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(Skt.; Pāli, metta). Kindness, benevolence, or goodwill, as in the disposition of a friend (Skt., mitra). An important Buddhist virtue, maitrī is to be cultivated towards all in a spirit of generosity which is free of attachment or thoughts of self-interest. As the first of the four Divine Abidings (Brahma-vihāra), maitrī is practised as a meditational exercise by being directed first of all to oneself, then those close to one (such as friends and family), and then extended by stages to embrace all living beings. The Pāli Metta Sutta, which expresses the wish that all beings may be well and happy, is a very popular text recited daily by many monks and lay-people.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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