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The Mettā Sutta is the name used for two Buddhist discourses (Pali: sutta ) found in the Pali Canon. The one, more often chanted by Theravadin monks, is also referred to as Karaṇīyamettā Sutta after the opening word, Karaṇīyam, "(This is what) should be done."It is found in the Suttanipāta (Sn 1.8) and Khuddakapāṭha (Khp 9). It is ten verses in length and it extols both the virtuous qualities and the meditative development of mettā (Pali), traditionally translated as "loving kindness" or "friendliness". Additionally, Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation, "goodwill", underscores that the practice is used to develop wishes for unconditional goodwill towards the object of the wish.
The other, also chanted by Theravadin Buddhist monks at times, extols the benefits of the practice of mettā (Pali) and it is found in the Anguttara Nikaya (AN 11.15). is also referred to as Mettānisamsa Sutta. This article will focus on the first version.
In Theravāda Buddhism's Pali Canon, mettā is one of the four "divine abodes" (Pali: brahmavihāra ) recommended for cultivating interpersonal harmony and meditative concentration (see, for instance, kammaṭṭhāna). In later canonical works (such as the Cariyāpiṭaka), mettā is one of ten "perfections" ( pāramī ) that facilitates the attainment of awakening ( Bodhi ) and is a prerequisite to attaining Buddhahood.
According to post-canonical Sutta Nipāta commentary, the background story for the Mettā Sutta is that a group of monks were frightened by the sprites in the forest where the Buddha had sent them to meditate. When the monks sought the Buddha's aid in dealing with the sprites, the Buddha taught the monks the Mettā Sutta as an antidote for their fear. The monks recited the sutta and felt better. Their good cheer then happened to quiet the sprites as well.
The Mettā Sutta contains a number of recollections or recitations that promote the development of mettā through virtuous characteristics and meditation.
The discourse identifies fifteen moral qualities and conditions conducive to the development of mettā. These include such qualities as being non-deceptive (uju), sincere (suju), easy to correct (suvaco), gentle (mudu) and without arrogance (anatimānī).
In terms of meditative development, the discourse identifies:
Neva dessanti bhīsanam
Sukham supati sutto ca
Pāpam kiñci na passati
Payittam tan bhaṇāma he
Yan tam santam padam abhisamecca
Sakko uju cha suju cha
suvaco cassa mudu anatimani
Santussako va subharo va
appakicco va sallahukavutti
santindriyo va nipako va
appagabbho kulesu ananugiddho
Na cha khuddam samachare
Kiñ ci yena viññuu pare upavadeyyum
Sukhino va khemino hontu
Sabbe sattaa bhavantu sukhitatta
Ye keci panabhut'atthi
Tasa va thavara va anavasesa
Digha va ye mahanta va
Majjhima rassaka anukathula
Dittha-va ye va adittha
Ye ca dure vasanti avidure
Bhuta va sambhavesi va
Sabbe satta bhavantu sukhitatta
Na paro param nikubbetha
Natimaññetha kattha si nam kiñ si
Naññamaññassa dukkham iccheyya
Mata yatha niyam puttam
Evam pi sabbabhutesu
Manasam bhavaye aparimanam
Mettañ va sabbalokasmim
Maanasam bhavaye aparimanam
Uddham adho cha tiriyañ va
Asambadham averam asapattam
Tittham caram nisinno va
Sayano va yavat'assa vigatamiddho
Etam satim adhittheyya
Brahmametam viharam idhamahu
Ditthiñ va anupagamma sila va
Kamesu vineyya gedham
Na hi jatu gabbhaseyyam punare ti ti
It is often recited as part of religious services in the Theravāda tradition, but is also popular within the Mahayana tradition.
It has been reported that Buddhist monks chanted the Mettā Sutta as part of their demonstration in September and October 2007 against the military in Burma.
Readings and chants
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