It is different than "lack of ill-will", and more an antidote to it, fear and hatred.It is the precept to conquer anger by kindness, conquer the liar by truth, conquer stingy by giving, conquer evil by good, states Harvey. Iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ mettāsahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjena pharitvā viharati."What ... Here a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with benevolence, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with benevolence, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill will.May all beings be happy and secure, may they be happy-minded.
Two different methodological approaches have been discerned in recent review papers, practices that focus on compassion and practices focussing on loving-kindness.
Focussing on compassion means that meditation consists of the wish to relieve a being from suffering, whereas focussing on loving-kindness means wishing a being happiness.
For instance, after radiating benevolence to all beings in the east (Sabbe puratthimāya disāya sattā ...), one radiates it to all beings in the west and then north and then south, etc.; then, one radiates it to all breathing things in this fashion (Sabbe puratthimāya disāya pāṇā ...), then all creatures, persons, and so forth until such is extended for all those born in the lower realms. For one who attends properly to the liberation of the heart by benevolence, unarisen ill will does not arise and arisen ill will is abandoned.” Monks, whatever grounds there are for making merit productive of a future birth, all these do not equal a sixteenth part of the liberation of mind by benevolence.
The Pali Canon says that there are a number of benefits from the practicing of metta meditation, including: One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. The liberation of mind by benevolence surpasses them and shines forth, bright and brilliant.
Let none deceive another nor despise any person whatever in any place; in anger or ill-will let them not wish any suffering to each other.
Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so, let him cultivate a boundless heart towards all beings.
And yet other canonical sources, such as the Abhidhamma, underline the key role of benevolence in the development of wholesome karma for better rebirths.
This basic statement of intention and verse can also be found in several other canonical discourses.
It is the first of the four sublime states (Brahmavihāras) and one of the ten pāramīs of the Theravāda school of Buddhism.
The cultivation of benevolence (mettā bhāvanā) is a popular form of meditation in Buddhism.
The compassion and universal loving-kindness concept of Metta is discussed in the Metta Sutta of Buddhism, and is also found in the ancient and medieval texts of Hinduism and Jainism as Metta or Maitri.