This is what should be done By one who is skilled in goodness, And who knows the path of peace: Let them be able and upright,“Karaniya Metta Sutta: The Buddha’s Words on Loving-Kindness” (Sn 1.8), translated from the Pali by The Amaravati Sangha. Access to Insight (BCBS Edition), 2 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/snp/snp.1.08.amar.html .
Welcome back to sutta study together.
Following the previous post, another pre-requisite for metta practice to be successful, is being able and upright. I think this refers to the character of a person. From a Buddhist perspective, each one of us have the free will to be good. With education, we learn how to differentiate good from bad, and each one of us is responsible for our karma.
Living in a civil society, we have the good fortune to be properly educated about good conduct, civil behavior and as a Buddhist, we have the added advantage to understand karma and Buddhist wisdom. We under appreciate this in modern times.
Imagine being born in a cannibalistic tribe or in a society that celebrate cruelty. A place where you are being indoctrinated to be nasty towards humans or animal. In such instances, we will not be able to being kind. The 88 Buddhas repentance prayer specifically pray not to be born under such unfortunate circumstances.
As explained, the ability to practice and be kind cannot be taken for granted. Being born into a civil and right society is good karma. Thus, I interpret being able as “ability to be kind and good”
Another characteristic of a good person is righteousness. To do and say the right things so that we do not harm others and ourselves. The preference for justness and fairness. Not to do things that betray moral and goodness.
One Thai monk aptly explained fairness in our heart as not being tempted to take unscrupulous advantage of others. It can be as simple as tipping the waiter correctly or not bargaining for discount from a vendor who is desperate for sales.(when the price is already fair)
All in all, to practice metta, we need to be a good kind person who abstain from hurting others or taking advantages of others. There is simply no way of faking it.
May all be well and happy