Often or here in the blog I use the word love instead of the Pali word ‘metta’. Both words are intrinsically the same. That the word love is more familiar and we more associations with it which is a handicap and an advantage. I write about love because what I have to say includes all types of love, not only the altruistic, the unconditioned. In fact, as long as one is not an once returner, and has overcome liking and disliking, all love will be defiled – more or less.
It is good to develop ‘metta’ through metta meditation. One feels good and directs the thoughts in a beneficial direction. Although one might not really have or radiate metta yet even though one repeats the formula ‘may all beings be happy’, …
What I, in my limited and unenlightened way of perceiving, had thought to be unconditioned love, pure metta, is still just defiled. Too bad. It is a bit frustrating, like nibbeling off with your fingernails bits and pieces from posters from thick layers of posters on a advertisement wall. Once a piece is off one sees there is another poster underneath and yet another and yet another.
In the end one might find out that there is no poster wall, the thick layers of posters are supporting themselves, once all are scratched off nothing remains. That’s just a guess, for now what I do is nibbeling, scratching and finding a deeper layer.
In regards to love that means: even when I love a dog, it is not purely unconditioned. I get something out of it – and I want to get it out. Even a blade of grass, when I look at it and love it, it is a sense pleasure and not unconditional love, not pure metta.
The Buddha distinguished the paramies, the good qualities in 3 stages, the normal stage of a normal worldling, the higher and the ultimate. The latter qualities of an enlightened being, the middle one probably experienced or radiated by a learner, one who is established on the path but not perfected.
Here sits that dog in front of me, after a good meal and a good cuddle and he is looking at me with love in his eyes. Does he know more about unconditional love than I do?
No, if I were not feeding him he would not know me.