This is a part of a series going line by line from the Metta Sutta. It starts here.
Let them be able and upright
We are only able to accept kindness from people that we trust. We must trust that they truly have our best interests at heart.
Now, metta in its purist form doesn’t require reciprocity. When I send metta to Dick Chaney or Roger Goodell, they don’t need to accept my feelings of loving kindness. Metta is what is happening in my heart or in my mind. Sure.
But the fulfillment of metta is in acts of loving kindness. Of generosity. Of compassion. Of simple friendliness and good heartedness. It requires another person to accept that act of kindness.
That is actually one of the functions of monastics. They are wholly dependent on the generosity of others. They surrender their self-sufficiency. This opportunity for generosity is a gift to us all. And part of that sacrifice is that they must act in ways that make them deserving of our offerings.
But it works the other way as well. It takes trust to accept the kindness of others. Trust that there isn’t a request at the other end of that act of good will. That the generosity is genuine. If you are able and upright, you are deserving of other’s kindness, but you also become deserving of their gift of an opportunity for kindness.
The next article in this series is here.