STLT#181, No Matter If you Live Now Far or Near

Among the most meaningful compliments I’ve gotten so far about this series is from my colleague and mentor, Michael Tino, who told me about a month ago how he now turns to it when making hymn choices and how frustrated he was that I hadn’t gotten to #181 yet.  I’m here now; I have never sung this before, and you promised to tell me how the singing went, so here’s your chance!

Meanwhile, here’s how my singing went:  in a word, well. This is a lush, somber, beautiful Indian tune, set by Frederic Mathil. I’d love to hear the full harmonies, as I suspect it’s even more lush in its fullness.

The lyrics are timely; given all that our movement is facing, we need more than ever the reminder that “there is not one alive we count outside.” This sutta should be our mantra.

No matter if you live now far or near,
no matter what your weakness or your strength,
there is not one alive we count outside.
May deeper joy for all now come at length,
may deeper joy for all now come at length.

Let none among us lie or self-deceive;
nor cultivate a hatred all or part,
may never one of us live by our rage
nor wish another injury of heart,
nor wish another injury of heart.

Just as the goodly mother will protect
her children, e’en at risk of her own life,
so may we nurture an old mindfulness,
a boundless heart beyond all fear and strife,
a boundless heart beyond all fear and strife.

One note, however: the hymnal lists this as coming from the Sutta Nopata, but I can only find references to a “Sutta Nipata,” which is in fact the larger work of scripture, meaning literally “suttas falling down.” I suspect this is because, at  quick glance, they appear to be discourses (from sutra, meaning thread)  of deep consideration, and maybe even confession. Our lyrics come from one of the 72 suttas in this collection, the Metta Sutta.