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Here you will find some prominent Sutras/Suttas about the practice of Metta Meditation.
“Metta” is translated in the Sutras as:
- Loving Kindness,
- Good Will,
May you find some insight reading these Sutras.
And may you be able to put them into practice!
- 1 Sutta Nipata 1.8 Metta Sutta
- 2 Metta Sutta: Aṅguttara Nikāya
- 3 Khuddakapāṭha (Short Readings) 9. Mettasutta
- 4 Itivuttaka: The Buddha’s Sayings
- 5 The Questions of King Milinda
Sutta Nipata 1.8 Metta Sutta
Discourse on Love (Translated by Thich Nhat Hanh)
He or she who wants to attain peace should practice being upright, humble, and capable of using loving speech. He or she will know how to live simply and happily, with senses calmed, without being covetous and carried away by the emotions of the majority. Let him or her not do anything that will be disapproved of by the wise ones.
(And this is what he or she contemplates:)
May everyone be happy and safe, and may all hearts be ﬁlled with joy.
May all beings live in security and in peace — beings who are frail or strong, tall or short, big or small, invisible or visible, near or far away, already born, or yet to be born. May all of them dwell in perfect tranquility.
Let no one do harm to anyone. Let no one put the life of anyone in danger. Let no one, out of anger or ill will, wish anyone any harm.
Just as a mother loves and protects her only child at the risk of her own life, cultivate boundless love to offer to all living beings in the entire cosmos. Let our boundless love pervade the whole universe, above, below, and across. Our love will know no obstacles. Our heart will be absolutely free from hatred and enmity. Whether standing or walking, sitting or lying, as long as we are awake, we should maintain this mindfulness of love in our own heart. This is the noblest way of living.
Free from wrong views, greed, and sensual desires, living in beauty and realizing Perfect Understanding, those who practice boundless love will certainly transcend birth and death.
Etena sacca vajjena sotthi te hotu sabbada.
[repreat three times]
[By the ﬁrm determination of this truth, may you ever be well.]
Loving-kindness -Traditional Translation
What should be done by one
who is skilled in wholesomeness,
to gain the State of Peacefulness is this:
One should be able, upright, straight and not proud,
easy to speak to, mild and well content,
easily satisfied and not caught up
in too much bustle, and frugal in one’s ways,
with senses calmed, intelligent, not bold,
not being covetous when with other folk,
not even doing little things that other wise ones blame.
(And this is the thought that one should always hold):
“May beings all live happily and safe,
and may their hearts rejoice within themselves.
Whatever there may be with breath of life,
whether they be frail or very strong,
without exception, be they long or short,
or middle-sized, or be big or small,
or dense, or visible or invisible,
or whether they dwell far or they dwell near,
those that are here, those seeking to exist—
may beings all rejoice within themselves.”
Let no one bring about another’s ruin
and not despise in any way or place;
let them not wish each other any ill
from provocation or from enmity.
Just as a mother at the risk of life
loves and protects her child, her only child,
so one should cultivate this boundless love
to all that live in the whole universe—
extending from a consciousness sublime
upwards and downwards and across the world,
untroubled, free from hate and enmity.
And while one stands and while one sits
or when one lies down, still free from drowsiness,
one should be intent on this mindfulness—
this is divine abiding here, they say.
But when one lives quite free from any view,
is virtuous, with perfect insight won,
and greed for selfish desires let go,
one surely comes no more to be reborn.
Metta Sutta: Aṅguttara Nikāya
The Book of the Eights: 1. Loving-Kindness
Thus, have I heard. On one occasion, the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There, the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: “Bhikkhus!”
“Venerable sir!” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:
“Bhikkhus, when the liberation of the mind by loving-kindness has been pursued, developed, and cultivated, made a vehicle and basis, carried out, consolidated, and properly undertaken, eight benefits are to be expected. What eight?
(1) “One sleeps well; (2) one awakens happily; (3) one does not have bad dreams; (4) one is pleasing to human beings; (5) one is pleasing to spirits; (6) deities protect one; (7) fire, poison, and weapons do not injure one; and (8) if one does not penetrate further, one moves on to the brahmā world.
“When, bhikkhus, the liberation of the mind by loving-kindness has been pursued, developed, and cultivated, made a vehicle and basis, carried out, consolidated, and properly undertaken, these eight benefits are to be expected.”
For one who, ever mindful, develops
the fetters thin out as he sees
the destruction of the acquisitions.
If, with a mind free from hate,
one arouses love toward just one being,
one thereby becomes good.
Compassionate in mind toward all beings,
the noble one generates abundant merit.
Those royal sages who conquered the earth
with its multitudes of beings
traveled around performing sacrifices:
the horse sacrifice, the person sacrifice,
sammāpāsa, vājapeyya, niraggaḷa.
All these are not worth a sixteenth part
of a well-developed loving mind,
just as the hosts of stars cannot match
a sixteenth part of the moon’s radiance.
One who does not kill or enjoin killing,
who does not conquer or enjoin conquest,
one who has loving-kindness toward all beings
harbors no enmity toward anyone.
Book of the Elevens: 15. Metta Sutta
(Metta is here translated as “Good Will”)
Monks, for one whose awareness-release through good will is cultivated, developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken, eleven benefits can be expected. Which eleven?
One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. One is dear to human beings, dear to non-human beings. The devas protect one. Neither fire, poison, nor weapons can touch one. One’s mind gains concentration quickly. One’s complexion is bright. One dies unconfused and—if penetrating no higher—is headed for the Brahma worlds.
These are the eleven benefits that can be expected for one whose awareness-release through good will is cultivated, developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken.
Khuddakapāṭha (Short Readings) 9. Mettasutta
The Discourse on Friendliness Meditation
What should be done by one skilful in good, who has comprehended the state of peace:
he ought to be able, straight, and upright, easy to speak to, meek, without conceit,
satisfied with little, easy to support, free from duties, and light in living,
with faculties at peace, prudent, not forward, and greedless among the families,
he should not do the slightest thing whereby others who are wise might find fault with him.
“May all beings be happy and secure, may all beings in their hearts be happy!
Whatsoever breathing beings there are—trembling, firm, or any other beings,
whether they be long or great, of middle size, short, tiny, or of compact body,
those who are seen, and those who are unseen, those who live far away, those who are near,
those who are born, and those who still seek birth—may all beings in their hearts be happy!”
No one should cheat another, nor should he despise anyone wherever they be,
he should not long for suffering for another because of anger or resentment.
In the same way as a mother would protect her son, her only son, with her life,
so toward all beings he should develop the measureless thought of friendliness.
Towards the whole wide world he should develop the measureless thought of friendliness,
above, below, and across the middle, without barriers, hate, or enemy.
Standing, walking, sitting, lying, for as long as he is without torpor,
he should be resolved on this mindfulness, for this, they say here, is the true spiritual life.
Without going back to wrong views, virtuous, and endowed with true insight,
having removed all greed for sense pleasures, he will never come to lie in a womb again.
Itivuttaka: The Buddha’s Sayings
The Section of the Threes 27. The Development of Loving-kindness
This was said by the Lord…
“Bhikkhus, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-release of loving-kindness. The mind-release of loving-kindness surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.
“Just as the radiance of all the stars does not equal a sixteenth part of the moon’s radiance, but the moon’s radiance surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant, even so, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-release of loving-kindness…
“Just as in the last month of the rainy season, in the autumn, when the sky is clear and free of clouds, the sun, on ascending, dispels the darkness of space and shines forth, bright and brilliant, even so, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-release of loving-kindness…
“And just as in the night, at the moment of dawn, the morning star shines forth, bright and brilliant, even so, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-release of loving-kindness. The mind-release of loving-kindness surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.”
For one who mindfully develops
Seeing the destruction of clinging,
The fetters are worn away.
If with an uncorrupted mind
He pervades just one being
With loving kindly thoughts,
He makes some merit thereby.
But a noble one produces
An abundance of merit
By having a compassionate mind
Towards all living beings.
Those royal seers who conquered
The earth crowded with beings
Went about performing sacrifices:
The horse sacrifice, the man sacrifice,
The water rites, the soma sacrifice,
And that called “the Unobstructed.”
But these do not share even a sixteenth part
Of a well cultivated mind of love,
Just as the entire starry host
Is dimmed by the moon’s radiance.
One who does not kill
Nor cause others to kill,
Who does not conquer
Nor cause others to conquer,
Kindly towards all beings—
He has enmity for none.
This too is the meaning of what was said by the Lord, so I heard.
The Questions of King Milinda
Book 4: The solving of dilemmas
5.4.6. A Loving Disposition
‘Venerable Nāgasena, it has been said by the Blessed One: “Eleven advantages, O brethren, may be anticipated from practising, making a habit of, enlarging within one, using as a means of advancement, and as a basis of conduct, pursuing after, accumulating, and rising well up to the very heights of the emancipation of heart, arising from a feeling of love (towards all beings). And what are these eleven?
He who does so sleeps in peace, and in peace does he awake.
He dreams no sinful dreams.
He becomes dear to men, and to the beings who are not men .
The gods watch over him. Neither fire, nor poison, nor sword works any harm to him.
Quickly and easily does he become tranquillised.
The aspect of his countenance is calm.
Undismayed does he meet death, and should he not press through to the Supreme Condition (of Arahatship), then is he sure of rebirth in the Brahma world.”
But on the other hand you (members of The Order) say that “Sāma the Prince, while dwelling in the cultivation of a loving disposition toward all beings, and when he was (in consequence thereof) wandering in the forest followed by a herd of deer, was hit by a poisoned arrow shot by Piliyakkha the king, and there, on the spot, fainted and fell.” Now, venerable Nāgasena, if the passage I have quoted from the words of the Blessed One be right, then this statement of yours must be wrong. But if the story of Prince Sāma be right, then it cannot be true that neither fire, nor poison, nor sword can work harm to him who cultivates the habit of love to all beings. This too is a double-edged problem, so subtle, so abstruse, so delicate, and so profound, that the thought of having to solve it might well bring out sweat over the body even of the most subtle-minded of mortals. This problem is now put to you. Unravel this mighty knot. Throw light upon this matter to the accomplishment of the desire of those sons of the Conqueror who shall arise hereafter.’
‘The Blessed One spake, O king, as you have quoted. And Prince Sama dwelling in the cultivation of love, and thus followed by a herd of deer when he was wandering in the forest, was hit by the poisoned arrow shot by king Piliyakkha, and then and there fainted and fell. But there is a reason for that. And what is the reason? Simply that those virtues (said in the passage you quoted to be in the habit of love) are virtues not attached to the personality of the one who loves, but to the actual presence of the love that he has called up in his heart. And when Prince Sāma was upsetting the water-pot, that moment he lapsed from the actual feeling of love. At the moment, O king, in which an individual has realised the sense of love, that moment neither fire, nor poison, nor sword can do him harm. If any men bent on doing him an injury come up, they will not see him, neither will they have a chance of hurting him. But these virtues, O king, are not inherent in the individual, they are in the actual felt presence of the love that he is calling up in his heart.’
‘Suppose, O king, a man were to take into his hand a Vanishing Root of supernatural power; and that, so long as it was actually in his hand, no other ordinary person would be able to see him. The virtue, then, would not be in the man. It would be in the root that such virtue would reside that an object in the very line of sight of ordinary mortals could, nevertheless, not be seen. just so, O king, is it with the virtue inherent in the felt presence of love that a man has called up in his heart.’
‘Or it is like the case of a man who has entered into a well-formed mighty cave. No storm of rain, however mightily it might pour down, would be able to wet him. But that would be by no virtue inherent in the man. It would be a virtue inherent in the cave that so mighty a downpour of rain could not wet the man. And just so, O king, is it with the virtue inherent in the felt presence of love that a man has called up in his heart.’
‘Most wonderful is it, Nāgasena, and most strange how the felt presence of love has the power of warding off all evil states of mind.’
‘Yes! the practice of love is productive of all virtuous conditions of mind both in good (beings) and in evil ones.
To all beings whatsoever, who are in the bonds of conscious existence, is this practice of love of great advantage, and therefore ought it to be sedulously cultivated.’
Here ends the problem as to the power of love.
I know you are there, and I am so happy.