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Before you study the Metta Sutta, you want to listen to it and read it. Read this translation of the sutta before you continue to the commentary and exploration. Really spend some time "listening" as you read, allowing the meaning to gently emerge from the words and phrases. Try to get an intuitive sense of the overall mood and intention of the poem. Take your time.
Verse 1 = Sn 143 This is to be done by one skilled in aims
Who wants to break through to the state of peace
Be capable, upright, & straightforward,
Easy to instruct, gentle, & not conceited,
Verse 2 = Sn 144  Content & easy to support, with few duties, living lightly,
With peaceful faculties, masterful, modest, & no greed for supporters.
Verse 3 = Sn 145 Do not do the slightest thing that the wise would later censure.
Think: Happy & secure, may all beings be happy at heart.
Verse 4  = Sn 146 Whatever beings there may be, weak or strong, without exception,
Long, large, middling, short, subtle, blatant,
Verse 5 = Sn 147  Seen & unseen, near & far,
Born & seeking birth: May all being be happy at heart.
Verse 6 = Sn 148  Let no one deceive another or despise anyone anywhere,
Or through anger or irritation wish for another to suffer.
Verse 7 = Sn 149  As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child,
Even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings
Verse 8 = Sn 150  With good will for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart:
Above, below, & all around, unobstructed, without emnity or hate.
Verse 9 = Sn 151  Whether standing, walking, sitting, or lying down, as long as one is alert,
One should be resolved on this mindfulness.
This is called a sublime abiding here & now.
Verse 10 = Sn 152  Not taken with views, ß but virtuous & consummate in vision,
Having subdued desire for sensual pleasures,
One never again will lie in the womb.

Translation by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
       

 
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The Metta Sutta

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