A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Divine states

Buddha teaches us to practice the development of 4 divine states.

First is the state of metta or loving kindness. This starts by daily taking refuge in the Triple Gems, the Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha, saying it three times. As a lay person following this by repeating the 5 precepts, to refrain from taking life from a sentient being, to abstain from taking what is not given, using false speech, sexual misconduct and refrain from becoming intoxicated. Before we can love others we must remove anger from within ourselves. May I be free from anger, may I be free from all afflictions, may I be free from all worries, and may I live in happiness. Once we can feel good about ourselves, then we can love ourselves, when we can love ourselves then we can love others as we love ourselves. Loving kindness starts with loving ourselves. Practicing meditation helps diminish our worries. If we follow the 5 precepts a majority of the causes of conflict are avoided. Eating a vegetarian diet will help avoid diseases such as obesity, diabetes and possibly some cancers thought to be caused by consuming partially burnt meat. Next is to practice visualizing our body as completely healthy throughout the day. Think of each part of the body from head to toe then in reverse order, as you visualize each part as healthy. Then consider someone you honor such as a teacher, parent or monk and perform the healthy visualization of their body. Follow this with a spouse or close friend if single. Then do the same towards someone you know, but have no feelings of like or dislike towards. Follow these by thinking of someone you consider as an enemy, and performing the healthy thought exercise towards. When you can finally do this, and discern no difference between yourself, and your enemy or any person in between, you add sentient beings that you don’t know, including deities, animals, beings on other worlds, and those beings we can’t think of. Upon achieving this you will have attained the first state of ecstasy. You will find you fall asleep easily, wake fully refreshed, boundless energy, certainty in what path to follow, and not suffer from nightmares among the many benefits bestowed by achieving this state. At some point I’ll expound more on this topic.

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