Metta Bhavana – Loving Kindness & Compassion Meditation

Metta is a Pali word meaning love with two root meanings. The first meaning is gentleness – just like a gentle misty rain that in falling, it doesn’t mind where it rains on – it simply falls without discrimination. Another meaning is friendship. A good friend is always there by your side supporting you through thick and thin. Metta here means becoming a good friend to all of life.

Metta Sutta meditation 

May I be happy
May I be peaceful
May I be safe from harm
May I be free from suffering
May I have the ease and joy of well-being

The practice of Karuna Bhavana

Compassion is a desire that all sentient beings to be free from suffering. This kind of compassion is not just a feeling of empathy, but the motivation to do something to relieve the suffering of the world.

May I be free from suffering
May I hold myself with gentleness and care
May I be free from the suffering caused by greed, anger, fear, and confusion
May I experience peace in the body, heart, and mind

The practice order of Metta Bhavana

1. Ourselves: loving ourselves is the foundation of offering genuine love to others

2. A benefactor: someone who has helped you along your path, someone you respect

3. A beloved friend or family: someone you are closed to

4. A neutral person: someone you don’t have any strong feelings, neither pleasant nor unpleasant. This could be someone you see but you don’t know

5. A difficult person*: Someone with whom we have experienced conflict; someone toward whom we feel anger, fear, or a lack of forgiveness. Someone we perceive as having hurt us in some way.

6. A group or a category of beings: animals, prisoners, orphans, patients with AIDS etc.

7. All sentient beings

* When you tried to send loving kindness to the difficult person, give yourself plenty of time and patience. If you feel uncomfortable, go back to sending loving kindness to yourself. If you need, you can alternate the metta to the difficult person and yourself, being aware of the pain holding onto these feelings is causing you. Alternatively, you can send the loving kindness to your difficult aspects of yourself.

Thank you Frank Jude Boccio for providing the texts.