Metta for Myanmar – FEBRUARY 14TH, 2021
A Global Day of Loving-Kindness for the People of Burma
On February 1st, 2021 the Burmese military (Tatmadaw) staged a coup overthrowing the democratically elected government led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. The military has detained Suu Kyi and an unknown number of other opposition party members, democracy advocates, journalists, and outspoken monks and nuns. They have dissolved the parliament and forced hundreds of government employees to vacate their homes as they prepare to bring the entire workings of the government and civil society back under the firm control of the military who held the country under brutal military dictatorship for over 60 years.
It is a desperate time for the people of Burma who dread going back to the ages of debilitating fear, inhuman repression, and hopeless poverty. We have fundamental critiques of the actions of Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party over the past few years, including her approval of the Rohingya atrocities, her failure to meaningfully promote the cease-fire process with the more than 60 armed insurgent groups across the country, and her general lack of concern for ethnic federation within the democratic process. But this issue right now is not about her or the NDL – it is about the Tatmadaw crushing any early glimmers of a thriving democratic process and any hopes for a free future for the muklti-ethnic range of the Burmese people. While it is not clear yet what kinds of international pressure can be effectively applied to the Tatmadaw dictators in the coming weeks and months, the people of Myanmar must know immediately that the world is paying attention to their situation and that we care deeply about them and their plight.
With this in mind, on Valentines Day, 2021 (February 14th) we hope to generate and offer a global wave of loving-kindness (metta) to the people of Burma to assure them of our deep heart-connection, to root any of our future supportive strategic actions in the wholesome qualities of love, and to remind those that betray the goodwill of the people of the power and goodness of which the human heart is capable – whose strength and resilience will not be diminished by increasing hostility, violence, and cynicism. We know that love alone will not transform the situation. But we also know that it will not change without it.
Many people in the West are not aware that the popular mindfulness movement of today has its seeds in the ancient Buddhist traditions of Myanmar. It was there that in an effort to counter British colonial influence, monks like the Venerable Ledi Sayadaw began to teach lay people the practices of meditation that had long been the auspices only of monks and nuns. That opening slowly led to the development and sharing of these ancient techniques to a wider and wider audience that have now benefitted people across the globe. Anyone who practices mindfulness or vipassana (insight) meditation has a direct connection to the lineage that protected and developed these methods over thousands of years.
The practices of lovingkindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity – known as the Divine Abodes – are fundamental to the teachings of this tradition and are intended to guide our inner heart-response to the joy and sorrows of the world as well as root our external responses in wholesome morality. In particular, three aspects of metta (loving-kindness) are upheld as essential:
1. Metta-kaya-kamma = kind-hearted physical action;
2. Metta-vaci-kamma = kind-hearted verbal action (speech);
3. Metta-mano-kamma= kind-hearted mental action (thought);
In honor of this guidance, we invite you to JOIN US!
February 14th 2021
CLICK HERE to register for the GLOBAL ZOOM SESSION and login at any time and for any amount of time during those 24-hours to practice with others around the world in silent solidarity with the people of Myanmar.
You may also practice offline and independently wherever you are! Feel free to LET US KNOW where you are sitting and when!
At 2pm Hawaii Time on the 14th (GMT-10) there will be guided metta instructions offered. If there is a lot of enthusiasm, we will try to find a few other periods where teachers can offer some guidance!
You can also SIGN-UP to our email list stay informed about continued opportunities to engage in strategic actions related to the coup in Mynamar as they develop. We hope to find practical ways that will meaningfully and righteously oppose any threat to the goodness and democratic aspirations of the people of Myanmar.
Please SHARE this information in all networks that you think may be interested! And please SHARE these image files your social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter using the hashtags: #mettaformyanmar #burmavalentine #valentinesdaymetta #justiceformyanmar #savemyanmar
Don’t forget to post photos and images of your own with the same hashtags to help spread the campaign
The coup is still in its early days. It is not yet clear what meaningful action can be made to help pressure the Myanmar military (Tatmadaw) to alter their position and allow the democratic process of continue unabated. As the situation develops, we will take the leadership of the Burmese people themselves as our primary guide toward strategic action.
Until the path of more concrete action becomes clear, consider writing a text to your elected officials – including representatives in congress, senators, and governor – encouraging them to education themselves about the issue and help the US government take meaningful and robust principled action in defense of the people of Myanmar and their efforts to realize a pluralistic disciplined democracy.
In the US, the easiest way to do this is by texting RESISTBOT on your cel phone. Simply Text “Resist” to 50409 and follow the prompts. Here is some practical guidance for how to use this wonderful tool to contact your elected officials:
Here is a draft text you can send to your representatives:
I am a constituent and voter, and am deeply disturbed by the recent military coup in Myanmar. The fragile movement toward democratic reforms in that country is under existential threat and I encourage you to help our government find and commit to meaningful, robust, and principled action that can help bring the country back under civilian and democratic rule. Burma holds the promise of becoming a vibrant pluralistic democracy and the citizens need all the help they can get in confronting the powerful military forces that threaten to plunge the country back into the dark ages of military dictatorship.
I urge you to educate yourself on the history of the situation in Myanmar and use your public position to demonstrate your support for democracy as well.
Metta Practice Guidance
Here are a range of offerings to help guide your Metta/Loving-Kindness practice on February 14th.
Metta and Divine Abode Meditation Overview with Steven Smith
6-Sense-Door Metta with Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey
Guided Loving-Kindness Meditation and Dhamma talk from Michele McDonald
Metta Chanting Guidance
Karaniya Mett Sutta Chanting by Sayadaw U Lakkhana:
Karaniya Metta Sutta Chanting by Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey:
Traditional Metta Chanting Recording with Michele McDonald and Jesse Maceo Vega-Frey:
Metta and Brahma Vihara Dhamma
Listen to the Insight Myanmar Podcast HERE for vibrant up-to date interviews on the topic of how people in Burma are addressing their current crisis in spiritual terms.
This project was conceived of by a group of people and organizations devoted to well-being of the country of Myanmar. If you would like to join us in our efforts, please consider taking a look at the efforts of our METTADANA PROJECT and getting in touch!