With just one full moon practice of metta following the launch of Metta Round The World on 1 Jan 2012, we reckon it is a wee bit too early to ask for feedback on the experience of putting metta into practice.
As we pondered on this, it dawned upon us that the 24hr Metta of non-stop chanting for world peace, harmony and stability that Aloka Foundation successfully organised on Dec 31, 2011 right through to Jan 1, 2012 would be a fertile ground for a sampling of metta-at-work. And the organising team would be the best candidates to give us a first-hand account of how to keep metta-cool while faced with a myriad of challenges in an effort-taxing energy-sapping 24-hour long event.
We polled them and here’s what they have to say:
Volunteer Coordinator Jason Lee: “It was not easy to cultivate metta when you don’t get enough sleep, proper food (Jason’s definition of proper food is protein-packed for muscle building) and to top all, when you are sick (he came down with fever and diarrhoea in the evening of New Year’s eve). So what to do? Try only lah!
“I’m grateful for this whole experience that I experienced together with the organising team, their patience with me, offering me guidance when my GPS doesn’t direct me towards where I need to move and calmness during sandstorm.
“I’ll continue praying that with all our accumulated merits we will never be separated from perfect teachers throughout all our births in order for us to continue enjoying the bliss of dharma, until enlightenment – for the welfare and happiness of the many
Registration Coordinator Lee Siew Kee: “Three things I noticed after our most enjoyable metta event: (1) I had the best night sleep in the whole year when I went to bed on 1 Jan. No dreams, the body was just sublimely resting itself the whole night, (2) I did not feel tired that afternoon on 1 Jan after the event even though I had averaged 5 hours sleep in the past 3 days (I did not sleep that afternoon after reaching home) and (3) my face, it is glowing…
“These are all the factors that arise from practising metta that the Buddha had mentioned
“In the opening ceremony, a deep joy rose in me seeing the Sangha of the three tradition of Buddhism coming together as one for metta. All knew the meaning of metta very well. True radiance of metta at that point was at its peak. It was a sight to behold.”
Venue & Set up Coordinator Lim Chung Lu: “Preparing for such a big event without any experience and lack of manpower made me very stressed. There were times when I was aimless and helpless. However, I remembered someone told me : ‘When the intention and action is pure and sincere, help will come.’ True enough, most of my worries were unfounded. At all these stages , help did come.
“I couldn’t hold back my tears at the end of the event, especially when Bhante (Mahinda) had a word with the committee members and blessed us. I’m sure they were of tears of joy, of relief, and most of all, tears of the priceless experience of metta!
“For me, it’s not the end but a beginning to practise metta at least 15 mins daily. The commitment to myself is to put in at least 30 mins of metta practice daily from now on.”
The 24 Hrs Metta Initiative
Deputy Organising Chairman and Treasurer Kek Chin Wu: “24hrmetta has been a great teacher. The most important lesson for me has been to reflect on the mind as the forerunner of all states. In the organizing stages, we encountered various hindrances and obstacles such as fear that we will have few participants and volunteers, doubt about our abilities and whether we could organise this, and impatience when things were not moving fast enough, etc.
“I recalled that at one particular meeting, we had asked what is the expectations of the turnout for the event from each committee member, and we had very low and negative expectations as we had a poor response though the event drew near. However, we realised that such negative thoughts were not conducive and we must expand our vision of the event to be successful and inspiring for others to practice metta. Instead of dwelling in the negative, we should hold positive thoughts that the event will be the seed and cause for people to cultivate metta in their daily lives, and that the venue will be overflowing with people.
“We must also have faith in the Triple Gem that as the event unfolds, there will be various bodhisattvas that appear to contribute to the event. And this is what we experienced. Sponsors, Buddhist organisations and their members, participants and volunteers jut appeared when we need them the most, each contributing in any way that they can to 24hrmetta.
the time came.
24hrmetta’s nature is emptiness. 24hrmetta arose due to causes and conditions, from the first thought to hold this event for the benefit of the many till the expansion and transformation of 24hrmetta to mettaroundtheworld. 24hrmetta is the result of the contribution of many, and it has been most inspiring for me.
Food and Beverage Coordinator Ong Siew King: “It is easy to just talk about metta but it is a test to put it into practice. Food and beverage team is big, and because we all want to learn how to apply metta , that is why we find joy in carrying out our tasks during the event. Hopefully from the event, the true meaning of metta is understood and realised.
Organising Chairman KL Lim: “24hr Metta was a personal journey in self-realisation. Metta has not been my strongest point. Anger has been. 24hr Metta has turned out to be a great learning experience of keeping in check anger and grudges. It showed me how metta works as an antidote for these disturbing emotions.
“I am yet to be an embodiment of metta. Far from it. But my special 24hr metta family (read: organising team) who has been tolerant of me has given me a good start. Thank you.”
Programme Coordinator Wong Mei Ying:
Thank you for directing me here and there
Thank you for the not so patience tone
Thank you for the blur look
Thank you for the I don’t know, sort it out yourself thingy
Thank you for making me do the scallops (to dress up the venue)
Thank you for getting hurt and falling sick
Thank you for your smiles
Thank you for allowing me to bow to you
Thank you for making me cry
And thank you for allowing me to hug you
On an unconventional note, I also thank myself for the contributions and forgive myself for all my shortcomings. Metta starts with self but that is quite easily forgotten. Perfection is in the imperfection. Be kind to self :-)))”
Unadulterated and straight from the heart metta testimonials from these soldiers of metta. Do you have your own version of metta-monials to share? Please pen them if you have and email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would want to post good first-hand accounts of metta-monials to inspire all.