Tuesday, May 13, 2008


The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence. The Pali commentators define metta as the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others (parahita-parasukha-kamana). Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest. Through metta one refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind of friendliness, accommodativeness and benevolence which seeks the well-being and happiness of others. True metta is devoid of self-interest. It evokes within a warm-hearted feeling of fellowship, sympathy and love, which grows boundless with practice and overcomes all social, religious, racial, political and economic barriers. Metta is indeed a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love.

Metta makes one a pure font of well-being and safety for others. Just as a mother gives her own life to protect her child, so metta only gives and never wants anything in return. To promote one's own interest is a primordial motivation of human nature. When this urge is transformed into the desire to promote the interest and happiness of others, not only is the basic urge of self-seeking overcome, but the mind becomes universal by identifying its own interest with the interest of all. By making this change one also promotes one's own well-being in the best possible manner.

Metta is the protective and immensely patient attitude of a mother who forbears all difficulties for the sake of her child and ever protects it despite its misbehavior. Metta is also the attitude of a friend who wants to give one the best to further one's well-being. If these qualities of metta are sufficiently cultivated through metta-bhavana — the meditation on universal love — the result is the acquisition of a tremendous inner power which preserves, protects and heals both oneself and others.

Apart from its higher implications, today metta is a pragmatic necessity. In a world menaced by all kinds of destructiveness, metta in deed, word and thought is the only constructive means to bring concord, peace and mutual understanding. Indeed, metta is the supreme means, for it forms the fundamental tenet of all the higher religions as well as the basis for all benevolent activities intended to promote human well-being.

An introduction from The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love by Acharya Buddharakkhita
Let us silence for few minutes, concentrate our mind and sending the best wishes to all the victims in China and Myammar.....

Karaniyam atthakusalenaYan tam santam padam abhisameccaSakko uju ca suju caSuvaco c'assa mudu anatimani
Who seeks to promote his welfare,Having glimpsed the state of perfect peace,Should be able, honest and upright,Gentle in speech, meek and not proud.

Santussako ca subharo caAppakicco ca sallahukavuttiSantindriyo ca nipako caAppagabbho kulesu ananugiddho
Contented, he ought to be easy to support,Not over-busy, and simple in living.Tranquil his senses, let him be prudent,And not brazen, nor fawning on families.
Na ca khuddam samacare kinciYena viññu pare upavadeyyumSukhino va khemino hontuSabbe satta bhavantu sukhitatta
Also, he must refrain from any actionThat gives the wise reason to reprove him.(Then let him cultivate the thought:)May all be well and secure,May all beings be happy!
Ye keci panabhut'atthiTasa va thavara va anavasesaDigha va ye mahanta vaMajjhima rassakanukathula
Whatever living creatures there be,Without exception, weak or strong,Long, huge or middle-sized,Or short, minute or bulky,
Dittha va yeva aditthaYe ca dure vasanti avidureBhuta va sambhavesi vaSabbe satta bhavantu sukhitatta
Whether visible or invisible,And those living far or near,The born and those seeking birth,May all beings be happy!
Na paro param nikubbethaNatimaññetha katthacinam kanciByarosana patighasaññaNaññamaññassa dukkham iccheyya
Let none deceive or decryHis fellow anywhere;Let none wish others harmIn resentment or in hate.
Mata yatha niyam puttamAyusa ekaputtam anurakkheEvampi sabbabhutesuManasam bhavaye aparimanam
Just as with her own lifeA mother shields from hurtHer own son, her only child,Let all-embracing thoughtsFor all beings be yours.
Mettañ ca sabba-lokasmimManasam bhavaye aparimanamUddham adho ca tiriyancaAsambadham averam asapattam
Cultivate an all-embracing mind of loveFor all throughout the universe,In all its height, depth and breadth — Love that is untroubledAnd beyond hatred or enmity.
Titthañ caram nisinno vaSayano va yavat'assa vigatamiddhoEtam satim adhittheyyaBrahmam etam viharam idhamahu
As you stand, walk, sit or lie,So long as you are awake,Pursue this awareness with your might:It is deemed the Divine State here.
Ditthiñca anupagamma silavaDassanena sampannoKamesu vineyya gedhamNa hi jatu gabbhaseyyam punar eti'ti
Holding no more to wrong beliefs,With virtue and vision of the ultimate,And having overcome all sensual desire,Never in a womb is one born again.

From Metta Sutta; Sutta Nipata I.8 ; The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness

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