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Mettā (Lovingkindness)

The Big Idea for Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Both Christianity and Buddhism embrace the philosophy of love your enemy, a philosophy that was revolutionary when it was first introduced and remains somewhat difficult to understand in a modern setting.

In today's lesson, Robert Thurman, Professor of Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, explains that loving our enemies is really about making peace with ourselves. Instead of returning anger with anger, Thurman advocates the practice of lovingkindness, a translation of the Pali word mettā that is found in the original Buddhist texts. 

Lovingkindness, Thurman says, is not an abstract idea but rater a practice that allows us to appreciate that everyone, including our enemies, want to be happy. And so instead of reflexively categorizing people as bad and wasting our energy by fighting them, we can elevate kindness and compassion "as the strengths they really are."

 

 

Perspectives

  1. 1 Finding Zen on Christmas
    Big Think Editors Big Think TV
  2. 2 A Modest Proposal: A Day of Atonement for all the World's Religions
    Big Think Editors Think Tank
  3. 3 Ai Weiwei: You Have To Look Your Enemy in the Face
    Ai Weiwei
  4. 4 Changing Into Your Christmas Culture
    Jeff DeGraff Innovation You
 

Mettā (Lovingkindness)

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