Metta, in the Pali language or Maitri in Sanskrit, means loving kindness or compassionate love. It is the wish for all sentient beings to be well and happy. It is also referred to as boundless, or universal love – a love that transcends all barriers such as caste, color, or creed.
Metta is compared to the love of a mother towards her only child. The seventh verse of the Metta Sutta (the Discourse on Loving Kindness) reads as follows:
Mata yatha niyam puttam
Evam pi sabbabhutesu
Manasam bhavaye aparimanam
Just as a mother would protect her only child
at the risk of her own life
Even so let one cultivate
a boundless heart towards all sentient beings
The practice of Metta helps to reduce the tendencies of anger, hatred, and grudges. Metta is a great healing force. It promotes the development of virtues such as compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity.
It also promotes patience, tolerance, gratitude, and above all, a forgiving heart. Forgiveness is an important factor which helps in releasing emotional blockages due to grudges or remorse.
"When practiced together with wisdom and insight, Metta becomes a powerful healing force, transforming us into a more caring, compassionate and sustainable community."
- Bhante Mahinda, Awakening with Metta