Why We Should Extend Loving-kindness to All Beings?
We are able to enjoy all the pleasures and opportunities of human life because we have this present body with human faculties. Something as simple as watching the sunrise and gardening can be seen as a result of the kindness of countless living beings.
All sentient beings deserve to be respected and appreciated because of the wonderful kindness that they have shown to us. All our happiness, whether temporary or ultimate, arises out of their kindness. For example, even the body we presently have is the result of the kindness of others. It is borne out of the union of our father’s sperm and mother’s ovum. Upon our conception, we depend on the kindness of our mother in allowing us to stay in her womb and nourishing our body with her blood and warmth. For our sake, our mother has had to bear great discomfort and suffer the excruciating pains of childbirth. When we were helpless as a baby, our mother protected us from danger, fed us, cleaned us, and loved us. If not for her kindness, we would not be alive today. Therefore, the very fact that we are alive and well now is a testimony to the great kindness of others.
Getting a continuous supply of food, drink, care and concern, we slowly grew from a little helpless infant to an adult with the body we have right now. All the nourishment that we received was provided directly or indirectly by countless living beings. Thus, every cell, muscle and part of our body is the result of others’ kindness. Even those who may have never seen or known their mother have received loving care and nourishment from other people.
All our skills, abilities, training and professionalism also come from the kindness of others. When we were young, we had to be taught how to eat, walk, talk, read and write. Even the language we speak is not our creation but the result of many generations. Without language, we would not be able to communicate with others or share ideas. We would not have been able to read this magazine or other Buddhist books to learn the Dharma, contemplate deeply and develop spiritually.
All the facilities we take for granted — houses, shops, schools, hospitals, banks, roads and vehicles are built solely through others’ kindness. When we travel by car or bus, we take the roads for granted, but many people work very hard to construct them and make them secure for our use.
The fact that some of the people who help us may not have the intention of doing so is irrelevant. We receive many practical benefits from their actions, so from our point of view, this is kindness.
Contemplating in this way, we see that everyone who contributes in any way towards our happiness and well-being is deserving of our gratitude.
While you may say that nothing comes for free — when you go shopping or eat in a restaurant you have to pay or when you need a house, you have to first pay for it, including tax and insurance. But think about where and how we get money in the first place. Although most of us indeed have to work for our money, however, if we do not have others who employ us or purchase our merchandise, would we still be able to receive money? So indirectly it is others who provide us with money. Moreover, we are skillful in a particular occupation because we have received the necessary training, education or mentoring from other people. So, wherever we look, we see only the kindness of others and realise that we are all interconnected in this web of kindness from which it is impossible to separate ourselves and others.