Buddhist Audio Books

Living with Kindness
The Buddha's teaching on metta
By Sangharakshita
ISBN: 1899579648
Read by Satyadaya

Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life … let thoughts
of boundless love pervade the whole world. from the Karaniya Metta Sutta

Kindness is one of the most basic qualities we can possess, and one of the most
powerful. In Buddhism it is called metta – an opening of the heart to all that we meet.
Any friendly feeling contains the kernel of metta. It is a seed that is waiting to be
developed, right here amidst the conditions of our daily life.

Living with Kindness is a pithy commentary on the Buddha's teaching of metta in the
Karaniya metta sutta. In it, Sangharakshita, a teacher of Buddhism for over fifty years,
shows us how to cultivate many of the facets of kindness in ordinary, everyday life.
Outlining the nurturing conditions the seed of kindness needs to grow, he encourages
us to follow the path that leads to a warm and expansive heart — and beyond. And
with that heart, we can be happier and more fulfilled in ourselves and empathise with
the joys and sufferings of all living beings.

An Extract from: Living with Kindness
from chapter 2: The Ethical Foundations of Metta

A person who is truly capable can turn their capability in almost any direction. You
can go out to work or choose not to. You might know how to do a bit of gardening,
you might know how to do a bit of carpentry, you might be able to look after a baby,
or cook a meal from any leftovers in the kitchen. In fact, confronted with any given
situation, difficult or otherwise, you can cope, you can manage, you can get by. You
know how to look after yourself, and you can look after others if need be. This is the
capable human being, the product of the long march of evolution, and the kind of
person one will need to be in order to embark on the path of spiritual development. It
doesn’t matter whether or not you are interested in religion, philosophy, spirituality,
mysticism, high art, or even Buddhism itself. None of this counts for much if you are
not first of all a capable human being, someone who is able to be an effective member
of society in the ordinary sense, to look after themselves, manage their own life, and
make their own way in the world.

It should be said that being capable is not always a matter of one’s own efforts alone.
Some qualities are the result of all sorts of deep-seated conditions that stretch back
through your life or that may simply be inherited. If you have had a supportive
upbringing – that is, one in which you have been surrounded by people who care
about you, who have helped you grow and learn effectively – the necessary qualities
may come to you quite easily, especially if, because of your personality, you have been
able to make full use of these opportunities. In all likelihood you will have
the resourcefulness and stability of mind to begin the path of self-directed spiritual

Without these advantages you may find it hard to muster the ordinary human
capability to take you forward in the spiritual life. If your upbringing and life
experience has been particularly difficult, if there are psychological or emotional
factors that stand in the way of spiritual progress, you may need time to overcome
these and to integrate the various aspects of your personality into a single-minded
clarity of purpose. You may be inspired by the Dharma but lack the practical human
qualities and the mental toughness necessary to make a success of practicing it. If
you realize that you are psychologically frail or emotionally dependent, the best
thing to do to begin with is to work steadily at that level. Not everybody who comes
along to a Buddhist meditation class possesses the self-assurance, self-motivation,
and independence of mind which are not only associated with successful human
endeavour, but which also give the necessary drive to spiritual practice. If you are
in this position you will have to devote your energies first to building up your basic
psychological strength. You may benefit from therapy or analysis, but it may be even
more helpful to work on your friendships and to learn to do a job competently and


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