This month I am launching a series looking line by line at the famous Metta Sutta. It is one of the most famous and beautiful suttas in the entire canon, and so dense with good ideas, that every line deserves a look! I heard that in Sri Lanka students recite the Metta Sutta daily in the same way American students recite the pledge of allegiance. What a wonderful idea! I can’t recommend more strongly memorizing this short little text and add reciting it to your daily ritual. Here is the complete text of the translation I’ll be working from, and here is the Pali (scroll down to #8).
This is what should be done by one who is skilled in goodness
This first line of the Metta Sutta is just bursting with wisdom-y goodness. Yes, this teaching is all about loving kindness, but right there in the first phrase is the most important lesson of all: goodness isn’t something that you are either born with or not. It is a skill to be learned, to be honed, to be practiced daily. If it weren’t, if it was something that had to be instilled as a child, or was simply a trick of brain chemicals or encoded in our DNA, then life would be literally hopeless.
The next article in this series is here.