One of the most compelling concepts in Buddhism is that of universal loving kindness. It has the potential to transform your life, and you don’t need to be a Buddhist to experience the profound effects of this practice.
The idea of loving kindness was first proposed by the Buddha in the Metta Sutta. We’ll take a look at some of the most powerful passages in the Metta Sutta and show you how you can reap the benefits of this practice in your own life.
What Is The Metta Sutta?
Many of the core Buddhist texts and practices come from the Buddha, and the Metta Sutta is no exception. In fact, the Metta Sutta is one of the Buddha’s most important teachings.
The word metta is a Pali word that means, “loving kindness.” The Metta Sutta is the Buddha’s key teaching on loving kindness. It explains not only what loving kindness is but what the benefits of practicing loving kindness are and how to do it.
What Does Loving Kindness Mean?
If you guessed that loving kindness must have something to do with love and kindness, you’re right. But it runs much deeper than that.
The Buddhist practice of metta isn’t just a practice — it’s a way of life. It’s something to be cultivated, practiced, and meditated on.
That’s because metta (loving kindness) is one of the Four Divine States of Buddhism along with karuna (compassion), mudita (sympathetic joy or empathy), and upekkha (equanimity). This is what Buddhists aspire to.
So, what does it mean to practice metta, or loving kindness?
Metta is not to be confused with compassion. Compassion is associated with a willingness to take on the pain of others and support them in their hardships. While this is an important trait and another of the Four Divine States of Buddhism, it’s not what loving kindness is.
Metta is the spread of benevolence and goodwill toward others.
Cultivating loving kindness is one of the focuses of Buddhism meditation. It’s called metta meditation. And it’s one of the most powerful meditation experiences out there.
5 Powerful Passages From The Metta Sutta For Meditation
If you’d like to explore metta meditation, a great place to start is with the Metta Sutta. In the Metta Sutta, the Buddha outlines what metta is, the benefits it brings, and how it can be practiced.
Here are 5 key passages from the Metta Sutta:
“Let one not deceive nor despise another person, anywhere at all. In anger and ill-will, let him not wish any harm to another.”
“Just as a mother would protect her only child with her own life, even so, let him cultivate boundless thoughts of loving kindness towards all beings.”
“Whether standing, walking, seated, or lying down, as long as he is awake, he should develop this mindfulness. This they say is the divine abiding here.”
“Let him cultivate boundless thoughts of loving kindness towards the whole world — above, below and all around, unobstructed, free from hatred and enmity.”
“May all beings be well and safe, may their hearts rejoice.”
These passages from the Metta Sutta can not only help deepen your understanding of loving kindness but can also be used in meditation. In fact, metta meditation is probably the best way to understand what loving kindness is all about.
Meditation can be a powerful tool. In fact, it has the potential to change your life. Deborah King, Author of Mindvalley’s Be A Modern Master Program explains, “Learning to meditate changed the course of my life and set me firmly on a spiritual climb I never would have believed possible.”
If you’d like to try some loving-kindness for yourself, there are many excellent metta meditations available online that you can follow. Also, try Mindvalley’s founder Vishen Lakhiany’s 6 Phase meditation that includes meta meditation. They don’t take long — even just a few minutes can have a powerful impact.
Do you think it’s important to cultivate more metta in the world? Share your thoughts below.