This translation of the Discourse on Love has been prepared by Thich Nhat Hanh from the Metta Sutta, Sutta Nipata 1.8. It appears in Thich Nhat Hanh, Chanting From The Heart (Parallax Press, Rev. Ed., 2006). It is recited regularly at Plum Village practice centers around the world, as part of our daily sitting and chanting sessions.
“He or she who wants to attain peace should practice being upright, humble, and capable of using loving speech. He or she will know how to live simply and happily, with senses calmed, without being covetous and carried away by the emotions of the majority. Let him or her not do anything that will be disapproved of by the wise ones.
“(And this is what he or she contemplates):
“May everyone be happy and safe, and may their hearts be filled with joy.
“May all living beings live in security and in peace—beings who are frail or strong, tall or short, big or small, invisible or visible, near or faraway, already born, or yet to be born. May all of them dwell in perfect tranquility.
“Let no one do harm to anyone. Let no one put the life of anyone in danger. Let no one, out of anger or ill will, wish anyone any harm.
“Just as a mother loves and protects her only child at the risk of her own life, cultivate boundless love to offer to all living beings in the entire cosmos. Let our boundless love pervade the whole universe, above, below, and across. Our love will know no obstacles. Our heart will be absolutely free from hatred and enmity. Whether standing or walking, sitting or lying, as long as we are awake, we should maintain this mindfulness of love in our own heart. This is the noblest way of living.
“Free from wrong views, greed, and sensual desires, living in beauty and realizing Perfect Understanding, those who practice boundless love will certainly transcend birth and death.”
Etena sacca vajjena sotthi te hotu sabbada
(repeat three times)
(By the firm determination of this truth, may you ever be well.
Translated by Thich Nhat Hanh, Metta Sutta, Sutta Nipata 1.8