Loving kindness same as agape?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
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form
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Loving kindness same as agape?

Post by form »

My question is in the title.
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Sam Vara
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Re: Loving kindness same as agape?

Post by Sam Vara »

Well, the two terms come from different cultures and are obviously used in different communities. But personally I think that in practical terms they are so close in meaning as to be the same; especially as they are a bit fuzzy and each has a range of meaning. If, for example, a person new to Buddhism but used to the concept of Agape from a Christian background were to ask me whether they needed to radically re-think what they should be feeling, I would tell them not to bother, and that they were making a fine start.
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Kim OHara
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Re: Loving kindness same as agape?

Post by Kim OHara »

It's very similar -
Agápe (ἀγάπη agápē[1]) means "love: esp. charity; the love of God for man and of man for a good God."[2] Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for one's children and the feelings for a spouse, and it was also used to refer to a love feast.[3] Agape is used by Christians to express the unconditional love of God for his children.[4] This type of love was further explained by Thomas Aquinas as "to will the good of another."[5]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_words_for_love

- but not as close as some people seem to think. Thanissaro has a good essay on the difference here - https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... dwill.html
...Buddha says to develop this wish for ourselves and everyone else: "With metta for the entire cosmos, cultivate a limitless heart." (Snp 1.8) But what's the emotional quality that goes along with that wish? Many people define it as "lovingkindness," implying a desire to be there for other people: to cherish them, to provide them with intimacy, nurture, and protection. The idea of feeling love for everyone sounds very noble and emotionally satisfying. But when you really stop to think about all the beings in the cosmos, there are a lot of them who ... would react to your lovingkindness with suspicion and fear. Rather than wanting your love, they would rather be left alone. Others might try to take unfair advantage of your lovingkindness, reading it as a sign either of your weakness or of your endorsement of whatever they want to do. In none of these cases would your lovingkindness lead to anyone's true happiness. When this is the case, you're left wondering if the Buddha's instructions on universal metta are really realistic or wise.

But ... metta is not necessarily an attitude of lovingkindness. It's more an attitude of goodwill — wishing the other person well, but realizing that true happiness is something that each of us ultimately will have to find for him or herself, and sometimes most easily when we go our separate ways.

This understanding of metta is borne out in the Pali Canon, first of all in the word itself. The Pali language has another word for love — pema — whereas metta is related to the word mitta, or friend. ...
Agape seems to have a clinging, possessive, aspect that metta doesn't.

:namaste:
Kim
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Re: Loving kindness same as agape?

Post by form »

Thanks for your useful sharing.
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Posts: 1919
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Re: Loving kindness same as agape?

Post by form »

Mother Theresa said it is not how much u give but how much love u give with....

Her such love has a target individual?
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