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Metta - The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love (Acharya Buddharakkhita)
What is metta? The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning, e.g. loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, 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.
What are the benefits of metta practice?
- Promotion of self-compassion. These benefits were observed in a small 2014 study.
- Enhancement of social connections. Metta meditation can also nurture stronger social relationships.
- Increase the feeling of happiness. Loving-kindness meditation has been shown to increase the daily experiences of positive emotions.
- The Buddha had a list of 11 benefits. These may be found in the Metta Sutta here.
Practicing Metta: We begin with relaxation, then continue by reciting Metta phrases as in the examples below, and end with a silent meditation.
- The first set of Metta phrases comes in a passage where the Buddha recommends thoughts to counter ill will. These metta phrases are chanted daily in Buddhist communities the world over:
“May these beings—free from animosity, free from oppression, and free from trouble—look after themselves with ease.”
- Another set of metta phrases is in the Karaniya Metta Sutta. They start out with a simple wish for happiness:
“Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
seen & unseen,
near & far,
born & seeking birth:
May all beings be happy at heart.”