The Jain concept of Maitri refers to friendship.
Thinking of friendship.
Think to be a friend of all beings in this universe. Once you are a friend you can not think badly of anyone, but rather you’d wish to make their life easier.
Maitri Bhavana (Thinking of a Friendship):
Jinas had taught us, “We must be a friend to all living beings.” The feeling of friendship brings love and respect for others. It, also, initiates a feeling of brotherhood among all and in turn leaves no room for harm, deceit or quarrelsomeness with anybody.
If we contemplate on Maitri Bhavana our thoughts, words, and actions will not be harsh, and we will not hurt anybody. On the contrary, we will support and protect everybody. Friendship will lead us to be tolerant, forgiving, and caring for one another. Therefore by developing a friendship with all living beings, we will avoid bad karma.
This concept is part of the 12 Bhavnas (Reflections or Thoughts). Some people believe that there are 16 Bhavnas. The following explains what the Bhavnas are. (Taken from http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~pluralsm/affiliates/jainism/jainedu/12bhavna.htm)
Jain religion puts a significant emphasis on the thought process of a human being. A person’s behavior and his actions are the reflection of his internal thoughts, day in and day out. It is not the action but intention behind the action results in the accumulation of Karma. Hence, one should be very careful about his thoughts, how he thinks, and the subject matter of his thought.
To make room for pure thoughts, and to drive out the evil ones, Jainism recommends to reflect or meditate the following twelve thoughts or Bhavnas.
The twelve Bhavnas described here are the subject matters of one’s meditation, and how to occupy one’s mind with useful, religious, beneficial, peaceful, harmless, spiritually advancing, karma preventing thoughts. They cover a wide field of teachings of Jainism. They are designed to serve as aids to spiritual progress, produce detachment, and lead the aspirants from the realm of desire to the path of renunciation. They are reflections upon the fundamental facts of life, intended to develop purity of thought and sincerity in the practice of religion.
The reflections are also called Anuprekshas, longings, thoughts, aspirations, or Bhavnas.
Pravin K. Shah
Jain Study Center of North Carolina