by Paduma Ang
On 29th and 30th June 2013, the inaugural Metta Convention was held at Maha Bodhi School, organized by Singapore Buddhist Federation and co-organized by Singapore Buddhist Federation Youth. The theme for the convention was Meeting of Hearts.
The Convention’s keynote speaker, Dr A. T. Ariyaratne, founder of The Sarvodaya Movement in Sri Lanka, was joined by other notable speakers from the region. There were Venerable Mahinda, Founder and Spiritual Director of Aloka Foundation and Dr Staurt Chin from Malaysia, with Dr William Wan, General Secretary of Singapore Kindness Movement, and Sister Sumitra, Spiritual Director of Aloka Meditation Centre (Australia) from Singapore.
Mr K Shanmugam, Minster for Foreign Affairs and Minster for Law, who was the Guest-of-Honour for the convention, mentioned in his opening speech on the need and importance to find a deeper meaning to life spiritually, and how the teachings and values of Metta (loving-kindess), and other religions can be applied to our daily lives. He reminded the audience that even though it was important to serve and help others, we have to remember to do so with a pure intention, without any desires.
He added, “If we can control our inner self and mind, if we can give up our attachments, our desires, do our duty without contamination of desire, and be calm and serene within ourselves – then, Buddhists believe that we will be better people, and much can be achieved, for the benefit of society.” Mr Shanmugam was also pleasantly happy to see so many young people who were cheerful and positive, helping out for the convention.
With the objective of bringing people together to discuss and promote the widespread practice of Metta, the Convention drew about a hundred and sixty delegates, including international delegates from Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam. Over the two days, all four speakers spoke on the benefits, importance and application of Metta.
There were also workshop sessions where the delegates were divided into groups of 10, to engage in in-depth discussions on how to promote the widespread practice of Metta and bring it to new levels through acts of compassionate love such as; supporting and caring for the sick, aging and those in need of physical, psychological and spiritual support.
On the last day, participants had a chance to hear about each other group’s ideas during the panel discussion, with Venerable Mahinda, Dr Ariyaratne and Dr William Wan as panelists.
For more information on the event, click here to view the Metta Convention Facebook Page.