“M” is for May
For me, the word “may” brings up “May I…” — As in the phrases used in the practice of cultivating metta:
May I be filled with lovingkindness.
May I be well.
May I have inner & outer safety.
May I be peaceful & at ease.
May I be happy.
I was “given” these phrases to carry and recite/chant many years ago by Margarita Loinaz, a teacher from my first sangha, the Women of Color Sitting Group. My memory is that the middle phrase about safety — not typically used in traditional metta practices — was added, given my early life in Saigon during the American War.**
“May” seems like something very appropriate for our current times. I’m thinking especially so after the lack of justice done in Ferguson last week….New York, this week….Somewhere else next week?…. I’m thinking about how difficult it is for inner safety to be known and strengthen when outer conditions are so completely devoid of not only equality and what we were taught as our “inalienable rights” but also just pure human respect and decency.
When I had started to ponder about what “Buddhist teaching” I could offer for “M,” what continued to come up was “may.” It was always in relation to the metta phrases but my initial thoughts was about it in context of the holidays season…. Especially as, these days, I often offered “goodwill” as another interpretion for metta/lovingkindness.
That was the impetus when I sat down to write this post, ….. And, (you all know how I like to be inclusive with “and” as opposed to “but”) it now feels completely appropriate to include Ferguson, etc.
Since goodwill is something we especially think about and bring forth at this time of the year, hopefully, it will bring with it a broadening not only of our hearts and intentions but also our views and actions towards all. To echo the last post about “love as an action,” may we also realize that, with goodwill/lovingkindness, comes responsibility.
These days, my take on the Mahayana path— and the Bodhisattva vows which comes with it — is that it’s all about broadening our perspectives (Wise View/Understanding), taking responsibility for our karma (read: becoming aware of our unconsciousness; really, the -ism’s — Wise Intention/Thoughts) so that we can live a life engage in wise-compassion (Ethical Conduct: Wise Speech, Action & Livelihood), strengthened by our practice (Wise Mindfulness & Concentration).
Therefore, for this time of year and for our current times, I’d like to offer, in particular:
“May WE ALL have inner & outer safety.”
Deep, warm bows to all, Lien
** In Vietnam, it’s called “the American War;” to reference it from conflicts with other colonizers such as China and France.
“M” created by Netsui. Thank you! Go to “Netsui Arts” for her great works! https://www.flickr.com/photos/netsui/