I heard from Buddhist monks love is "kamachannda" and definitly a "Klesha"(hindrance).When I analyze the definition of love in in Oxford Dictionary it states;

  1. An intense feeling of deep affection(a feeling of fondness or liking.) 2.A strong feeling of affection and sexual attraction for someone.

So this is a match with "channda"(liking) logically no body love something or some one which dislike. Once I search single word for "metta" in English; Universal love (as mention in "What's the Buddha thought by Ven.Walpola Tero) and this is the common interpretation for "metta". So is loving wrong thing to do?what is the difference of love and metta? Is love an attachment?

5 Answers 5


You know that feeling when you like/love something or someone so much that you feel the pull, you want to have it, you have this sense of string attached to your stomach pulling you to the object you're fond of?

That's what the word "kama" stands for. It's the pulling aspect of love, the "I like what you're doing to me and therefore I want you".

Metta/Maytri has a different meaning. You know, when you are in love with someone, you like everything about them: the way they look, walk, talk, eat - anything. And even their bad habits and mistakes look cute, because you accept the complete person, it is absolute 100% unconditional acceptance. So the word metta stands for this kind of acceptance or tolerance, when you take the person as he or she is, without judgement, without shame for them, you just take them exactly as they are.

So in Buddhism this desire to have someone ("love") is recognized as a problem. While unconditional acceptance ("love") of everyone, including oneself, is a virtue to be cultivated.

  • pulling aspect of love- If we don't distort the basic definition of love, it's better to mention "liking" (chanda) is base of love. logically you don't love something you don't like and vise-versa. in last sentence our two types of "love" is unclear and unacceptable. I an unaware of definition in other language and only consider English definition as we are communicating with it. Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 3:50
  • If we simplified the basic quality of love is expecting something back. Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 3:54
  • 1
    It's a pity Buddhist scripture doesn't have anything more evocative and poetic about 'metta' (like the Christians have in 1-Corinthians, chap. 13) so people could understand it better in contrast to ordinary lust. At the same time if the Buddhist answer were fully developed it might not be too readily accepted: that once you have freed yourself from delusion and lust and you have genuine 'metta' for another human being, you necessarily have it for all human beings simultaneously, it's no longer exclusive, no longer something restricted to happening inside a "couple".
    – Don Joe
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 21:10
  • Can't agree with you more. And yes, I love 1st Corinthians 13... Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. - probably the most beautiful piece of the Bible, to me.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Commented Nov 30, 2018 at 21:13
  • @DonJoe There's a Metta Gatha.
    – ChrisW
    Commented Dec 1, 2018 at 7:20

'Love' is an imprecise word in English. It's used in the phrase "brotherly love", for example, which may be more or less like metta; and used in other phrases like "motherly love", "love of chocolate", "love of country", "self love", "making love", and so on, all with different meanings (depending on who is loving, what they're loving, and how).

So even in non-Buddhist (e.g. Christian and/or European) philosophy, for example, some people tried to standardise on using and understanding different words for different kinds of love, for example:

Philia (/ˈfɪljə/ or /ˈfɪliə/; Ancient Greek: φιλία), often translated "brotherly love", is one of the four ancient Greek words for love: philia, storge, agape and eros.

... sometimes using non-English words in theological or philosophical treatises.

It's difficult or imprecise to translate Buddhist terminology, from a language like Pali, into a language like English whose (English) words have different (non-Buddhist) common ("vulgar") cultural meanings.

It's necessary to do so (necessary to try to translate) for the sake of those who only understand English.

But if you're asking, it may be more precise, more accurate, to ask about and learn to understand the meanings of some of the key original Pali words ... like metta, like chanda, and so on.

Chanda (desire) in Buddhism isn't necessarily bad ... the desire to be good (virtuous), for example, is maybe a good (virtuous) desire ... but kāma means something like "sensual pleasure" (kāma is not the same word as kamma) ... so kāma-chanda means something like "desire for sensual pleasure" (and it is defined as one of the fetters).

Conversely, metta is one of the four brahmaviharas (which I asked about most recently in this topic, see also other topics tagged ).

In classical Buddhism the "wrong thing to do" is more-or-less defined by the "four noble truths" ... which I think say that you experience suffering and/or dissatisfaction (Dukkha) when you "crave" things (that's Taṇhā, a different kind of desire, always 'bad') and "attach" to things (Upādāna ) ... and/or "wrong thing to do" is defined by not keeping (at a minimum) the five precepts.


"Having heard that suffering comes from love, he rejected and went to the gambler..."

Gotama the contemplative said to me, 'Householder, your faculties are not those of one who is steady in his own mind. There is an aberration in your faculties.'

"When this was said, I said to him, 'Lord, how could there not be an aberration in my faculties? My dear & beloved little son, my only child, has died. Because of his death, I have no desire to work or to eat. I keep going to the cemetery and crying out, "Where have you gone, my only little child? Where have you gone, my only little child?"'

"'That's the way it is, householder. That's the way it is — for sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are born from one who is dear, come springing from one who is dear.'

"'But, lord, who would ever think that sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are born from one who is dear, come springing from one who is dear? Happiness & joy are born from one who is dear, come springing from one who is dear.' So, not delighting in the words of Gotama the contemplative, rejecting them, I got up from my seat and left."

"That's the way it is, householder [said the gamblers]. That's the way it is. Happiness & joy are born from one who is dear, come springing from one who is dear."

So the householder left, thinking, "I agree with the gamblers."

Piyajatika Sutta: From One Who Is Dear

Piya or straight tanha are words for love. To the contrary, Mettā means Goodwill

When loving/desiring someone/something, what if not just form, sound, smell, taste, touch, your thought about it, do you love? And what is in regard of love not just you and yours, the thing or person? Ones just loves, desires sensuality what or who might provide and providing will have an end.

It's not for a bad, but for a good to love and desire to get free of desire, to love teachings, peoples way to help, admirable friends, to have strong affection for the teacher and the teaching. Actualy strong love for if, for unbinding, is very needed.

And how to get ride of desire for sensuality (kama-chanda)?

Denourishing of Sensual Desire

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial use or other lower wordily gains by ways of exchange or trade]


There's no definitive thing called 'love'. Love is an ambiguous word used to describe different things at different times. Sometimes it is used for lust. Sometimes it is used for kindness. Sometimes it is used for compassion. Sometimes it is used for clinging etc. etc.

Metta is kindness, friendliness. In other words, being nice to people. It has nothing to do with liking a person. Liking a person for looks, voice, character etc. leads to Upadana(clinging). That leads to suffering.


Kāma-chanda, in M.N. Mahādukkhakkhandhasutta, means the interest to attach 5 kāma-gunā:

yo kho bhikkhave kāmesu chandarāgavinayo chandarāgappahānaṃ idaṃ kāmānaṃ nissaraṇaṃ.

Removing the interest to attach 5 kāma-gunā, is nissaranaṃ.

5 kāmaguna example: I love a skin (of you). I loves a voice (of you). I love a smell (of you). I love a taste (of you). I love a touch/hold/hug/making love/kiss (of you).

Mettā-(chanda), in M.N. kakacūpamasuttaṃ, means (the interest) to give the advantages, not to give the disadvantages.

hitānukampī ca viharissāmi mettacitto na dosantaroti

We will remain sympathetic to that person's welfare** = we will have mettā-mind = We will not have inner hate (The clause are defining each others).

Some translation translateed mettā as loving kindness.

**Person's welfare refer to personal happiness.

See also: https://buddhism.stackexchange.com/a/24519/10100

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