Friday, December 21, 2007


I was overwhelmed with anxiety and depression when I heard the dreaded "C" word – my mom was diagnosed with colon cancer.

I realized that, even after years of meditation, I still couldn’t cope with fear, the fear of losing my loved ones.

It also shows that the practice of meditation alone is insufficient. We still need to have Right Understanding, the understanding of anicca (impermanence) and dukkha (unsatisfactory).

Fortunately, my mom was diagnosed at the early stage of cancer, and she is recovering after undergoing a surgery to remove the tumor.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Some Questions on Metta Meditation

Metta Meditation, as many of us already know, is a practice commonly used to develop loving-kindness and compassion.

In practicing Metta, we first direct loving-kindness to ourselves; as we are at peace with ourselves, we proceed to extend the goodwill to others – not just people, but all living beings.

Rev Sujiva of Malaysia suggested that we develop metta in the following stages, by directing loving-kindness to these people:

  1. oneself
  2. lovable person (e.g. parents, teachers)
  3. intimate person (e.g. family members)
  4. neutral person
  5. repulsive person
  6. inimical person

(Reference: Sujiva, Divine Abodes – Meditation on Loving Kindness and Other Sublime States)

Traditionally, we are told that lovable person cannot someone of opposite sex. This is to avoid turning goodwill into lust. While we can, and are supposed to, direct our goodwill to all people in the subsequent stages, we should never do so to a person of opposite sex in Stage 2.

But I always have one doubt: can’t a man select his mother to be that lovable person? Or, can’t a woman direct her loving-kindness to her father at Stage 2?

How about gay men and lesbians who practice Metta Meditation? Should they actually direct loving-kindness to a person of opposite sex???