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Mettā (मेटा in Devanagari) is a Pali word meaning unconditional loving-kindness. The Sanskrit is maitrī. It is one of the ten pāramitās. The mettā bhāvanā (cultivation of mettā) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism.

The object of mettā meditation is to cultivate goodwill and compassion towards all sentient beings. The practice usually begins with the meditator cultivating compassion and love towards themselves, then their loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers and finally their enemies. It is a good way to calm down a distraught mind because it is an antidote to anger. Someone who has cultivated mettā will not be easily angered and can quickly subdue anger that arises. They will be more caring, more loving, and more likely to love unconditionally.

Buddhists believe that people who have a lot of mettā will be happier because they see no need to harbour ill will or hostility. Buddhist teachers may even recommend meditation on mettā as an antidote to insomnia and nightmares. It is generally felt that those around a mettāful person will feel more comfortable and happy too. Radiating mettā contributes to a world of love, peace and happiness.

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Last updated: 05-20-2005 09:28:13