Dhammapada, verses 3-6
3. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.
4. “He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me.” Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.
5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
Translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita, Buddhist Publication Society
The Metta Sutta (Sutra on Universal Loving Kindness)
1 Who seeks to promote his welfare,
Having glimpsed the state of perfect peace,
Should be able, honest and upright,
Gentle in speech, meek and not proud.
2 Contented, he ought to be easy to support,
Not over-busy, and simple in living.
Tranquil his senses, let him be prudent,
And not brazen, nor fawning on families.
3 Also, he must refrain from any action
That gives the wise reason to reprove him.
(Then let him cultivate the thought:)
May all be well and secure,
May all beings be happy!
4 Whatever living creatures there be,
Without exception, weak or strong,
Long, huge or middle-sized,
Or short, minute or bulky,
5 Whether visible or invisible,
And those living far or near,
The born and those seeking birth,
May all beings be happy!
6 Let none deceive or decry
His fellow anywhere;
Let none wish others harm
In resentment or in hate.
7 Just as with her own life
A mother shields from hurt
Her own son, her only child,
Let all-embracing thoughts
For all beings be yours.
8 Cultivate an all-embracing mind of love
For all throughout the universe,
In all its height, depth and breadth —
Love that is untroubled
And beyond hatred or enmity.
9 As you stand, walk, sit or lie,
So long as you are awake,
Pursue this awareness with your might:
It is deemed the Divine State here.
10 Holding no more to wrong beliefs,
With virtue and vision of the ultimate,
And having overcome all sensual desire,
Never in a womb is one born again.
Translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita, Buddhist Publication Society.
Metta (or maitre, skt.) is the practice of unconditional, universal loving kindness. It is a friendly benevolence for the well-being of all others without exception devoid of self-interest. Metta is practiced unilaterally. You don’t wait for someone to have regard for your well-being before you have regard for theirs. Metta is practiced without boundaries. It is relatively easy and natural to be kind to someone just like us. Metta is practiced, yes towards those like ourselves, but also towards those who are unlike us, offering them warm regard for their own happiness, their safety, their well-being in all ways.
A vengeful act does not bring peace or ‘closure’, whatever that might be. It plants the desire for revenge in the ones suffering the violence. And on… and on… You can’t fight your way to peace or hate your way to love. If violence brought about peace, then the Mideast would be the most peaceful place on earth. Here and everywhere, violence in revenge yields only violence. A hateful word brings only a hateful response. It is not about who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’—everyone is some ‘right’ and some ‘wrong’. Peace is the way to peace. Having kind, self-less interest in the well-being of others reflected in our thoughts, our words and our actions is the way to heal our own minds and bodies, the way to heal others, the way to heal our families, our communities, our nation and our world.
This Sanskrit calligraphy contains the ‘seed syllable’ (central red character) and mantra (smaller green characters) of Maitreya Bodhisattva, the manifestation of universal loving kindness. The mantra om maitri maha maitri maitriye svaha contains within its sounds all these beneficent qualities reduced to a few words. The literal meaning is not important. Meditation upon, or recitation, of this mantra fills the mind with universal loving kindness and overflows outwards towards all others. The seed syllable, likewise, reduces all the qualities contained in sounds of the mantra and reduces it to a single sound: maim (pronounced mime). May all beings everywhere be free from hostility; may all beings everywhere be safe, secure and healthy in their bodies; may all beings everywhere be filled with peace, contentment and happiness in their minds.