Metta, Mettā: 10 definitions

Introduction

Metta means something in Buddhism, Pali. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

Source: Access to Insight: A Glossary of Pali and Buddhist TermsLoving kindness; goodwill. One of the ten perfections (paramis) and one of the four "sublime abodes" (brahma vihara).Source: Dhamma Dana: Pali English Glossary

N (Love (empty of attachment, of desire, of passion and infatuation)). Fact to deeply wish happiness to others.

Source: Pali Kanon: Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines

'loving-kindness', is one of the 4 sublime abodes (brahma-vihāra).

Source: Dhamma Study: Cetasikas

Loving kindness, metta, is a form of adosa which is directed towards living beings. Its function is to prefer welfare. It is manifested as the removal of annoyance.

Loving kindness (metta) is among the four meditation subjects which are called the "divine abidings" (brahma-viharas).

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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General definition (in Buddhism)

Source: Amaravati: Glossary

(met tah) loving kindness, goodwill, friendliness.

Source: Buddhist Information: Metta

The Pali word metta is a multi significant term meaning loving kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non violence. The Pali commentators define metta as the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others (parahita parasukha kamana). Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self interest.

Through metta one refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind of friendliness, accommodativeness and benevolence which seeks the well being and happiness of others. True metta is devoid of self interest. It evokes within a warm hearted feeling of fellowship, sympathy and love, which grows boundless with practice and overcomes all social, religious, racial, political and economic barriers. Metta is indeed a universal, unselfish and all embracing love.

Source: Buddhist Information: A Simple Guide to Life

Metta is goodwill, loving kindness, universal love, a feeling of friendliness and heartfelt concern for all living beings, human or non human, in all situations. The chief mark of metta is a benevolent attitude: a keen desire to promote the welfare of others. Metta subdues the vice of hatred in all its varied shades: anger, ill will, aversion, and resentment. The Buddha said:

Hatreds do not cease through hatreds
Anywhere at anytime.
Through love alone do they cease:
This is an eternal law.

(Dhp. v. 5)
Source: Shambala Publications: General

Metta, which can be translated from Pali as “love” or “lov­ingkindness,” is the first of the brahma-viharas, the “heavenly abodes.” The others—compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity—grow out of metta, which supports and extends these states.

Metta is the ability to embrace all parts of ourselves, as well as all parts of the world. Practicing metta illuminates our inner integrity because it relieves us of the need to deny dif­ferent aspects of ourselves. We can open to everything with the healing force of love. When we feel love, our mind is expansive and open enough to include the entirety of life in full awareness, both its pleasures and its pains.

We feel neither betrayed by pain nor overcome by it, and thus we can contact that which is undamaged within us regardless of the situation. Metta sees truly that our integrity is inviolate, no matter what our life situation may be. We do not need to fear anything. We are whole: our deepest happiness is intrinsic to the nature of our minds, and it is not damaged through uncertainty and change.

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

mettā : (f.) amity; benevolence.

Source: Sutta: The Pali Text Society's Pali-English Dictionary

Metta, (adj. nt.) (cp. Vedic maitra “belonging to Mitra”; Epic Sk. maitra “friendly, ” fr. mitra) friendly, benevolent, kind as adj. at D. III, 191 (mettena kāya-kammena etc.), 245 (°ṃ vacī-kammaṃ); as nt. for mettā in cpds. of mettā (cp. mettaṃsa) and by itself at D. I, 227 (mettaṃ+cittaṃ), perhaps also at Sn. 507. (Page 540)

— or —

Mettā, (f.) (abstr. fr. mitra=mitta, cp. Vedic maitraṃ. According to Asl. 192 (cp. Expos. 258) derived fr. mid to love, to be fat: “mejjati mettā siniyhatī ti attho”) love, amity, sympathy, friendliness, active interest in others. There are var. definitions & explanations of mettā: the stereotype “metti mettāyanā mettāyitattaṃ mettā cetovimutti” Vbh. 86=272; occurring as “metti mettāyanā mettāyitattaṃ anudā anudāyana anudāyitattaṃ hitesitā anukampā abyāpādo ... kusalamūlaṃ” at Nd1 488 & Dhs. 1056 (where T. mettaṃ for metti, but see Dhs. trsl. 2 253). By Bdhgh at SnA 128 explained in distinction fr. karuṇā (which is “ahita-dukkh-âpanayakāmatā”) as “hita-sukh-ûpanaya-kāmatā, ” i.e. desire of bringing welfare & good to one’s fellow-men. Cp. definition of mettā at Vism. 317.—Sn. 73 (see Nd2 p. 232), 967; D. III, 247 sq. , 279; Vism. 111, 321 sq.; SnA 54; PvA. 66 (khanti, m. , anudaya); Sdhp. 484, 487. ‹-› Phrases occurring frequently: mettā ceto-vimutti D. I, 251; S. II, 265; A. IV, 150; It. 20; Vbh. 86 and passim. mettā-sahagatena cetasā with a heart full of love D. I, 250; II, 186; III, 49 sq. , 78, 223 sq.; S. V, 115; A. I, 183; II, 129; IV, 390; V, 299, 344; explained in detail at Vism. 308. mettaṃ karoti (Loc.) to be friendly or sympathize with Mhvs 12, 23.—In cpds. usually mettā°, but shortened to metta° in metta-cittaṃ kindly thought, a heart full of love D. I, 167; III, 237; Sn. 507; Pv. II, 1317; J. VI, 71; and metta-jhāna love-meditation, as explanation of m.—citta at SnA 417; PvA. 167. —aṃsa (mettaṃsa) sympathetic, showing love towards It. 22 (v. l. °āsa); J. IV, 71 (=metta-koṭṭhāsa mettacitta C.). —kammaṭṭhāna the k. of sympathy DhA. IV, 108. —bhāvanā cultivation or development of friendliness (towards all living beings) J. I, 176; III, 45; Miln. 199; Vism. 295. —vihārin abiding in kindliness Dh. 368; DhA. IV, 108; Nett 25; Vism. 324; PvA. 230. (Page 540)

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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