The Metta Sutta (Mettasuttam) is one of the best-loved poems of the Buddhist tradition, a jewel sparkling softly but compellingly through the centuries. Its message and appeal are truly timeless. The Metta Sutta speaks of universal good will towards all creatures, giving shape to one of the most beautiful and  fundamentally wholesome states of mind of which the human being is capable.

In this course

This course is both:

  • a commmentary on the Buddha's sutta on loving-kindness
  • a toolkit with which you can investigate for yourself the meanings and significance of this teaching

After an introduction to the Metta Sutta and an opportunity to listen to the sutta as it is chanted, you will be able to explore the Metta Sutta from different perspectives and to drill down and examine the Buddha's words at various levels of detail:

  • The major themes of the sutta
  • Commentary on the most important words and phrases
  • A word list and glossary with which to examine the meaning of each word
  • Ten translations of the sutta to study and compare

You can proceed sequentially through the course's lessons. Or you can also use the menu on the left of the screen to use the various course tools as you explore the sutta.

The Buddha gave the teachings of the Metta Sutta to his monks to help them overcome fear and to render them harmless to all creatures, both human and non-human. By reading the various translations of the Metta Sutta and studying the meanings and references of the Buddha's words, you have an opportunity to integrate the Metta Sutta into your life and practice. The intent of this course is not to feed you the meaning of this teaching; rather it offers you the means to investigate the original language of the poem carefully and to understand its message directly.

Translating the Metta Sutta for yourself

In order to bring home and nurture the understanding you gather during this process of exploration, you are encouraged to use the commentary, the various translations and the study tools to create your own translation of the Buddha's poem on loving-kindness.

As you explore the sutta, use your Ashoka journal — — to develop your own translation and understanding of the metta sutta. As you will see in the next lesson, the metta sutta is a tool the Buddha offered us to use.


The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness

Listen & read Pali
Words and phrases

Other suttas

Wrapping up