On Radiating the Sublime Attitudes

If you want to, you can radiate thoughts of good will, etc., in extended form, either in Pali or in translation. Your thoughts should be directed in two directions: inwardly and outwardly.

Inwardly: Radiating good will, compassion, and appreciation to yourself means to do no evil, to take pity on yourself by abandoning evil, and to be appreciative of the aims of virtue and morality. To develop equanimity toward yourself means to be unruffled when the occasion calls for it. For instance, when you’re ill and have done all you can to treat the illness, you should then limit your attention to the goodness in the heart.

Outwardly: To radiate thoughts of good will, etc., to others can be done in two ways: (a) radiating such thoughts specifically to those you know and love—your parents, teachers, relatives, and close friends; and (b) radiating such thoughts in general to all living beings of all kinds, without specifying anyone in particular: seeing that we are all alike in having bodies and minds and in feeling pain, and so radiating thoughts of good will throughout the three realms—the sensual realm, the realm of form, and the realm of formlessness—without making distinctions or drawing lines. To radiate good will in this way is very powerful and gives the mind enormous strength.

The extended formula, in Pali and in translation, is as follows:

Ahaṁ sukhito homi (May I be happy.)

Niddukkho homi (May I be free from stress and pain.)

Avero homi (May I be free from animosity.)

Abyāpajjho homi (May I free from oppression.)

Anīgho homi (May I be free from trouble.)

Sukhī attānaṁ pariharāmi (May I look after myself with ease.)

Once you feel complete good will toward yourself, you should share these feelings, spreading them to all others in general:


Sabbe sattā sukhitā hontu (May all living beings be happy).

Sabbe sattā averā hontu (May all living beings be free from animosity.)

Sabbe sattā abyāpajjhā hontu (May all living beings be free from oppression.)

Sabbe sattā anīghā hontu (May all living beings be free from trouble.)

Sabbe sattā sukhī attānaṁ pariharantu (May all living beings look after themselves with ease.)


Sabbe sattā sabba-dukkhā pamuccantu (May all living beings be freed from all suffering.)


Sabbe sattā laddha-sampattito mā vigacchantu (May all living beings not be deprived of the good fortune they have attained.)


Sabbe sattā kammassakā kamma-dāyādā kamma-yonī kamma-bandhū kamma-paṭisaraṇā

(All living beings are owners of their actions, are heirs to their actions, born of their actions, related through their actions, and live dependent on their actions.)

Yaṁ kammaṁ karissanti kalyāṇaṁ vā pāpakaṁ vā tassa dāyādā bhavissanti

(Whatever they do, for good or for evil, to that will they fall heir.)

This ends the formula for radiating the four sublime attitudes. To spread these thoughts without specifying this or that particular person is called developing the quality of immeasurability (appamañña dhamma).

If you have trouble memorizing the extended formula, you can reduce it to:

“Mettā”—thoughts of good will

“Karuṇā”—thoughts of compassion

“Muditā”—thoughts of appreciation

“Upekkhā”—thoughts of equanimity

Or if you want, you can simply express these thoughts in your own words.