To alleviate someone from suffering, Buddhism teaches one to practice mettā karuṇā. But it seems to me that to thinking good about someone and wish them the best, we need to have a better version of the suffered person, so that we can disagree with their current version. If we don't have that image, then we wouldn't say the suffered person is suffered at the beginning. Thus, it seems correct to say that in order to practice metta and karuna, we need to have an attachment?

Since this attachment is necessary, then I think it's fine to have? For example I ask this question, thus I have some attachment to it, and that's fine. I think this is related to the conventional truth and absolute truth.

So is it correct the in order to practice metta and karuna, we need to have an attachment to begin with?

Edit: One can simply say that the better version of that person is just a ideal fabrication of them (because they are not actually like that), or just the good side of them that they always have but not shown yet. In either case, I think it's necessary to assume good faith. Would that assumption be an attachment?

Is radiating loving kindness increase attachment?
How to view people with metta and karuna?
Is there any source saying that Buddhists can temporarily form relationship to help people?

  • Try Metta for a month regularly and then see. Commented Nov 4, 2019 at 22:55

4 Answers 4


So is it correct the in order to practice metta and karuna, we need to have an attachment to begin with?

Well, attachment is a default software built into the core kernel of every human's "operating system", so whether we need to have it or not is kinda irrelevant. And no, there's no need to come up with some fabrication or some altered reality about the other person's personality in order to cultivate metta/karuna. It's a truth that both evil and goodness co-exist within every single human being, it's just that the relative ratio is different from person to person. So it's not a fabrication to focus on a person's 'good side', because s/he does have a good side! So the beauty of metta/karuna cultivation is that one can start training right away, even with their existing attachment at the beginning stage. But as one proceeds to higher, deeper, more subtle levels of the Path, the attachment will naturally subside and eventually goes away completely. Once it's become second nature, Metta/karuna at that stage will no longer involves any kind of attachment at all.

  • yes, I mean the good side of that person. Would focus on that good side be attachment?
    – Ooker
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 6:36
  • As mentioned, at the beginning, there's attachment in everything you do, good or bad. But it's still more skillful to focus on the good side with attachment than on the bad side with attachment. Once one gets into deeper and higher level of cultivation, attachment will naturally subside though. Please check out this sutta on the nature of desire and attachment: accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn51/sn51.015.than.html
    – santa100
    Commented Nov 6, 2019 at 14:41

Metta and karuna are an attitude of kindness and compassion towards yourself and others in order to transcend the the sense of separation between you and the next being.

It's good wholesome stuff.

You can learn to just hold the metta in your heart without attatchment.

Remember why they have all those meditation practices and the dharma teachings? So you can learn how to let go and not attatch to the fruits of practice and anything else.


Good question. That is why we have Upekka (equanimity) as a part of four Brahma Viharas. Equanimity balance the other three.

There are the near enemy and the far enemy of Brhma Viharas.


Each of the four brahma-viharas has what is called a near enemy and a far enemy. The near enemy is a state of mind that is close to the brahma-vihara and is sometimes mistaken as the good emotion, but is actually “a near enemy” and not the correct mental state. The far enemy is virtually the opposite of the brahma-vihara and is completely off the mark for the emotion that is strived for. This is shown in this table: https://dhammawiki.com/index.php/4_Brahma_Viharas


I think you're implying that metta is a fabrication and an attachment to a fabrication.

But this answer implies that the non-existence of something is a different kind of "conditioned", is not even impermanent, and I think "unfabricated" rather than fabricated.

I think that metta might be an example of the latter, i.e. not a fabrication but an unfabrication.

The words of the metta gatha, for example,

May [each and every one] ...
... be free from enmity and danger
... be free from mental suffering
... be free from physical suffering

I think that's talking about an absence -- an absence of suffering, an absence of malice.

What's "fabricated" might be the opposite of metta -- for example "I don't like that person -- may they receive payback for what they've done, for what they've said!"

I guess that metta is -- at least partly -- intended to undo your own malice and selfishness, conceit -- and that it's these (i.e. enmity) which are fabricated, not the metta.

That said the practice is also described as metta bhavana -- the development or becoming of metta.

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