|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2015)|
|Part of a series on|
Mettā (Pali: मेत्ता in Devanagari) or maitrī (Sanskrit: मैत्री) is benevolence, friendliness,  amity, friendship, good will, kindness, close mental union (on same mental wavelength), and active interest in others. It is one of the ten pāramīs of the Theravāda school of Buddhism, and the first of the four sublime states (Brahmavihāras). This is love without clinging (upādāna).
The cultivation of benevolence (mettā bhāvanā) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism. In the Theravadin Buddhist tradition, this practice begins with the meditator cultivating benevolence towards themselves, then one's loved ones, friends, teachers, strangers, enemies, and finally towards all sentient beings. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, this practice is associated with tonglen (cf.), whereby one breathes out ("sends") happiness and breathes in ("receives") suffering. Tibetan Buddhists also practice contemplation of the Brahmavihāras, also called the four immeasurables, which is sometimes called 'compassion meditation'.
- 1 Basic methods
- 2 Historical presentations
- 3 See also
- 4 Notes
- 5 Sources
- 6 External links
Mettā meditation is regularly recommended to the Buddha's followers in the Pali canon. The canon generally advises radiating metta in each of the six directions, to whatever beings there may be. A different set of practical instructions, still widely used today, is found in the 5th CE Visuddhimagga. In addition, variations on this traditional practice have been popularized by modern teachers and applied in modern research settings.
Modern instruction for the cultivation of benevolence – such as is found in the works of Sharon Salzberg, the Triratna Buddhist Community's Kamalashila, and Matthieu Ricard – is often based in part on a method found in Buddhaghosa's 5th-century CE Pāli exegetical text, the Path to Purification (Pali:Visuddhimagga), Chapter IX.
This traditional approach is best known for identifying successive stages of meditation during which one progressively cultivates benevolence towards:
- a good friend
- a "neutral" person
- a difficult person
- all four of the above equally
- and then gradually the entire universe
Mettā signifies friendship and non-violence, "a strong wish for the happiness of others" and also less obvious or direct qualities such as showing patience, receptivity, and appreciation. Benevolence is a very specific feeling – a caring for the well-being of another living being, independent of approving or disapproving of them, or expecting anything in return. Practice includes reciting specific words and phrases in order to evoke a "boundless warm-hearted feeling," or visualizing suffering and wishing well for those beings. Non-referential compassion, also known as "pure compassion", involves simply experiencing the feeling of caring for another sentient being. One special technique recommended by Matthieu Ricard is to "imagine" the state of another. Richard J. Davidson has shown metta to induce changes in the tempoparietal lobe. Benevolence is the application of love to suffering. Metta is applied to all beings and, as a consequence, one experiences another of the sublime states: joy (mudita), which is true happiness in another being's happiness.
All sentient beings desire happiness and do not desire misery. Think deeply about how, in this beginning-less cycle of existence, there is not one sentient being who has not been my friend and relative hundreds of times. Therefore, since there is no ground for being attached to some and hating others, I shall develop a mind of equanimity toward all sentient beings. Begin the meditation on equanimity by thinking of a neutral person, and then consider people who are friends and foes.
The Pali Canon says that there is a number of benefits from the practicing of metta meditation, including:
- One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. One is dear to human beings, dear to non-human beings. The devas protect one. Neither fire, poison, nor weapons can touch one. One's mind gains concentration quickly. One's complexion is bright. One dies unconfused and – if penetrating no higher – is headed for the Brahma worlds.
The Canon also upholds fully ripened metta development as a foremost antidote to ill will:
- “No other thing do I know, O monks, on account of which unarisen ill will does not arise and arisen ill will is abandoned so much as on account of this: the liberation of the heart by benevolence. For one who attends properly to the liberation of the heart by benevolence, unarisen ill will does not arise and arisen ill will is abandoned.”
Monks, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the liberation of mind by benevolence. The liberation of mind by benevolence surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.
"Compassion meditation" research
A few recent psychological studies suggest that benevolence meditation may impact health and well-being. One study done at Stanford University suggests that a short 7 minute practice of benevolence meditation can increase social connectedness. Benevolence meditation has also been shown to reduce pain and anger in people with chronic lower back pain. Researcher Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that benevolence meditation can help boost positive emotions and well-being in life, fostering the personal resources that come from experiencing positive emotion. More research is needed to see whether benevolence meditation is appropriate for all populations, whether it works similarly for everyone, and to understand how much practice is needed for the benefits of the practice to manifest.
An EEG study by Richard J. Davidson of people who meditate in metta, with a minimum of 10,000 hours practice, showed substantial differences in the magnitude of gamma waves as well as gamma synchronization, particularly during meditative sessions, and directly afterwards. During baseline states, where the subject was not engaged in the practice of metta, there was a signature brain wave pattern that distinguishes the metta practitioners, lay people as well as monks, from people, at baseline, who have not extensively practiced compassion meditation. This study also showed, during meditation, an increase in the activity of brain areas such as the temporoparietal junction, insula, and amygdala can increase the subject's ability to see things from another's perspective, and actually change the area of the brain that is involved with the autonomic system so that the meditator's heartbeat increases. These studies show that the amygdala is modulated during compassion meditation. Compassion meditation has been shown to lower the participants reaction to inflammation and distress, both of which are associated with, "major depression, heart disease and diabetes," in response to stressors, a change that was dependent on the amount of time spent practicing, with practitioners who spent more time meditating having corresponding more significant changes in their brains.
In the Pāli Canon, statements regarding the use of benevolence (metta) traditionally employ one or more of the following devices, often using a stock formula:
- mental purification
- a verse for wishing others well
- pervading all directions and all beings with benevolence.
The well-known Kakacupama Sutta and Karaniya Metta Sutta use striking metaphors to give these traditional devices vitality. Other canonical materials, such as in the Paṭisambhidāmagga, elaborate on these basic devices in a manner that is perpetuated by the later traditional commentaries. Other canonical sources, such as the Abhidhamma, underline the key role of benevolence in the development of wholesome karma.
Basic intention and verse
In the Sutta To Cunda the Silversmith (Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta, AN 10.176), the Buddha explains that mental or intentional purity (manasā soceyyaṃ) is threefold: non-greed, non-ill-will and non-delusion. Regarding the manifestation of non-ill-will the discourse describes a virtuous person in the following manner (in English and Pāli):
He or she bears no ill will and is not corrupt in the resolves of his heart.
Avyāpannacitto hoti appaduṭṭhamanasaṃkappo,
This basic statement of intention and verse can also be found in several other canonical discourses.
Basic radiating formula
In over a dozen discourses, the following description (in English and Pāli) is provided for radiating loving-kindness in six directions:
One abides, having suffused with a mind of benevolence
So mettāsahagatena cetasā
In the canon, this basic formula is expanded upon in a variety of ways. For instance, a couple of discourses provide the following description of "the path to the company of Brahmā" (brahmānaṃ sahavyatāya maggo) along with a memorable metaphor:
- "What ... is the path to the company of Brahmā? Here a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with benevolence, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with benevolence, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill will. When the deliverance of mind by benevolence is developed in this way, no limiting action remains there, none persists there.
- "Just as a vigorous trumpeter could make himself (or herself) heard without difficulty in the four quarters, so too, when the deliverance of mind by benevolence is developed in this way, no limiting action remains there, none persists there. This is the path to the company of Brahmā."
Kakacupama Sutta (MN 21)
Incorporating facets of the above textual methods in a series of increasingly vivid similes, the Parable of the Saw Discourse (Kakacupama Sutta, MN 21) provides the following culminating scenario:
- "Monks, even if bandits were to savagely sever you, limb by limb, with a double-handled saw, even then, whoever of you harbors ill will at heart would not be upholding my Teaching. Monks, even in such a situation you should train yourselves thus: 'Neither shall (ones') minds be affected by this, nor for this matter shall (one shall) give vent to evil words, but we shall remain full of concern and pity, with a mind of love, and we shall not give in to hatred. On the contrary, (one) shall live projecting thoughts of universal love to those very persons, making them as well as the whole world the object of our thoughts of universal love – thoughts that have grown great, exalted and measureless. (One) shall dwell radiating these thoughts which are void of hostility and ill will.' It is in this way, monks, that (one) should train (one)sel(f)."
Karaniya Metta Sutta (Sn 1.8)
|This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
|Whatever living beings there may be;
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
|Ye keci pāṇa bhūtatthi
tasā vā thāvarā vā anavasesā
|The seen and the unseen,
Those living near and far away,
|Diṭṭhā vā yeva addiṭṭhā
ye ca dūre vasanti avidūre
|Let none deceive another,
Or despise any being in any state.
|Na paro paraṃ nikubbetha
nātimaññetha katthaci naṃ kañci
|Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
|Mātā yathā niyaṃ puttaṃ āyusā
|Radiating kindness over the entire world
Spreading upwards to the skies,
|Mettaṃ ca sabbalokasmiṃ
mānasaṃ bhāvaye aparimānaṃ
|Whether standing or walking, seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
|Tiṭṭhaṃ caraṃ nisinno vā sayāno
vā yāvatassa vigatamiddho
|By not holding to fixed views
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
|Ditthiñ ca anupagamma
silava dassanena sampanno
According to the Pāli commentaries, the Buddha originally gave this instruction (of benevolence meditation) to monks who were being harassed by the tree spirits of a forest in which the monks were trying to meditate. After doing this meditation in the forest it is said that the spirits were so affected by the power of benevolence that they allowed the monks to stay in the forest for the duration of the rainy season.
Patisambhidamagga Mettakatha (Ps. 2.4)
In the Khuddaka Nikāya's Paṭisambhidāmagga, traditionally ascribed to Ven. Sariputta, is a section entitled Mettākathā (Ps. 2.4, "Instruction on Loving-Kindness"). In this instruction, a general formula (below, in English and Pāli), essentially identical to the aforementioned Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta verse (especially evident in the Pāli), is provided for radiating benevolence:
"May all beings be
In addition, this instruction categorizes twenty-two ways in which "the mind-deliverance of benevolence" (mettācetovimutti) can be radiated as follows:
- five ways of "unspecified pervasion" (anodhiso pharaṇā):
- all beings (sabbe sattā )
- all breathing things (sabbe pāṇā bhāvapariyāpannā)
- all creatures (sabbe bhūtā bhāvapariyāpannā)
- all persons (sabbe puggalā bhāvapariyāpannā)
- all with a personality (sabbe attabhāvapariyāpannā)
- seven ways of "specified pervasion" (anodhiso pharaṇā):
- all women (sabbā itthiyo)
- all men (sabbe purisā)
- all Noble Ones (sabbe ariyā)
- all non-Noble Ones (sabbe anariyā)
- all deities (sabbe devā)
- all humans (sabbe manussā)
- all born in lower realms (sabbe vinipātikā)
- ten ways of "directional pervasion" (disā-pharaṇā):
- of the eastern direction (puratthimāya disāya)
- of the western direction (pacchimāya disāya)
- of the northern direction (uttarā disāya)
- of the southern direction (dakkhīṇāya disāya)
- of the eastern intermediate direction (puratthimāya anudisāya)
- of the western intermediate direction (pacchimāya anudisāya)
- of the northern intermediate direction (uttarā anudisāya)
- of the southern intermediate direction (dakkhīṇāya anudisāya)
- of the downward direction (heṭṭhimāya disāya)
- of the upward direction (uparimāya disāya).
Moreover, the directional pervasions can then be applied to each of the unspecific and specific pervasions. For instance, after radiating benevolence to all beings in the east (Sabbe puratthimāya disāya sattā ...), one radiates it to all beings in the west and then north and then south, etc.; then, one radiates it to all breathing things in this fashion (Sabbe puratthimāya disāya pāṇā ...), then all creatures, persons, and so forth until such is extended for all those born in the lower realms.
Abhidhammic descriptor (Dhs. 189)
In the Abhidhamma's Dhammasaṅgaṇi, the causes of "good" or "wholesome" (kusala) and "bad" or "unwholesome" (akusala) karmic states (dhammā) are described (Dhs. 188ff.). The three causes of wholesome karma are stated to be the non-greed, non-hate and non-delusion (alobho adoso amoho; cf. kleśā). Non-hate is then defined in the following manner:
The absence of hate, hating, hatred; love, loving, loving disposition; tender care, forbearance, considerateness; seeking the general good, compassion; the absence of malice, of malignity; that absence of hate which is the root of good (karma).
Yo adoso adussanā adussitattaṃ metti mettāyanā mettāyitattaṃ anuddayā anuddayanā anuddayitattaṃ hitesitā anukampā avyāpādo avyāpajjho adoso kusalamūlaṃ, ayaṃ vuccati adoso.
- Agape, Greek biblical term corresponding to the Hebrew chesed
- Ahimsa, doctrine of non-harm, esp. non-violence
- Chesed, "loving-kindness", charity, or compassionate love; related concept in Judeo-Christian ethics
- Kammaṭṭhāna Love
- Metta Sutta
- Theoria, the practice of "loving contemplation" in Eastern Christianity
- Bodhi (2005), pp. 90, 131, 134, passim; Gethin (1998), pp. 26, 30, passim [spelled as two words: "loving kindness"]; Harvey (2007), pp. 247-8 [spelled without a hyphen: "lovingkindness"]; Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi (2001), pp. 120, 374, 474, passim; Salzberg (1995), passim [without a hyphen]; Walshe (1995), p. 194.
- Warder (2004), pp. 63, 94.
- Rhys Davids & Stede (1921-25), p. 540, entry for "Mettā," retrieved 2008-04-29 from "U. Chicago" at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.3:1:177.pali.
- Monier Williams, 1964, p. 834, entry for "Maitrī," retrieved 2008-04-29 from "U. Cologne" at http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/cgi-bin/serveimg.pl?file=/scans/MWScan/MWScanjpg/mw0834-meSUraNa.jpg.
- Kamalashila (1996).
- Richard Gombrich (1988, reprinted 2002), Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. Routledge: London. ISBN 0-415-07585-8.
- Regarding the cultivation of benevolence towards oneself, this is not specifically recommended by the Buddha in the pertinent canonical discourses but is inferred in the commentarial literature from other discourses.
- Trungpa (1993), p. 220, "Glossary" entry: "maitri bhavana: The practice of maitri, or benevolence. Tonglen practice is also referred to as maitri practice, or maitri bhavana...."
- Matthieu Ricard's 2cd set "Happiness"
- See, e.g. MN 7.12, Snp 1.8/Khp 9: , .
- Salzberg (1995).
- Ricard, a Tibetan Buddhist monk who has spent thousands of hours cultivating benevolence and compassion, has advised that a person has unconditional love and care for someone that he or she has no trouble at all doing this for, such as, perhaps, a child, and then that he or she cultivates, encourages that feeling of unconditional well-wishing and happiness. Ricard gives a talk on his practice, available on Youtube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZwnXj0Ck1k.
- Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli (trans.) (1999), pp. 288-306.
- Centuries before the Visuddhimagga's famous instructions for the practice of benevolence, Upatissa's Vimuttimagga provided a similar though less detailed framework:
- Thus after the yogin has clearly understood the way of quelling hatred, has identified friends, indifferent ones and enemies with himself, and acquired facility in the practice, he (or she) should gradually arouse the thought of benevolence and develop it for various bhikkhus in (his) dwelling-place.... After that he (or she) should develop (benevolence for beings) in one direction.... Thus he spreads benevolence towards all beings of the four directions, above, below.... (Upatissa et al., 1995, p. 187.)
- Q. What is benevolence? What is the practising of it?...
- A. As parents, on seeing their dear and only child, so one arouses thoughts of benevolence and loving-kindness towards that child, so one arouses thoughts of benevolence and loving-kindness towards all beings. Thus is benevolence to be known. The undisturbed dwelling of the mind in this practice is called the practising of it.... (Upatissa et al., 1995, p. 181.)
- In the Visuddhimagga, Ch. IX, vv. 8-10 (Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli (1999), pp. 289-90), Buddhaghoṣa identifies three sources in the Tipiṭaka for the practice of benevolence (the Khuddaka Nikāya's Sutta Nipata 145, the Khuddaka Nikāya's Paṭisambhidā-magga ii.30, and the Abhidhamma's Vibhaṇga 272). In none of these texts is cultivating benevolence towards oneself mentioned. However, Buddhaghoṣa states that the Tipiṭaka references to benevolence are for the purpose of meditative absorption (such as jhāna practices); whereas cultivating benevolence towards oneself is instead practiced as "an example" for cultivating benevolence towards another. That is, one first cultivates benevolence towards oneself in order to seed benevolence that is subsequently extended towards others. Buddhaghoṣa bases this latter approach on the following statement by the Buddha in the canonical Samyutta Nikāya i.75 (also in the Khuddaka Nikāya's Udāna 47):
- Searching all directions
- with one's awareness,
- one finds no one dearer
- than oneself.
- In the same way, others
- are fiercely dear to themselves.
- So one should not hurt others
- if one loves oneself. (Thanissaro, 1994)
- Vsm. IX.11, clearly identifies that after developing benevolence towards one's self, one should cultivate it towards a "benefactor" (to use Sharon Salzberg's term), that is, one who "inspire[s] love and endearment, ... respect and reverence." Only after such a benefactor should one cultivate benevolence towards a "very dearly loved friend" (Vsm. IX.12). However, in Vsm. IX.40, the benefactor and dear friend appears to be combined when it states:
- ... [One] should break down the barriers by practicing benevolence over and over again, accomplishing mental impartiality towards the four persons, that is to say, himself, the dear person, the neutral person and the hostile person. (Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli, 1999, p. 299.)
- In the Pāli canon, a classic example of extending benevolence and compassion (Pāli: karuṇā) to "difficult persons" can be found in the Parable of the Saw sutta (MN 21), where the Buddha provides the following instruction:
- Monks, even if bandits were to sever you savagely limb by limb with a two-handled saw, he who gave rise to a mind of hate toward them would not be carrying out my teaching. Herein, monks, one should train thus that the mind "will remain unaffected, and we shall utter no bitter words; (one) shall abide compassionate for their welfare, with a mind of benevolence, never in a mood of hate. (One) shall abide pervading them with a mind imbued with benevolence; and starting with them, (one) shall abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with benevolence, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill will." This is how (one) should train, monks. (Bodhi, 2005, pp. 278-79.)
- Vsm. IX.40-43. According to the Visuddhimagga, after one is able to generate benevolence towards each of these persons with equal concern for each person's welfare, one is said to have "broken down the barriers" and is capable of entering deep absorptive states.
- As Matthieu Ricard has said someone who escapes from prison but whose friends are left behind is not happy, and one who has food while his friends have none is not happy, and as for the happiness of oneself and others, "Well, they're the same."
- Vsm. IX.44. See, also, e.g., Kamalashila (1996), p. 25-26.
- Interview with Matthieu Ricard. The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.
- Davidson, R. (2010). Cultivating compassion: Neuroscientific and behavioral approaches. The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education.
- AN 11.16 (trans. Thanissaro, 1997b). See also AN 8.1 (similarly entitled, Mettānisaṃsa Sutta [SLTP] and Mettā Suttaṃ [CSCD]) which omits the last three of four benefits mentioned in AN 11.16 (that is, it omits "One's mind gains concentration quickly. One's complexion is bright. One dies unconfused...").
- AN 1.ii.7 (trans. Nyanaponika & Bodhi, 1999, p. 34).
- Thanissaro (1997a). Square-bracketed text is part of the original Thanissaro (1997a) translation.
- Bodhgaya News (n.d.), Anguttara Nikaya, book 5, BJT p. 488, retrieved 2007-11-26 at http://www.bodhgayanews.net/tipitaka.php?title=&record=7056.
- In addition to AN 10.176, other discourses that contain this text include: Discourse for the Brahmans of Sala (Sāleyyaka Sutta, MN 41) (Ñanamoli & Khantipalo, 1993); Discourse for the Brahmins of Verañja (Verañjaka Sutta, MN 42, which is substantially a reiteration of MN 41 in a different locale); Sutta on the To Be Cultivated and Not to Be Cultivated (Sevitabbāsevitabba Sutta, MN 114) (Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi, 2001, p. 917); First Discourse on Hell and Heaven (Paṭhama-niraya-sagga Sutta, AN 10.211); Second Discourse on Hell and Heaven (Dutiya-niraya-sagga Sutta, AN 10.212); First Discourse on Intentional Actions (Paṭhama-sañcetanika Sutta, AN 10.217); Second Discourse on Intentional Actions (Dutiya-sañcetanika Sutta, AN 10.218); as well as in the Paṭisambhidāmagga (see below) and the paracanonical Milinda Pañha.
- See for instance, in the Digha Nikāya alone, The Great Splendor Discourse (Mahāsudassana Sutta, DN 17), v. 2.4 (Walshe, 1995, p. 287); The Great Steward Discourse (Mahāgovinda Sutta, DN 19), v. 59 (Walshe, 1995, p. 312); The Great Lion's Roar to the Udumbarikans Discourse (Udumbarika-Sīhanāda Sutta, DN 19), v. 17 (Walshe, 1995, pp. 390-391); and The Lion's Roar on the Turning of the Wheel Discourse (Cakkavatti-Sīhanāda Sutta, DN 79), v. 28 (Walshe, 1995, p. 405).
- This particular English text is from the Nyanaponika (1988) translation of the Simile of the Cloth (Vatthūpama Sutta, MN 7), v. 12.
- Bodhgaya News(n.d.), Majjhima Nikaya, book 1, BJT p. 88, retrieved 2009-08-07 at http://www.bodhgayanews.net/tipitaka.php?title=&record=2987.
- See, for instance, the Discourse to Subha (Subha Sutta, MN 99) (Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi, 2001, pp. 816-17); and, The Threefold Knowledge Discourse (Tevijja Sutta, DN 13), vv. 76-77 (Walshe, 1995, p. 194). See also the Discourse to Dhānañjāni (Dhānañjāni Sutta, MN 97) (Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi, 2001, p. 796), in which a similar statement about union with Brahma is made by the Ven. Sariputta without the trumpeter metaphor.
- MN 99 (Ñāṇamoli & Bodhi, 2001, pp. 816-17). In this translation, this text is presented as one paragraph. Here, it was divided into two, thus following the Pāli text presentation, to enhance readability.
- Given this text's length, relatively uncomplicated translation and lesser known status (e.g., compared with the Karaniya Metta Sutta), the associated Pāli text is not represented in this main article but here:
- 'Katamo ca ..., brahmānaṃ sahavyatāya maggo: idha ..., bhikkhu mettāsahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati. Tathā dutiyaṃ, tathā tatiyaṃ, tathā catutthiṃ. Iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ mettā sahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā viharati. Evaṃ bhāvitāya kho ..., mettāya cetovimuttiyā yaṃ pamāṇakataṃ kammaṃ, na taṃ tatrāvasissati. Na taṃ tatrāvatiṭṭhati.
- Seyyathāpi ..., balavā saṅkhadhamo appakasireneva catuddisā viññāpeyya. Evameva kho ..., evaṃ bhavitāya mettāya ceto vimuttiyā, yaṃ pamāṇakataṃ kammaṃ na taṃ tatrāvasissati. Na taṃ tatrāvatiṭṭhati. Ayampi kho ..., brahmāṇaṃ sahavyatāya maggo. (Bodhgaya News, n.d., Majjhima Nikaya, book 2, BJT p. 730 [MN 99], retrieved 2009-08-07 at http://www.bodhgayanews.net/tipitaka.php?title=&record=3702.)
- Buddharakkhita (1987).
- Amaravati Sangha (2004). Space between sentences and half-sentences is not in the original English translation but is based on the Pali text presented here.
- Bodhgaya News (n.d.), Sutta Nipata (1.8), vv. 143-152, BJT pp. 44-46, retrieved 2009-08-07 starting at http://www.bodhgayanews.net/tipitaka.php?title=&record=8041. Intra-sentence lines formatted to match English translation.
- Cited in Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli (1999), p. 302, Vsm.IX,50. See also Ñanamoli (1987), section 11, "Methodical Practice: from the Patisambhidamagga," where this sentence is translated as: "May all beings be freed from enmity, distress and anxiety, and may they guide themselves to bliss."
- In this section of this article, the primary English-language sources are Buddhaghosa & Ñāṇamoli (1999), pp. 301-304, Vsm.IX,49-58; and, Ñanamoli (1987), section 11, "Methodical Practice: from the Patisambhidamagga." The Pali is primarily based on Bodhgaya News (n.d.), Patisambhidamagga 2, BJT pp. 64-80, retrieved 2009-08-07 starting at http://www.bodhgayanews.net/tipitaka.php?title=&record=9611.
- Bodhgaya News (n.d.), Patisambhidamagga 2, BJT p. 64, retrieved 2009-08-07 at http://www.bodhgayanews.net/tipitaka.php?title=&record=9611.
- An "intermediate direction" (anudisā) is the midpoint between two compass points. For instance, the "eastern intermediate direction" refers to either the direction to the north-east (between north and east) or the south-east (between south and east).
- Rhys Davids (1900), pp. 275-276.
- Bodhgaya News (n.d.), Abhidhamma Pitaka, vol. 1, Dhammasangani, BJT p. 402, retrieved 2009-08-07 at http://www.bodhgayanews.net/tipitaka.php?title=&record=10965.
- Acharya Buddharakkhita (trans.) (1987/2006). "Kakacupama Sutta: The Parable of the Saw (excerpt)" from Positive Response: How to Meet Evil With Good (Bodhi Leaves No. 109). Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society (1987). Retrieved from "Access to Insight" (2006) at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.021x.budd.html.
- Amaravati Sangha (trans.) (1994, 2004). "Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness" from Chanting Book: Morning and Evening Puja and Reflections (1994). Hemel Hempstead: Amaravati Publications. Retrieved 2007-11-25 from "Access to Insight" (2004) at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.08.amar.html.
- Bodhi, Bhikkhu (2005). In the Buddha's Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-491-1.
- Bodhgaya News (n.d.), "Pali Canon Online Database," online search engine of Sri Lanka Tripitaka Project's (SLTP) Pali Canon. Retrieved 2009-08-07 at http://www.bodhgayanews.net/pali.htm.
- Buddhaghosa, Bhadantacariya & Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli (trans.) (1999). The Path of Purification: Visuddhimagga. Seattle, WA: BPS Pariyatti Editions. ISBN 1-928706-00-2.
- Gethin, Rupert (1998). The Foundations of Buddhism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-289223-1.
- Gombrich, Richard (1988; reprinted 2002). Theravada Buddhism: A Social History from Ancient Benares to Modern Colombo. Routledge: London. ISBN 0-415-07585-8.
- Harvey, Peter (2007). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31333-3.
- Kamalashila (1996). Meditation: The Buddhist Art of Tranquility and Insight. Birmingham: Windhorse Publications. ISBN 1-899579-05-2. Retrieveable from the author's personal web site at http://kamalashila.co.uk/Meditation_Web/index.htm.
- Monier-Williams, Monier (1899, 1964). A Sanskrit-English Dictionary. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-864308-X. Retrieved 2008-04-29 from "Cologne University" at http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/scans/MWScan/index.php?sfx=pdf.
- Ñanamoli Thera (ed., trans.) (1987/1994). The Practice of Loving-Kindness (Metta): As Taught by the Buddha in the Pali Canon (The Wheel No. 7). Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society (1987). Retrieved 2007-11-25 from "Access to Insight" (1994 transcription) at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/nanamoli/wheel007.html.
- Ñāṇamoli, Bhikkhu (trans.) & Bhikkhu Bodhi (ed.) (2001). The Middle-Length Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Majjhima Nikāya. Boston: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-072-X.
- Ñanamoli Thera (trans.) & Bhikkhu Khantipalo (ed.) (1993/1994). Saleyyaka Sutta: The Brahmans of Sala (MN 41). Retrieved 2007-12-23 from "Access to Insight" (1994 transcription) at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.041.nymo.html.
- Nyanaponika Thera (trans.) (1988/1998). "Vatthupama Sutta: The Simile of the Cloth" (MN 7) from The Simile of the Cloth & the Discourse on Effacement (Wheel No. 61). Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society (1988). Retrieved 2007-12-03 from "Access to Insight" (1998) at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.007.nypo.html.
- Nyanaponika Thera & Bhikkhu Bodhi (trans.) (1999). Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: An anthology of Suttas from the Aṅguttara Nikāya. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press. ISBN 0-7425-0405-0.
- Rhys Davids, Caroline A. F. (, 2003). Buddhist Manual of Psychological Ethics, of the Fourth Century B.C., Being a Translation, now made for the First Time, from the Original Pāli, of the First Book of the Abhidhamma-Piṭaka, entitled Dhamma-Sangaṇi (Compendium of States or Phenomena). Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 0-7661-4702-9.
- Rhys Davids, T.W. & William Stede (eds.) (1921-5). The Pali Text Society’s Pali–English Dictionary. Chipstead: Pali Text Society. Retrieved 2008-04-29 from "U. Chicago" at http://dsal.uchicago.edu/dictionaries/pali/.
- Salzberg, Sharon (1995). Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness. Boston: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 1-57062-176-4.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1994). Raja Sutta: The King (Ud. 5.1). Retrieved 2007-11-25 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/ud/ud.5.01.than.html.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997a). Cunda Kammaraputta Sutta: To Cunda the Silversmith (AN 10.176). Retrieved 2007-11-25 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.176.than.html.
- Thanissaro Bhikkhu (trans.) (1997b). Metta (Mettanisamsa) Sutta: Good Will (AN 11.16). Retrieved 2010-07-07 from "Access to Insight" at http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an11/an11.016.than.html.
- Trungpa, Chögyam (1993). Training the Mind & Cultivating Loving-Kindness. Boston: Shambhala. ISBN 0-87773-954-4.
- Upatissa, Arahant, N.R.M. Ehara (trans.), Soma Thera (trans.) and Kheminda Thera (trans.) (1995). The Path of Freedom (Vimuttimagga). Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society. ISBN 955-24-0054-6.
- Walshe, Maurice (1995). The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Dīgha Nikāya. Somerville, MA: Wisdom Publications. ISBN 0-86171-103-3.
- Warder, A. K. (1970; reprinted 2004). Indian Buddhism. Motilal Banarsidass: Delhi. ISBN 81-208-1741-9.
- Brahmavihara Dhamma by Mahasi Sayadaw
- An essay on metta by Acharya Buddharakkhita
- The Metta Sutta
- Unconditional Love
- Dharma Dictionary - RangjungYesheWiki - Byams Pa / Maitri
- Facets of Metta by Sharon Salzberg
- Online Metta Contemplation
- Metta meditation, sutta and chanting - mobile
- Mattheiu Ricard talks about his life-long practice of Compassion Meditation