Introduction to Lovingkindness

Lovingkindness: poems, essays

and practical exercises

compiled and edited by Tarchin, published by Wangapeka Books 1999

Come pause with us dear friends.
Sit by the river
Watch the sun rise and set.
The texture of days flowing through
again and again and again.

Rest at ease and know the seasons of your being
The heart beat of this earth.
A time to slow and pause,
To nurture love and life so deep
To let the rush and madness gradually seep away
Returning naturally to the sea
on the sound of rivers
the breath of wind
and the flow of wholesome time.

The Tui calls, the Bellbird too
Calls us into beauty,
serene awakeness present here.
A year of cultivating grace
Honouring our forebears
Harvesting the fruit of hopeful hearts
A gifting through
breath by breath by breath

Gifting through to children yet to come.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus taught his disciples to love their neighbours as themselves. In this year, at the threshold of the second Christian millennia, we have had wars and fighting in Yugoslavia, Kashmir, the Middle East, Africa, Timor, South America and many other places. Millions of people world wide are barely surviving, as refugees from ethnic conflicts. Even in the wealthy parts of the world there is an escalation of violent crime and an increasing gap between the wealthy and poor. Levels of fear and anxiety are rising everywhere.

What Jesus taught so long ago hasn’t become dated. If anything it is more needed today than ever before. It is in response to these needs that the Wangapeka Educational Trust, in the South Island of New Zealand, has decided to dedicate the year 2000 to a year long retreat on the themes of Lovingkindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity.

Throughout this time, long and short retreats will be offered, touching many of the issues of life that are important to beings, such as healing, compassionate work, meaningful livelihood, social questions, environmental responsibility and so forth. In addition, a small core of meditators will devote the entire year to cultivating the mind and heart of lovingkindness both within their own beings and in the community at large. The booklet you now hold in your hands will hopefully provide inspirational and practical support for this work.

To compile this collection of writings, I invited many of the teachers who we hope will visit Wangapeka during the year to offer some words of instruction or advice, poetry or inspiration; anything they felt would be useful, on the theme of lovingkindness. The one exception is the essay from Namgyal Rinpoché which is a summary of two talks he gave back in 1974. If we were to add up all their years of teaching and working for the welfare of others, this booklet would represent nearly two hundred years of teaching experience!

The Tibetans often say that the reason why there are so many paths of awakening is because there are so many different types of people. These writings present a number of different approaches to lovingkindness. I am sure that at least a few, if not all of them will inspire and stimulate you. At the end of the booklet, there is a collection of twenty one exercises and inspirations that will help you to actually practice or will serve to remind you of what, in the world today, is so precious and yet so easily forgotten.

My thanks go to all the contributors, the Venerable Namgyal Rinpoché, Bonni Ross, Catherine Rathbun, Mary Jise Jaksch, Nyanaviro Archer, Karma Chimé Shore, Cecilie Kwiat and Greg Devereux and to Mary Jenkins, Mira Riddiford, Clive Matthew-Wilson, Aaron Skudder, and Peter Woollett who helped with the design and production.

May this work bring joy and inspiration to you the reader and may the wisdom and compassion flowering from the fortuitous meeting of you and this great river of teaching, be of benefit to all beings.

Blessings to all

To download the complete e-book of Lovingkindness in PDF format (52 pages) click here.