Over two Sundays on 11 and 18 September, Sis. Santī Cheang gave two illuminating talks at Nalanda Centre on ‘Brahmavihāra’ – the four spiritual qualities of ‘mettā’ (loving-kindness), ‘karunā’ (compassion), ‘muditā’ (sympathetic joy), and ‘upekkhā’ (equanimity).
On ‘mettā’, Sis. Santī shared that “love may not be ‘mettā’, but ‘mettā’ is truly love”. She explained that worldly love comes with expectations and preconditions; but ‘mettā’ is the cultivation of unconditional love with a caring mind which is free of anger, ill-will and selfish intent. It is the genuine desire for the happiness of oneself and others.
Many people do not possess “soft hearts” – they find it difficult to forgive others, and lack joyfulness in life. Therefore, we should train ourselves to generate thoughts and feelings of ‘mettā’ everyday – this can surely soften our hearts and bring about deep happiness. In the Mettanisamsa Sutta, the Buddha taught that practising ‘mettā’ brings about 11 benefits. Thus, it is definitely worth everyone’s time to cultivate it.
Sis. Santī subsequently elaborated on the other qualities of compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity and gave examples of how we can practise them. It was a great lesson and reminder for all of us that these are the qualities which keep the world joyful and free from anger, resentment, jealousy, cruelty and discontent. We thank Sis. Santī for her sharing. Sadhu anumodana.