Loving kindness is a translation of the Buddhist word mettā. Other translations might include friendliness or goodwill.
Loving kindness or mettā is one of the four Brahmavihārās (divine abodes or heavenly realms), a list of four virtues:
- loving kindness (mettā): an unconditional attitude of friendliness and well-wishing towards all beings
- compassion (karuṇā): acknowledgement of, feeling for the suffering of others, and the desire that suffering might end
- sympathetic joy (muditā): a feeling of joy or happiness when noticing the joy and happiness of others
- equanimity (upekkhā): acceptance of self, other, world, and this moment, without push or pull, clinging or aversion
Each of the Brahmavihārās can be cultivated, in the same way that one can cultivate loving kindness. They are also related and mutually supportive.
Traditionally, frequent and repeated cultivation of the Brahmavihārās is said to bring you into a Brahma realm or heavenly realm after death (AN 4.125).
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