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The Karaniya Metta Sutta
The Karaniya Metta Sutta is the Buddha’s words on Good Will and Loving-kindness. This is a translation from the Amaravati Sangha and describes both the moral and ethical aspirations of one engaged with the Buddha’s Dhamma and the refined mindfulness developed through the Eightfold Path.
Note the concluding stanza:
“Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.”
This means that Metta, true goodwill and loving-kindness, is an expression of one who has developed the Buddha’s teachings and has freed themselves of the world’s entanglements. Having recognized and abandoned the defilements of greed, aversion, and deluded thinking, through the framework of the Eightfold Path, there is nothing to give rise to a confused and deluded ego-personality.
In accordance with the Buddha’s description of emptiness, one has emptied themselves of clinging and emptied the world of their ego-self. There is nothing clinging to the phenomenal world, anatta is no longer born again in the world.
The Karaniya Metta sutta shows that the most loving and compassionate action that anyone can take is to engage wholeheartedly with the direct teachings of the Buddha and awaken.
The Karaniya Metta Sutta
This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm and wise and skillful,
Not proud or demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
Those born and to-be-born —
May all beings be at ease!
Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;
Radiating kindness over the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
And downwards to the depths;
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the sublime abiding.
By not holding to fixed views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense desires,
Is not born again into this world.
From the Samyutta Nikaya 1.8
Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha’s Words on Loving-Kindness” (Sn 1.8), translated from the Pali by The Amaravati Sangha. Access to Insight (Legacy Edition), 2 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.08.amar.html .
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My Dhamma articles and talks are based on the Buddha's teachings (suttas) as preserved in the Sutta Pitaka, the second book of the Pali Canon. I have relied primarily on Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s excellent and insightful translation of the Pali generously made freely available at his website Dhammatalks.org, as well as the works of Acharya Buddharakkhita, Nyanaponika Thera, John Ireland, Maurice Walsh, Hellmuth Hecker, and Sister Khema, among others, as preserved at Access To Insight.
Also, I have found Bhikkhu Bodhi's translations from Wisdom Publications Pali Canon Anthologies to be most informative and an excellent resource.
I have made edits to the suttas from these sources for further clarity, to modernize language, to minimize repetition, and maintain contextual relevance to Dependent Origination and Four Noble Truths.
Becoming-Buddha.com and Dhamma articles and recordings by John Haspel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.