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The word Metta is very hard to define and is often left untranslated as we have no adequate equivalent in English. The practice of Metta is essentially about the cultivation of positive emotion, and a more deliberate engagement with the inner life of our mind, particularly with our feelings and emotions. According to essential Buddhist teaching, we usually go around living in the world dividing everything up into different categories – there are things which are me and mine, you and yours, in here and out there, and so on.
We divide things up according of what I want (desire) and what I don’t want (hatred) – we pull towards us what we like (desire) and we push away what we don’t like (hatred) and in this way we reinforce the separation of self and other.
Metta can be developed as part of a five stage meditation practice called the Metta –Bhavana (Bhavana means development). We start the practice with ourselves, simply contacting feelings of acceptance and kindness for ourselves, without any feelings of irrational guilt for doing so. In this stage we call to mind a good friend, someone we naturally have feelings of love and kindness towards. In this stage we call to mind all four people and try and let the feelings of metta equalise, so that we feel the same openness and well-wishing towards each person individually. As such it has a radically transformative effect for the positive. For example, in the first stage of the practice we bring ourselves to mind. If you are interested in learning the Metta-Bhavana practice you can do so at the Dublin Buddhist Centre.

X You are using an outdated browser For a better experience using this site, please upgrade to a modern web browser. A mention of Metta, can be found in the Pali Canon, which is a collection of Buddhist scriptures written in Pali, a very old Indian language.
Metta is about connecting with, and developing, already existing feelings of kindness and friendliness to ourselves and others and finding ways of expressing this through our actions. Our perception of what makes up ‘me’ and what makes up ‘not me’ or other is very deeply rooted in each of us. As Sharon Salzberg puts so well in her book Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness we choose ‘to strengthen the delusion of separation’ instead of choosing the ‘truth of connection’. Metta helps us understand our relationship with ourselves and with others; we get to know how we feel about ourselves and others.
Through the practice we connect imaginatively with our own and others innate desire to be well, happy and free – including people we don’t like very much or even hate! For each of the people we bring to mind, we acknowledge the emotions and feelings that arise, and again, with full consciousness of what we are experiencing, we wish them well. The degree to which we are able to honestly and sincerely contact this desire for well being (not merely ‘thinking’ ourselves or others well) will give rise to the degree of potency of Metta.
When we are in touch with someone’s suffering and Metta is present, compassion simply arises.
The Triratna is a world wide Buddhist community of which the Dublin Buddhist Centre is part.

It is mentioned in several discourses, perhaps the most popular of which is the Metta Sutta. What we are working towards in this practice is to develop a degree of potency of Metta for all living beings that can is akin to the strength of a mother’s love for her only living child. When we are in touch with someone’s happiness and Metta is present, sympathetic joy arises, and when we are in touch with both their suffering and happiness and can feel Metta equally strongly towards them in both their pleasure and pain, profound equanimity arises.
It helps us not only to break down the barriers between self and other, but ultimately liberates us from the suffering that they cause us.
In 2002 she joined the Triratna Buddhist Order, the spiritual community which lies at the heart of the Triranta Community. Having worked for many years in the arts and academia, she currently works full-time at the Dublin Buddhist Centre, teaching Buddhism and meditation.

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