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For other uses, see Kindness (disambiguation).
Kindness is a virtue in many cultures and religions. The above picture is from a Laotian temple, depicting the parable of Buddha and the elephant Nalagiri. Devadutta, jealous of Buddha and wanting to hurt him, sends an angry elephant named Nalagiri into a street where Buddha and his colleagues were walking. As the angry Nalagiri approached them, Buddha's loving kindness and friendliness tames Nalagiri. The parable suggests kindness affects everyone. Buddhists call such kindness in virtuous state of perfection as Mettā,[1] while some Indian literature refer to it as maitrī (Sanskrit: मैत्री).[2][3]

Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern for others. It is known as a virtue, and recognized as a value in many cultures and religions (see ethics in religion).


In 2009, analysts warned that 'real kindness changes people in the doing of it, often in unpredictable ways. Real kindness is an exchange with essentially unpredictable consequences'.[6]

They also argue that, in a relationship, 'real kindness, real fellow-feeling, entails hating and being hated - that is, really feeling available frustrations – and through this coming to a more real relationship'.[7]

In literature[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Harvey, Peter (2007). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31333-3
  2. ^ Warder, A. K. (1970; reprinted 2004). Indian Buddhism. Motilal Banarsidass: Delhi. ISBN 81-208-1741-9
  3. ^ Gonda, J. (Ed.). (1977), A History of Indian Literature: Epics and Sanskrit religious literature, Medieval religious literature in Sanskrit (Vol. 2), Otto Harrassowitz Verlag; see page 62 and note 43
  4. ^ Aristotle (translated by Lee Honeycutt). "Kindness". Rhetoric, book 2, chapter 7. Retrieved 2005-11-22. [dead link]
  5. ^ Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. "On the History of Moral Feelings," Human, all too human: a book for free spirits. Aphorism 48. [Original: Menschliches, Allzumenschiles, 1878.] Trans. Marion Faber with Stephen Lehman. University of Nebraska Press: First Printing, Bison Books, 1996.
  6. ^ Adam Phillips & Barbara Taylor, On Kindness (London 2009) p. 12
  7. ^ Phillips, p. 94
  8. ^
  9. ^ Lagrette Tallent Lenker, Fathers and Daughters in Shakespeare and Shaw (2001) p. 107
  10. ^ robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque (London 1909) p. 35
  11. ^ Galatians 5:22, New International Version

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]