Wildmind Buddhist Meditation

Mantra Meditation

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Sabbe satta sukhi hontu

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Sabbe sattā sukhi hontu is a Pali phrase meaning “May all beings be well (or happy)”.

It’s not, properly speaking, a mantra, but is a chant that is used in exactly the same way as a mantra.

Unlike most mantras, it has a definite grammatical meaning.

Sabbe = all
Sattā (or sattaa) = beings
Sukhi = happy, well
Hontu = may they be

The chant has an attractive tune, and it’s lovely to chant this at the end of a period of the metta bhavana (development of lovingkindness) practice. It makes a beautiful group chant as well.

Outside of formal meditation, you can chant this mantra while walking, driving, or while engaged in any other such activity. It can help if you keep your attention centered on your heart, and also if you imagine that light is flowing from your heart and touching other people.

There are many other Pali chants that are similar and that are also closely related to the practice of lovingkindness, yet none seem to be as common as sabbe satta sukhi hontu, which really expresses the essence of lovingkindness.

Variants include:

  • sabbe satta avera hontu (may all beings be free from enmity and danger)
  • sabbe satta abyapajjha hontu (may all beings be free from mental suffering)
  • sabbe satta anigha hontu (may all beings be free from physical suffering)
  • sabbe satta dukkha muccantu (may all beings be free from suffering)
  • sabbe satta sukhi attanam pariharantu (may all beings protect themselves joyfully)

Click here for the chant in RealAudio

Or click below to listen to an MP3 version:

[wpaudio url=”http://www.wildmind.org/audio/sabbesattasukhi.mp3″ text=”Sabbe Satta Sukhi Hontu” dl=”0″]

Pronunciation notes:

  • a is pronounced as u in cut
  • ā (or aa) is pronounced as a in father

Sabbe satta sukhi hontu is the key of the development of lovingkindness and compassion. Although most religions teach us to love our neighbors and even our enemies, it’s often hard to know exactly how to do that. Buddhism, being a very practical tradition, offers a number of practices, including the development of lovingkindness (metta bhavana), and the development of compassion (karuna bhavana) meditations. Each of these practices helps us to develop a healthier and more loving relationship to oneself and others.

Metta is often translated as love as well as lovingkindness, and the essence of love in this sense is that we recognize that all beings, just like us, wish to experience happiness and do not wish to experience suffering. Metta is an empathetic sense of caring for others’ wellebing. It’s for that reason that sabbe satta sukhi hontu (“may all beings be happy”) is considered to express the heart of the lovingkindness practice.

In cultivating lovingkindness we commonly repeat phrases such as “May all beings be well; May all beings be happy; May all beings be free from suffering.” The accumulated effect of those words, when they are mindfully repeated, is to create a genuine sense of caring.

Comments

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Comment from GailPlatt
Time: April 16, 2007, 11:04 am

I love this mantra – even if it isn’t a true mantra. It creates a loving, compassionate energy when sung…..
thank you !

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Comment from dennis
Time: July 24, 2007, 12:46 am

This mantra iswonderful- i am knew to buddhism and just trying to find any information i can.

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Comment from Jayarava
Time: August 3, 2007, 9:22 am

A mantra, in its broadest sense, is simply a phrase or composition to be chanted, so this phrase qualifies from that point of view. It also invokes an aspect of the Awakened mind – the desire for the welfare of all beings – and so again seems as much a mantra as anything else.

Cheers
Jayarava
visiblemantra.org

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Comment from Shir
Time: August 16, 2007, 3:53 pm

I have found this mantra to be ideal for walking meditation. The cadence can be varied to match walking speed.

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Comment from Dan Dorta
Time: August 28, 2007, 2:36 am

I recite this mantra three times after meditation and after reciting the Heart Sutra.
I’m relatively new to Buddhism and I find it so liberating. I’m most into Zen. Especially for its “Ehi Passiko” (come and see for yourself) attitude. Regards, Dan.

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Comment from mike
Time: October 10, 2007, 7:32 am

i have been practicing buddhism for 6 months now and found the mantra very relaxing. thank you. yours mike

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Comment from carol
Time: November 1, 2007, 3:30 pm

i learned this from Ram Dass; he did this at the end of some of his talks. his version is: “May all beings everywhere be free from suffering; may all beings everywhere be peaceful; may all beings everywhere be happy; may all beings everywhere be free.” it’s a great way to end a meditation session or a teaching. Namaste. carol

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Comment from manjukumar
Time: December 17, 2008, 8:13 am

I also found that this mantra gives much power to change the mind and create happiness in our life.

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Comment from Robert
Time: January 21, 2009, 10:56 pm

I have this mantra posted for all who visit my studio. People seem to really enjoy it.

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Comment from paola
Time: February 20, 2009, 5:07 pm

when i heard for the first time this words i didn’t know what it means but i felt happy.

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Comment from :)
Time: April 11, 2010, 6:04 pm

this mantra is beautiful. i am new to busdhism but so far i’m really enjoying it!! i love meditating and saying/singing this mantra and i also have a few other mantras i love to chant. i also love the meaning of this one.

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Comment from Tony
Time: May 12, 2010, 2:46 am

This is a beautiful mantra! I just wish there was audio for the variants as well.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: May 12, 2010, 9:50 pm

Good point, Tony. When I have the time I’ll add chants for those mantras as well.

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Comment from Dreadlocked Mike
Time: August 24, 2010, 1:47 pm

thank you for this website. i do not have much literature detailing different mantras at my disposal, but this website has made them available, and i am quite grateful. i use mantra almost everyday and always notice a difference when i do. you have done me a great deed. Namaste.

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Comment from JennG
Time: November 26, 2010, 4:06 pm

I love this mantra. It really helps me to focus. I use it daily. Thank you for this wonderful website.

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Comment from prabal gogoi nature’s beckon
Time: December 23, 2010, 4:33 am

i love this mantra too,it help me to wake and sleep in night

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Pingback from A menudo te recuerdo y pienso en ti | El Vértigo de la Felicidad
Time: August 18, 2011, 4:51 am

[…] Sabe Sata Sukhi Hontu […]

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Comment from James C
Time: August 23, 2012, 10:44 am

I am still relatively new to Buddhism and I am just starting to learn to meditate and find my inner peace. I have just chanted this mantra ‘Sabbe satta sukhi hontu’. For some reason a few tears rolled down my face. What a wonderful mantra and one which I will chant when I finish meditating every time. Loving kindness to all.

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Comment from manoj kumar
Time: September 16, 2013, 5:42 am

This is a beautiful mantra! I just wish there was audio for the variants as well.

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Comment from andri hidayat
Time: December 29, 2013, 1:31 am

Yes this is a good mantra.may all beings be happy

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Comment from kris v.
Time: February 7, 2014, 1:56 am

i think Metta actually comes from the sanskrit word maitri which means – friendliness. So the most litteral meaning would be to consider all beings as your friends. Btw, i remember hearing a sanskrit chant once – lokah samastha sukhino (or sukhin?) bhavantu, which would translate as “may everyone in the world be happy”. Not sure whether it’s vedantic or mahayana, though.

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: February 12, 2014, 11:10 pm

There’s a difference between friendliness and considering people as being your friends. Friendliness (metta) is an attitude of kindness, which you can have for strangers, people you don’t like, and (of course) friends. You don’t have to consider beings to be friends in order to have metta for them.

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Comment from Michelle
Time: July 31, 2014, 12:37 pm

Thank you so much! I love this mantra (and this site)! As a new buddhist, I find this site extremely helpful. Where could I find audio clips for the variants listed?
Thanks again! Michelle

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: July 31, 2014, 10:14 pm

I don’t know of any, I’m afraid. Sorry, Michelle!

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Comment from Eric
Time: December 3, 2014, 10:12 am

How do you chant ‘May I be well’ ; “May you be well” in Pali ?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: December 3, 2014, 12:22 pm

My Pali is very rusty I assume there are various ways those could be expressed. “Ahaṃ sukhito homi” means “May I be well/happy/at ease,” and “(Tvaṃ) sukhaṃ hotu” means “May you be well/happy/at ease.” I believe “sukhito hohi” also works for “May you be happy.”

But take this with a pinch of salt and do some verification!

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