Metta Sutta, aka: Mettā-sutta; 3 Definition(s)


Metta Sutta 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)

Metta Sutta in Theravada glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

1. Metta Sutta. One should be diligent and upright, gentle and not vain glorious, free from deceit. Let none, out of anger, or through resentment, wish misery to another. A person should cherish boundless goodwill towards all beings, like a mother fostering her only son. SN.vss.143-52; also Khp.p.8f.; where it is called Karaniyametta Sutta, by which name it is more popularly known.

This sutta was preached by the Buddha to five hundred monks who had obtained from him a formula for meditation and dwelt in a region in the Himalaya. The gods there were alarmed by the goodness of the monks and tried to frighten them away. The monks, constantly harassed, sought the Buddha at Savatthi. He preached this sutta to them and admonished them on the practice of goodwill. They followed his advice, and the gods, understanding, left them in peace (KhpA.232ff.; cp. DhA.i.313ff).

The sutta is included in the Parittas.

2. Metta Sutta. Once when the Buddha was at Haliddavasana, a discussion arose between some monks and some Paribbajakas as to whether there was any difference between their respective doctrines since they both inculcated the practice of goodwill, compassion, sympathy, and equanimity. The monks consulted the Buddha, who told them that the Paribbajakas were ignorant of how to cultivate these qualities, of what was their goal and their excellence, their fruit and their ending.

He then proceeded to explain to them that these are cultivated through the seven bojjhanga; goodwill has the beautiful for its excellence, compassion the infinity of space, sympathy the infinity of consciousness, and equanimity the sphere where nought exists. (S.v.115f).

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1. Metta Sutta. On four kinds of persons to be found in the world those who irradiate all quarters with goodwill, compassion, sympathy and equanimity. These are born after death in various Brahma worlds; if they happen to be disciples of the Buddha, they will no more return to the world of men. A.ii.128.

2. Metta Sutta. Very similar to the above. Such persons are born, after death, in the Suddhavasa. A.ii.129.

3. Metta Sutta. When a man has developed emancipation of the mind through goodwill, compassion, sympathy and equanimity, by the sign less (animitta) and getting rid of the thought I am, it cannot, be said of him that he has failed to find escape from the opposite qualities. A.iii.290f.

4. Metta Sutta. Nine qualifications which, if they accompany the observance of the fast days, make such observance fruitful the eight precepts (abstention from killing, etc.), and irradiating the world with thoughts of goodwill. A.iv.388f.

5. Metta Sutta. Eleven advantages which come from the development of goodwill towards all beings. A.v.342.

6. Metta Sutta. The idea of goodwill, if cultivated, leads to much profit. S.v.131.

Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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)

Metta Sutta in Buddhism glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

Mettā-sutta Pali, lit., “Sūtra on Kindness”; Hīnayāna sūtra the theme of which is the devel­opment of kindness. It is one of the most popular texts of Theravāda Buddhism and is recited daily by the monks and laypeople of this school.

Source: Shambala Publications: General

Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

Metta Sutta in Pali glossary... « previous · [M] · next »

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)

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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. defns & explns 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 expld 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. defn 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; expld 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 expln 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)

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