development and ultimate awakening are based upon the firm foundation of loving-kindness for all
establish this essential foundation, practice this meditation daily for at least 15 to 20 minutes, or
longer. For ease of recollection, only the first line of each phrase of this meditation is used. It is not
necessary to repeat the words in parentheses. If you wish, you may also create your own words for this practice.
1. Begin by directing
loving-kindness to yourself. Love for self comes first. This is not a selfish love, but a pure love for
oneself that has the power to dissolve anger, hatred, and selfish tendencies. By overcoming any sense of
unworthiness and cultivating genuine love for yourself, you are able to share this love with others. Allow the
heartfelt radiance of loving-kindness to fill your being as you recite each phrase of this meditation slowly and
with deep feeling: “May I be happy and peaceful...” and so forth.
2. Visualize a person for whom you
feel love, respect, and gratitude. Radiate heartfelt loving-kindness to this person, reciting each phrase of
the meditation slowly and with deep feeling: “May you be happy and peaceful...” and so forth.
3. Visualize a person toward whom
you feel neutral or indifferent. This may be a stranger or an acquaintance, somebody you have no particular
feelings for or against. Extending loving-kindness to those toward whom we feel indifferent develops the ability
of the heart to love all beings without exception. Radiate heartfelt loving-kindness to this person, reciting
each phrase of the meditation slowly: “May you be happy and peaceful...” and so forth.
4. Visualize a person with whom you
experience tension, fear, hurt, conflict, resentment, anger, or aversion. This may be the most difficult
part of the practice. Radiate heartfelt loving-kindness to this person as well: “May you be happy and
peaceful...” and so forth.
5. Finally, radiate
heartfelt loving-kindness to all living beings throughout all realms of existence: “May all beings be happy and
peaceful...” and so forth. The Buddha suggests we remain in this mindful state of loving-kindness at all times and
“cherish all living beings with a boundless heart, radiating kindness over the entire world.
Source: Used with permission from Neil Steven Cohen at Naljor
Prison Dharma Service, PO Box 1177, Mount Shasta CA 96067. (
Photo Credit: Intellimon Ltd.