TODAY -

The Buddha's METTA (Loving-kindness) and KARUNA (Compassion) for all sentient beings
- Part 2 -

Sanjoo Thangjam *

Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon , Myanmar as seen in the last week of March 2017
Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon , Myanmar as seen in the last week of March 2017 :: Pix - WT



Through the concept of karma, one can see that there is really no one to be angry with or hate since as the Buddha said, "…it is not easy to find a being who had not formerly been your mother…your father…your daughter in a previous life of this beginning less cycle of lives."

Thus it is foolish to feel anger or hatred because that only breeds a darkness that obstructs right understanding.

KARUNA ( Compassion ) on the other hand is closely tied to METTA (loving-kindness). Karuna is not merely giving when needed, but to do so with a pure mind; without the thought of personal gain. The following quotes are from D. Brandon's Zen in the Art of Helping. They present similar sentiments about compassion from a different school of Buddhism:

" Karuna ( compassion) has nothing to do with achievement at all. It is spacious and very generous. When a person develops real compassion, he is uncertain whether he is being generous to others or to himself because compassion is environmental generosity, without direction, without 'for me' and without 'for them'. It is filled with joy, spontaneously existing joy, constant joy in the sense of trust, in the sense that joy contains tremendous wealth, richness…

" At the highest level, karuna ( compassion) does not attach itself to the intricacies of suffering or to the individual human situations. It is involved with the salvation of all living things. It spreads out the map of enlightenment for all who care to take."

"… Compassion is the complete reflection of overall harmony."

The benefits of the divine states can be experienced in daily life. The attitude of loving-kindness is like the feeling which parents have for their newborn child; the wish that the child enjoy good health, have good friends, be intelligent and to be successful in all endeavours. In the same manner one has loving-kindness towards all living beings.

When parents see their child ill, they will naturally be moved by Karuna (compassion) and earnestly wish that the child be free from the suffering of sickness. In the same way one has feelings of compassion upon suffering of any living beings.

As the parents experience joy at their child's success and happiness in life, one has feelings of joy at the good fortune of all beings. When the child becomes an adult with their own family, they begin to have their own responsibilities.

Although parents still have their own feelings of Metta (loving-kindness) and Karuna ( compassion), these are combined with a new feelings called (Uppekkha) equanimity which means calmness of temper. They recognize their child's new independence and responsibilities and do not cling to them.

Metta (loving-kindness) eradicates ill will, anger and (Dosa) hatred. Karuna ( compassion) eradicates greed, craving and (Lobha) worldly attachment. And (Uppekkha) equanimity eradicates ignorance and delusion.

As one travels along the path, one becomes capable of helping others. All the Buddha's teachings and practices lead to personal growth both for oneself and others. Living in the world, one encounters unhappiness/ (Dukkha) sufferings. The use of Metta and Karuna can aid in relieving Dukkha; promoting personal growth.


They lead to the highest happiness. Thus it can be said that the two sublime states, Metta (loving-kindness) and Karuna ( compassion) are the ultimate description of " Love."

Concluded ....


* Sanjoo Thangjam wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is a lay Buddhist & human rights activist for 'People Who Use Drugs'
This article was posted on October 13, 2017.


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