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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,<ref>Harvey, Peter (2007). An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-31333-3</ref> while some Indian literature refer to it as maitrī ().<ref>Warder, A. K. (1970; reprinted 2004). Indian Buddhism. Motilal Banarsidass: Delhi. ISBN 81-208-1741-9</ref><ref>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</ref>

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).

  • According to Book Two of Aristotle's "Rhetoric" it is defined as virtue.<ref>Aristotle's Rhetoric: Book II - Chapter 7</ref> It is defined as being "helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped".<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation

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  • Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche argued that kindness and love are the "most curative herbs and agents in human intercourse".<ref>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.</ref>
  • Kindness is considered to be one of the Knightly Virtues.<ref>The Manual of Life - Character</ref>
  • According to eighteenth century Bohemian philosopher Honza z Žižkova, kindness is the most important part of his practical philosophy on deceiving bureaucracy.<ref>What is Kindness?</ref>
  • In Meher Baba's teachings, God is synonymous with kindness: "God is so kind that it is impossible to imagine His unbounded kindness!"<ref>Kalchuri, Bhau (1986). Meher Prabhu: Lord Meher, 11, Myrtle Beach: Manifestation, Inc., p. 3918.</ref>

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