Love, I mean the common one which cares only to the beloved and is indifferent to others, is accessible to many, but as I understand it this is the near enemy of Metta, not truly Metta. My question is the true Metta, which is a kind of goodwill to all without preference, without exception.

How does one wish goodwill to all in this world where nature itself works by compromise, where one's goodwill is another's misfortune? To give crude examples a lion eating am unborn calf or you frying unborn chick to feed you loving child.

I know the idea of Metta is not limited to Buddhism Laozi also has it in his gradation of the world we live in, he set the lover below the saint who champion a kind of universal love, which is Metta, but Laozi higher goal is even to abandon Metta and let go of everything to run as is...in a sense a lion eating a calf is part of the process of Tao so not evil.

How's Metta seen in the ultimate sense in Buddhism, and how does one practice goodwill for the entire cosmos and cultivate a limitless heart in everyday life?

4 Answers 4


"Practise yourself, for heavens sake in little things, thence proceed to greater". Epictetus (Roman Stoic Philosopher)

You have to use wisdom in order to make metta stronger and you have to practise metta formaly and informaly.

With wisdom I mean perceptions you have to reflect upon many many many times:

• No one can escape aging, sickness, death as well as mental and physical suffering

• Everyone is heir of his/her thoughts, actions and emotions. If one acts badly it's because of the causes and conditions that are meeting then and there


You said, "My question is the true Metta, which is a kind of goodwill to all without preference, without exception"

Metta is an attitude, right? Whether or not you actually can help everyone or not, whether or not you have Wisdom and Power to take care of everyone or not, whether or not you spend every minute of your waking life helping others, whether or not you try to help every person you interact with every time you have a chance -- metta is when you operate with an attitude of unbounded goodwill to all.

Which basically means, you try NOT to act out of ego and you DO try to act in "the best way possible" in every given situation. Acting out of ego includes mental, verbal, and physical action. Mental is the most important, it pertains to thinking any thoughts that are meant to feed the ego.

I'm pretty sure I know this topic rather well, because this was my "main practice" when I entered Buddhism. (Main practice is a feature of Tibetan Buddhism; it is something that for a period of time serves as a conceptual center of your understanding of Buddhism, the object of mindfulness, and the goal of all activities. Main practice can change as you progress from level to level.) You said, "Is it possible to exercise Metta to all?" -- I know it is possible because I have done it.

You said, "to all without preference, without exception" - not just "the beloved" -- yes, of course. This means you try not to have attachments, biases, overgeneralizations, preconceptions, stereotypes, any kind of identification, you always try to operate from an objective perspective.

You said, "How does one wish goodwill to all in this world where nature itself works by compromise, where one's goodwill is another's misfortune?" -- again, this means trying to be objective and unbiased, which usually means trying to find the best balance or the best compromise between all the opposing forces and interests. Once again, it's not about your skill, it's about your attitude. Whether you can or not is beside the point, the important thing is that you try.

You said, "how does one act to remain dispassionate?". See my answer about Kshanti-paramita. It's all about attachments. Ego is made of attachments. No ego - no attachments. No attachments - no ego.

Metta is one of the "Four Brahmaviharas". The reason they are called Brahma-vihara (Brahma's Disposition) is because they are supposed to emulate the attitude of Brahman, the Absolute God, whose body is pantheistically equivalent with this universe. According to Buddha, emulating the attitude of Brahman is a simple way to get pretty close to the perspective of Buddha, which then goes beyond pantheistic non-dualism of atman=brahman and into the triple emptiness of prajna-paramita.

So you basically operate as if you had no ego and were God, except you don't think that you are God, nor allow yourself to get a kick out of being so saintly and humble, since both of these thoughts would be the exact egoistic thoughts feeding the ego that you are supposed to eliminate.


As per my thinking "Metta" can not be interpreted in to English with true essence of meaning. Love is mention as hindrance in Buddhism as Kama channda. Base of love is an attachment and liking so when you love some one or thing you have an attachment of it and grows your desire more and more. Please refer the question; what is the love described in Buddhism?

I agree that metta is a mental state to practice.which is a kind of goodwill to all without preference, without exception-this statement also very versatile and profound.But metta is something more than goodwill.

Also your example;lion eating unborn calf or you frying unborn chick to feed you loving child- as you mention loving child is very precise and prove love is an attachment some time lead unwholesome deeds. If you mentions loving child like fried chicks so I have fried unborn chick;that will explain it well.

If you react with metta, you tend to see both your child and unborn chick with wholesome view. e.g What happen if your child has to experience as same as unborn chick. How painful is it? then how about my feeling and etc.... so you will realize the things as it is and avoid unwholesome deeds and direct your wisdom for alternative solutions.(E.g find some vegetable to feed your child or find access to different food)

For the lion example;The mental state of metta is exist in human realm and higher realms. it can't be observed in animal realm and lower realms. Lion possesses strict inherent instinct to physical survival of their kind and they are limited to that narrow mental state. so animals are not tend to think as humans. that's the reason animal can't practice metta.

To practice metta in practical life; one must get clear understanding about the what is metta and can practice through meditation or awareness(of metta) first you have to start from you by spread metta towards you and and spread gradually to outer world and universal level. you can't spread metta towards non-living things. It has to convey living being who suffer as one of characteristic of nature. wish genuinely get freedom from suffering and reach happiness. Also be kind enough to refer "karaniya metta sutta" and you will get proper awareness of "Metta"

May all being remain peace and harmony

May all being attain realization of Nirvana

May all being be happy!


Unlimited mettā-mind.

Unlimited target people.

But limited by situation.

The practitioner meditating unlimited mettā-mind by using unlimited target people as object.

The practitioner doesn't meditating the sitution such as target people's resultant, target people's kamma, etc.

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