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:
- "It's the same as the love of a dog for its human. Doesn't matter what the human does, the dog gives its love anyway. So, think of me as humanity's puppy."
- I love you, whatever you do, whatever happens.
- I may or may not like your actions, but I love you anyway.
- "A glow of Love filled Bill, and he was the One -- the life energy of the universe."
- Love without strings. Giving love, not grasping love.
- "There were no words for it. He became a... cloud of Love, wrapping himself around the 62 of them, a joyful music without sound, the glow of a golden sunrise."
- "The English word 'love' has five different meanings, so we chose a Buddhist term. It means love regardless of what you may give me or do for me. You can be the worst person in the world or the best, may be doing me harm, may be a complete stranger, but if I exercise metta, then you're in my heart and I cherish your being."
- "Y'know, nowadays that's how I feel. I don't care none where you're born or what you looks like or what language you speak, yer family."
- I don't own you, I have no expectations of you, I don't need anything from you. I merely want you to be happy, contented and joyful, and do my best to help you achieve this, without needing a return.
- "The strongest force in our Universe is Love. We prefer the Buddhist term metta, though if you speak Greek, you might call it agapi. That apparent human tried to kill me. If I hate him, I am as bad. What I feel for him is compassion, a wish for him to change his thinking and motivations. If I could, I'd want him on my team devoted to saving life on this planet."
- "This man who is not a man, this invader into our beautiful universe, is insane. He is the appropriate representative of an insane universe that feeds on misery. How sick is that? He has my pity. We will resist him, and stop him, and wreck all his plans, but, at the same time, he deserves our compassion. He cannot help being the twisted horror he is. Please join me in forgiving him."
- "That feeling I sent you is called metta. That means I wish for you a happy, contented life free of suffering, whatever you have done in the past, whatever you may do in the future. I don't want anything from you in return, only your wellbeing."