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Metta was natural to me when I was young. I didn't give much thought to it then.

Now I find it difficult. So many thoughts come when I want to donate to charity like, is it a recognized charitable institution? how is it run? if they are adequately funded, should I donate to an institution which does not do marketing? or whether I should give the part to the homeless person? All these thoughts makes metta a mental process of deciding who is worthy and who is not with limited funds I have for donation.

How does one inculcate metta? Is it influenced by skandhas ? Can metta itself become an attachment leading to mental craving for that feeling when one can observe on giving?

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If funds are limited and the opportunities to donate are plenty, you should find out which is the best place to donate as in who is genuine, who will benefit the most, who is the most worthy etc. It's an aspect of wisdom which guides Metta to have the best possible outcome.

It's important to note the difference between worrying and looking for the best available option. The former is a consequence of clinging whereas the latter is a form of wisdom.

The Skandhas(5 aggregates) is a different teaching which has nothing to do with Metta, except for Metta bieing an instance of Sankhara-skandha(mental formations).

Metta can never be craving, but craving can disguise itself as Metta. Ex: Wanting to donate because the collection girl is pretty; wanting to join community service to get a chance to spend time with someone you are attracted to; wanting to donate to impress someone; wanting to donate to get a heavenly birth etc.

Technically speaking, wanting to help the poor & the afflicted is more Karuna(compassion) than Metta. Metta is simply kindness.

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It is comprehensible that you like know your donation goes not in vain and the one accepting your donation is legitimate. This is because you like please that your donation goes well and effective so that you will multiply good Karma when you rethink and think about how it is well contributed. The most important thing here is you need to multiply your pleasant feeling by thinking again and agin when you did a good, legitimate donation.

So for donation, it is wise to choose people to whom you donate. If you cannot choose (are you doing donation on regular basic and difficult to examine/check at the point of time of donation?) try not have second thought, regret, disappointment after donation. At least, try to please by reviewing yourself that you got rid of attachment on things/money that you just donated. You should not linger your thoughts about quality of donee(s) which could do harm on your pleasantness of doing donation (difficult and challenging mind exercise for most people).

Metta

To inculcate Metta, you need to know it is opposite of aversion and hatred. Our Lord Buddha said many times that Metta is unmeasurable, limitless making up of your mind. So Metta is not correlated with quality/value/ethic/intention or any physical quality or moral status of any living being you are trying to spread on. It is not appropriate just spreading Metta to good people or people good to you. You can put Metta to any living great benefactor as well as living tyrant dictator. To achieve this you have to understand that no matter the target living being shall receive your Metta or not, you definitely have peace and pleasant mind without aversion and hatred by spreading Metta to infinite living beings around all directions (east, west, south, north, ++, up and down).

By spreading Metta to all living beings(unlimited), you should expect the following effects of it (need citation in Pali Canon).

  1. You can sleep soundly.
  2. You can wake up gently.
  3. You do not have bad dream.
  4. You can be protected by Gods(Devas).
  5. People loves you.
  6. Gods(Devas) love you.
  7. Weapons, fire and poisons cannot harm you.
  8. Your face is cheerful.
  9. You have elegant/respectable moral esteem.
  10. You have strong Sati till you would have last breath.
  11. If you cannot do leverage on your Metta Jhana to Vipasana, you can still be Brahma (rebirth at one of Brahma realms after life).

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