Metta Walk – Bringing Metta Round The World (MRTW) to the top of Mt. Kinabalu - A Personal Experience by Sis. Mudita Loh
As worldly beings, we have so many wishes. We also meet so many kinds of people: caring people, impatient people, greedy people, joyful people, angry people, ignorant people and wise people. How do you face yourself and others?
In our daily lives, there are times when we are attracted to worldly things – attachment to sensual pleasures and our loved ones. When we are challenged with some difficulties whether physically, mentally or spiritually, we tend to think of the pleasurable and to “give up” on what we know could strengthen our virtues and qualities. The vivid thought of “why do we come here to suffer” is always in our minds and weaken our spirit. And we will fall back on what is “dangerous” and harmful – that has made us repeatedly go round the vicious cycles of suffering as our virtues and mind are not developed.
As an exercise to cultivate good virtues, I had made it part of my daily routine to bow 108 times not for the purpose of climbing Mt. Kinabalu but to take refuge in the triple gem, to respect and have gratitude for my teachers, parents, relatives, friends, known or unknown beings and also METTA and forgiveness for all. Having climbed Mt. Kinabalu and reached the peak, I can truly see the relevance of this practice now. It has helped me physically and mentally. The climb to the peak is a test for me and I managed to apply some of this experience. Reaching the peak is like being “on top of the world.” To reach the ultimate, we have no time to waste – consistency in practice is vital. Dhamma is a way of life which must be practised daily, then only does it become meaningful – physically, mentally and spiritually to reach our goal – happiness here and now, here after and the ultimate happiness.
As a Buddhist we must have faith in the Triple Gem. The Buddha guide our thoughts and actions. The Dhamma help us to be strong in moments of weakness, brave and calm in times of trouble. The Sangha inspire us to act with kindness, patience and forgiveness and strength in our dealings with others or in times of difficulty. Do have confidence in doing what is good and pure.
I also see the importance of right association, noble association. It strengthened my determination and other virtues: faith, wisdom, energy, patience, endurance, truthfulness, determination, loving kindness and equanimity. I nearly gave up but I held on. I have a good kalyana mitra – a noble teacher beside me to remind me and my other friends to continue to walk the noble path heedfully. How could I give up our noble mission? We are blessed to have a Sangha around us and she is always there in times of need. Sister Siew Peng also reflected, “Yesterday before reaching Laban Rata, I was really… really tired and I thought I would not be able to continue. During dinner I don’t feel like eating at all. Today, having descended from the peak, I can’t believe I had reached the peak?” Bodhini also said “I don’t think so I can make it without Sister Sumangala’s persistency, encouragement and support.” I am happy we all made it. As for Rakkhita, he had overcome his height and darkness phobia. I still remember his frequent queries of “how far more to go, whether we could stop for a drink etc. He too made it at the age of 14. All of us are happy – feeling like on top of the world. Yet, we still could not believe it! Ha..Ha..Ha..
I truly appreciate how proper guidance – some words of encouragement and care can change a person’s strength, confidence and provide the support to enable one to achieve one’s goal. It’s our duty and responsibility to be skillful in our mission to attain happiness and I shall continue to make the right effort. The whole of a holy (happy) life is to continue to associate with a spiritual friend, a spiritual comrade and a spiritual companion. That was how important it is to have kalyana mitras and faith in the Triple Gem. It’s a great BLESSING.
Learning can take place anytime and anywhere, irrespective of age. If there is a will, there is a way. My other kalyana mitras and me learnt this from METTA walk. We made it. As we received support, we should also give others support to overcome their defilements. It also strengthened our virtues and we rejoiced with other’s successes.
We are so thankful to our kalyana mitra (noble teacher) to guide us and care for us all the way up to the top of Mount Kinabalu and down to the Timpohon Gate. As we have completed the mission, we feel nothing is impossible. In the darkness, have no fear. Make effort and you shall see Light. Radiate METTA to all beings and in all directions. Rest assured you will be protected, guided and blessed.
Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu. May all beings be well, happy and safe.