Loving-Kindness and Living in Harmony

Luang Por Pasanno • May 2005

The Buddha taught the Saranīya Dhammas, which are the six principles of conciliation or harmonious living. The first three of these Dhammas are based on bodily, verbal, and mental acts of loving-kindness. By generating loving-kindness, we create a strong condition for the arising of wholesome kamma. When we establish harmony with others, we build on that foundation of loving-kindness. The fourth Dhamma, which encourages sharing or giving, also has its basis in loving-kindness. When one is living together in a community as we do, this quality of sharing is essential to creating a sense of mutual congeniality and care. The fifth principal is virtue, which establishes trust—and thereby harmony—among people living together. When we trust each other, we have a sense of mutual loving-kindness as well. The last Saranīya Dhamma regards holding a noble view of the potential for freedom, the ending of suffering. When we see that we and others can realize this Dhamma, and that our companions have the same view, it creates feelings of kinship and kindness based on this harmonious perspective.

How do we bring up loving-kindness? What do we do when we feel it’s impossible? When it does arise, what makes us lose it? The Buddha taught that loving-kindness is appropriate in all situations, so it is helpful for us to reflect on these questions and try to answer them for ourselves. By investigating, we can learn to encourage and sustain loving-kindness, work with it, and challenge any aversion we may have to it. This doesn’t mean we’ll get it right all the time, but we should reflect on how to bring about loving-kindness in our thoughts, actions, and speech, because it’s through loving-kindness that we live in a harmonious way.