Mettā (Pali) or maitrī (Sanskrit) means benevolence,[1] loving-kindness,[2][3] friendliness,[3][4] amity,[4] good will,[5] and active interest in others.[4] It is the first of the four sublime states (Brahmaviharas) and one of the ten pāramīs of the Theravāda school of Buddhism.

The cultivation of benevolence (mettā bhāvanā) is a popular form of Buddhist meditation.[6] It is a part of the four immeasurables in Brahmavihara (divine abidings) meditation.[7] Metta as 'compassion meditation' is often practiced in Asia by broadcast chanting, wherein monks chant for the laity.[6]

The compassion and universal loving-kindness concept of Metta is discussed in the Metta Sutta of Buddhism, and is also found in the ancient and medieval texts of Hinduism and Jainism as Metta or Maitri.[8]

Small sample studies on the potential of loving-kindness meditation approach on patients suggest potential benefits.[9][10] However, peer reviews question the quality and sample size of these studies, then suggest caution.[11][12]

Translations of
EnglishLoving-kindness, benevolence
Paliमेत्ता (Mettā)
Sanskritमैत्री (Maitrī)
Burmeseမေတ္တာ (Mettā)
(rōmaji: Ji)
Khmerមេត្តា (Mettā)
Sinhalaමෛත්‍රිය (Maitriya)
(RTGS: metta)
Glossary of Buddhism
Chinese name
Literal meaningBenevolence
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese alphabettừ
Korean name

Etymology and meaning

Mettā is a Pali word, from maitrī itself derived from mitra which, states Monier-Williams, means "friendly, amicable, benevolent, affectionate, kind, good-will",[13] as well as a form of "love, amity, sympathy".[14] The term is found in this sense in the Vedic literature,[14] such as the Shatapatha Brahmana and various early Upanishads, and Vedanga literature such as Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī 5.4.36.[13] The term appears in Buddhist texts as an important concept and practice.[14]

Buswell and Lopez, as well as Harvey, translate metta as "loving-kindness".[15][16] In Buddhist belief, this is a Brahma-vihara (divine abode) or an immeasurable that leads to a meditative state by being a counter to ill-will. It removes clinging to negative state of mind, by cultivating kindness unto all beings.[16]

The "far enemy" of Metta is hate or ill-will, a mind-state in obvious opposition. The "near enemy" (quality which superficially resembles Metta but is in fact more subtly in opposition to it), is (attached) greed: here too one likes seeing a virtue, but for the wrong reason.[17][18]

Mettā meditation

Mettā meditation, or often loving-kindness meditation, is the practice concerned with the cultivation of Mettā, i.e. benevolence, kindness, and amity. The practice generally consists of silent repetitions of phrases such as "may you be happy" or "may you be free from suffering", for example directed at a person who, depending on tradition, may or may not be internally visualized.[9]

Two different methodological approaches have been discerned in recent review papers, practices that focus on compassion and practices focussing on loving-kindness. Focussing on compassion means that meditation consists of the wish to relieve a being from suffering, whereas focussing on loving-kindness means wishing a being happiness.[9][10]

The practice gradually increases in difficulty with respect to the targets that receive the practitioner’s compassion or loving-kindness. At first the practitioner is targeting "oneself, then loved ones, neutral ones, difficult ones and finally all beings, with variations across traditions".[9]

Difficult may include rude, annoying, busy bodied, arrogant, self-righteous, vice-respect, neglectful, war-profiteers, fence sitters, nay-saying, charlatans, unkind, accusers, rebukes, provocation, liars, sacrilegious and unhappy.

A 2015 meta-analysis synthesising various high quality experiments on loving-kindness meditation, found a medium-sized improvement to daily positive emotion, with meditation on the loving-kindness aspect of metta having a greater effect than practices with a focus on compassion. The length of time meditating did not affect the magnitude of positive impact of the practice.[9]

Kindness is the actions to alleviate suffering. Taking actions to improve the subjective experience of someone suffering, having experienced the instinct to help someone suffering (compassion).[19] Imagine the pain, hatred, evil, terrible, annoying, stressful person, and consider how he/she feels all the time. Empathy may be feeling the entirety of his/her subjective experience, and understanding their thoughts or feelings.[20]


Prior to the advent of the Buddha, according to Martin Wiltshire, there existed the traditions of Brahma-loka and meditation with the four virtues of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity.[21] The early Buddhist texts assert that pre-Buddha ancient Indian sages who taught these virtues were earlier incarnations of the Buddha.[21] Post-Buddha, these same virtues are found in the Hindu texts such as verse 1.33 of the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, wherein the word Maitri is synonymous with Metta.[22]

Loving-kindness (maitri), along with compassion and equanimity, are found in the early Upanishads of Hinduism, while loving-kindness (metta) is found in early Sutras of Jainism along with compassion, empathetic joy and equanimity.[23] The ancient Indian Paccekabuddhas mentioned in the early Buddhist Suttas, those who lived before the Buddha, mention all "four immeasurables" and Brahmavihara, and they are claimed in the Suttas to be previous incarnations of the Buddha.[21]

According to Peter Harvey, the Buddhist scriptures acknowledge that the Metta-concept containing four Brahmavihara meditation practices "did not originate within the Buddhist tradition".[24] The Buddha never claimed that the "four immeasurables" and related Metta-meditation were his unique ideas, states Harvey Aronson, in a manner similar to "cessation, quieting, nirvana".[25]

The pre-Buddha Chandogya Upanishad, states Jayatilleke, in section 8.15 teaches metta and ahimsa (doctrine of non-harm, esp. non-violence) to all creatures claiming that this practice leads to Brahmaloka.[26] The shift in Vedic ideas, from rituals to virtues, is particularly discernible in the early Upanishadic thought, and it is unclear as to what extent and how early Upanishadic traditions of Hinduism and Sramanic traditions such as Buddhism and Jainism influenced each other, on ideas such as "four immeasurables", meditation and Brahmavihara.[21]

In the Jain text, the Tattvartha Sutra (Chapter 7, sutra 11), which is accepted by all Jainism sub-traditions as authoritative, there is a mention of four right sentiments: Maitri, pramoda, karunya, madhyastha:

Benevolence towards all living beings, joy at the sight of the virtuous, compassion and sympathy for the afflicted, and tolerance towards the insolent and ill-behaved.

Buddhist texts

10 pāramīs
6 pāramitās
Colored items are in both lists.

In the Pāli Canon, the term metta appears in many texts such as the Kakacupama Sutta and Karaniya Metta Sutta. Other canonical materials, such as in the Paṭisambhidāmagga, elaborate on it as a practice. And yet other canonical sources, such as the Abhidhamma, underline the key role of benevolence in the development of wholesome karma for better rebirths.

This basic statement of intention and verse can also be found in several other canonical discourses.[27]

Karaniya Metta Sutta (Sn 1.8)

May all beings be happy and secure, may they be happy-minded.
Whatever living beings there are - feeble or strong, long, stout or medium,
short, small or large, seen or unseen (ghosts, gods and hell-beings),
those dwelling far or near, those who are born or those who await rebirth
may all beings, without exception be happy-minded.
Let none deceive another nor despise any person whatever in any place;
in anger or ill-will let them not wish any suffering to each other.
Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life,
even so, let him cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings.
Let his thoughts of boundless lovingkindness pervade the whole world:
above, below and across, without obstruction, without any hatred, without any enmity.
This they say is divine abiding here.
He will surely not come again to any womb (rebirth in the sense-desire realm).

— Metta Sutta, Khp 8-9, Translated by Peter Harvey[28]

Metta or lovingkindness here, states Harvey, is a heartfelt aspiration for the happiness of all beings. It is different than "lack of ill-will", and more an antidote to it, fear and hatred. It is the precept to conquer anger by kindness, conquer the liar by truth, conquer stingy by giving, conquer evil by good, states Harvey.[28]

Vatthūpama Sutta

In over a dozen discourses, the following description (in English and Pāli) is provided for radiating loving-kindness in six directions:[29]

One abides, having suffused with a mind of benevolence
one direction of the world,
likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth,
and so above, below, around and
everywhere, and to all as to himself;
one abides suffusing the entire universe with benevolence,
with a mind grown great, lofty, boundless and
free from enmity and ill will.[30]

So mettāsahagatena cetasā
ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati.
Tathā dutiyaṃ. Tathā tatiyaṃ. Tathā catutthiṃ.
Iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ
sabbadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvantaṃ
lokaṃ mettāsahagatena cetasā
vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena
averena abyāpajjena pharitvā viharati.

In the canon, this basic formula is expanded upon in a variety of ways. For instance, a couple of discourses[32] provide the following description to gain rebirth in the heavenly realm of Brahmā (brahmānaṃ sahavyatāya maggo) :

"What ... is the path to the company of Brahmā? Here a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with benevolence, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with benevolence, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill will. When the deliverance of mind by benevolence is developed in this way, no limiting action remains there, none persists there.
"Just as a vigorous trumpeter could make himself (or herself) heard without difficulty in the four quarters, so too, when the deliverance of mind by benevolence is developed in this way, no limiting action remains there, none persists there. This is the path to the company of Brahmā."[33][34]

Patisambhidamagga Mettakatha (Ps. 2.4)

In the Khuddaka Nikāya's Paṭisambhidāmagga, traditionally ascribed to Sariputta, is a section entitled Mettākathā (Ps. 2.4, "Story on Loving-Kindness").[36] In this instruction, a general formula (below, in English and Pāli), essentially identical to the aforementioned Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta verse (especially evident in the Pāli), is provided for radiating benevolence:

In addition, this instruction categorizes twenty-two ways in which "the mind-deliverance of benevolence" (mettācetovimutti) can be radiated with

  • five ways of "unspecified pervasion" (anodhiso pharaṇā) - all beings (sabbe sattā ), all breathing things (sabbe pāṇā bhāvapariyāpannā), all creatures (sabbe bhūtā bhāvapariyāpannā), all persons (sabbe puggalā bhāvapariyāpannā), all with a personality (sabbe attabhāvapariyāpannā)
  • seven ways of "specified pervasion" (anodhiso pharaṇā) - all women (sabbā itthiyo), all men (sabbe purisā), all Noble Ones (sabbe ariyā), all non-Noble Ones (sabbe anariyā), all deities (sabbe devā), all humans (sabbe manussā), all born in lower realms (sabbe vinipātikā),
  • ten ways of "directional pervasion" (disā-pharaṇā), of the eastern direction (puratthimāya disāya), of the western direction (pacchimāya disāya), of the northern direction (uttarā disāya), of the southern direction (dakkhīṇāya disāya), of the eastern intermediate direction (puratthimāya anudisāya), of the western intermediate direction (pacchimāya anudisāya), of the northern intermediate direction (uttarā anudisāya), # of the southern intermediate direction (dakkhīṇāya anudisāya), of the downward direction (heṭṭhimāya disāya), of the upward direction (uparimāya disāya).

Moreover, the directional pervasions can then be applied to each of the unspecific and specific pervasions. For instance, after radiating benevolence to all beings in the east (Sabbe puratthimāya disāya sattā ...), one radiates it to all beings in the west and then north and then south, etc.; then, one radiates it to all breathing things in this fashion (Sabbe puratthimāya disāya pāṇā ...), then all creatures, persons, and so forth until such is extended for all those born in the lower realms.


The Pali Canon says that there are a number of benefits from the practicing of metta meditation, including:

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 [reborn in][37] the Brahma worlds.[38]

The Canon also upholds fully ripened metta development as a foremost antidote to ill will:

“No other thing do I know, O monks, on account of which unarisen ill will does not arise and arisen ill will is abandoned so much as on account of this: the liberation of the heart by benevolence. For one who attends properly to the liberation of the heart by benevolence, unarisen ill will does not arise and arisen ill will is abandoned.”[39]

Monks, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the liberation of mind by benevolence. The liberation of mind by benevolence surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.

Mettā meditation is regularly recommended to the Buddha's followers in the Pali canon. The canon generally advises radiating metta in each of the six directions, to whatever beings there may be.[40] A different set of practical instructions, still widely used today, is found in the 5th CE Visuddhimagga; this is also the main source for the 'near and far enemies' given above. In addition, variations on this traditional practice have been popularized by modern teachers and applied in modern research settings.

Maitrī and Mettā

Metta is found in pre-Buddhist Vedic Sanskrit texts as Maitrī, Maitra and Mitra, which are derived from the ancient root Mid (love),[14] and these Vedic words appear in the Samhita, Aranyaka, Brahmana and Upanishad layers of texts in the Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.[41]

Speaking the truth I desire this:
May I enjoy his lovingkindness as do ye,
May not one of you supplant another,
He hath enjoyed my lovingkindness, the all-knower.

— Taittiriya Samhita 4.3.12, Yajurveda, Translated by Arthur Keith[42]

Similarly, the term appears in hymn 55 of Book 19 of the Atharvaveda,[43] and various Upanishads.[44] A major early Upanishad of Hinduism, named Maitri Upanishad, discusses universal kindness and amity. The Maitri Upanishad, states Martin Wiltshire, provides the philosophical underpinning, by asserting, "what a man thinks, that he becomes, this is the eternal mystery". This idea, adds Wiltshire, reflects the assumption in the ancient thought that man influences his own environment and situation, causality is equitable, and "good volitional acts conduce pleasant situations, while bad volitional acts conduce unpleasant situations".[45] The Maitri Upanishad teaches, states Juan Mascaró, that peace begins in one's own mind, in one's longing for truth, in looking within, and that "a quietness of mind overcomes good and evil works, and in quietness the soul is one: then one feels the joy of eternity."[46]

The Isha Upanishad similarly discusses universal amity and loving-kindness, but without the term metta.[47] These teachings of universal Maitri influenced Mahatma Gandhi.[48]

In Jainism, Yogabindu – the 6th-century yoga text by Haribhadra – uses the Sanskrit word Maitri in verses 402-404, in the sense of loving-kindness towards all living beings.[49]

Metta meditation research

Some pilot research studies on the effect of Mettā meditation indicate an increase in positive emotions for practitioners.[9][10] In particular, an immediate impact on positive emotions after practice as well as a long term effect could be shown, though these effects might not hold true for everybody.[9] In one proof-of-concept study, uncontrolled in sample selection and benchmarking, the researchers report therapeutic potential for psychological problems like depression or social anxiety, when combined with other reliable treatments.[10]

Therapeutic potential

The application of Mettā meditation for the treatment of psychological and other healthcare-related problems is the topic of current research. Hofmann et al. discuss in their paper the potential use for therapy and report insufficient data, with some promising studies so far. Those studies could show a positive impact on problems such as schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. According to Hofmann et al., there needs to be more rigorous research, especially with the application of Buddhist approaches to loving-kindness and compassion meditation.[10]

In an 8-week pilot study in 2005, loving-kindness meditation showed reduced pain and anger in people with chronic lower back pain.[50] Compassion meditation, a Science Daily article states, may benefit by reductions in inflammatory and behavioral responses to stress that have been linked to depression and a number of medical illnesses.[51]

Caution and reviews

Bishop in a 2002 review suggests caution on claims of benefits, and states, "what has been published has been rife with methodological problems. At present, we know very little about the effectiveness of this [mindfulness-lovingkindness-compassion meditation] approach; however, there is some evidence that suggests that it may hold some promise."[12]

In a 2014 review of multiple studies, Galante et al. reach a similar conclusion, stating "results were inconclusive for some outcomes, in particular against active controls; the methodological quality of the reports was low to moderate; results suffered from imprecision due to wide CIs (confidence intervals) deriving from small studies" and that "the kindness meditation methods show evidence of individual and community benefits through its effects on their well-being and social interaction".[11]

See also


  1. ^ Bodhi (2005), pp. 90, 131, 134
  2. ^ Gethin (1998), pp. 26, 30, passim [spelled as two words: "loving kindness"]; Harvey (2007), pp. 247-8 [spelled without a hyphen: "lovingkindness"]; Ñāamoli & Bodhi (2001), pp. 120, 374, 474, passim; Salzberg (1995), passim [without a hyphen]; Walshe (1995), p. 194.
  3. ^ a b Warder (2004), pp. 63, 94.
  4. ^ a b c Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 540, entry for "Mettā," retrieved 2008-04-29 from "U. Chicago" at,
  5. ^ Richard Gombrich (1988, reprinted 2002), Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. Routledge: London. ISBN 0-415-07585-8.
  6. ^ a b Peter Harvey (2012). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge University Press. pp. 318–319. ISBN 978-0-521-85942-4.
  7. ^ Peter Harvey (2012). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge University Press. pp. 278–279. ISBN 978-0-521-85942-4.
  8. ^ Finley P. Dunne (2013). The World Religions Speak on "The Relevance of Religion in the Modern World". Springer. pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-94-017-5892-5.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Zeng, Xianglong; Chiu, Cleo P. K.; Wang, Rong; Oei, Tian P. S.; Leung, Freedom Y. K. (2015-01-01). "The effect of loving-kindness meditation on positive emotions: a meta-analytic review". Psychology for Clinical Settings. 6: 1693. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01693. PMC 4630307. PMID 26579061.
  10. ^ a b c d e Hofmann, Stefan G.; Petrocchi, Nicola; Steinberg, James; Lin, Muyu; Arimitsu, Kohki; Kind, Shelley; Mendes, Adriana; Stangier, Ulrich (2015-06-02). "Loving-Kindness Meditation to Target Affect in Mood Disorders: A Proof-of-Concept Study". Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2015: 1–11. doi:10.1155/2015/269126. ISSN 1741-427X. PMC 4468348. PMID 26136807.
  11. ^ a b Galante, Julieta; Galante, Ignacio; Bekkers, Marie-Jet; Gallacher, John (2014). "Effect of kindness-based meditation on health and well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis". Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 82 (6): 1101–1114. doi:10.1037/a0037249. ISSN 1939-2117. PMID 24979314.
  12. ^ a b Bishop SR (2002). "What do we really know about mindfulness-based stress reduction?". Psychosom Med. 64 (1): 71–83. doi:10.1097/00006842-200201000-00010. PMID 11818588.
  13. ^ a b Monier Williams, 1964, p. 834, entry for "Maitrī," retrieved 2008-04-29 from "U. Cologne" at
  14. ^ a b c d Thomas William Rhys Davids; William Stede (1921). Pali-English Dictionary. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 540. ISBN 978-81-208-1144-7.
  15. ^ Robert E. Buswell Jr.; Donald S. Lopez Jr. (2013). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. p. 624. ISBN 978-1-4008-4805-8.
  16. ^ a b Peter Harvey (2012). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge University Press. p. 327. ISBN 978-0-521-85942-4.
  17. ^ Buddhagosha, 'Vishudimagga' Section 2.98
  18. ^ "Dhamma Lists". Insight Meditation Center.
  19. ^ Ellerton, Kevin. "Nice-vs-Kind". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  20. ^ Ellerton, Kevin. "Loving Kindness meditation - Metta meditation". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  21. ^ a b c d Martin G. Wiltshire (1990). Ascetic Figures Before and in Early Buddhism: The Emergence of Gautama as the Buddha. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 248–264. ISBN 978-3-11-009896-9.
  22. ^ Quote: मैत्री करुणा मुदितोपेक्षाणां सुखदुःखपुण्यापुण्यविषयाणां भावनातश्चित्तप्रसादनम् ॥ ३३॥ - Yogasutra 1.33; Source, SanskritDocuments.Org
  23. ^ Martin G. Wiltshire (1990). Ascetic Figures Before and in Early Buddhism: The Emergence of Gautama as the Buddha. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 241–242. ISBN 978-3-11-009896-9.
  24. ^ Peter Harvey (2001). Buddhism. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 247. ISBN 978-1-4411-4726-4.
  25. ^ Harvey B. Aronson (1980). Love and Sympathy in Theravāda Buddhism. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 71. ISBN 978-81-208-1403-5.
  26. ^ K N Jayatilleke (2013). Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge. Routledge. pp. 477–479. ISBN 978-1-134-54287-1.
  27. ^ In addition to AN 10.176, other discourses that contain this text include: Discourse for the Brahmans of Sala (Sāleyyaka Sutta, MN 41) (Ñanamoli & Khantipalo, 1993); Discourse for the Brahmins of Verañja (Verañjaka Sutta, MN 42, which is substantially a reiteration of MN 41 in a different locale); Sutta on the To Be Cultivated and Not to Be Cultivated (Sevitabbāsevitabba Sutta, MN 114) (Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi, 2001, p. 917); First Discourse on Hell and Heaven (Pahama-niraya-sagga Sutta, AN 10.211); Second Discourse on Hell and Heaven (Dutiya-niraya-sagga Sutta, AN 10.212); First Discourse on Intentional Actions (Pahama-sañcetanika Sutta, AN 10.217); Second Discourse on Intentional Actions (Dutiya-sañcetanika Sutta, AN 10.218); as well as in the Paṭisambhidāmagga (see below) and the paracanonical Milinda Pañha.
  28. ^ a b Peter Harvey (2012). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge University Press. p. 279. ISBN 978-0-521-85942-4.
  29. ^ See for instance, in the Digha Nikāya alone, The Great Splendor Discourse (Mahāsudassana Sutta, DN 17), v. 2.4 (Walshe, 1995, p. 287); The Great Steward Discourse (Mahāgovinda Sutta, DN 19), v. 59 (Walshe, 1995, p. 312); The Great Lion's Roar to the Udumbarikans Discourse (Udumbarika-Sīhanāda Sutta, DN 19), v. 17 (Walshe, 1995, pp. 390-391); and The Lion's Roar on the Turning of the Wheel Discourse (Cakkavatti-Sīhanāda Sutta, DN 79), v. 28 (Walshe, 1995, p. 405).
  30. ^ This particular English text is from the Nyanaponika (1988) translation of the Simile of the Cloth (Vatthūpama Sutta, MN 7), v. 12.
  31. ^ Bodhgaya News(n.d.), Majjhima Nikaya, book 1, BJT p. 88, retrieved 2009-08-07 at Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ See, for instance, the Discourse to Subha (Subha Sutta, MN 99) (Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi, 2001, pp. 816-17); and, The Threefold Knowledge Discourse (Tevijja Sutta, DN 13), vv. 76-77 (Walshe, 1995, p. 194). See also the Discourse to Dhānañjāni (Dhānañjāni Sutta, MN 97) (Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi, 2001, p. 796), in which a similar statement about union with Brahma is made by the Ven. Sariputta without the trumpeter metaphor.
  33. ^ MN 99 (Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi, 2001, pp. 816-17). In this translation, this text is presented as one paragraph. Here, it was divided into two, thus following the Pāli text presentation, to enhance readability.
  34. ^ Given this text's length, relatively uncomplicated translation and lesser known status (e.g., compared with the Karaniya Metta Sutta), the associated Pāli text is not represented in this main article but here:
    'Katamo ca ..., brahmānaṃ sahavyatāya maggo: idha ..., bhikkhu mettāsahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati. Tathā dutiyaṃ, tathā tatiyaṃ, tathā catutthiṃ. Iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ mettā sahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā viharati. Evaṃ bhāvitāya kho ..., mettāya cetovimuttiyā yaṃ pamāṇakataṃ kammaṃ, na taṃ tatrāvasissati. Na taṃ tatrāvatiṭṭhati.
    Seyyathāpi ..., balavā saṅkhadhamo appakasireneva catuddisā viññāpeyya. Evameva kho ..., evaṃ bhavitāya mettāya ceto vimuttiyā, yaṃ pamāṇakataṃ kammaṃ na taṃ tatrāvasissati. Na taṃ tatrāvatiṭṭhati. Ayampi kho ..., brahmāṇaṃ sahavyatāya maggo. (Bodhgaya News, n.d., Majjhima Nikaya, book 2, BJT p. 730 [MN 99], retrieved 2009-08-07 at Archived 2011-07-19 at the Wayback Machine.)
    In this particular Pāli text, the word that is repeatedly elided ("...") is māṇava ("student" or "young man") so that only the text that is common to all of the identified discourses is represented here. (For instance, in MN 97, instead of māṇava, it uses the name of the Brahmin being addressed.)
  35. ^ Cited in Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli (1999), p. 302, Vsm.IX,50. See also Ñanamoli (1987), section 11, "Methodical Practice: from the Patisambhidamagga," where this sentence is translated as: "May all beings be freed from enmity, distress and anxiety, and may they guide themselves to bliss."
  36. ^ In this section of this article, the primary English-language sources are Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli (1999), pp. 301-304, Vsm.IX,49-58; and, Ñanamoli (1987), section 11, "Methodical Practice: from the Patisambhidamagga." The Pali is primarily based on Bodhgaya News (n.d.), Patisambhidamagga 2, BJT pp. 64-80, retrieved 2009-08-07 starting at "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-11. Retrieved 2010-06-11.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link).
  37. ^ Metta (Mettanisamsa) Sutta Piyadassi Thera (translator)
  38. ^ AN 11.16 (trans. Thanissaro, 1997b). See also AN 8.1 (similarly entitled, Mettānisasa Sutta [SLTP] and Mettā Suttaṃ [CSCD]) which omits the last three of four benefits mentioned in AN 11.16 (that is, it omits "One's mind gains concentration quickly. One's complexion is bright. One dies unconfused...").
  39. ^ AN 1.ii.7 (trans. Nyanaponika & Bodhi, 1999, p. 34).
  40. ^ See, e.g. MN 7.12, Snp 1.8/Khp 9: [1], [2].
  41. ^ Maurice Bloomfield, A Vedic Concordance, Harvard University Press, pages 713-717
  42. ^ Arthur B Keith, Taittiriya Samhita iv,3,12,i:k, The Veda of the Black Yajus School, Part 2: Kandas IV-VII, Harvard University Press, page 335
  43. ^ Ralph Griffith (1896). The Hymns of the Atharvaveda. E. J. Lazarus. pp. 312–313.
  44. ^ S. Radhakrishnan (1992). Rabindranath Tagore: A Centenary. Sahitya Akademi. p. 387. ISBN 978-81-7201-332-5.
  45. ^ Martin G. Wiltshire (1990). Ascetic Figures before and in Early Buddhism: The Emergence of Gautama as the Buddha. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-3-11-085856-3.
  46. ^ Juan Mascaró (1965). The Upanishads. Penguin. pp. 103–104. ISBN 978-0-14-044163-5.
  47. ^ Kalyan Sen Gupta (2016). The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore. Routledge. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-317-02143-8.
  48. ^ Nancy Snow (2012). Deen K. Chatterjee (ed.). Encyclopedia of Global Justice. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 2155. ISBN 978-1-4020-9160-5.
  49. ^ Christopher Key Chapple (2015). Yoga in Jainism. Routledge. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-317-57217-6.
  50. ^ Carson, J. W. (2005). "Loving-Kindness Meditation for Chronic Low Back Pain: Results From a Pilot Trial". Journal of Holistic Nursing. 23 (3): 287–304. doi:10.1177/0898010105277651. PMID 16049118.
  51. ^ "Compassion Meditation May Improve Physical And Emotional Responses To Psychological Stress". ScienceDaily. 2008. Retrieved 2016-06-07.


  • Acharya Buddharakkhita (trans.) (1987/2006). "Kakacupama Sutta: The Parable of the Saw (excerpt)" from Positive Response: How to Meet Evil With Good (Bodhi Leaves No. 109). Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society (1987). Retrieved from "Access to Insight" (2006) at Kakacupama Sutta: The Parable of the Saw.
  • Amaravati Sangha (trans.) (1994, 2004). "Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness" from Chanting Book: Morning and Evening Puja and Reflections (1994). Hemel Hempstead: Amaravati Publications. Retrieved 2007-11-25 from "Access to Insight" (2004) at Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness.
  • Bodhi, Bhikkhu (2005). In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-491-1.
  • Buddhaghosa, Bhadantacariya & Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli (trans.) (1999). The Path of Purification: Visuddhimagga. Seattle, WA: BPS Pariyatti Editions. ISBN 1-928706-00-2.
  • Gethin, Rupert (1998). The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-289223-1.
  • Gombrich, Richard (1988; reprinted 2002). Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. Routledge: London. ISBN 0-415-07585-8.
  • Harvey, Peter (2007). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31333-3.
  • Monier-Williams, Monier (1899, 1964). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-864308-X. Retrieved 2008-04-29 from "Cologne University" at MW Scan.
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  • Ñāṇamoli, Bhikkhu (trans.) & Bhikkhu Bodhi (ed.) (2001). The Middle-Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-072-X.
  • Ñanamoli Thera (trans.) & Bhikkhu Khantipalo (ed.) (1993/1994). Saleyyaka Sutta: The Brahmans of Sala (MN 41). Retrieved 2007-12-23 from "Access to Insight" (1994 transcription) at Saleyyaka Sutta: The Brahmans of Sala.
  • Nyanaponika Thera (trans.) (1988/1998). "Vatthupama Sutta: The Simile of the Cloth" (MN 7) from The Simile of the Cloth & the Discourse on Effacement (Wheel No. 61). Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society (1988). Retrieved 2007-12-03 from "Access to Insight" (1998) at Vatthupama Sutta: The Simile of the Cloth.
  • Nyanaponika Thera & Bhikkhu Bodhi (trans.) (1999). Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: An anthology of Suttas from the Aṅguttara Nikāya. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. ISBN 0-7425-0405-0.
  • Rhys Davids, Caroline A. F. ([1900], 2003). Buddhist Manual of Psychological Ethics, of the Fourth Century B.C., Being a Translation, now made for the First Time, from the Original Pāli, of the First Book of the Abhidhamma-Piṭaka, entitled Dhamma-Sangaṇi (Compendium of States or Phenomena). Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0-7661-4702-9.
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External links


The Abhidharmadīpa or Lamp of Abhidharma is an Abhidharma text thought to have been authored by Vasumitra as a response to Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā.

The text consists of verse and prose commentary. It currently survives as an incomplete collection of Sanskrit fragments. However, the text is valuable insofar as it confirms the identity of Vasubandhu as author of the Abhidharmakośakārikā.

Flag of Sri Lanka

The flag of Sri Lanka (Sinhala: ශ්‍රී ලංකාවේ ජාතික කොඩිය, romanized: Śrī Laṃkāvē jāthika kodiya; Tamil: இலங்கையின் தேசியக்கொடி, romanized: Ilankaiyin teciyakkoṭi; also called the Lion Flag or Sinha Flag, consists of a gold lion holding a kastane sword in its right fore-paw in a maroon background with four gold bo leaves in each corner. This is bordered by gold, and to its left are two vertical stripes of equal size in green and orange, with the orange stripe closest to the lion. The lion and the maroon background represent the Sinhalese, while the saffron border and four Bo leaves represent Buddhism and the four Buddhist concepts of Mettā, Karuṇā, Muditā and Upekshā respectively. The stripes represent the two main minorities: the orange representing the Sri Lankan Tamils and the green representing Muslims.

It was adopted in 1948 following the recommendations of a committee appointed by the 1st Prime Minister of Ceylon, D.S. Senanayake.


Karuṇā (in both Sanskrit and Pali) is generally translated as compassion and self-compassion. It is part of the spiritual path of both Buddhism and Jainism.

List of Buddhas

This is a list of historical, contemporary, and legendary figures which at least one school of Buddhism considers to be a Buddha and which have an article on Wikipedia:




Amitābha, principal Buddha of Pure Land Buddhism




Dīpankara Buddha

Five Tathagatas

Gautama Buddha


Kassapa Buddha

Koṇāgamana Buddha



Nichiren Daishonin, Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law (Nikko Lineage)

Padumuttara Buddha




Sumedha Buddha


Tonpa Shenrab

Vairocana, embodiment of the Dharmakaya



Yeshe Tsogyal

List of suttas

Suttas from the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon.

List of Digha Nikaya suttas

List of Majjhima Nikaya suttas

List of Samyutta Nikaya suttas

List of Anguttara Nikaya suttas

List of Khuddaka Nikaya suttas


Love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection and to the simplest pleasure. An example of this range of meanings is that the love of a mother differs from the love of a spouse, which differs from the love of food. Most commonly, love refers to a feeling of strong attraction and emotional attachment.Love is also considered to be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection, as "the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another". It may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one's self or animals.Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts. Love has been postulated to be a function to keep human beings together against menaces and to facilitate the continuation of the species.Ancient Greek philosophers identified five forms of love: essentially, familial love (in Greek, Storge), friendly love or platonic love (Philia), romantic love (Eros), guest love (Xenia) and divine love (Agape). Modern authors have distinguished further varieties of love: unrequited love, empty love, companionate love, consummate love, infatuated love, self-love, and courtly love. Asian cultures have also distinguished Ren, Kama, Bhakti, Mettā, Ishq, Chesed, and other variants or symbioses of these states. The triangular theory of love suggests "intimacy, passion and commitment" are core components of love. Love has additional religious or spiritual meaning. This diversity of uses and meanings combined with the complexity of the feelings involved makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, compared to other emotional states.

Metta Sutta

The Mettā Sutta is the name used for two Buddhist discourses (Pali: sutta) found in the Pali Canon. The one, more often chanted by Theravadin monks, is also referred to as Karaṇīyamettā Sutta after the opening word, Karaṇīyam, "(This is what) should be done." It is found in the Suttanipāta (Sn 1.8) and Khuddakapāṭha (Khp 9). It is ten verses in length and it extols both the virtuous qualities and the meditative development of mettā (Pali), traditionally translated as "loving kindness" or "friendliness." Additionally, Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation, "goodwill", underscores that the practice is used to develop wishes for unconditional goodwill towards the object of the wish.

The other, also chanted by Theravadin Buddhist monks at times, extols the benefits of the practice of mettā (Pali) and it is found in the Anguttara Nikaya (AN 11.15). is also referred to as Mettānisamsa Sutta. This article will focus on the first version.

Metta World Peace

Metta World Peace (born Ronald William Artest Jr.; November 13, 1979) is an American professional basketball coach and former player. He is currently the player development coach for the South Bay Lakers of the NBA G League. He was known as Ron Artest before legally changing his name in September 2011.

World Peace gained a reputation as one of the league's premier defenders as he won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2004 when he was also named an NBA All-Star and earned All-NBA honors. He was a participant in several controversial on-court incidents, most notably the Malice at the Palace, and is known for his sometimes eccentric and outspoken behavior. He won an NBA championship in 2010 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Artest played high school basketball at La Salle Academy and college basketball at St. John's University. He has played for six teams in the NBA.


Nekkhamma (Sanskrit: Naiṣkramya, नैष्काम्य) is a Pali word generally translated as "renunciation" or "the pleasure of renunciation" while also conveying more specifically "giving up the world and leading a holy life" or "freedom from lust, craving and desires." In Buddhism's Noble Eightfold Path, nekkhamma is the first practice associated with "Right Intention." In the Theravada list of ten perfections, nekkhamma is the third practice of "perfection." It involves non-attachment (detachment).

Prajñā (Buddhism)

Prajñā (Sanskrit) or paññā (Pāli) "wisdom" is insight in the true nature of reality, namely primarily anicca (impermanence), dukkha (dissatisfaction or suffering), anattā (non-self) and suññatā (emptiness).


Pāramitā (Sanskrit, Pali) or pāramī (Pāli) is "perfection" or "completeness". While, technically, pāramī and pāramitā are both Pāli terms, Pali literature makes far greater reference to pāramī.


Sacca (Pāli; Sanskrit Satya) word meaning "real" or "true". In early Buddhist literature, sacca is often found in the context of the "Four Noble Truths", a crystallization of Buddhist wisdom. In addition, sacca is one of the ten pāramitās or "most high" a bodhisatta must develop in order to become a Buddha.

Sharon Salzberg

Sharon Salzberg (born August 5, 1952) is a New York Times Best selling author and teacher of Buddhist meditation practices in the West. In 1974, she co-founded the Insight Meditation Society at Barre, Massachusetts with Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Her emphasis is on vipassanā (insight) and mettā (loving-kindness) methods, and has been leading meditation retreats around the world for over three decades. All of these methods have their origins in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Her books include Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness (1995), A Heart as Wide as the World (1999), Real Happiness - The Power of Meditation: A 28-Day Program (2010), which was on The New York Times Best Seller list in 2011, and the follow-up Real Happiness at Work (2013).


Subhūti (Pali: Subhūti; Chinese: 须菩提; pinyin: Xūpútí) was one of the Ten Great Śrāvakas of Gautama Buddha, and foremost in giving gifts. In Prakrit and Pāli, his name literally means "Good Existence" (su: "good", bhūti: "existence"). He is also sometimes referred to as "Elder Subhūti" (Subhūti Thera). He was a contemporary of such famous arahants as Śāriputra, Mahākāśyapa, Maudgalyayana, Mahākātyāyana and Ānanda.


Sukha (Sanskrit, Pali; Devanagari: सुख) means happiness, pleasure, ease, or bliss, in Sanskrit and Pali. Among the early scriptures, 'sukha' is set up as a contrast to 'preya' (प्रेय) meaning a transient pleasure, whereas the pleasure of 'sukha' has an authentic state happiness within a being that is lasting. In the Pāli Canon, the term is used in the context of describing laic pursuits, meditative absorptions, and intra-psychic phenomena.

Tara (Buddhism)

Tara (Sanskrit: तारा, tārā; Tib. སྒྲོལ་མ, Dölma), Ārya Tārā, or White Tara, also known as Jetsun Dölma (Tibetan language: rje btsun sgrol ma) in Tibetan Buddhism, is an important figure in Buddhism. She appears as a female bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism, and as a female Buddha in Vajrayana Buddhism. She is known as the "mother of liberation", and represents the virtues of success in work and achievements. She is known as Tara Bosatsu (多羅菩薩) in Japan, and occasionally as Duōluó Púsà (多羅菩薩) in Chinese Buddhism.Tārā is a meditation deity worshiped by practitioners of the Tibetan branch of Vajrayana Buddhism to develop certain inner qualities and to understand outer, inner and secret teachings such as karuṇā (compassion), mettā (loving-kindness), and shunyata (emptiness). Tārā may more properly be understood as different aspects of the same quality, as bodhisattvas are often considered metaphors for Buddhist virtues.

There is also recognition in some schools of Buddhism of twenty-one Tārās. A practice text entitled Praises to the Twenty-One Taras, is the most important text on Tara in Tibetan Buddhism. Another key text is the Tantra Which is the Source for All the Functions of Tara, Mother of All the Tathagatas.The main Tārā mantra is the same for Buddhists and Hindus alike: oṃ tāre tuttāre ture svāhā. It is pronounced by Tibetans and Buddhists who follow the Tibetan traditions as oṃ tāre tu tāre ture soha. The literal translation would be “Oṃ O Tārā, I pray O Tārā, O Swift One, So Be It!”


Tonglen (Tibetan: གཏོང་ལེན་, Wylie: gtong len, or tonglen) is Tibetan for 'giving and taking' (or sending and receiving), and refers to a meditation practice found in Tibetan Buddhism.


Upekkhā (in Pali: upekkhā उपेक्खा; Sanskrit: upekṣā उपेक्षा), is the Buddhist concept of equanimity. As one of the Brahma Vihara (meditative states), it is a pure mental state cultivated on the Buddhist path to nirvāna.


Vīrya (Sanskrit; Pāli: viriya) is a Buddhist term commonly translated as "energy", "diligence", "enthusiasm", or "effort". It can be defined as an attitude of gladly engaging in wholesome activities, and it functions to cause one to accomplish wholesome or virtuous actions.

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