Sayadaw U Silanandabhivamsa’s talk on Loving Kindness and Sharing of Merits
 given at the Cathedral of St. Mary, San Francisco on September 11, 2002

            We are assembled here today to do something that is beneficial to all mankind and to those who perished in the attack on September 11 last year and who are left orphans and so on.

            The world needs to be peaceful in order to avoid such violence. Every religion has something to offer for this purpose. I would like to tell you what Buddhism has to offer.

            Buddhism teaches, among other things, loving kindness (metta) to all beings to make the society peaceful. If everybody could follow Buddha’s simple but effective advice, the world would be a very peaceful place to live in. Buddhist loving kindness is a genuine desire for all beings including our enemies to be happy.

First, we should pervade ourselves with loving kindness, and wish for our health, happiness and peacefulness. That is not selfishness, because if we are not peaceful ourselves how can we send thoughts of loving kind­­ness to other people? So we begin with wishing loving kindness for our­selves, and then we send out thoughts of loving kindness to other people: to the dear ones, such as one's parents, relatives and others; to those who are neutral, or who are neither friends nor enemies; and to those whom we hate and those who hate us. Ultimately we will send loving kindness to all beings in general.

            Buddhist loving kindness includes sending thoughts to our enemies and wish that they be well, happy and peaceful. In fact when they are happy and peaceful, they will do no harm to anybody. By sending loving kindness thoughts to those who hate us and whom we hate, we are virtually turning them into good persons; we are tran­s­forming them into responsible citizens.

            The result of sending loving kindness thoughts is that first we ourselves are peaceful. Then other people who get our loving kindness themselves will be peaceful too. When they are peaceful, they will not do any harm to anybody.

            It is important that every individual must be involved in this sending of thoughts, everybody must send to everybody. And if everybody is peaceful, we need not bother about Would Peace, because if everybody is peaceful and tran­quil, peace prevails in the world.

            And we must do it not just once, not just this ceremony, but at home, at school and whenever you have the chance to do it. If you do it this way, you will soon notice the difference—the way people behave toward you with loving kindness.

            I would like you to follow me in sending loving kindness to beings. We will read together the sentences from the handout. When you say them, do so with your mind totally occupied with wishing health, happiness and peacefulness.

            And then we will do something for those who perished in the attack [on September 11, 2001] and who are left behind widows, widowers, orphans and so on. The only way we can help the departed ones is to do some meritorious deeds here and share merits with them. So we first make donations to the fund for relief of those people. Our donations will benefit those who are left behind. And then we will share merits with those who perished in the attack and then to those who are left behind. And then lastly we will share with all other beings. Let us say it together.

                                    Loving kindness

May I be well, happy and peaceful.
            May my dear ones be well, happy and peaceful.
            May the neutral ones be well, happy and peaceful.
            May those whom we hate and who hate us be well, happy and peaceful.
            May all beings be well, happy and peaceful.
            May peace prevail in the world.

                                    Sharing of Merits

May all those who perished in the attack share these merits,
            For the acquisition of all kinds of happiness.

            May all those who are left behind share these merits,
            For the acquisition of all kinds of happiness

            May all other beings together with the deities share these merits,
            For the acquisition of all kinds of happiness.