by Sis Siew Mam, Aloka Buddhist Centre, Melaka Metta Circle
Over the past few months, our Metta Circle in Aloka Buddhist Centre (ABC) discussed the benefits, qualities of Metta and the Metta Sutta.
“Aiyo, how to remember all these information lah” lamented some members. Hmmmm … how lah …
Keen gardeners, we were, and having attended Bro. Ivan Ho’s compost gardening talk, we decided to “plant” a Metta tree. So we rolled up our sleeves & got ready for some “hard” work.
1) We needed good fertile compost soil. Our compost soil contained dried leaves, wet fruit & veg, raw sugar, earthworms, water, soil, etc. These different components of the soil represented the virtues we need to have in order to develop Metta better. These virtues are stated in the first few verses of Karaniya Metta sutta. The tree will grow & flourish in fertile soil but will struggle in infertile soil.
2) We also needed consistent maintenance e.g. weeding, watering, pruning, appropriate sunlight. Cannot rely on rain only mah … Similarly in cultivating Metta, we need to be consistent in our practice, weed our defilements, nurture our Metta, etc.
3) Our Metta tree bore beautiful & fragrant flowers. Some flowers withstood the wind, rain & sun and develop into Metta fruits. Others perished. These flowers represented the qualities or spirit of Metta e.g. unconditional, genuine altruistic wish, no self benefit, etc. Strong qualities bore fruits. Our Metta tree was laden with these beautiful & fragrant flowers and perfumed our garden and neighbourhood.
4) These flowers attracted butterflies, bees, etc which helped in the pollination process. These are our kalyana mitra or spiritual friends. Good spiritual friends will encourage and help bring our spiritual practice to fruition.
5) Finally our Metta tree bore sweet and yummy fruits. These are the 11 benefits of Metta mentioned in the Mettanisamsa Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya 11.16). Good news is our Metta tree bears fruits 365 days a year and is not seasonal!!!
Our neighbours loved the scent from the flowers and always paused to appreciate the tree. They also loved the delicious fruits. Some neighbours started planting a Metta tree too. Soon there were more & more Metta trees in our neighbourhood.
Have fun growing your Metta tree!