Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dying kitten inspires Buddhist monk

I was reading in the bath tonight about mettā. That's loving-kindness meditation for those of us who don't speak Pāli. Ajahn Brahm -quite possibly the coolest man ever (sorry honey, he updates more often than you do)- tells us to start our mettā meditation with an object towards which we can feel immediate loving-kindness.

He chooses a kitten (how perfect is that?). A broken, hungry, mangy, cold, rejected, bloody, half-dead kitten.

I get what he's doing: find something you can project your love at without hesitation, something that inspires feelings of compassion and love without question or doubt, without judgment or a second thought. And what better object than a kitten which needs his love, and his kindness?

Even so, it tickles me that he describes in such detail the horrible, scared, lonely death his imaginary kitten will suffer, and that's how he reaches that loving-kindness inside himself. It tickles me that his style of teaching and writing isn't all head-in-the-clouds enlightenment talk that only other totally evolved supreme-being types would get. It's real stuff that even I can relate to.

Ajahn Brahm uses the word "frigging" when he talks about awareness of the breath in meditation. Not words one would expect from a Buddhist monk, but words I can relate to.

Plus he giggles when he talks about how we're all going to die some day. How can you not love that?

I've been thinking about this mettā business, trying to decide what object I'll use. I thought about borrowing Brahm's dying kitten, but that just makes me think of Pet Cemetery then I can't control the giggling. I'm far too morbid to actually focus on something that might be dying, and not nearly compassionate enough to focus on something that actually needs me to nurture it. I'm too critical to focus on myself, and too bitchy to focus on anyone else. What does that leave me?

I think, for now at least, that I won't be reaching Jhāna anytime soon.

What do you focus your loving-kindness meditation on?

1 comment:

Jocelyn said...

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You're an Honest Scrap!

OMG - my word verification is dison - does that mean I won a new vac? LOL

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