The Mettà Sutta is a discourse of ten verses from the Sutta Nipàta and is one of the most popular and well-known of all the Buddha's discourses. In it the Buddha describes some of the characteristics of love, which include being humble, contented, easy to speak to and skilful in doing good. He also says that love should be expressed to all sentient beings without exception Ý `the seen and the unseen, those dwelling near or far' (Sn.147). One of the Buddha's most famous sayings: `As a mother would protect her only child even at the risk of her own life, develop a love like this to all beings', is from the Mettà Sutta (Sn.149). In countries like Sri Lanka many people know the Mettà Sutta by heart and chant it in the belief that its calming and confidence-giving effect offers them protection.