2020 in Thailand

POSTCARD#356: Merry Christmas everyone! I started this Christmas card but didn’t get it finished in time – motivation fizzled out. Then regenerated and here it is now:

Metta (Loving Kindness) to blogging friends everywhere in the world on Christmas Day, 2019, from Tiramit and Jiab over here in Thailand where it’s an ordinary day. Kids go to school, people go to work. Thailand is a Bhuddhist country, Christmas is not a big event. God, as in Judeo-Christian cultures, is neither accepted nor denied; we can’t speculate about supernatural forces or beings. The Buddha therefore didn’t teach us about God. Rather, he encouraged finding the Truth one’s self through meditation practice and the Teachings, The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

Thai children learn in school and through their upbringing about generosity, kindness, gratitude, and a sense of well-being for one’s self and all other beings. It always begins with one’s self, because how can you help others with well-being if you don’t know what it means to be well.

“May I be well (again, starting with yourself), may all beings be well.”

Each of us has the capacity to do this, it’s not a special gift from God

Of course life is not only about creating a sense of well-being. There is adversity and others may not be able to cope. Generally speaking in Thai society, there is a sense of harmony, toleration and non-confrontation. Accommodating the differences; each of us has the capacity to do that. It comes through the practice of the Thai ot-thon (khanti) patient endurance, a Buddhist control of extreme feelings through the cultivation of mind, based on compassion for all living beings.

An example of patient endurance is in these immense traffic jams in the city, it is noticeable how Thai drivers are able to maintain an outward calm, no sounds of car horns at all. I know from experience in Delhi or Dhaka, if we were in a traffic jam there, the noise level from horns would be like a wall of sound.

Returning again to metta (Pali), the practice of cultivating loving kindness, universal love. All beings have the innate ability to generate metta; an experienced meditator may bring forth that loving kindness; an intentional dwelling in heart-felt emotion. Also breath meditation with a focus on the breathing organs which are situated in the heart; metta-chit, with a heart of loving kindness, wishing all beings well, using thought to generate goodwill… like falling in love with goodwill, in its highest form, over and over again – and generate that metta to the world.


The Metta Sutta

This is what should be done

By one who is skilled in goodness,

And who knows the path of peace:

Let them be able and upright,

Straightforward and gentle in speech,

Humble and not conceited,

Contented and easily satisfied,

Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.

Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,

Not proud or demanding in nature.

Let them not do the slightest thing

That the wise would later reprove.

Wishing: In gladness and in safety,

May all beings be at ease.

Whatever living beings there may be;

Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,

The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,

The seen and the unseen,

Those living near and far away,

Those born and to-be-born —

May all beings be at ease!

Let none deceive another,

Or despise any being in any state.

Let none through anger or ill-will

Wish harm upon another.

Even as a mother protects with her life

Her child, her only child,

So with a boundless heart

Should one cherish all living beings;

Radiating kindness over the entire world:

Spreading upwards to the skies,

And downwards to the depths;

Outwards and unbounded,

Freed from hatred and ill-will.

Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down

Free from drowsiness,

One should sustain this recollection.

This is said to be the sublime abiding.

By not holding to fixed views,

The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,

Being freed from all sense desires,

Is not born again into this world.

9 thoughts on “2020 in Thailand

  1. How wonderful to see the Karaniya Metta Sutta https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.08.amar.html
    I heard Sylvia Boorstein recite it on a Tricycle video years ago and loved it. Eventually I committed it to memory a little at a time while riding the subway. It’s such a comfort to have it in my head whenever I need it! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, T. I’ve had to place my husband in memory care here, and I haven’t been good about blogging and staying connected online. Best to you and Jiab!

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