I've been practicing with metta phrases adapted from the Visuddhimagga, and i've seen the same thing in other places: Part of the meditations focuses on safety, which is perhaps not as relevant in our modern world where we are better protected from physical injury than in the ancient times

(Example: "May i be safe and free from injury")


I'd like to find an alternative to metta mediation phrases related to physical safety so that the phrases that i practice with are more relevant to me and others

What i've found so far

So far i've been thinking about maybe exchanging phrases about physical safety to mental/emotional safety, or a feeling/perception of safety. In our modern society many people are suffering from anxiety

Grateful for any help you can give

  • Yes, feeling safe is important. Sounds like great idea for Metta.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Feb 4, 2018 at 17:09
  • Could you quote the phrase[s] you're questioning? Are they these (and aren't these about more than only physical safety)?
    – ChrisW
    Feb 4, 2018 at 18:33

3 Answers 3


I don't know if I'm missing something but it sounds like you want to be partial to just the people that you know, the people who are in your area or you think we live in some kind of utopia for some reason.

I mean, it doesn't sound like you are talking about all of us on Earth 2018.

Have you heard what's going on in Myanmar lately? No physical injury there to receive your metta? What about Detroit Michigan? Did you hear how North Korea feeds it's defecting soldiers or punishes it's prisoners? Have you heard what's going on in Afghanistan? Have you heard of the rising threat of World War 3 breaking out? What about all the drought and starvation going on in 3rd world countries? What about all the rioting? What about all the hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis, tidal waves and earthquakes? What about global warming?

Besides, people are injured all the time no matter how free the medical benefits are or how advanced the technology is.

Although, with today's medical technology a company has cured hepatitis C...if you can afford $100,000-$300,000. In the USA there is no free health care for all so just having no money can result in unnecessary suffering, death & injury.

What about the physical injury danger police officers, firemen and soldiers go through?

Aren't prison inmates, gang members, drug dealers, alcoholics, drug abusers, intravenous drug abusers and prostitutes all at high risk for physical injury?

What about football players, race car drivers, stunt doubles and fraternity pledges?

Are you sure we are more safe than the time of the Visuddhimagga?

Even if it is true that physical injury happens less now, why would physically injury be any less relevant?

Remember also the world's population is far greater than ancient times. Doesn't that make far more people to potentially get physically injured?

I would send metta concerning both physical and mental injury safety.

May all beings be safe from physical injury.

May all beings be safe from mental injury.



Your understanding in that phrase is lacking. So if you practice your understanding up more level, nothing is necessary to change or to request, because you can notice the explanation by yourself, after you recite nd recite the briefed phrase.

1st reason

Many phrases in tipitaka, abhidhamma, and commentary were taught in brief for easily memorizing of the practitioner, because in ancient theravāda tradition we orally memorize our kammaṭṭhāna-phrase before we meditate follow it.

So, what you want to do, the explanation of the brief phrase, is what the practitioners generally do in every meditation types. We do it until the meditation will be level up.

Also, this is the reason that why we already have the abhidhamma and ancient commentary in buddha time, too. Because in buddha period, there has not just the educated people who can enlighten at the fist time ever they listened dhamma. But there also has too many uneducated people who cannot understand and cannot enlighten, too. So they need the very deep explanation, which sāriputta had to answer to them because the buddha promoted him as the teacher of enlightenment in AN ekakanipāta ekapuggalapāli, such as appeared in M.N. mūlapaṇṇāsaka mahāgosiṇgasālasutta which every etadagga go to sāriputta's home to listen the very deep dhamma (the explanation) from him.

2rd reason

So, what you need will appear after you recite and recite the memorized ancient phrase again and again (parikamma).

For the example: when you secondly recite "May I be safe", the "your trying-to-safe-your-self effort" will little by little appear to you, such as when you try the vegan food to avoid ass injure by a hard shit, the secondly recited word will appear to you "this is what I recited 'May I be safe', this is giving happiness to my self, then I should do this giving to the other to meditate mettā", etc.

3nd reason

"Mettā to practitioner self" is just a preparation, it is not meditation.

In the path of purification, loving kindness meditation section, wrote:

when the practitioner doesn't know how to mettā, he should mettā to himself, before meditate mettā follow the tipitaka. "May I be happy, free from suffering hatred, difficulties, and troubles, and may I live in happiness!"

It is because the uneducated practitiner can easily notice giving-happiness-to-himself mind by this way. When he know what is mettā, then he can let the giving-happiness-to-the-others mind arise.

Read pāli cannon in pāli language is better, I recommend.

  • OMG Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche would be so proud of you, for the "ass injure by a hard shit" - best example ever! No sarcasm, I really mean it.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Feb 5, 2018 at 2:59
  • Is it bad example? I am not sure. I have not a good one in conversation sentence, especially in english conversation. You can tell me what is it should be.
    – Bonn
    Feb 5, 2018 at 4:39
  • "Mettā to practitioner self" is just a preparation, it is not meditation."- No, metta IS for the practitioner
    – Lowbrow
    Feb 5, 2018 at 14:51
  • The Vissudhimagga says that? There are no metta beams effecting other people. It's all for the practitioners benefit. Giving merit is all for the practitioner as well. The practice is a trick of the mind. Just thinking that way makes the practitioner full of metta. Especially if the practitioner knows mindfulness.
    – Lowbrow
    Feb 5, 2018 at 14:58

In Ajahn Brahm's YouTube talks, he said a lot of western monks in Thailand used to injure their feet when walking barefoot. His teacher Ajahn Chah said they had stupid feet. He advised them to watch carefully where they are walking. This is also a kind of mindfulness practice. This is the first lesson of safety - do stuff cautiously and with concentration.

But what about dangers that you cannot control? Ajahn Brahm has a catchphrase for that too! "Relax! Everything is out of control".

If you're still afraid, you can try this from the Dhajagga Sutta:

I also say unto you O monks — if any fear, terror or hair standing on end should arise in you when you have gone to the forest or to the foot of a tree, or to an empty house (lonely place), then think only of me thus:

"'Such Indeed is the Blessed One, arahant (Consummate One), supremely enlightened, endowed with knowledge and virtue, welcome being, knower of worlds, the peerless trainer of persons, teacher of gods and men, the Buddha, the Blessed One.' Monks, if you think of me, any fear, terror, or standing of hair on end, that may arise in you, will pass away.

"If you fail to think of me, then think of the Dhamma (the Doctrine) thus: 'Well expounded is the Dhamma by the Blessed One, a Dhamma to be realized by oneself and gives immediate results, a Dhamma which invites investigation and leads up to Nibbana, a Dhamma to be understood by the wise each for himself.' Monks, if you think of the Dhamma, any fear, terror or hair standing on end, that may arise in you, will pass away.

"If you fail to think of the Dhamma, then think of the Sangha (the Order) thus: 'Of good conduct is the Order of Disciples of the Blessed One, of upright conduct is the Order of Disciples of the Blessed One, of wise conduct is the Order of Disciples of the Blessed One, of dutiful conduct is the Order of Disciples of the Blessed One. This Order of Disciples of the Blessed One — namely those four pairs of persons, the eight kinds of individuals — is worthy of offerings, is worthy of hospitality, is worthy of gifts, is worthy of reverential salutations, is an incomparable field of merit for the world.' Monks, if you think of the Sangha, any fear, terror or hair standing on end, that may arise in you, will pass away. What is the reason for this? The Tathagata, O monks, who is arahant, supremely enlightened, is free from lust, free from hate, is free from delusion, and is not liable to fear, terror, fright or flight."

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