I have just spent twelve days in a Therevarden Forest monastery. My third stay since August last year. Something fascinating unfolded. Firstly, the head nun asked if I could repair and repaint an old Buddha statue they had. To my surprise it turned out stunning and she was over the moon. Glad I did not ever, ever think the job, I just got on with it and used my skills from years of working tools and my understanding of restructuring and restoration. The ramification of failing to achieve anything usable or aesthetically pleasing crossed my mind in hindsight. This status is immediately situated in the main dining hall permanently and is going to be used for house visits. Hindsight, what a privilege and so random and unusually.
Secondly, I have built up a great friendship with a lay person who lives at the monastery permanently and the monastics need help with a multitude of day to day activities. My friend does a wonderful job and also bears a unique kind of hospitality that all visitors benefit from. He surprised and shocked me with a fantastic gift. He was gifted many years ago with a Buddha statue built of a combination of metals. It’s very ornate and about fifteen centre meters in height. He stated, “A old saying, you should be given a Buddha statue from a monastery” I was so moved, I was at a loss what to say. And then, I gave him a hug and sat admiring my new statue. Remembering, I have been looking and never seen one that remotely appealed to me. When I got home, I decided I am going to use this statue in my bedroom. IE. Bedside table, it’s the perfect size and a constant reminder of kindness and friendship.
Thirdly, and even more unusual, there are importers who have a huge warehouse near home. I needed a present for mums birthday and decided to go there for a look. It’s a couple guys who go all over the world buy things often unusual and huge. Plenty from Japan and all over Asia. Spotted a Buddha who was from the 1890s, who was placed in a temple that was pulled down. It’s hand carved wood, it’s over half a meter height. I have been to this warehouse house and looked totally over and never seen anything like it. I decided to purchase it, even though it’s a sizable investment that I negotiated a better price. So, to my amazement this all happens in a three week time frame. I have been looking for months and had no Buddha statue, now I am the pleased owner of two beautifully crafted examples.
I felt the lovingly kindness of friends and below this article explains “Metta”
‘The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence. The Pali commentators define metta as the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others (parahita-parasukha-kamana). Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest. Through metta one refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind of friendliness, accommodativeness and benevolence which seeks the well-being and happiness of others. True metta is devoid of self-interest. It evokes within a warm-hearted feeling of fellowship, sympathy and love, which grows boundless with practice and overcomes all social, religious, racial, political and economic barriers. Metta is indeed a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love.
Metta makes one a pure font of well-being and safety for others. Just as a mother gives her own life to protect her child, so metta only gives and never wants anything in return. To promote one’s own interest is a primordial motivation of human nature. When this urge is transformed into the desire to promote the interest and happiness of others, not only is the basic urge of self-seeking overcome, but the mind becomes universal by identifying its own interest with the interest of all. By making this change one also promotes one’s own well-being in the best possible manner.
Metta is the protective and immensely patient attitude of a mother who forbears all difficulties for the sake of her child and ever protects it despite its misbehavior. Metta is also the attitude of a friend who wants to give one the best to further one’s well-being. If these qualities of metta are sufficiently cultivated through metta-bhavana — the meditation on universal love — the result is the acquisition of a tremendous inner power which preserves, protects and heals both oneself and others.
Apart from its higher implications, today metta is a pragmatic necessity. In a world menaced by all kinds of destructiveness, metta in deed, word and thought is the only constructive means to bring concord, peace and mutual understanding. Indeed, metta is the supreme means, for it forms the fundamental tenet of all the higher religions as well as the basis for all benevolent activities intended to promote human well-being.’