Loving-kindness Meditation or Metta Bhavana and other Sublime States by Ven. Sujiva is a clear and comprehensive step-by-step explanation of the systematic practice. It is based on the Visuddhimagga or The Path of Purification by Buddhagosha. The texts describe metta as characterised by promoting the aspect of welfare. Amity, goodwill, friendliness and loving-kindness are some words used to describe this mental state. There is no better way to know it than to study it as it occurs in one's own and others' minds. It is a totally unselfish and pure state of mind that brings profit to oneself and others now and hereafter.
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