Content guidance

Contains subject matter which individuals may find upsetting.

Adult supervision suggested.


Lesson video

In progress...


Hello, welcome back, my name is Miss Pauvaday.

We are going to be continuing with our lessons on Buddhism and today we're looking at loving kindness, which is a very important part of particularly, Mahayana Buddhism, but it's important in all forms of Buddhism.

So let's get ready.

So as usual let's make sure that we're nice and ready for our lesson today.

You're going to need a pen and paper, we need to make sure that we have our curious minds ready, and as usual go somewhere nice and quiet if you can.

Today's lesson, there is going to be some discussion, again on death and suffering and some violence.

Excuse me.

So again, if you want to do this lesson with a parent or a guardian by all means do so.

Make sure that you're comfortable with what you're learning today.

And if there's anything that comes up that you've just, say it's a bit, makes you feel a bit uncomfortable at the end, do go and talk to a parent and a guardian as well.

So take a moment, go ahead and pause and then come back ready for this lesson.

So in today's lesson we're going to be looking at Karma.

We're going to be revisiting some of the ideas about Karma we're going to be looking at mindfulness again, particularly within the Eightfold Path.

And most importantly, we're going to be looking at compassion, to the teachings on compassion, looking after each other, looking after the world, that kind of idea.

And something called loving kindness known as Metta.

And compassion in action, what it looks like in action, in Buddhism, for example.

So compassion is really important and in the Pali term is Karuna, Pali and Sanskrit.

These are really two important things, so compassion and loving kindness.

Karuna is about seeing the suffering and wishing that suffering to stop.

So being aware of suffering in yourself and wanting it to stop.

Now that's not just things like, I'm in pain, I want that pain to stop, it's the full spectrum of suffering it's the, I'm a being that's stuck in this cycle of Samsara and I wish to come out of it eventually one day.

To the point where that's extended to, I can see the other beings are suffering in this cycle of Samsara and I wish them to come out of suffering.

So this can be other people, but also global suffering environmental suffering, that kind of thing.

Suffering of animals and suffering of the ecosystem.

So why do you think the Buddha and other monks chose to teach the Dhamma? Why, I mean, they reach enlightenment and that's it.

Why, why come back and teach it? Why, couldn't have been, it can't be easy to continue living in the Sangha and trying to live like this they're quite extreme conditions in many ways.

So why continue to teach it? Have you think about it, talk to someone if you're with them and ask yourself why.

Okay, so hopefully you've had a good think about it.

You might have very quickly linked this to this lesson.

It was about compassion the Buddha wanted to come back and teach what he knew because he had deep compassion for all being stuck in this cycle of Samsara and even now many monks and nuns choose to do that rather than kind of pressing ahead with we've gone towards Nirvana they want to stay in Samsara and support people to help other beings come out of suffering.

So as I mentioned that after reaching enlightenment the Buddha shared his knowledge on the way many ways on how to overcome suffering.

And Buddhists take this as an important lesson.

It's not just the teachings that he came up with it's also how he lived his life.

So the Buddha is a role model in that sense, he was so compassionate that he decided to stay and teach about how to alleviate suffering.

And again this is all motivated by trying to help other beings out of the cycle of Samsara and compassion for themselves and other beings.

That's why many Buddhists still kind of teach but particularly monks and nuns when we later on we see great Buddhist teachers that's partly why they do it it's just, it's out of compassion.

And there's something else there's another element to this and it's known as loving kindness or Metta Metta Bhavana, which is Sanskrit it means the cultivation of universal kindness.

Now we have to be careful about this term because we're talking about universal kindness.

Most of us have got goodwill and compassion but Metta is about extending that goodwill and kindness to the entire planet really to plants, animals, all beings, other people people that you don't know, it's easy to show compassion for the people that you have in your life.

So, yeah, we obviously care about the people in our lives it's much harder to be compassionate towards other beings.

And I recently read about this woman who was on a Black Lives Matter march and there were some people there that were shouting some very frankly quite racist things according to her testimony and it was just really interesting that I was writing this lesson at the same time because the woman said that she realised that they must have had something hateful in their hearts, something not very nice must have happened to them for them to just have such hateful things to say.

So she decided to stop some other members of the Black Lives Matter group, shouting at them she just kind of said, look, you know, it's better just to walk away.

So what she was doing was she's trying to show compassion for someone that she probably would not, who probably has the right to be angry with so Metta is really about developing compassion for all beings, including people that we might consider evil or might consider people who are angry or violent people that you probably think, well they don't deserve any compassion or kindness but that's not the teaching in Buddhism, the teaching is everything deserves some kind of compassion.

So and Metta is extending compassion to all beings.

So and it's not something that just happens, it's really hard, it's really hard.

Imagine when you're angry with someone, maybe you're angry with someone in your family or friend at school they've, someone at school has upset you, this the hardest thing to be compassionate that's not how you want to react you want to probably hurt them or do something else to them that's not very pleasant, but Buddhist's perspective that's going to create negative Karma and it's not really how you want to react it's the anger, it's the resentment it's all these other things that are getting in the way that are clouding the actual situation.

So this is what loving kindness is trying to develop.

It's trying to develop this technique this skill in trying to be compassionate for all beings.

And the way it's done is through loving kindness meditation, the way it starts, loving kindness meditation you start off with firstly applying feelings of compassion to someone, yourself and then someone you know personally and then someone that you kind of know but quite kind of neutrally, you might just not someone that you know particularly well but you are aware of them.

And then eventually you extend it to someone that you do not like, someone that you're angry with.

And that's how you try and do it according to these types of meditation.

And many Buddhists who practise this kind of meditation, they say that, what happens is the anger the hostility starts to wash away and they start to see the people as they actually are.

And they start looking like human beings and they're just not very angry anymore.

All Buddhist schools do something like this, particularly in Mahayana, they try to show compassion to all beings.

So let's have a quick true or false.

Sorry, a quick question, what term is used for compassion? It's Karuna, well done? What term is used for loving kindness? Metta, Metta.

Where do you need to start when doing loving kindness meditation? Yep, you start by generating compassion within yourself that's how you start.

Now this links back to the Eightfold Path because generating loving kindness increases your awareness of compassion with daily thought and action.

So it's done through meditation.

And if you are, Buddhism argues that if you are trying to extend loving compassion in your meditation and doing the Eightfold Path, then naturally your words are going to be a bit more compassionate, your actions are going to be a bit more compassionate and kindness is going to come from that.

So it increases a sense of compassion in all the things that you do in your life.

And hopefully it has an impact on other people as well.

So it does take training to become more compassionate we don't naturally, always naturally have it.

It does need to, it does require some training but the aim is also to have compassion to other people.

And I'm sure some of you have, know what that's like where you've maybe had a really bad day at school or something horrible has happened to you just a small act of kindness can make all the difference and this is kind of where the idea is coming from.

That having compassion can turn your bad mood or your negativity into something positive if someone shows you some compassion or some kindness.

So let's have a look at some loving kindness in action.

The First Women's Rights March, excuse me often known as the First Women's Rights March.

So during the time in the Buddha, I think I mentioned after he had given his first sermon, the "Turning of the Wheel on Dharma" and he talked for a little while he actually went back home to his family that initially he was a prince and he did have a wife he did have a child and he still had a stepmother and he had family, his dad was still there.

So he went back and started teaching and very quickly people started to follow his teachings and his stepmother and aunt wanted to follow him they wanted to follow him, they wanted to join the Sangha because India at the time was what we call patriarchal where kind of dominated by male authorities.

It wasn't seen as a place for women.

So what happened was his aunt Mahapajati sorry Mahapajapati Gotami, she and his stepmother and 500 other women kind of went on a march to find the Buddha and make the request that they could be allowed to join the Sangha.

And one of the reasons was because they wanted to, their argument was, look, this is drawing upon the ideas of compassion that all beings deserve to seriously find liberation including women.

And they should have the opportunity to really, really, really focus on enlightened, not just in their houses but to have the chance to become a nun.

So after this, the Buddha thought about this and very quickly, he started bringing nuns into the Sangha he started allowing women, which was quite rare at the time but it was based on this idea of compassion.

So the Siddhartha's aunt, the Buddhist aunt and stepmother really had this sense of compassion for all beings and all their kind of sisters and all the women who they felt that look, they want to become enlightened as well we need to do something about this.

It wasn't an aggressive march it was just trying to prove a point and it worked.

So where can you see the compassion in that idea? Okay hopefully that's been made nice and clear.

It's having compassion for all beings having the ability to escape Samsara including women.

Okay, the next one is Thich Nhat Hanh which you're going to come across again.

He's quite a famous zen monk and not many people know about a Sister Chan Khong, she's a nun, they're both well known so he's particularly well-known Vietnamese zen master great teacher in the West, but he actually he's believed to be an enlightened being in our hearts.

Chan Khong is a highly revered elder nun, not many people, she's not so much in the spotlight but I think she chooses that anyway.

They together have created the Buddhists Peace Delegation because they're both Vietnamese and they both saw dreadful, dreadful things in Vietnam.

So Chan Khong, she organised humanitarian aid for those caught up in the war.

So she was going back and forward with food, with provisions and things like that to try and help mothers and children in Vietnam.

And later on, they both together they collaborated and they created the Sweet Potato Community and Plum Village monasteries in France.

So where is the compassion in this action do you think? Okay, so there's a couple of things that we could say here.

The compassion could be for people who are caught up in war and suffering.

So when you Chan Khong was going back, they were putting themselves in danger, they were going back into war zones effectively but it was trying to set help, save people bring them back out into somewhere safe and also to provide provisions.

So that's a form of compassion.

Later on they both got involved in peace delegation so really kind of trying to bring the idea of peace into the political world and trying to stand up for the Vietnamese and other countries, other people who were stuck in war and trying to help the peace process along.

And the final thing you could say is with the Plum Village and Sweet Potato Village, creating monasteries in France there's not many Buddhist monasteries in Europe, by creating that, they were trying to extend the teaching of Dharma over here in the West to help people in the West to follow the teachings, to find a way out of suffering, why should it only be people in Asia who have the opportunity? If there are some people in the West who want to become Buddhists then here's an opportunity for them.

So that's why, another reason why they did it.

Okay, so the next action I want to tell you about is the White Rose Campaign.

Myanmar also known as Burma is a Buddhist countries, Theravada Buddhists country, quite conservative and sadly its seen a genocide.

So genocide is when you try and kill off, Hitler did this when he tried to get rid of the Jews.

There are a small minority group of Rohingya Muslims so Rohingya is like a group of people and they were Muslims and the government of Myanmar Burma they were just trying to get rid of them.

And the government were quite extreme Buddhists.

Now they've had their homes burned families have been killed by the order of the government but there have been quite, there has been some Buddhist opposition it's gone kind of both ways really.

So Burma is a really complicated one.

Some Buddhists in Burma have tried to oppose this kind of treatment with trynna promote something called interfaith.

So trying to promote this idea that different religions can co-exist.

So we have this way of living in mostly in Europe where lots of different religions or non-religious people who are atheists can happily just live together and it shouldn't be a problem and that should be fine.

So that's what the some Buddhists we're trying to promote.

Not just business, but Muslims as well were trying to promote in Myanmar and one of the symbols where they were giving white roses at mosques and to kind of promote this idea of interfaith.

And also to put pressure on the government to stop behaving in this awful way.

So have a think about this and then think, where is the compassion? How can we link this back to compassion? So you could think about this in terms of compassion in that imagine being a Muslim in a country where you feel that you might, you're in danger and you come out of the mosque and there are people there Buddhists but also other Burmese and some Muslims who are handing out white roses and what they're doing is they're showing solidarity, they're saying, look, we are with you.

We are trying to stop this mistreatment of you.

So that's quite, that's showing compassion trying to make sure that these people know that they're not alone and that someone is trying to fight for them as well.

And the last one I'm going to tell you about and I really like this story.

In 1991 a large oak tree was ordained as a monk, as a Buddhist monk.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it? Now this was in Thailand where 94% of the population is Buddhist.

So Buddhism is, all Buddhists, all people most people in Thailand, they really respect Buddhism and Buddhist monks.

So this tree was ordained and it was wrapped in the kind of orange robes that show the status of a monk.

And this meant that anyone had tried to cut down this tree couldn't do it without really having some serious Karmic effect.

So if you cut down this tree, this monk tree then your Karma would be really bad.

And what this did is it kind of created this new wave of Buddhist eco protection so Buddhists, monks and nuns trying to find a way to protect the environment.

And since this there's been other campaigns, lots of other campaigns that are trying to protect natural habitats from being destroyed.

Southeast Asia is a really popular holiday destination.

So it's not uncommon that quite big areas are being cut down just to provide hotels and things like that.

So people living in Thailand have felt that they need to protect their environment particularly the beaches, the sea, other areas of green they feel that it needs to be protected.

So where is the compassion do you think in this? So it can be seen as compassion by, in Buddhism, you can ordain, I suppose their thinking was all beings deserved protection.

Coming back to this idea of having compassion for all beings including the tree, including the sea, the water everything deserves protection from being being hurt.

So they kind of use this line and because Thailand is a Buddhist country, 94% this would be something that most people virtually all people in Thailand would understand that you have to have respect for all beings.

So when this tree was ordained as a monk I think most Buddhists would have understood why and realised, okay, we have to protect the environment.

That was the purpose of it anyway.

Okay, so I hope I've given you something to think about, before we end today's lesson, I want you to write a newspaper article on compassion in action.

So research some famous Buddhists or Buddhist peace activists and just see how they're putting their ideas into practise around the world.

What are they peacefully protesting about and why? What are they doing? You can start with Dalai Lama and you can add an example from this lesson and then you can choose one of your own examples.

And just to make it look really good you can find a template if you just google newspaper templates you'll have lots that come up and I think even on Word there is one and you can use it as a template to put in your articles.

So make sure you research it properly, add pictures and then if you can send it to us we would love to see it.

Make sure you get permission first.