Mental Wellness Retreat with Bhante Buddharakkhita
Uganda Buddhist Centre (UBC), in collaboration with Soota Foundation and Ebenezer, hosted a transformative Mental Wellness Retreat at the serene premises of UBC. This series of retreats, led by the Most Venerable Bhante Buddharakkhita unfolded on Saturday, June 17, inviting participants to explore the profound Buddhist teachings and practice. This Saturday, the practice was centered on metta (loving-kindness) meditation and its remarkable impact on our lives.
Metta, or loving-kindness, is one of the Four Divine Abodes (Brahma Viharas). It is a practice that enables us to cultivate a compassionate and benevolent attitude towards ourselves and others. Recognizing the importance of metta in achieving inner peace and fostering harmonious relationships, Bhante Buddharakkhita centered his talk on this vital aspect of dhamma during the retreat, and will explore the other three in the upcoming retreats (including compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity).
Participants gathered with open hearts and minds, ready to receive metta and embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation. The collaboration between the Uganda Buddhist Centre, Soota Foundation, and Ebenezer brought together a diverse group of individuals, including the Deputy Principal Private Secretary (DPPS) to the Vice President of Uganda, all seeking relief and wisdom through the teachings of the Buddha.
During the retreat, Bhante emphasized the transformative power of metta, highlighting how this practice can profoundly influence our meditation practice and enhance our overall well-being. He elucidated the benefits of metta in fostering self-acceptance, reducing stress, and cultivating harmony in our relationship with other beings.
Moreover, participants were actively engaged in Bhante’s teachings, leading to intriguing discussions and thought-provoking questions. One such question was how to apply metta in challenging situations such as being attacked by a tiger or facing commands to kill in war zones. Bhante skillfully addressed these concerns, shedding light on the essence of metta and its application in difficult circumstances. The practice of metta can offer a profound shift in mindset and guide us towards more compassionate responses. Metta is not a passive state of mind but rather an active force that can transform our perceptions and actions.
In the face of danger, the immediate priority is often self-preservation. We need to cultivate a deep sense of metta towards ourselves in such situations. This involves recognizing the value of our own life and well-being, and responding with wisdom and mindfulness to ensure personal safety without intentionally causing harm to others.
Bhante highlighted that metta extends beyond oneself to include all beings, including the tiger or any perceived enemy. While it may not be feasible or appropriate to express metta directly towards an attacking tiger, the practice can involve developing a mindset of non-hatred and non-harming. This means refraining from generating ill-will, anger, or vengeful thoughts towards the tiger, even in the face of danger. This mindset can help prevent the escalation of violence and allow for a more compassionate response.
Regarding the challenging scenario of receiving commands to kill in war zones or similar circumstances, Bhante acknowledged the complexity of such situations. He stressed the importance of individual discernment and ethical considerations. While metta encourages the cultivation of compassion, it does not imply blind obedience to commands that contradict one’s moral values. It is crucial to reflect on the ethical implications and consequences of one’s actions. Engaging in deep introspection can help us navigate these difficult situations while striving to minimize harm to oneself and others. He offered phrases that one can reflect on while practicing metta (loving-kindness):
May I be well, happy and peaceful
May I be safe
May I be healthy
May I live at ease with all beings
The Mental Wellness Retreat at the Uganda Buddhist Centre not only provided participants with a deeper understanding of metta but also encouraged them to reflect on its practical application in various life situations. It served as a reminder that metta is a powerful tool that can guide us even in the most challenging circumstances, enabling us to respond with compassion, wisdom, and an unwavering commitment to non-harming.
The Uganda Buddhist Centre is hosting these events every Saturday from 9am to 11am, providing participants with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of dhamma, cultivate inner peace, and discover the boundless potential of each one of us.
For more information about upcoming events and activities at the Uganda Buddhist Centre, please visit our website (www.ugandabuddhistcenter.org) or contact us directly at email@example.com or call/WhatsApp +256 775 019 180.