Subana Ong gives her one-person perspective of Aloka Foundation’s 24hr Metta, a round-the-clock non-stop chanting and prayer for world peace, harmony and stability from New Year’s eve through to New Year’s day. Thirty Buddhist organisations and groups participated in this ground-breaking event in which seven other groups from other parts of Malaysia also joined in via audio-visual link up.
The 24-hour Metta, for me, is an event that signifies hope, inspiration, peace, harmony and a bond of universal love.
The mysterious aura surrounding the many predictions of spiritual elders, scientists, meta-physicists and the Mayan calendar related to the year 2012 have triggered feelings of insecurity and helplessness and left in its place a strong sense of insecurity.
These feelings became stronger with each message received through emails from around the world.
My personal observations of the global financial and political situations, day-to-day weather conditions and climatic changes and the numerous natural disasters during the last few months of 2011 lent more weight that the coming year will be one of great challenges.
I approached the dawn of 2012 with great apprehension as I have an elderly mom, three teenaged nephews with a whole bright future ahead of them, not to mention my own golden retirement years.
Hence, Bhante Mahinda’s proposal of a 24-hour Metta to provide the platform for all to get together and chant and radiate Metta for world peace, harmony and stability was certainly a rainbow amidst the turbulence and disturbance in my heart.
What I saw during the run up to the 24-hour Metta and the dedication and commitment of all throughout the last 2 days greatly touched me - people giving up their party and “yam seng” time and choosing a path less travelled.
My own family has been a source of inspiration, encouragement and challenge to me – my sister making the effort to drive back after having left KL just three days ago and my brother who usually ushers in the New Year with a countdown with his friends.
Getting the younger generation, my nephews to give up their computer time and participate in the 24-hour Metta was the greatest challenge. It really called for speaking to them in their lingo and radiating a lot of metta for them to join in this meritorious deed.
I was also greatly inspired by my dhamma brothers and sisters who have travelled all the way from Penang, Malacca, Pahang, Johore, Singapore and as far away as Kota Kinabalu to ensure the success of this meaningful event.
The participation of 30 Buddhist groups from the three Buddhist traditions and brothers and sisters from all walks of life spoke volumes of the aspirations of all to unite for a worthy mission, that of world peace, harmony and stability.
Precious sleep was also not accorded its usual priority. The so called “graveyard” hours were also taken up. Kudos to the minority who chose to man these critical hours to ensure that chanting went on for 24 hours.
I can truly say that Bhante Mahinda’s constant reminders of the power of collective consciousness as it can transmute negative energies and make a noticeable difference to the energy of a place where positive energy has been channeled really works.
SJK (C) Sungei Way, the venue for the 24-hour Metta, is a perfect example. The energy of the school underwent a transformation when the serene Buddha image was unveiled and blessed by Bhante Mahinda and the aura of good energy became more and more pronounced as the chanting went on.
Numerous participants of the 24-hour Metta shared the same feeling and there was even a suggestion to interview the teachers of the school on 4 Jan 2012, the first day of the academic session, as to whether there is any noticeable difference in students’ behaviour.
Now, as the sounds from the chanting of the Karaniya Metta Sutta and the lights from the islands of fragrant butter lights fade into the background, the message of this beautiful Sutta remains etched deeply in my heart.
This 24-hour Metta has made me realize that there is something all of us can do to change the world.
Whatever happens ultimately on 21 December 2012 is no longer important, what is more important is that each and every one of us can do something collectively to counteract the built-up negative energy, the result of our greed and delusion, that is plaguing the world.
What we need is make the aspiration to devote 15 mins on each full moon day and eventually everyday to sit calmly and chant and radiate metta to all sentient beings and dedicate merits for world peace, harmony and stability.
Yes, individually and collectively, we can do it!