with ourselves and intimate with others. The insight into our inner world allows us to connect to everything around us, so that we can see quite clearly the oneness of all that lives. We see that all beings want to be happy, and that this impulse unites us. We can recognize the rightness and beauty of our common urge towards happiness, and realize intimacy in this shared urge.