METTA CONVENTION: Young with Metta

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by KL Lim

The young with their impressionable service filled with metta won hearts at the first-ever just-concluded Metta Convention in Singapore and earned the distinction to be the choice focus and the engine of growth of metta for the future.

They left a good impression in Mr K Shanmugam, Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Law, as evident from his Facebook posting after he officially opened the Metta Convention on June 29 that there were “lots of young people helping out – good to see. They were cheerful, positive”.

Over the two days, the young in the eye-catching pink volunteer t-shirts bowled over the participants which numbered over 150 comprising sangha members and laity from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos and Australia.Their smiles and big grin, ever willingness to be of help and direct people through the corridors of the Mahabodhi Buddhist School, which can be a maze for unfamiliar visitors, was metta live!

Their commitment to service also struck a chord with Bhante Mahinda, who made it clear at the close of the Metta Convention that the next level of Metta Round The World initiatives belonged to the young.

He advocated in the Heart in Action final segment following the Meeting of Hearts workshops that the focus should be on inculcating the practice of metta and acts of compassionate love in the young.

“The aim of this Metta Convention is to promote the widespread practice of metta and acts of compassionate love. As I sit here and listen to Dr Ariyaratne (founder of Sarvodaya Shramadana Movement who is also a panel member in the Heart in Action panel discussion), I recalled how he started his mission in Nalanda College in Sri Lanka where he was a teacher. He got the students to go out to villages during the school holidays to help the poor, the needy and disadvantaged to build toilets, dig wells etc,” said Bhante Mahinda.

He drew reference to the coincidence that the first ever Metta Convention to map out strategies for the next level of metta initiatives was held in Mahabodhi Buddhist School, thus signaling that new metta activities start in schools with the young.

The young of today will shape tomorrow and the future of peace, harmony and stability in the world rests can be influenced by the young. And it is in them that the promotion of metta practice should be focused.

Some of the ideas that came out from the Hearts In Action session may not be age restrictive but do resonate with the young. They included:

  • Metta Card for Random Acts of Compassionate Love

The idea is to perform random acts of compassionate love – be it giving up a seat in public transport, a smile, a hug and then leave a metta card for the recipient pass on the card after having performed a service or act of compassionate love.
This will be an infectious way to promote metta and acts of compassionate love.

  • Metta in Mobile

One idea is to send thoughts and messages of metta either through SMS, What’s App, etc and another is to record on video scenes of metta or acts of compassionate love and send it to a central repository. The videos can be collated and a Mobile Metta Film Festival can even be held.

  • Pray More, Meditate More, Express Thanks More, Greet More, Smile More and Hug More

o Reach out to many to learn more about metta and practice metta.
o Stop thinking, talk less and give love to family members, fellow workers and even strangers

  • Acts of Kindness for Needy

o Listen to Life Stories of elders and make Collage/Scrap Book as a joint project with elders
o Wish fulfillment for orphanages/orphans

Good ideas from a fruitful and successful Metta Convention. Now, it is turning them into action and engaging our young in it!

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