Living with Kindness: the Buddha's teaching on metta
"Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life … let thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world."
from the Karaniya Metta Sutta
Kindness is one of the most basic qualities we can possess, and one of the most powerful. In Buddhism it is called metta – an opening of the heart to all that we meet. Any friendly feeling contains the kernel of metta. It is a seed that is waiting to be developed, right here amidst the conditions of our daily life.
Living with Kindness is a pithy commentary on the Buddha's teaching of metta in the Karaniya metta sutta. In it, Sangharakshita, a teacher of Buddhism for over fifty years, shows us how to cultivate many of the facets of kindness in ordinary, everyday life. Outlining the nurturing conditions the seed of kindness needs to grow, he encourages us to follow the path that leads to a warm and expansive heart — and beyond. And with that heart, we can be happier and more fulfilled in ourselves and empathise with the joys and sufferings of all living beings.
The Buddha is recorded as saying that the practice of metta (loving kindness) is, in itself, sufficient to lead us to nirvana. If this is so, then such a practice should perhaps be given more importance than is normally the case within Buddhism. This book is certainly a significant contribution to doing so…. While many world religions encourage the practice of sending love to others in the form of prayer, the specific insights of metta practice are essentially Buddhist. Indeed, considering what the Buddha had to say about metta, it might be said that the whole of Buddhist life is found within this practice. This book will help both Buddhists and people of other faiths to come to a deeper understanding of the true significance of kindness as a way of life and a way of meditation.
—Pure Land Notes, Autumn 2004
Introduction: the meaning of metta
The Way of Metta
The Ethical Foundations of Metta
The Culmination of Metta
The Realization of Metta
Notes and References