Mettā (Pali) or maitrī (Sanskrit) means benevolence, loving-kindness, friendliness, amity, good will, and active interest in others. 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. It is a part of the four immeasurables in Brahmavihara (divine abidings) meditation. Metta as 'compassion meditation' is often practiced in Asia by broadcast chanting, wherein monks chant for the laity.
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.
Small sample studies on the potential of loving-kindness meditation approach on patients suggest potential benefits. However, peer reviews question the quality and sample size of these studies, then suggest caution.
|Glossary of Buddhism|
Mettā is a Pali word, from maitrī itself derived from mitra which, states Monier-Williams, means "friendly, amicable, benevolent, affectionate, kind, good-will", as well as a form of "love, amity, sympathy". The term is found in this sense in the Vedic literature, such as the Shatapatha Brahmana and various early Upanishads, and Vedanga literature such as Pāṇini's Aṣṭādhyāyī 5.4.36. The term appears in Buddhist texts as an important concept and practice.
Buswell and Lopez, as well as Harvey, translate metta as "loving-kindness". 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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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). 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.
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. The early Buddhist texts assert that pre-Buddha ancient Indian sages who taught these virtues were earlier incarnations of the Buddha. 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.
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. 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.
According to Peter Harvey, the Buddhist scriptures acknowledge that the Metta-concept containing four Brahmavihara meditation practices "did not originate within the Buddhist tradition". 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".
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. 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
In over a dozen discourses, the following description (in English and Pāli) is provided for radiating loving-kindness in six directions:
One abides, having suffused with a mind of benevolence
So mettāsahagatena cetasā
In the canon, this basic formula is expanded upon in a variety of ways. For instance, a couple of discourses provide the following description to gain rebirth in the heavenly realm of Brahmā (brahmānaṃ sahavyatāya maggo) :
In the Khuddaka Nikāya's Paṭisambhidāmagga, traditionally ascribed to Sariputta, is a section entitled Mettākathā (Ps. 2.4, "Story on Loving-Kindness"). 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
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:
The Canon also upholds fully ripened metta development as a foremost antidote to ill will:
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. 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.
Metta is found in pre-Buddhist Vedic Sanskrit texts as Maitrī, Maitra and Mitra, which are derived from the ancient root Mid (love), and these Vedic words appear in the Samhita, Aranyaka, Brahmana and Upanishad layers of texts in the Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.
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.
Similarly, the term appears in hymn 55 of Book 19 of the Atharvaveda, and various Upanishads. 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". 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."
Some pilot research studies on the effect of Mettā meditation indicate an increase in positive emotions for practitioners. 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. 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.
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.
In an 8-week pilot study in 2005, loving-kindness meditation showed reduced pain and anger in people with chronic lower back pain. 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.
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."
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".
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
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
Nichiren Daishonin, Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law (Nikko Lineage)
Vairocana, embodiment of the Dharmakaya
Yeshe TsogyalList 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 suttasLove
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.Upekkha
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
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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