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More great stuff I found in Salzberg's Lovingkindness

Dana (Generosity)

Although I don't find metta helps me so far in dealing with my fear of pain, this other practice that Salzburg outlines feels more relevant. In my fear that the world is not safe for me, that I won't have the health (some days, even the physical energy) to take care of myself, I pull into myself, I become stingy, I hoard my resources: money, attention, energy. After reading about dana, I noticed that that there's a difference between wisely husbanding my resources, and this stinginess; I can tell that the stinginess is destructive, harmful thinking.

So I have decided to purposefully contradict the habit of stinginess with caution and wisdom, yes, but still teaching myself to distinguish between caution and stinginess. I decided to pledge a larger amount to the little church I used to go to, and had cut back my pledge to when I couldn't attend any more because the the smells of personal-care products was making me sick. I started looking for ways I can give dear ones more attention, instead of hiding out like a hermit. Both of these took a real effort to tell myself I could afford it, and that it would establish a better relationship between me and the world.

I'm really glad I kept reading and got to the dana part.

Merit

I was startled (and happy to be!) to get from Salzberg the idea that it's a good thing to enjoy one's good deeds. I was brought up to think that this kind of thinking was vain. But it makes sense: letting myself feel good about good I've done, encourages more. I had heard the term "merit" in various Buddhist contexts, but never understood before that it means that energy which results from good work. I had heard of "dedicating merit," but thanks to Salzburg now understand the revolutionary idea of sending that energy to others.

The Brahma-Viharas

Metta is only one of four techniques which develop positive mental energies. They're all relevant and revolutionary!

My reservations about the book

Main review of Lovingkindness

 24 March 1999