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Let none deceive another nor despise any person whatever in any place; in anger or ill-will let them not wish any suffering to each other.Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, let him cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings.It is different than "lack of ill-will", and more an antidote to it, fear and hatred.
It is the first of the four sublime states (Brahmavihāras) and one of the ten pāramīs of the Theravāda school of Buddhism.
The cultivation of benevolence (mettā bhāvanā) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism.
May all beings be happy and secure, may they be happy-minded.
Whatever living beings there are - feeble or strong, long, stout or medium, short, small or large, seen or unseen (ghosts, gods and hell-beings), those dwelling far or near, those who are born or those who await rebirth may all beings, without exception be happy-minded.
The practice gradually increases in difficulty with respect to the targets that receive the practitioners compassion or loving-kindness.
At first the practitioner is targeting "oneself, then loved ones, neutral ones, difficult ones and finally all beings, with variations across traditions".A 2015 meta-analysis synthesising various high quality experiments on loving-kindness meditation, found a medium sized improvement to daily position emption, with meditation on the loving-kindness aspect of metta having a greater effect than practices with a focus on compassion.The length of time meditating did not affect the magnitude of positive impact of the practice.For instance, after radiating benevolence to all beings in the east (Sabbe puratthimāya disāya sattā ...), one radiates it to all beings in the west and then north and then south, etc.; then, one radiates it to all breathing things in this fashion (Sabbe puratthimāya disāya pāṇā ...), then all creatures, persons, and so forth until such is extended for all those born in the lower realms. For one who attends properly to the liberation of the heart by benevolence, unarisen ill will does not arise and arisen ill will is abandoned.” Monks, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the liberation of mind by benevolence.The Pali Canon says that there are a number of benefits from the practicing of metta meditation, including: One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. The liberation of mind by benevolence surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.And yet other canonical sources, such as the Abhidhamma, underline the key role of benevolence in the development of wholesome karma for better rebirths.