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Lions Roar : March 2009
51 SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2009 The essence of loving-kindness is wishing joy for others. Like a loving mother for her child, Serve others by offering all, your body, wealth, and merits, And bear all the hurts caused by them. — Rigdzin jigme lingpa the buddha said, “mind is the main thing and it is the leader.” the body is not our identity. mind is our identity. it is who we are. so from the buddha’s perspective, working with the mind is the basis of health and healing. if our mind is loving and peaceful, we spontaneously will become stron- ger and wiser, even if our bodies have difficulties. the way to achieve this is through the practice of loving-kindness. according to tibetan medicine, a calm and joyful mind will help to balance the four elements—earth, water, fire, and air—that are the building blocks of our body, and make the circulation of our energy system function normally. and at the end of our life, when our mind leaves the body and begins to migrate, the healthy experiences we have gener- ated through the practice of loving-kindness will assure us a peaceful and joyful rebirth. so if we honestly wish to take care of ourselves and serve this planet in a meaningful way— to heal ourselves and others—it is true loving-kindness that we must generate firmly in our own heart and mind. loving-kindness (maitri in sanskrit, metta in pali) is not simply a quality we have. it is an important bud- dhist meditation that we can learn to practice regularly, and the most powerful form of generating healthiness. loving-kindness, along with compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity, is one of the four immeasurable at- titudes that heal the temporary ills of our life and awaken the enlightened qualities that we all have inherited. as the first of the four immeasurable attitudes, lov- ing-kindness is the foundation for the others. it is based on having the following wish: “all beings, who have no joy, may they always have joy and the causes of joy. how happy i would be for all to have joy. i will work for all to have joy. i pray to the buddha of loving-kindness for joy to arise in the lives of all beings.” the second of the immeasurable attitudes is compas- sion, which involves making this wish: “may all the suf- fering beings become free from sufferings and the causes of sufferings.” the third, sympathetic joy, takes the form of the wish: “may all who are enjoying happiness never be separated from happiness.” loving-Kindness is the best medicine Our mind—not our body—is who we really are, says Tulku ThOndup RinpOche, and the mind that is calm, joyful, and deeply loving is the foundation of true health and healing.