What is metta?

   The Dalai Lama has said, "True happiness comes not from a limited concern for one's own well-being, or that of those one feels close to, but from developing love and compassion for all sentient beings. Here, love means wishing that all sentient beings should find happiness, and compassion means wishing that they should all be free of suffering."

   Here is Confucius's version: "Love others as you'd love yourself, judge others as you'd judge yourself, cherish others as you'd cherish yourself. When you wish for others as you wish for yourself and when you protect others as you'd protect yourself, that's when you can say it's true love."

   Our Universe is made of Love. Only, the English word has 5 meanings. The relevant one is that advanced by all the great religions: the Love St Paul defines in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."

   You can practise this, even if you are an atheist, and, sadly, you can ignore it while professing to follow a loving religion.

   Other languages have different words for different meanings of "love." For example, Greek has "agape," which is pronounced /agapi/. Again, this coincidence can lead to confusion when something is in writing.

   The Buddhist term "metta" means the same. Therefore, the alien Merlin, and Bill Sutcliffe, have chosen this term to express the heart of their mission.

   Here are a few definitions and illuminating quotes, as they occur within the Doom Healer books: