The concept of “Metta” plays a key role in Buddhist ethics. It is not easy to find a proper English equivalent for this graceful Pali term. Good will, loving kindness, benevolence, friendliness and universal love are suggested as the best renderings.
In the world today you can find very advanced intellectuals, scientists, psychologists, religious leaders, veteran politicians, philosophers, brilliant writers, talented speakers, vastly talented sports persons and powerful world leaders. In spite of these persons’ peace and security is fading away from this world day by day. What is the reason for this tragedy? It is the lack of Metta or good-will among mankind.
Without a sincere wish for the welfare and genuine happiness of all beings, there is no way one can establish a stable peace and security in this planet.
As ven. K. Sri Dhammananda Thera says, love is the soil. That means it grows loved ones. As the soil enriches every plants without selection, love also enriches person without limiting or restricting. Love can elevate the humanity. But it costs nothing. Like this everyone should cultivate loving kindness in their mind without selection or limiting. It is a process of giving more than gaining.
It is unlimited
Buddhist concept of loving kindness/Metta should differentiate from ordinary carnal love and personal affection. It is neither carnal love nor personal affection. Neither neighborliness nor racial brotherhood. Neither political brotherhood nor racial brotherhood. It is limitless in scope and range. Barriers it has none. Discrimination it makes not. It enables one to regard the whole world as one’s motherland and all as fellow being.
One must cultivate loving kindness/Metta without being confined to limitations and restrictions. In the Suttanipata, the Buddha has described as follow simile. It is the advice of the Buddha.
“just as a mother would protect her only child even at risk of her own life, even so one should cultivate loving kindness towards all beings.”The Buddha
The practitioner of universal love must treat all living beings without exception. Extending boundless heart, whatever living beings there may be feeble or strong, or tall, or medium, short, small or large, seen or unseen, those dwelling far or nearer, those who are born and those who are yet to be born.
He not only considers about animate beings but also extends his loving kindness towards inanimate substances. He does not harm and pollute environment, water, air, soil or anything around him. Such is the characteristics of real Metta. To the one who has reached the culmination of loving kindness can easily identify all beings making no difference between oneself and others. At this stage so called “I” is lost whole him. This is how the separatism is evaporated.
He who practices Metta can gain inconceivable results. By cultivating loving kindness one can eradicate ill-will, anger, hatred, harm, cruelty and grudges.
In his exhortation to Rev. Rahula the Buddha says,
“Cultivate Rahula the meditation on loving kindness, for by cultivating loving kindness ill-will is banished. Cultivate Rahula the meditation on compassion, for by cultivating compassion harm and cruelty are banished.”
Maha Rahulovada Sutta
Vicious thoughts of animosity and cruelty are most detrimental and harmful to those who harbor them. Animosity and cruelty are the outcome of anger. So without eliminating anger one cannot attain inner peace, as Piyadasi Thera mentions in his “The Buddha’s ancient path”,
“Metta is the best antidote for anger in oneself. It is the best medicine for those who are angry with us.”
According to the “Mettanisansa Sutta” (results of loving kindness) one can achieve eleven advantages through the extension of loving kindness
He falls asleep in ease awakens from sleep in ease. He does not have bad dreams. He is loved by human and non-human alike. Deities protect him fire, poison and weapons do not affect him. His mind is easily concentrated on the object of meditation. Complexion and appearance become beautiful and lovable. At the last moment of his life he will pass away calmly and peacefully with no pain. Apart from that of he has not developed his mind further by the practice of insight. He will subsequently be born in Brahma realm.
Cultivating living kindness is a meditation. The practitioner of this unique consciousness should be begin his actual practice by extending love or good-will towards himself. In doing so he should change his mind and body with positive thoughts of peace and happiness. Secondly, he should extend his loving kindness towards others for both animate and inanimate. When time passes he becomes the embodiment of loving kindness. Shielded by Metta he cuts off all types of hostile vibrations and negative thoughts.
For a peaceful world
Your house is the best place to start cultivating loving kindness. Without loving your mother and father or sisters and brothers, you will never love another outside the house. If all the members of a family live together loving are respecting each other that family rests in full happiness.
Living kindness possesses a mystic power which can easily influence beings far and near. Nalagiri the intoxicated elephant was subdued by the Buddha by radiating his infinite love. If the dumb animals can be famed by the influence of love, there is nothing to talk about human beings who are endowed with the highest mental development among-st normal beings.
“Hatred never ceases through hatred in this world. Through love along they cease.”The Dhammapada
People fight with others,they hate others. Their thoughts are full with wickedness. It is in his mind. So the fight must be done against mind. Nonviolence is the most effective weapon to fight against wickedness and cruelty. This is how the Buddha taught against cruelest, wicked and ruthless people.
Another mode of loving kindness is friendliness. All good-will and peace in society depends on friendship. In a nation where there is friendliness destined to achieve all the goods targets. Where there is friendship, concord and integrity is there. So extending friendship is conductive for the enhancement of welfare, peace and prosperity.
According to the “Mettanisansa Sutta” lots of merits or results ca be achieved through cultivating friendliness.
“thieves or robbers will not annoy a person who is not treacherous and keeps honest friendliness. high officials of the government will not look down upon him. He will be victorious amid his enemies. And he cannot be removed from his place by enemies just as a deep-rooted banyan tree cannot be overthrown by a storm.”Mettanisansa Sutta
Thus is the advantage of living friendly with others. One can never get these types of benefits by extending animosity and cruelty. If anybody wishes peace and harmony by extending animosity and military power, it is a real misconception. But unfortunately that is what happens in the present world.
The Buddhist view point of conquering other’s minds id extending living kindness. A stable peace and harmony can be established in this universe only this methodology. That is how the Buddha won others hearts and spread his unique doctrine. And that is how all other kind-hearted religious teachers carved their names in the history. It means living kindness/Metta something that is loved by all living beings forever. So cultivating loving kindness is beneficial by all means for all those animate and inanimate.
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“The wise ones are controlled in bodily deeds, controlled in words and controlled in thoughts. They are truly well-controlled”