Metta Programs is a non-profit organization that offers specific relational meditation practices and teachings to support a wise and compassionate life. Supported through the guidance and resources of the Metta Foundation, its central offering is a relational, interpersonal understanding of early Buddhist teachings and the innovative, structured meditation practice of Insight Dialogue.
Metta transmits deep spiritual teachings to cultivate the human potential for wise understanding and compassion. Metta’s programs reflect this deep universal aspiration for liberation from suffering and boundless compassion for all beings.
Our core values as explained below are present in all of Metta’s programs. These values are important guidelines for the development of new programs and for the way in which Metta wants to engage in this world.
The inherent human capacity to be awake
We strongly believe each individual has the capacity to awaken through inquiry into the natural laws of human experience, meditative development, and wise living. By awakening we refer to remembering, in the moment of experience, the simplicity and luminosity of awareness, and recognizing the constructing nature of mind. This clear awareness immediately yields an understanding of the stress and suffering inherent in not being awake, and manifests as receptivity to all experiences and loving-kindness for all beings.
Relationship as a force to awaken
A great deal of our suffering in life is in relationship to other people. Metta believes in the need for a fundamentally relational understanding of human suffering and a meditation practice explicitly evolved to take place in relationship with others. The deep work of awakening is not only a private affair (e.g. meditating alone), but unfolds in relationship as well. Metta sees relationship as a powerful force for awakening because it dynamically supports each of the steps in this awakening process. Moreover, society becomes more harmonious as individuals and groups awaken together and live wisely.
Practical and verifiable teachings rooted in early Buddhism
Metta asserts that Buddhist teachings are practical,verifiable, astute, and simply human. Metta honors the Buddhist tradition in its programs by maintaining it as a central point of reference. This anchoring in the Buddhist teachings allows for clarity and consistency in the development of Metta’s programs as well as in the way they are conveyed. Clarity about the source of our teachings is accompanied by a non-religious attitude.
Rather than being grounded in faith, Metta’s teachings are grounded in experience. Both teachers and students are constantly testing the teachings and philosophies in the crucible of their lives. There is a respect for ritual and mystery, but even these traditional hallmarks of the religious attitude are valued for their impact on developing insight and compassion and living a wise and moral life.
Metta’s programs as part of a whole system
Our programs are designed to support the development of understanding in all aspects of life, from austere retreats to work and family life, from personal struggle to social engagement. Metta’s attitude is that one’s entire life is one’s path of awakening. This value is central in the development of our programs and our cooperation with other organizations and meditation centers. Internally, all of our programs are mutually supportive. Also, we interweave with other organizations rooted in compassion and wisdom to serve beings seeking such virtues and peace. Metta offers resources that contribute synergistically to the ecosystem of wisdom-based service organizations. We cooperate and collaborate with these organizations to serve the whole.
Accessibility for diverse populations
All Metta programs are designed to be available for anybody. People of different cultures, ethnic and educational backgrounds, and financial resources are welcomed into and supported to join our programs. By offering programs in a secular manner, we aspire to be accessible to diverse populations.
Reciprocity as a program foundation
Metta believes in the power of community. This value is reflected on all levels. Metta supports its program participants, volunteers and teachers, AND they in turn support Metta. This reciprocity is the foundation of community and for developing and running successful programs worldwide. Metta wants to foster mutuality among people and communities who are committed to each other.
Protection of the integrity and quality of practices and teachings
In order to protect the quality of these deep teachings and practices, Metta monitors the quality of its programs, teachers and teachings. All programs and communication coming from Metta reflect this value. However, the practices are freely available for all; everybody who is interested in practicing or facilitating Metta’s practices is allowed to do so freely provided that such practices are not considered to be an official program or service that Metta is offering. In order to provide a sanctioned Metta practice or service, one needs permission from Metta Programs and must join Metta in ongoing evaluation and reflection.