Metta (Loving-Kindness): The Practice of Universal Love
Metta, also known as loving-kindness, is an attitude of universal love that is radiated to all living beings in the world without discrimination. In Buddhist teachings it is said that there are four divine states of mind which are naturally and unceasingly experienced by those who are enlightened. They are metta (loving-kindness), compassion, joy and equanimity. Together they are called the Four Immeasurables or the Four Brahma-Viharas. By training in these states of mind through meditation we can tap into these divine states and create the causes for experiencing happiness now and in the future.
In this video, I look at cultivating the first of these divine thoughts: metta. In particular, I describe what metta is, what are the advantages in practicing it, what are some of the obstacles that might prevent us from cultivating genuine loving-kindness, and I highlight some practical tips that we can employ to ensure our formal metta meditation practice is a success.
Sutta used in this video:
“Kakacupama Sutta: The Parable of the Saw” (MN 21), translated from the Pali by Acharya Buddharakkhita. Access to Insight, 30 June 2010, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.021x.budd.html.
You can join me in a guided metta (loving-kindness) meditation here.
In the Tripitaka, the Buddha taught the Karaniya Metta Sutta which is a beautiful sutra explaining how loving-kindness should be practiced and is often chanted in the Theravadin Buddhist monasteries. A recording of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia beautifully chanting the Karaniya Metta Sutta can be listened to here. It includes the English in full in their video description so you can follow along. The sutra is also available here on the Access to Insight website.
“Real peace and happiness has to come from the heart, from within. So therefore, to eliminate wars and destroying each other, to eliminate famine, disease and earthquakes, and to eliminate all other disasters and unfavourable experiences, all this can be stopped by having loving kindness toward each other. From having a good heart with loving kindness, negative action cannot arise.” ~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche