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Selfless friendship: Understanding Maitri Bhav in Eastern cultures
Maitri Bhav which stands for 'selfless friendship' has been part of the cultures of the East such as Vedic, Buddhist and Jain cultures. In Vedic culture, Maitri is a Sanskrit word, which stands for benevolence that is based on selfless mutual and equitable relationship.

According Yogapedia portal, Maitri Bhav is the mental union that takes place when two people who are on the same wavelength. The Pali version of this word that is often used is metta. If seen from metaphysical viewpoint, maitri is the union of two souls or spiritual unity as a part of the universal soul.

In Jainism four bhavas or bhawanas are often seen as human virtues in which maitri bhawana consists of amity, love, and unity with one and all. Other attributes of friendship consist of appreciation, respect and pure joy (Pramoda Bhawana); Compassion (Karuna Bhawana); and Equanimity and Tolerance (Madhyastha Bhawana), explains website

The site also has a verse as a prayer of friendship aspirant which goes like this: May the sacred stream of amity / Flow forever in my heart. / May the universe prosper, / Such is my cherished desire.

In other words, in Jainism, maitri bhawana is the acquired state of mind through striving that cultivates empathetic awareness of all sentient beings - an unconditional love and benevolence for all with identification with them.

In Buddhism, maitri has been described as a form of mental relationship which excludes the sufferings that arise from desires and attachments. In other words, friendship is the desireless empathetic joy for its on worth or detached compassionate relationship.

In a sect of Buddhism practiced in Nepal, marriages are also seen as ‘Maitri Unions’ are joined spiritually so as to become ‘one single love energy surpassing the sum total of the two parties’. Thus true friendship is a calm, loving, non-judgmental awareness of one another.

The Buddha talks about the truth of selfless friendship saying, “Teach this triple truth to all: A generous heart, kind speech, and a life of service and compassion are the things which renew humanity.”

So selfless friendship is the true friendship based on the precept of ‘live and let live’, rest is all worldly and illusion of friendship through ritualistic and materialistic show offs.

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