After a visit to the Birmingham Buddhist Centre in Moseley, I started mulling over the power of Metta. Metta is a term used in Buddhism for loving kindness. I’ve long held the opinion that the application of the precepts starts at home, the point that was reiterated to us last night was that this is true of Metta. This may sound selfish, but we were asked if you can’t show loving kindness to yourself, how can you truly show it to others? At what point does the display of Metta become a quest for acceptance and approval?
I think that’s a very strong point and overlooking this can risk undermining the whole of your Dharma practise. But I also think that this idea of Metta to the self can be taken further. We so often see a diet or abstention from certain foods or drinks as an imposition, exercise risks becoming a chore. But if we see these things in the terms of Metta then we can change the terms of the whole train of thought. So exercise becomes the chance to perform an act of Metta for ourselves. That act of abstinence, picking a Tuna salad rather than something less healthy. This isn’t an act of self denial, it’s an act of loving kindness towards yourself.
For some time now, I’ve been a user of Ubuntu GNU/Linux. Truth be told, I’ve been using Free Software for a number of years now in various roles. This year, Free Software has spent the longest time on my desktop PC. GNU/Linux has been my Operating System of choice for over 12 months and counting.
At present I’m watching the to and fro in the Ubuntu world with various issues and in response have installed Debian 7.0 (Wheezy) on my laptop. The fact that I can do this is wonderful, it’s certainly not something I could just turn around and do with a proprietary system. I am, so far, liking Gnome 3.4 and have only had to resort to proprietary software once, for a WiFi network driver.
I’ve installed Debian in Virtualbox virtual machines before now, I run a small virtual test network of such machines. It’s like having a “software dojo”, somewhere you can go to train and experiment. Even better, you can do it with the full unrestricted programs, this is something I would never be able to do in such a way without the Free Software tools I use.
So I’m trying to push towards a more fully Free Software environment. The change finally started when I reread “Free as in Freedom”. It’s a biography of Richard M.Stallman and it made me much more interested in the question of ethics and software use. I’d like to explore the ethics of software use a little more in future and bring a Taoist / Buddhist flavour to my explorations. It also made me wonder how far I could go while avoiding using non-free software. So far, I have only 1 small non-free driver, though how I will work around this is a good question.
I am also taking the chance to begin to reimplement my Sitquietly GNU/Linux meditation software in pure C code. I have various reasons for wanting to learn C and this seems the best way. In any event, I have a few changes I’ve wanted to make to the program and this is my chance. Now I just need to think about source hosting!