This is a part of a series going line by line from the Metta Sutta. It starts here.
And wise and skilful
It’s hard to find anyone who would argue against being wise and skillful. What this line is getting at is that metta is a part of the whole practice of Buddhism. There is a tendency among some to pluck out the parts of Buddhist practice that fit their lifestyle. That’s fine, of course. It’s much better to be an alcoholic who does mindfulness practice than just an alcoholic.
But of course the path is meant to be a comprehensive whole, not just a grab bag of nice things to do. It can take real wisdom to even know what it is to wish the best for someone. Practicing metta for yourself doesn’t mean truly deeply wishing that you will win the lottery. It doesn’t mean wishing that your best friend can lure their crush to bed. True metta means wishing that others can find that peace that doesn’t rely on the suffering of others. Peace that doesn’t rely on their own suffering! And what peace is that?
The next article in this series is here.