By a miracle, I mean a beautiful thing or happening which occurs out of or beyond our expectations. In this sense we can work miracles with metta. There will be greater miracles if we have stronger metta.
The Miracle at Home and in Society
Once a friend said she had disagreements with a member of the family who shared the same house with her. I told her to do metta regularly to that person. Strangely enough the situation changed and they became close. She was surprised because she admitted that her concentration was really not too deep. Life would be much happier if all of us are very good friends. This is especially relevant to those we are living or frequently associating with together. Whether it is a family house, office, temple, or any social organisation, why not regularly hold metta sessions together? Call all the family members every morning and radiate metta to each other. After that we can have a good heart-to-heart talk. A lot of quarrels and misunderstanding can be ironed out. Then the home is a real home, a place where there are people you’d like to be with. The same also applies to the temple, office or any social organisation.
The Miracle of Healing
When we meet with sick people we can radiate compassion to them. The mind we believe is a powerful force. Where the divine abidings are concerned, they can bring about healing. For a start it will definitely help to boost the sick person’s morale. A happier mind suffers less and also helps the body to recover faster. Once I had a friend suffering from cancer. The pain as one can expect was terrible. I tried to use my mind to relieve his pain. What I noticed in my effort is that it first came with setting his mind at peace, for mind does influence mind. Following that, I noticed that there are physical forces that arise with that peaceful mind. These are restorative and helpful. In the end it does help to overcome if not a lot, then some pain. Why not try out with regular visits to the sick, the old and suffering. One can do it by oneself, better still in a group. Radiate compassion to the suffering. Feel the peaceful compassion from your mind envelop and penetrate his. Feel the vibrations that come with the compassion likewise envelop and penetrate his body. Do so with deep concentration. Do so for long periods. Relieve the suffering of others.
The Miracle in the Forest
The forest represents a place where danger lurks at every corner. Wild animals such as tigers and snakes move around freely. Unseen spirits or even demons may abound. When we are in such a situation it is very important that we have enough metta to overcome our fears and dangers. A favourable citation of the power of metta is the incident when the Buddha himself was faced by a ferocious drunken elephant charging at him. The Buddha showered metta onto the animal and brought it to its senses. It sat down at the feet of the Buddha. I have also heard of a forest monk whose metta was so strong that even a tigress chose to bear and wean her cubs under his hut. Animals are normally very sensitive to metta and may sometimes respond better than humans! In another incident I walked casually into the forest and found myself lost and the night was setting in. Then I remembered someone told me that a way to get out of such a situation was to radiate metta to the tree spirits. I did so and found myself out in another direction very soon. Coincidence? Well it helped firstly to stop any panic. It preserved the mindfulness to get my bearings right. I do not know if the tree spirits helped me, but the way out seemed to be exceedingly smooth. In other stories the deities do lend a helping hand to people with metta in times of danger or trouble. The arahant Subhuti, foremost in metta, once meditated in a field. The deity refused the rain to fall! This caused worry among the farmers. But when a hut was erected for him, the rain poured. It is usual for Buddhists to gather together in times of danger or trouble to do recitations and metta to the world, to the deities and all beings to summon up the blessings of the Triple Gem, and so on. It is believed to be effective in preventing and averting dangers.
The Great Miracle
There may be many other instances that the power is made to work wonderfully to relieve the sufferings of beings. But in working these we must remember not to have selfish motives – to feel proud or attached to these things. Of all these miracles, the greatest miracle metta gives is the miracle of purification. When we have metta, our defilements are overcome. Special reference can be made of ill-will or anger. It soothes us as much as an antidote that removes the snake’s poison that burns in the body.
Ways of Working out Metta
The cultivations of metta in an intensive manner for absorptions/deep concentration can be done on a solitary basis or in groups. Solitary meditation is conducive to tranquillity meditations as it is usually more quiet and less likely to run into misunderstandings with others. Alternatively, group meditation involves more people and although some may pose as distractions, the group effect and effort can be of mutual help and support. If we can be a little selective as to who comprises the group it can smooth out things. The joint group effort can arouse and combine potent mental forces into a more powerful force. It should first reinforce each of us by our radiating of metta to each other in the group. Then we can radiate outwards