When we do the full Metta Bhavana (Cultivation of Lovingkindness) practice we usually just use four specific people to practice with:
- Our self
- A friend
- A 'neutral' person
- An 'enemy', or difficult person
We have covered these all in detail in previous posts. However, traditionally there was an extra person introduced. This person was the 'benefactor' - someone who you had a deep feeling of gratitude towards. When the meditation was originally taught it was within a monastic tradition, and the monks would have taken a brave step of depending on the kindness of others to live. Thus the importance of the benefactor.
For us we still have many people who we owe gratitude towards. Whether it be our parents who gave us life, our teachers along the path or even those who did things to us we disliked but we learned from. Whoever they are, we introduce them in this meditation and practice both gratitude and deep, unconditional love.
The full audio, including a 30 minute guided meditation is below.
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