Loving Kindness translation

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Loving Kindness translation

Postby Digger » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:11 pm

Is "loving kindness" a good translation of the meaning and intent of the Pali - or is "compassion" a better term? The reason for my question is that "loving" is usually thought to have an attachment component whereas generally compassion does not. One can feel sorry for and try to help another without attachment. But once you throw the word "loving" in, is attachment assumed by the way most people interprete the word?
He is different. He thinks.
User avatar
Digger
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:12 pm
Location: Florida USA

Re: Loving Kindness translation

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Aug 28, 2010 2:18 pm

Digger wrote:Is "loving kindness" a good translation of the meaning and intent of the Pali - or is "compassion" a better term? The reason for my question is that "loving" is usually thought to have an attachment component whereas generally compassion does not. One can feel sorry for and try to help another without attachment. But once you throw the word "loving" in, is attachment assumed by the way most people interprete the word?



What word are you trying to translate?

"Metta" is one word
metta [mettaa]:
Loving-kindness; goodwill. One of the ten perfections (paramis) and one of the four "sublime abodes"


"Karuna" is anouther
karuna [karu.naa]:
Compassion; sympathy; the aspiration to find a way to be truly helpful to oneself and others. One of the four "sublime abodes"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/glossary.html#k


Metta is a response appropriate to the perception of beings generally while karuna is a response to the suffering of beings more specifically. That is how I understand it anyway.

Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
User avatar
Prasadachitta
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA

Re: Loving Kindness translation

Postby Digger » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:11 pm

Thanks for your response. I thought there would be a lot more discussion here because I feel that this is an important topic and common misunderstanding of the original intent.

Anyway, if metta can mean either goodwill or loving-kindness, these are two quite different meanings. Again I go back to my original post above, is “loving-kindness” a good term to use since loving is usually thought of as being linked to attachment – the exact thing we are trying to avoid. But you can have good will towards someone or something without attachment.

Please friends – I would really like to hear your opinions on this.
He is different. He thinks.
User avatar
Digger
 
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 2:12 pm
Location: Florida USA

Re: Loving Kindness translation

Postby Prasadachitta » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:46 pm

Digger wrote:Thanks for your response. I thought there would be a lot more discussion here because I feel that this is an important topic and common misunderstanding of the original intent.

Anyway, if metta can mean either goodwill or loving-kindness, these are two quite different meanings. Again I go back to my original post above, is “loving-kindness” a good term to use since loving is usually thought of as being linked to attachment – the exact thing we are trying to avoid. But you can have good will towards someone or something without attachment.

Please friends – I would really like to hear your opinions on this.


Words tend to have spheres of influence in what they indicate. It helps to have context. In my opinion goodwill does not express as much caring as loving kindness. As far as I know traditionally metta does have the potential to shade into something like affection or sticky attachment so it can be "linked to attachment" as well. I like "universal loving kindness" to express the perfection of metta as one of the sublime abidings. That way attachment to an individual is excluded.

Take care

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332
User avatar
Prasadachitta
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 6:52 am
Location: San Francisco (The Mission) Ca USA

Re: Loving Kindness translation

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:43 am

The translation is context-dependent at the English end as well: 'Love' is used for everything from passionate, totally immersive, romantic attachment through to impersonal goodwill-to-all-beings, and even to a greedy appetite for a particular food.
A lot of people have accepted 'loving-kindness' as an acceptable translation of 'metta', and that's near enough for me to begin with. Beyond that, you could just about make a list of related words in English, then a list of related words in Pali, and see how they line up.
:namaste:
Kim
User avatar
Kim OHara
 
Posts: 2898
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 5:47 am
Location: North Queensland, Australia


Return to Open Dhamma

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Zentruckdriver and 4 guests