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Lions Roar : July 2012
40 SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2012 LOVE IS A WORD that contains multitudes. It covers some of the finest qualities of the heart—such as the care and attention that parents give to their children—as well as a multitude of sins, such as the possessiveness of clinging and craving, or the urge to take responsibility for others’ happiness. That is one reason why the Buddha talked about universal metta instead of universal pema, meaning love. “Metta” is usually translated as loving-kindness, but often it is more helpful to think of it as goodwill. Goodwill is a wish for happiness—true happiness. The dif- ference between goodwill and love is well illustrated by a story I was told by my teacher, Ajaan Fuang. He once discovered that a snake had moved into his room. Every time he entered the room, he saw it slip into a narrow space behind a storage cabi- net. Even though he tried leaving the door to the room open during the daytime, the snake wasn’t willing to leave. So for three days they lived together. He was careful not to startle the snake or make it feel threatened by his presence. Finally on the I WANT TO BE... Loving We all want to be loved, yes, but our most heartfelt wish is to love, deeply and universally. If this seems like an unreachable ideal, says THANISSARO BHIKKHU, the place to start—and often the most skillful response—is the simple attitude of goodwill.