Translated by Thich Nhat Hanh
He or She who wants to attain peace should practice being upright, humble, and capable of using loving speech. He or she will know how to live simply and happily, with senses calmed, without being covetous and carried away by the emotions of the majority. Let him or her not do anything that will be disapproved of by the wise ones. (And this is what he or she contemplates):
‘May everyone be happy and safe, and may their hearts be filled with joy.
‘May all living beings live in security and peace, beings who are frail or strong, tall or short, big or small, visible or not visible, near or far away, already born or yet to be born. May all of them dwell in perfect tranquility.
‘Let no one do harm to anyone. Let no one put the life of anyone in danger. Let no one, out of anger or ill will, wish anyone any harm.
‘Just as a mother loves and protects her only child at the risk of her own life, we should cultivate boundless love to offer to all living beings in the entire cosmos. Let our boundless love pervade the whole universe, above, below, and across. Our love will know no obstacles, our heart will be absolutely free from hatred and enmity. Whether standing or walking, sitting or lying, as long as we are awake, we should maintain this mindfulness of love in our own heart. This is the noblest way of living.
‘Free from wrong views, greed, and sensual desires, living in beauty and realizing perfect understanding, those who practise boundless love will certainly transcend birth and death.’
Mindfulness is the energy that allows us to look deeply at our body, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness and see clearly what our real needs are, so we will not drown in the sea of suffering. Eventually love fills our mind and our will (Pali: cetana) and all our actions from that time on manifest love. Speech and actions are the fruits of will, so when our will is permeated by love, our speech and actions are also suffused with love. We speak only loving and constructive words and act only in ways that bring happiness and relieve suffering.
Practise looking deeply all day long – during sitting meditation, walking meditation, at work, and at home. When you do, you will discover the true nature of the five skandhas – form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness. You will see the conditions that have caused you to be the way you are, and this makes it easy to accept yourself – your suffering and your happiness at the same time. To love is first of all to accept yourself as you actually are. ‘Knowing thyself’ is the first practice of love.
May I learn to look at myself with the eyes of understanding and love. May he/she learn to look at him/herself with the eyes of understanding and love. May they learn to look at themselves with the eyes of understanding and love.
May I be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in myself. May he/she be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in him/herself. May they be able to recognize and touch the seeds of joy and happiness in themselves.
May I learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving, and delusion in myself. May he/she learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in him/herself. May they learn to identify and see the sources of anger, craving and delusion in themselves.