This "Brahmavihāra Dhamma" expounded by the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw, Agga Mahā Paṇḍita reveals the systematic method of developing Mettā, loving-kindness, etc., towards all beings and the way to lead a Life of Holiness. The style of presentation and the informative material contained therein stand witness to the depth and wealth of mature spiritual and scriptural knowledge of the eminent Author. The warmth and sympathetic understanding of the human nature with which the author is moved, reflects the noble qualities of a true disciple of the Buddha who was committed to the weal of all living beings, and who had throughout his lifetime from the time of His Supreme Enlightenment, devoted his Compassionate skill to the aid of others for their emancipation from the woes, worries and sufferings.
A careful reading of this Dhamma followed by an unfailing practice of meditation that has been clearly instructed in this text of Dhamma will, I believe, amount to hearting a fortune in the shape of happiness in the present life time as also the spiritual attainment.
Buddhism, as a world religion, has proved to be a guiding force to human civilization and to all mankind who are in misery. Life, in fact, is full of sufferings, and what is seemingly pleasurable is in reality miserable. It was only after the appearance of Buddhism which inculcates moral discipline and Mettā, Loving-kindness, that the people will find a happier and peaceful world. The way to cultivate Mettā and Compassion (karuṇā) has been vividly shown in this Brahmavihāra Dhamma, apart from other finer qualities which a man should possess and practise for the sake of one's own benefit and of other sentient beings. Full instructions are given in this text of Dhamma to develop the noble practices particularly the four Brahmavihāra, namely, Mettā, Karuṇā, Muditā and U pekkhā according to what has been taught by the Buddha in a subtle and profound way with Great Compassion flowing freely towards all creatures that live. Buddha could see how all beings are suffering and bearing the burden of their khandhās for so long as they are drifting along in the tide of Samsāra. The Dhamma has taught us to have also karuṇā, pity, for others in distress including animals from minute ones to enormous creatures. This has been elucidated by the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw to enable us to clear away the dust in our eyes to discern the truth.
This text of Dhamma is enriched with a number of anecdotes which go to illustrate with lucidity the value of developing loving-kindness, compassion and rejoicing in others' prosperity and happiness, and also how to control anger, avoid envy, practise patience and Self-reliance and other virtues. It has been emphasized that human life is vulnerable to pain and suffering. Life is a process of change from the simple to the complex, birth to death, from beginning to end. Nothing ever remains the same in a man, which is composed of rūpa and nāma which are arising and vanishing at every moment of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, contacting and imagining. The appearance and disappearance of vibrating manifestations are the becoming and cessation process of rūpa-nāma, which are transient by nature. This fact of "impermanence" brings in its wake discomfort, pain, illness and unhappiness as also what is erroneously considered as joy and pleasure which are in fact, sukha-vedanā. Preaching has been made that a certain person who is not disciplined in morality will lack wisdom, and in consequence, even a trivial evil committed by him will lead him to the state of misery. Buddha has taught us to pave our own way for salvation, i.e., to practise nobly and diligently to get rid of all miseries. Buddha could only teach us the way to happiness. Purity and impurity belong to oneself no one can purify another", says the Buddha. This brings us to the law of kamma. We are the heirs of our own kamma, good and bad actions of what we have done in the past and what we are doing now. In the matter of developing karuṇâ towards a being who is suffering, and in extreme misery beyond succour, one will have to nurse a feeling of indifference-'Upekkhā'. In essence, it is to view the fate of that being as "kammassakā " i.e., every living being has only kamma as his own personal property in possession. Good kamma produces good, and bad kamma produces evil, e.g., "generosity" yields wealth; "morality" causes one to be reborn in noble families in states of happiness; "anger" causes ugliness, and so on. These have been shown citing relevant stories which are authentic as preached by the Buddha.
Rare indeed is this Dhamma which has been so elaborately expounded by the author, the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw that our heartfelt gratitude goes to the Sayādawphayāgyi, and also to U Thein Han, a retired Judge and an Executive Member of this Buddha Sāsana Nuggaha Phayāgyi Organization, for his pains in taking tape-recordings of this noble Dhamma preached by the Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw for sixteen times to make a full coverage of the subject. These recordings were copied in writing and the manuscript was put up to the Sayādaw for kind scrutiny, rewritings and approval before the final draft went to the Press.
Life has been described as a continuous becoming (bhava) like a wheel moving on and on upon the wilderness of Samsāra. One is born, one grows and suffers, and eventually dies to be reborn and continues the endless journey called 'bhava'-life existence, Buddha has pointed out that Insight Knowledge, called Wisdom can be gained only by way of achieving Sīla, Samādhi and paññā through the Noble Eightfold Path. Wisdom, therefore, constitutes the great 'accomplishment' for an aspirant. One who aspires should know the true characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta through serious contemplation and noting, which will finally lead towards complete liberation from sufferings after attainment of magga-phala-ñāṇa. The Venerable Mahāsī Sayādaw has given us guidelines to achieve that insight wisdom by the practice of Vipassanā even while developing mettā, karuṇā, etc. Impermanence of all things are evident. When we are young, we are only a vaguely aware of these things. It is because lack of wisdom, health and vigour acts as barriers against the onslaughts of life. With the passage of time as we grow older with grey hairs and other signs of decay, we come to see what is actually happening to us in true perspective, and the significance of the ceaseless change occurring in us and things around us. Buddha's teaching is as vital and relevant to-day as it was when he lived centuries ago.
I have translated this wonderful Dhamma with as much scholarly accuracy as I could possibly do, and with my humble spiritual perceptiveness that is within my practical knowledge of the Dhamma which I have been able to acquire under the guidance of my spiritual teachers.
May this humble work contribute towards a wider knowledge of the Dhamma and a deeper appreciation of the morality of Buddhism which is highly pragmatic.
May the constant practice of the Dhamma on the lines indicated in this text prevent akusala and ultimately destroy all the fetters that keep us away from our final goal, Nibbāna.
(Min Kyaw Thu)
Buddha Sāsana Nuggaha Organization.
February 5, 1983.
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammā Sambuddhasa
Prelude to the Dhamma
To-day is the Full Moon day of Wāso, 1327 M.E. Commencing from to-day, Brahmavihāra Dhamma will be delivered. In the phrase or group of words-"Brahmavihāra", the word "Brahma" means "Noble". This word, if properly pronounced in Pāḷi should be recited as "Birahma". In Myanmar, it is to be represented and recited carrying a vocal sound as "Brahma". This can be easily understood. The word "Vihāra" conveys the meaning of "Dwelling" or, "Abiding", or "Living". Hence, "Brahmavihāra" purports the meaning of "Noble Living", or rather, "Living in the exercise of good-will."
The expression "Brahmavihāra", if analysed, will include mettā, friendliness or loving kindness, karuṇā, compassion, muditā, goodwill or rejoicing with others in their happiness or prosperity, and upekkhā, equanimity or indifference to pain and pleasure. These are the four kinds of Brahamavihāra. It has, however, been mentioned in Mahāghovimda Sutta as "Brahmacariya". Therefore, Brahmavihāra Dhamma is commonly named as "Brahmacara" Dhamma. Brahmacariya means Life of Holiness or Living in a Virtuous Life. This can, therefore, be also called brahmacara dhamma from now onwards.
Then also, in the Abhidhammā desanā, this Brahmavihāra dhamma has been preached as Appamaññā, the term that is derived from the word "infinite" or "boundless". It has been so named as "Appamaññā" because, when developing mettā, loving kindness, it could be done with unlimited or perfect exercise of the qualities of friendliness -mettā -, etc., towards all beings.
Analytical statement of the meaning of Mettā, etc.
Of the four kinds of Brahmavihāra Dhamma, mettā means love, karuṇā means pity or compassion. Muditā means happiness or joy. Upekkhā means indifference. Out of these four meanings translated into Myanmar, only the meaning of the word 'compassion' is clear and precise without mingling with any other sense or terminology. The term "Love" may convey the sense of clinging attachment with rāga, human passionate desires. "Happiness" also concerns rejoicing for fulfillment of one's own desire or, in connection with Dhamma. "Indifference" covers various aspects of mental sensations, etc. As such, if the meanings of the terms: "mettā", "muditā", and "upekkhā" are rendered in Myanmar language as "love", "happiness" and "indifference", it would appear to have related to other meanings of different shades, extraneous to what is really intended to convey. Hence, it would be more obvious, if they are expressed in ordinary Pāḷi usage, as mettā bhāvanā, karuṇā bhāvanā, and upekkhā bhāvanā. We shall use the ordinary Pāḷi language which is more comprehensively clear in delivering the sermon.
Mettā bhāvanā means nothing but to develop one's mind with loving kindness towards others. Even if a thought occurs wishing prosperity to others, it is but a virtuous thought. What is meant by karuṇā bhāvanā is to develop compassionate feeling towards other beings. Even ordinarily, if one feels pity towards the other wishing him escape from sufferings, it is a virtuous thought of karuṇā. As regards muditā", it conveys the sense of joy or rejoicing with others in their continued happiness and prosperity. Regarding the term "upekkhā", it is a feeling of indifference with no interest or worry in other's happiness or state of conditions having a neutral sensation thinking that these things have inevitably happened according to kamma, the consequential effects of good or bad merits. Of these four sorts of Brahmavihāra, first and foremost, I shall deal with the development of mettā brahmavihāra.
Making preparatory arrangements
In the Visuddhi Magga, before explaining the manner as to how contemplation should be made on pathavī kasina, the subject of preliminary arrangements (parikam) to be done, has been elaborated quite exhaustively. To put it in a nutshell as to what is most essential, priority should be given to the proper observance of morality, the purity of sīla, and then to completely settle anything to be done which may cause hindrances (palibhoda) and create a feeling of worry in regard to the residing monastery. The next point is to accept with faith and confidence the instructions given relating to the method of developing meditation on loving kindness (mettā), which one intends to take up from a really competent and good spiritual teacher-kammaṭṭhānācariya. This is the method I am now going to prescribe and preach. It is necessary to stay in an appropriate monastery, or rather, a retreating centre, and settle off all anxieties likely to creep in, such as, shaving the head and cutting off the hairs on the head and clipping the finger and toe nails and carrying out other trivial matters. Later, take a rest for a while after meals to avoid sluggishness or inertia. Only after finishing up all odd jobs that need be performed, choose a quite spot or a place of solitude, and then take up a sitting posture with ease and comfort.
Sitting posture with legs crossed
Sitting with ease and comfort means to obtain a more comfortable way of sitting so that one can sit for a long time without interfering with his contemplation. To begin training, the best way is to sit erect cross-legged so as to become comfortable. There are three kinds of sitting postures. (1) The manner of sitting posture found in Buddha's images or statues. This is not very easy for the Myanmar people to imitate. (2) The way Bhikkhunīs or nuns used to sit without interlocking the legs, which is, of course, prohibited. This position is generally adopted by many. It is to keep the legs parallel while sitting without pressing one against the other. It may be feasible since the posture will not block the blood flow running through the veins. (3) Sitting posture adopted by Bhikkhunīs which is not prohibited, i. e., the sitting posture with half the length of the legs crossed. Any one of these three types of sitting postures, best suited to you, may be chosen. Females also may sit as they please. The manner of taking a sitting posture, as stated, is required only at the primary stage of meditation. Thereafter, sitting postures with knees up or with legs stretched may be taken up according to circumstances.
Permissible to meditate by taking up all four
Iriyā pathas or postures
Meditation can be done while walking, or standing, or sitting, or lying down, which are the four usual postures. It is clearly evident that meditational exercise can be made by adopting any one of the four postures as stated in Metta Sutta in the following words:
"Titthaṃ caraṃ nīsinno vā, sayano yāvatassa vitamiddho etaṃ satiṃ adhittheyya."
The meaning of this Pāḷi phrase is:
Tittham-either in the act of standing, ciram-or in the act of walking, nisinno vā-or while sitting, sayano-or while lying down, yāvatā-for the duration of that period, vitamiddho-the mind will be free from sloth or sleepiness, assa-and it will so happen. Yāvatā-for that particular length of time, etaṃ satim-this practice of mindfulness which arises along with loving-kindness, adhittheyya-should be developed by fixing the mind upon it and letting oneself remain in this state of mind.
It has been clearly instructed to contemplate and note by way of assuming the four usual postures not only in respect of mettā bhāvanā, but also in regard to practicing satipaṭṭhāna vipassanā relating to which it has been preached as "gacchanto vā gacchāmīti pajānāti," etc.
Hence, although instructions have been given to take up a sitting posture cross-legged at the initial stage of meditation, all of the four iriyā pathas or postures can be adopted as may be considered appropriate in developing mettā bhāvanā, i. e., meditation to cultivate mindfulness on loving-kindness. The essential point is to develop contemplation on loving-kindness on all occasions or rather continuously, leaving aside about four hours at the time of mid-night or six-hours time for sleep. When going to bed at about 9 or 10 p.m. while lying in bed before falling asleep, it should be so developed.
Should weigh pros and cons
After taking up the cross-legged posture, the faults of anger or malice and the advantages of patience should be imagined and reflected upon. If these have been already reflected upon earlier, it would be quite sufficient. This has been accordingly instructed in as much as benefits will be accrued by reflection. It is not extremely important though. If meditated with intense faith and enthusiasm, beneficial results would be derived. Nonetheless, if one is going to undertake any kind of work or business, there may be things which are to be reflected upon or fulfilled. Rejection can be made only when one sees the fault. For example: Take the case of a person sweeping and cleaning a room in a house or a monastery, with a broom-stick. He would pick up and throw away scraps of paper, cloth or broken pieces of stick if they are considered by him as mere trash or worthless stuff to be discarded. If such trash or waste matters are kept or put aside in this or that place inside the room, the room cannot possibly be free from rubbish. In the same way, if the fault of anger is not perceived, one is likely to accept that 'anger' without rejecting it. There is every possibility that such a state of affairs or condition would prevail. For instance:
Nowadays, people who bear grudge against someone or have grievance against others for having done something wrong to their detriment may be said to have been harbouring the anger or malice as a bosom friend. An aggrieved person who has so become angry may feel bad or sour even if others would appease his anger by comforting him with nice words. And then, he might even consider it pleasurable to entertain this blooming anger, or even become infuriated or flared up for sobering him down. Moreover, it is likely that he would even blame them for bossing him. This resembles a person who keeps a venomous viper in his pouch tucked up at his waist accepting the anger not realizing the disastrous consequence or the fault of it. Hence, to be able to reject the anger, one should reflect upon the faulty nature of this "anger" or the spiteful feeling. The manner of reflection to be done according to the texts of Dhamma has been shown as follows:
At one time, on being asked by a wandering ascetic, Paribbājako, by the name of Channa, as: "For what kind of fault that is inherent or apparent in rāga, dosa and moha, has it been preached and prescribed for rejection, or rather, to get rid of them?", the Venerable Ashin Ānandā Thera gave the reply as stated here in after.
The fault of anger
Āvuso - O, my friend Channa, duttho -a vicious person who is bearing ill-will or becoming angry, dosena abhibhūto - being overwhelmed with anger, nay, overpowered by anger or resentment, pariyadanaṃ citto - which has used up or wiped off all noble-mindedness or virtuous thoughts, nay, without goodwill because of anger attavyāpādayāpi ceteti, - plot to cruelly cause his own self suffer misery. Paravyāpādayāpi ... ubhaya vyāpādayāpi cèteti- carry out plans to ill-treat himself as well as others, and bring about miserable conditions. Kāyāna - physically, duccaritaṃ-bad deeds, such as, killing, etc., carati -are committed; vacara - verbally (and) manasa - mentally, duccaritaṃ - utter abusive words ill-wishing others' ruin or destruction in life and property and so on. In essence, it is to reflect and exercise restraint based upon this Dhamma so preached. The manner of reflection and exercising restraint or keeping one's mind under control is:
When giving rise to aggressive anger, it is obvious that one becomes miserable. Feeling of joy or happiness which previously pervades him immediately disappears. Mental distress takes place which then changes his looks to become grim and distorted caused by unhappiness. He would become fidgety, and the more he becomes furious, the more he is distressed and embarrassed both physically and mentally. Anger may incite him to commit murder or utter obscene words. If he makes a retrospection of his past evil deeds, he will, in the least, feel sorry and humiliated by being conscious of his own guilt, or that, if he has committed a crime, he will definitely suffer all at once in receiving due punishment for his crimes. Furthermore, in his next existence he can descend to the apāya realm where he will invariably have to undergo immense suffering and misery. This is just a brief description of how anger will bring about dire consequences. Such incidents can be personally experienced and known by mere retrospection.
Misery caused to others by 'anger' is more obvious. In the least, making others feel unhappy by word of mouth is fairly common. A person who is railed at may feel awfully distressed and suffer mental pain. Angry mood may relegate to the level of killing others or causing severe suffering mentally. Even if no terrible consequence may not take place in the present life time, an angry person will land in the nether world in his future existences. If at all he is reborn in the world of human beings by virtue of his some kusala kamma, he will be greatly handicapped with a short span of life, exuberant diseases and ugliness in his personal appearance. Anger cut both ways endangering both the person who is angry and the aggrieved. I would not propose to illustrate further citing relevant stories retting to the manner of reflection on the faults of anger since there is hardly any time at my disposal to tender my preachings on how mettā can be developed.
Beneficial fruits of patience
Next, in the matter of reflecting on the merits or fruits of 'patience', khantī - patience or forbearance is basically the Dhamma contrary to "anger", which, in other words, is adosa-absence of anger. It is similar to the essence of mettā, Loving-kindness. In especial, what is said to have 'patience' is to be able to endure any kind of provocation and to remain calm without anger and doing evil. Mettā or Loving-kindness is more significant or rather, far-reaching in meaning than "Patience". It imbibes the quality of goodwill rejoicing with other people's happiness. The advantages of "patience" have been described in Visuddhi Magga in the manner stated below.
"Khantī paramaṃ tapo titikkhā" which means "Patience is the highest or best devotion". It is the noblest and pious practice of virtue.
"Khantibalaṃ balānīkaṃ". It connotes that since patience has its own strength, it should be understood as preached by the Buddha that the beneficial fruits of Patience by symbolizing the attributes of a Noble person-Brāhamaṇa, have the force of strength which is but "patience". What is actually meant by this Dhamma is that the strength or vigour of Patience capable of preventing "anger" resembles a force of army which is able to defend the enemy. Buddha has, therefore, preached that a person who is equipped with this strength of Patience is a Brahamaṇa, a Noble One.
"Sadatthaparama atthā, khantyā bhiyyo na vijjati". The gist of this Pāḷi phrase is that of all the advantages, one's own benefits or interests, is the noblest. Among the best advantages, nothing excels the beneficial results of forbearance or endurance. The advantages of "Patience" should be realized as had been stated by the King of Devas-Sakka, cited above.
As stated in the foregoing Desanās, "Patience" is the noblest and the best practice. It is most noble and admirable because one who has patience will be able to tolerate all criticisms or irritating remarks which would ordinarily incite retort or refutation, and by virtue of this noble attribute, he will earn respect and approbation from others. He will also receive help and assistance when occasion arises and can bring about closer intimacy between himself and other friends. Nobody would hate him. These advantages or benefits are quite conspicuous.
If retaliation is made against any verbal attacks, hot controversy will ensue between the two parties and quarrel will break out. Feeling of hatred and animosity will creep in and the parties may become antagonistic to one another with malice and also become enemies for life. If no tolerance or patience is practised, one will be inclined to cause harm to another, may be, throughout the entire life times. If, however, patience is cherished or nursed, it would bring about a world of advantages. This can be clearly known by retrospection. Hence, the Exalted One had prescribed in the form of pātimokkha, the Code of Conduct for priests.
It has been preached as: "khantī paramaṃ tapo titikkhā nibbānaṃ paramaṃ vadanti Buddhā, etc." This has been mentioned earlier. Nibbānam- the most Noble and Virtuous. It was preached as such by the Lord Buddha simply because all practices for the derivation of merits can be carried out successfully only if there is 'patience'. When donation is offered on a magnificent scale with the greatest generosity, it shall be performed with great patience. In practising sīla, moral precepts, spirit of tolerance required to be borne by a person becomes more prominent. In practising and developing meditation, i. e., bhāvanā, it become predominant. All bodily sufferings and miserable conditions will have to be tolerated, and only by contemplating and noting with patience, concentration and wisdom or knowledge can be gained. If changes in the bodily postures are frequently made on account of minor discomforts, such as, stiffness, hotness and pain, it will be difficult to enhance one's own power of concentration-samādhi. This will make it harder to achieve Vipassanā insight knowledge. Only when one contemplates and notes with patience and endurance, jhāna samādhi can be attained. Then only, special knowledge of Vipassanā or the higher awakening consciousness of the Dhamma along with maggaphala-ñāṇa, i. e, Knowledge of the path and fruition, can be realized. As such, it may be stated that "patience" is the noblest and highest practice.
A wise old saying, "Patience will carry one to Nibbāna" is most appropriate. In practising for the fulfillment of ten forms of pāramis, or, "ten perfections", it can be fully achieved if khantī or patience is applied. Among these pāramis, determination, exertion and knowledge (paññā) are proximate to the attainment of Nibbāna. Only if relentless and persistent effort is made as originally intended to reach Nibbāna with a firm determination. Vipassanā knowledge and ariya-magga-ñāṇa will be fully accomplished. If so diligently practised with patience, Arahatship will be attained. Such an Arahat is said to be a noble Brahmaṇa who is fully endowed with the strength of Patience. That is what Buddha has said. It is indeed a noble practice which can lead to Nibbāna. When developing mettā, practice of "patience" is essentially fundamental. Only in the absence of 'anger', and by practising patience, mindfulness on mettā will become developed. This is the reason why it has been instructed to reflect upon the advantages of patience prior to developing loving-kindness or mettā.
The manner of developing Mettā
It is stated that mettā should be developed in order to make the mind free from the ills of anger by reflecting upon its faults or evils as well as upon the advantages of patience so as to conjoin patience by letting it run paralled. One way of developing mettā is to gain perfection, i. e., Pārami, and also merit. Another way is to develop mettā for the attainment of jhāna-samādhi. There are two kinds as just stated. Visuddhi Magga has analytically and distinguishingly commented upon in explaining the method of developing mettā for the achievement of jhāna-samādhi as to who should be omitted at the initial stage of developing and transmitting mettā and who should be entirely excluded in developing loving-kindness. As time does not permit at present (to-day) to explain the difference in their distinctive features, I am inclined to speak about the manner of developing mettā for the purpose of gaining perfection and merit, first and foremost.
In the matter of mettābhāvanā, developing mettā through meditation, it can be exercised and developed by contemplation dwelling the mind on all human beings or other sentient beings (living beings) who may be seen or heard, or who may appear in the mind's eye. The manner of developing with a feeling of benevolence as stated in Suttanta Pāḷi and Aṭṭhakathā, which say, "May one gain happiness, or, May all be happy and healthy, i.e., sukhitā hontu", or, "Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā " -May all beings be pleased and happy. Briefly put, goodwill should be imparted in the following way:
"May all be blessed with happiness" (To be repeated twice.)
Therefore, whether one is residing in his own quarters or whether one is moving about or working, if a person or any living being is seen or heard, loving-kindness should be developed with a sincere and sympathetic feeling as: "May he find happiness! May he find happiness!". In the same manner, it is to put the spirit of loving-kindness in the bottom of your heart mentally saying, "May all beings be happy", in case a large gathering of people or a number of other beings are seen or heard. This is quite an easy and excellent way of radiating mettā since every being wishes to be happy. This method of developing loving-kindness is mettā-manokaṃ, the noblest feeling springing from the mind. At the moment when monks and laity are worshipping and paying homage to the Lord Buddha, they used to develop loving-kindness by uttering "Sabbe sattā averā hontu", etc., i. e., "All beings may be free from all dangers." It is called "mettā vacīkam" as this feeling of mettā is expressed by word of mouth. If the words "May all be happy" are uttered verbally, it is also "mettā-vacīkam".
In this regard, besides developing mettā, mentally and verbally, special care should be take to also render physical assistance to others, whenever possible, so as to make them feel happy. On the other hand, it would be meaningless in fostering loving-kindness, if one causes misery to others either physically, or verbally, or mentally. It is therefore essential to do good to others, and by doing so, the act of developing mindfulness on loving-kindness, may be said to be genuinely effective. For instance, while loving-kindness is radiated from his heart to a person who is coming face to face with him in a narrow lane wishing him happiness, it would also be necessary to give way to him, if he is worthy of respect. Such a behaviour would then amount to honouring him with a virtuous thought and would be in consonance with one's own inner feeling of mettā.
He who develops loving-kindness to others, while travelling, would be required to make room for other fellow-travellers who may be looking for accommodation in the same carriage, provided of course, there is available space. He should assist others as far as possible if he happens to find them overburdened with a heavy load. In connection with business affairs, it amounts to exercising loving-kindness (mettā) by instructing another person in matters with which he is not acquainted. Speak gently and sweetly, and accord a warm reception with a fine gesture and a smiling sweet face. Help a person to the best of one's own ability. These are the genuine manifestations of goodwill and loving-kindness. To speak with a sweet voice is mettā vacīkaṃ. Giving physical help to others is mettā kāyakaṃ.
How to develop (528) kinds of Mettā
What has been stated in the Paṭisambhidā Magga Pāḷi that 528 kinds of mettā are developed refers to the manner of developing mettā by those who have achieved mettā-jhāna. At the present time, however. It is usual to develop mettā, as a bounden duty, by priests to do the recitation for the achievement of pāramī and kusala. The Pāḷi dictum usually chanted is the same as the recitation done by rote by the majority of the people. I would first of all recite the dictum in Pāḷi for the purpose of elucidation and enumeration.
Sabbe sattā, sabbe pāṇā, sabbe bhūtā, sabbe puggalā, sabbe attabhāvapariyāpanṇā. Up to this, these five phrases denote all sentient beings without distinction and limitation. Hence, the expressions: sabbe-sasttā-all creatures, sabbe-pāṇā-all those beings who breathe, sabbe bhūtā-all living beings, sabbe puggalā-all those individuals or persons, and sabbe attabhāvapariyānpānṇā-all those individuals or persons who have the attributes of a beings or khandhā, convey the same meaning. Each and every expression mentioned above, refers to all beings.
Then comes, "sabbā itthiyo. all females; sabbe purisā, all males; sabbe ariyā, all Noble Ones; sabbe anariyā, all those putthujjana or ordinary worldlings; sabbe devā, all those devas or celestial beings; sabbe manussā,, all those human beings; sabbe vinipātikā, all those beings belonging to the four apāyas. These expressions denote the different types of seven species of beings, namely, a pair of males and females, a pair of ariyās, Worthy Ones, and worldlings (puthujjana), and three groups of beings, viz: Devas, human beings and beings belonging to apāyas. Loving-kindness that is developed rediating towards the seven groups severally and individually identifying them in their respective different identity is known as odhisa mettā. The first five phrases earlier stated, having no limitations with reference to all beings, is called anodhisa mettā, which means mettā without any distinction and limit.
In developing mettā, these two groups forming twelve (12) aphorisms should be recited or uttered in combination with the four phrases, viz: "Averā hontu"-May escape from all dangers; avyāpajjhā hontu-May be free from mental distress or suffering; anighā hontu-May be free from bodily suffering or injury; sukhi attānaṃ pariharantu-May have the full accomplishment with complete happiness, or rather, be able to happily shoulder one's own bodily self. The last dictum conveying goodwill; "May have the full accomplishment with complete happiness and be able to shoulder one's own bodily-self or khandhā" is very significant and meaningful. All beings are prone and exposed to external dangers of all sorts. There are also dangers of diseases and sufferings-dukkha-vedanās-in the material body itself. Moreover, for the sake of one's own good health and proper livelihood, everything possible should invariably be done and achieved. Only when free from danger and harm that may be fall a man, and when necessaries of life are adequately obtained, then happiness will be derived both physically and mentally. If the burden of khandhā can be successfully shouldered, it can be said to be satisfactory from the point of worldly affairs. That is the reason why development of mettā should be seriously made with a benevolent frame of mind by uttering the words, "May one be able to shoulder and sustain one's own bodily-self-khandhā, with happiness."
If mettā is developed saying, "sabbe sattā averā hontu": May all beings be free from danger and harm, etc., which comprise 5 phrases of anodhisa (mettā) combined with four (4) kinds of developing mettā, it will come to (5×4)=20 (twenty). This is anodhisa mettā, twenty in number. Next, if further development of mettā is practised, uttering, "sabbā itthiyo"-all females, etc., comprising 7 phrases of odhisa (mettā) along with the expression of sentiment-"May all be free from danger, etc.," which describe the manner of developing mettā in 4 (four) phrases, it comes to (7×4)=28. This is odhisa mettā, twenty-eight in number. If added with 20 anodhisa mettā, it will come to a total of 48. This mode of developing mettā bhāvanā without direction-wise as to the region of the earth is called disa anodhisā mettā.
Similarly, developing mettā towards all beings living in the East-puratthimāya disāya, as: "sabbe sattā averā hontu", i.e., "May all beings be free from danger and harm, etc.", would make up a sum of 48. In the same way, the rest of the cardinal points of compass indicating direction of the regions by the magnetic needle, viz: the West (48) in number, the North (48) in number, the South (48) in number, with the addition of the four anudisas or vidisas, viz: the South-east (48), the North-west (48), the North-east (48), the South-west (48), and also together with the two, namely, 'heṭṭhimāya disāya' (48) and 'uparimāya disāya' (48), the Nadir and Zenith-(all six) when added up with the ten disās (regions) each having 48, will amount to a total of forty-eight multiplied by ten (48×10)=480. This, being the way of developing mettā region wise of the Universe according to what is indicated by the compass needle, is known as disā odhisa mettā. If this '480' is added to 48 of disa anodissa, it will reach the total figure of 528 kinds of mettā.
In order to have an idea of the numerical units of the Five-hundred and Twenty-Eight kinds of mettā: let us develop loving-kindness by reciting as follows,
1. May all beings be free from danger, from mental distress (misery), from bodily suffering, and be able to shoulder the burden of one's own khandhā with both physical and mental happiness. (4 kinds)
2. May all beings who have life and breath, i. e. who breathe, may be free from danger, from mental distress, from bodily suffering, and be able to shoulder the burden of one's own khandhā or material body with both physical and mental happiness (4 kinds of mettā).
After the recitation of the words, "May be free from danger" in the course of developing mettā, the mind that concentrates and the voice of utterance immediately come to cease. This cessation of Mind and Matter, nāma and rūpa, must also be contemplated. If contemplation is made as such, mettā-samatha together with Vipassanā become developed in pairs. The continuous contemplation of Samatha and Vipassanā in pairs is called "yuganaddha vipassanā". Let's recite and develop mettā by applying this method of 'yuganaddha'.
3. All those conspicuous living beings be free from danger, from mental distress, from bodily suffering, and be able to shoulder the burden of one's own khandhā with both physical and mental happiness, (4 kinds)
4. May all individuals be free from danger, etc., etc. (4 kinds)
5. May all those who have the material khandhā, the bodily self, be free from danger, etc., etc. (4 kinds, 5×4=20).
1. All females (the use of the expression "females" is sweet to the ear; it include female Devas or divine maidens, female animals, such as, cows, female buffaloes, female Petas, female Asūrās, and females of apāya (hell), etc). May all those females be free from danger, from mental distress, from bodily suffering, and be able to shoulder the burden of their own respective khandhā with physical and mental happiness. (4 in number)
2. All males (the term "males" likewise sounds sweet to the ear; it also include all male Devas and male animals, etc.). May all these males be free from danger, from mental distress, etc., etc. (4 kinds)
3. May all Ariyās, Noble Ones, be free from danger ..., with both physical and mental happiness (4 kinds).
4. May all putthujjanas, common worldlings, be free from danger, etc., etc. (4 kinds)
5. May all Devas, celestial beings, be free from danger, etc., etc. (4 kinds)
6. May all human beings be free from danger, etc., etc. (4 kinds)
7. May all apāya beings (beings in hell) be free from danger, from mental distress, from bodily sufferings, and be able to shoulder the burden of one's own khandhā with both physical and mental happiness. (4 kinds); (7×4=28 kinds).
These are the twenty-eight (28) odhisa-mettā. If these are added to twenty (20) of anodhisa-mettā mentioned in the foregoing, it would come to 48 kinds of mettā. Thereafter, let us recite and develop mindfulness on mettā in the following manner beginning with the Eastern region, each phase having 48 kinds. This manner of developing mettā appears acceptable to every Buddhist. It is easy. Even those who have no adequate knowledge can understand. Let's begin chanting.
1. May all beings in the Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all persons who breathe or are alive through respiration in the Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all those persons who obviously exist in the Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all individuals in the Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all those who possess the material khandhā or bodily-self, in the Eastern region, be free from danger and be able to shoulder the burden of khandhā, etc., etc.
May all females in the Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all males in the Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Ariyās in the Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Putthujjanas in the Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Devās in the Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all human beings in the Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Apāya beings in the Eastern region be free from danger, mental distress, bodily suffering, and be able to shoulder their own respective Khandhā with both physical and mental happiness.
Likewise, it is to be recited and developed in respect of the remaining nine (9) regions. For the time being, it would be sufficient enough to recite and develop the first and the last phrase or expression (of words). Let's do the recitation.
2. May all beings in the Western region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Apāya beings in the Western region be free from danger, etc., etc.
3. May all beings in the Northern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Apāya beings in the Northern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
4. May all beings in the Southern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Apāya beings in the Southern region be able to shoulder their own burden of respective khandhā, etc., etc.
5. May all beings in the South-Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Apāya beings in the South-Eastern region be free from danger etc., etc.
6. May all beings in the North-Western region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Apāya beings in the North-Western region be free from danger, etc., etc.
7. May all beings in the North-Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Apāya beings in the North-Eastern region be free from danger, etc., etc.
8. May all beings in the South-Western region be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Apāya beings in the South-Western region be free from danger, etc., etc.
9. May all beings in the Nadir be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Apāya beings in the Nadir be free from danger, etc., etc.
10. May all beings in the zenith be free from danger, etc., etc.
May all Apāya beings be free from danger, etc., etc.
What has now been recited and developed is a brief but comprehensive account of the "528 kinds of mettā". This is the manner in which persons who are accomplished with mettā-jhāna, have immersed themselves in a trance of jhāna. In any case, those who have not yet achieved the jhāna, could also radiate mettā-bhāvanā in the same manner as stated. Those who have special perfection or pāramī may even attain mettā-jhāna while developing mettā. Then, in the event of failing to achieve jhāna, beneficial results will be undoubtedly accrued as mentioned below.
Bhikkhave-O, Monks! Bhikkhu-a monk, mettā-cittam-by being able to entertain or dwell upon the noble thoughts of loving-kindness for the sake of another's happiness, even for a flick of a second (Iccharāyāsaṅ-ghātamattampi)-(Reference Aṅguttara Ekaka nipāta 53-Sutta), and if such thought were borne in his mind with attentive concentration (Ref: 54 & 55 of that Sutta), the monk who has so developed his mind in imparting mettā to others is deemed to be a person not devoid or divested of jhāna, or a person who strictly conforms to the practice as instructed and admonished by the Blessed One. Furthermore, he is also a person truly deserving of accepting without vanity the gift of meals offered by the people of the country or citizens. Hence, how it could be said that those monks who have frequently practised and developed the feeling of loving-kindness would have been deprived of jhāna? This is the preaching of the Buddha, and as such, there is hardly and doubt that developing mettā is highly advantageous.
According to this desanā, even if the feeling of mettā, loving-kindness, is fostered for a very brief duration of a split-second, he who exercises this goodwill or benevolent feeling towards others may be said to be a person who is not devoid of jhāna-contemplation. He shall be deemed a person who has truly practised in compliance with the due admonition of the Blessed One. If he were a monk, he is deservedly worthy of enjoying the meals-"soon" -offered by his benefactors. He may be regarded as having enjoyed the meals or food so offered there by making the donor gain merits or benefits. It is because, if the meals are taken by the monks without self-examination or contemplation, i. e., Paccavekkhanaṃ, it would amount to accepting and taking meals on deferred payment of loans. The reason being that if a monk, not being accomplished with sīla, eat the meals which should be taken or consumed by a monk fully accomplished with all four moral precepts, it is similar to taking the meals on credit system, saying that he would only later repay it by fulfilling the required sīla, morality or precepts. Also full benefits will only be derived by the alms-giver if he offers anything in charity to a monk who is fully accomplished with the four sīlas. Therefore, the Commentaries have said that the enjoyment or partaking of the four kinds of property, such as, meals, etc., without reflecting with his intelligence and without consideration, will amount to taking things on loan for which he will have to account for.
A monk who is developing mettā towards others oven for a moment shall be deemed to have accepted the gifts in the role of a real owner. He is like one who inherits the properties. That is the reason why it may be constructed as consuming or partaking of things or food offered, without vanity or futility. Aṭṭhakathā goes to say that "(sanghe) dinnā dānam"- the gift that is given, or rather, offerings bestowed on the priesthood, "mahāthiyaṃ hoti mahapphalam"- have great reward. For being beneficial as such, it may be said to be consumed without futility.
The manner of developing Mettā by Ashin Subūti
The exercise of mindfulness on mettā can bring about much benefit particularly in the interest of the donors. Such being the case, Ashin Subūti Thera, an Arahat, used to enter into a trance of jhāna-mettā while stopping a while in front of every house when going round for alms. Only after arising from this mettā-jhāna, he accepted the offering of food. This is done so with a view to bestowing beneficial results on the male and female benefactors. The said Ashin Subūti later received the highest approbation from the Buddha and was conferred upon with the Pre-eminent Title of Etadagga of all the noble disciple-donees-recipients of alms. Nowadays, on the occasion of religious functions held in connection with the offerings of gifts in charity, Metta Sutta Paritta is recited by monks for the benefit of the donors. Hence, where chanting mettā paritta as a blessing on any such occasion, it should also be properly and seriously recited by developing mettā.
It is important to note that developing mettā while listening to the sermon is really advantageous. Mettā bhāvanā needs be developed as and when opportunity affords and at any place wherever you may be. In the least, it should be developed immediately after worshipping the Buddha as much as time permits. If circumstances are favourable, mettā-jhāna can be achieved soon even while mettā is being developed through meditation. It is similar to the case of Dhanañjhāni, a Brahmin, as narrated below.
Dhanañjhāni and Mettā-jhāna
When Dhanañjhānī, the Brahmin, was on the threshold of death in his sick-bed, a request was made at his instance to invite Ashin Sāriputtrā. Ashin Sāriputtrā responded to the invitation and came over to see Dhanañjhānī. Ashin Sāriputtrā asked him how he was getting on, or to put it in another way, whether he was feeling better or not, and then, preached as follows:
To a question that was first put as: "Which of the two, viz: Hell or Animal is better than the other, etc.? Dhanañjhāni answered, "Tiricchāna i. e., animal is better than hell, etc.? Questions and answers which followed thereafter, related to the comparisons made between Animal and Peta, Peta and Human. Human beings and Catumahārijika, etc., and then the conversation went on extending up to the Paranimmitavasavattī, the highest of Devalokas. Later, a question was put as to whether the life of Devas in the Abode of Paranimmitavasavattī was better than Brahmaloka or not. On hearing the name of 'Brahmaloka', Dhanañjhāni became encouraged and asked with an exultant feeling, "Do you, my Reverend Ashin Sāriputtrā, really mean to say 'Brahmaloka'?". This question made Ashin Sāriputtrā realized that Dhanañjhānī was mentally inclined towards Brahmaloka, and therefore, he stated that he would explain the practice of the path leading to Brahmaloka, and then started preaching as follows.
"Idha Dhanañjhāni bhikkhu mettāsahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati. Tatthā dutiyaṃ. Tatthā tatiyaṃ. Tathā catutthaṃ. Iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya sābhavantaṃ lokaṃ mettāsahagatena cetasā vipulená mahagg-atena appamāṇena averena avyāpajchena pharitvā viharati. Ayaṃ kho Dhanañjhāni brahmānaṃ sahavyatāya maggo". (Majjhima Paṇṇāsa-405)
Dhanañjhāni-Dhanañjhāni Brahmin, Idha bhikkhu-a monk in this noble Sāsanā, mettāsahagatena cetasa-with the mind which occurs with a feeling of mettā that radiates happiness, nay, with a mind well-wishing others to become happy, ekaṃ disam-towards one region, nay, towards all beings living in one region or place, pharitvā viharati-remains shedding his loving-kindness, Tathā dutīyam-likewise remains spreading his feeling of mettā to the second region. Tathā tattiyaṃ tatthā catuttham-and in the same way radiates the light of mettā to the third and fourth regions. Eti-In this manner, uddham-to all beings in the higher region, adho-to all beings in the lower region, tiriyam-to all beings in the opposite directions of the corners of the four regions, sabbadhi-and in all regions, sabbattatāya-and regard being had to all such beings as his equal, with every loving-thought that arises, sabbāvantamlokam-to all other beings in the entire universe, mettā sahagatena cetasā-develops the mind wishing happiness to others, vipulena-and spread the mind covering all areas extensively. Mahaggatena-with the lofty mind of mahaggutta-jhāna, appamāṇena-which is boundless or unlimited, averena-and with the mind free from hatred, avyāpajjhena-along with the mind free from unpleasantness, pharitvā viharati-radiates loving-kindness, Dhanañ jāni-Dhanañjhāni Brahmin, ayam-the practice of diffusing or radiating mettā, loving-kindness, brahmanaṃ sahavyataya-is for the purpose of staying in the company of Brahmās as a companion, nay, it is a path- "maggo" leading one to become a Brahmā.
The gist of it is that radiating the feeling of mettā, loving-kindness, to all beings in the ten regions is the way or the path of practice to ascend to the Brahma World. The manner of shedding the light of compassion-"karuṇā", rejoicing with others' happiness-"muditā", and illumination of the feeling of indifference-"upekkhā"-has been preached in the same manner. After benevolently preaching the said Dhamma, Ashin Sāriputtrā returned to the monastery. Later, he respectfully put up to the Lord Buddha of the speech and preachings delivered by him to Dhanañjāni. Thereupon, the Exalted One reprimanded Ashin Sāriputtrā as: "Is this the way you have instructed Dhanañjhāni so as to enable him to ascend to Brahmaloka which is obviously inferior as compared to Nibbāna, and then, made your way back here despite the fact that there is a better method of practice to be exercised to achieve ariya-magga-phala which is much nobler than the brahma-vihāra-jhāna?". Buddha then went on to say that Dhanañjhāni was now dead and gone and had already reached the Brahmaloka after his demise. Having received this admonition from the Buddha, Ashin Sariputtrā was said to have visited the Abode of Brahmās and delivered his sermon to Dhanañjhāni Brahmā. From that time onwards, when preaching was made relating to a gathā or verse, consisting of 4 stanzas, it has been stated in the commentary that it was always done without departure from, or rather, without omitting the Four Noble Truths.
In this connection what is really intended to be known is that Dhanañjāni, the Brahmin, had been asked to develop mettā, etc., and had thereby attained jhāna within a short time of about half-an-hour before his death. By virtue of this jhāna, he had reached the World of Brahmās. It should, therefore, be remembered that in the absence of any other Special kusala, merits, on which one can make reliance on the verge of death, the development of mettā will prove to be an asset or a virtue on which reliance can be made. The best is, of course, to contemplate and note, and become aware of all obvious phenomenal occurrences as in case of those who are benefited by the Vipassanā method of contemplating on mindfulness.
Furthermore, the highly beneficial effect of mettābhāvanā-developing mettā through meditation-had been preached by the Buddha in Nidāna Sanmyutta Okkha Sutta (455) in the manner described below:
Developing your mind with mettā for a brief period of time involved in milking a cow once in the morning, once in daytime and once at night time, or smelling a fragrance for once only, is far more advantageous than the offering of meals by cooking a hundred big pots of rice, once in the morning, once in the daytime and once at night time, which would, of course, tantamount to feeding about (3000) people in all.
It is, therefore, quite evident that developing mettā only for a moment and deriving much benefit thereof, is really precious and invaluable without incurring expense and without involving time and labour.
Moreover, the advantages of mettā-bhāvanā have been preached in Aṅguttara Pāḷi Ekadasanipāta Metta Sutta (542) as herein after mentioned.
"Mettāya bhikkhave cetovimuttiyā āsevitāya bhavitāya bahulīkatāya yanīkatāya vatthukatāya anuṭṭhitāya paricitāya susamāraddhāya ekadasānisamsā pāṭikaṅkhākatame ekadasa,? sukhaṃ supati, sukhaṃ pāṭibhujjhati, na pāpakaṃ supinaṃ passati, manussānaṃ piyo hoti, amaussānaṃ piyo hoti, devatā rakkhanti, nāssa aggivā visaṃ vā sathaṃ vā kamati, tuvaṭaṃ cittaṃ samādhiyāti, mukhavaṇṇo vippasīdati, asammūhḷo kālaṃ karoti, uttari appaṭivij jhanto brahmalokūpago hoti".
Eleven advantages of Mettā
Briefly stated, the eleven advantages of mettā that are worthy of note and remembrance are the states of mind which have been developed, observed and depended upon several times, similar to the vehicles or carriages that have been maintained properly and kept in readiness for use. They are those which have been properly practised and firmly established. The feeling of mettā should be free from nīvaraṇas, obstacles, such as ill-will, etc. Ordinarily, "mettā" is to be regarded as mere loving-kindness. However, from the point of view of ceto-vimutti, i. e. the serenity of mind emancipated from human passions, it should be taken as the jhānic mind. It has been explained as such is the commentary.
The Eleven Advantages, if enumerated, may be stated as (1) It gives a sound sleep or rather, an uninterrupted slumber. Those who are lacking in the practice of meditation are restless before falling asleep in their sleeping-couch or bed. They may perhaps be snoring. On the other hand, a person equipped with mettā-bhāvanā has a peaceful sleep with an undisturbed mind. When fallen asleep, he sleeps at peace and happily just like a person who has immersed himself in a trance of samāpatti. This is the first advantage.
And next-(2) Sukhaṃ patibujjhati-happily rouses from sleep. When waking up from sleep some have stirred up with a grumble. Some may have to swing and stretch their arms and legs, or may have to make other bodily movements or roll on before getting up from bed. Those who go to sleep after developing mettā will not suffer such miserable conditions, and they rouse from sleep happily and as fresh as the blooming lotus flowers. According to Dhammapada verses: Suppabuddhaṃ pabdujjhanti sadā Gotama sāvakā, yesaṃ divā ca ratto ca, niccaṃ buddhagata soti, etc. i. e., those who are practising meditation, such as, developing contemplation of Buddhānussati-Mindfulness on the Noble Attributes of the Buddha, have the advantages of sound sleep and joy or happiness when waking up from sleep. It should be noted that special emphasis has purposely been made on the peculiar characteristics of mettā-bhāvanā because of its qualities in deriving such benefits.
(3) Pāpkaṃ supinam-evil or bad dreams will not present themselves in sleep. There are instances where a vision may appear in one's sleep as if he has fallen down from a very high altitude, or has been ill-treated by others, or has suffered from snake-bite, etc. A person developing mettā will not have such weird or frightful dreams, but will have pleasant and sweet dreams, as if he is worshipping the Buddha, or is flying through the air with jhāna, or listening to the sermon and the like which give him delight.
(4) Manussānaṃ piyo hoti-Others will adore him or have affection for him because of his accomplishment of the noble attributes. He will be spreading his loving-kindness to others and will never cause harm to others. Those who are near and dear to him will not find fault with him. He is tolerant too, and having the serenity of mind with compassion for others, he is loved and respected by all who come into contact with him. Developing mettā from the bottom of his heart is the best attribute which invokes or causes to invite affection and respect from others.
(5) Amanussānaṃ piyo hoti-He is also loved by Devas. The fourth and the fifth advantages indicate that he is loved by all human beings and Devas. An instance has been shown in Visuddhi-magga as to how love and respect have been bestowed upon by Devas.
Story of Visākhā Therī
At one time, there lived a rich man by the name of Visākha in the city of PĀṭalipatta. While residing in Pāṭaliputta, he had heard of the news of the existence of many Buddhist shrines and pagodas in the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lankā) so numerous that they resembled a necklace of flowers. The entire place was said to be glowing with the bright colour of the yellow robes donned by Sanghās and monks. Every place was safe and secure and one could peacefully reside and spend the night anywhere without menace. Weather was favourable and conducive to good health. Pleasant were the monasteries which went in harmony with the fine and gentle behaviour of the people, both physical and mental, which thereby created a congenial atmosphere for listening to the sermons with peace of mind and devotion.
These favourable circumstances had caused him to reflect that it would be feasible for him to proceed to Ceylon and enter into priesthood. With this bent of mind, he transferred all his business enterprise and properties to his wife and children. After having done so, he left his home with only one (rupee) kyat in his pocket. At a seaport town, he had to wait for a month to set off on his journey by a sea-going vessel. In those old days, sea-going vessels were not the present type of steam-ships but big boats with sails (sailing boats). Being endowed with the gift of business acumen, he started indulging in trading, buying and selling goods by moving about from one place to another while waiting for the boat to arrive. He earned a thousand rupees by legally buying and selling goods inside a month. Trading in a legal way means buying articles or commodities paying what is really worth and selling them at a correct price. In ancient times, a margin of profit of only two (2) pice-pyas was usually taken on a capital outlay of one rupee. Buying and selling goods by fair means with correct price is called "vammika vāṇijja" which means trading according to law honestly. Carrying on trade in a legitimate way for one's livelihood as mentioned, is "sammā ājīva", right living. However, it appears that it was not the intention of Visākha, the rich, to deal in such business transaction for his subsistence. It seems his natural inclination that had actually spurred him to deal in trading business. This is evident from the fact that he had later discarded all his money derived from the said business venture.
Thereafter, this rich man Visākha left the port and reached Ceylon where at Mahāvihāra monastery, he made a request to be ordained a priest. On his way to the "Thein" (Sima), one thousand rupees (kyats) in cash which he carried in his pouch tucked up at his waist, slipped out accidentally. When the senior priest who had escorted him to the Sima inquired of him as to what were these meant for, he replied, "Your Reverend, this is my own money worth one thousand rupees." On being instructed by the Mahātheras as: "O, Upāsaka! (devout layman). Under the Rules of Discipline, from the time of your becoming as ordained monk, you cannot possibly handle and manage the cash, and as such, you may make your own arrangements to dispense with this money right now," Visākha responded, "I do not wish to see all those who would favour me with their presence at my Ordination, return home empty-handed." So saying, he threw away all one thousand rupees to let them fall scattering among the crowd of devotees outside the precincts of the Sīma (Thein). Only after having done so, he received ordination.
This rich man was named Ashin Visākha in the role of a priest. For five years, he strove to study, and took his training in the field of Vinaya Rules and Precepts called Dvemātikā. After completion of five Vassa, he took up Kammaṭṭhāna meditation practice for four months each at four different monasteries. While practising as such, he once made his way to a forest remained in one solitary place, and then made a joyous utterance of hymn reflecting upon his noble attributes, as follows:
"Yāvatā upasampanno, yāvatā idha āgato.
Etthantare khalitaṃ natthi, aho lābha te mārisa."
Yāvatā upasampanno-from the time of my first entering into priesthood, yāvatā idha āgato - until I arrived at this forested area, etthantare-during this period of interval, khalitam-failure in the observance of moral precepts concerning the priests-natthi-had never happened or taken place. Mārisa - O, Venerable Visākha, te-your, lābha-gains and advantages relating to the morality of priests, aho - were indeed wonderful!
Later, Ashin Visākha proceeded to one monastery on Cittala mountain situated at the extreme end of the southern range. On his way, he reached a junction of the road where he stopped for a while, his mind wavering as to which route he should resume his journey. At this juncture, a guardian angel of the mountain appeared and directed him pointing the hand towards the path saying, "This is the route you should take." After four months had clasped since his arrival at Cittala monastery, on one day at dawn he was lying down planning to leave the monastery for another place. While he was thus reflecting, a rukkha-devatā, guardian angel of a tree, called Manila, which stood at the head of the terrace, was said to have been found sitting on a step of the stairs, and crying.
Visākha Thera then asked, "Who are you and why are you weeping?". The guardian angel replied, "I'm the guardian spirit of that 'Thabye' tree." To the query as to why he was weeping, the reply given was that he was crying feeling sorry and dejected for the imminent departure of Visākha Thera from this place. Visākha then questioned him, "What noble advantages you all have derived by my sojourn here?" The guardian spirit said in reply, "Sir, your presence here has brought about a feeling of loving-kindness among us-the Devas; and if you are going to leave this place, quarrel will break out among the Devas who will also utter harsh words hurting one another's feelings." Visākha then said. "If my stay here will bring happiness to you all. I will have to stay on." He continued to reside at the monastery for another four months. Similar incidents happened again and again at the end of every four months, and Visākha was perforce to stay on and on at this Cittala monastery until the time of his death-Parinibbāna. This piece of anecdote is a clear and salient example illustrated in the Visuddhimagga showing how a person who is developing mettā is loved and respected by the Devas.
Then comes No. (6): "Devatā Rakkhanti" -protection is given by the nats (Devas). The manner of giving protection or guard is stated to be similar to the kind of protection given by the parents to their only son through love. If the Nats are going to render help and protection, one will definitely be free from dangers and will also gain happiness.
(7) Assa-In regard to a person who is developing mettā, aggi vā visaṃ vā satthaṃ vā-either fire, or poison, or 'dah' (a kind of sword with one-edged blade), or any other dangerous weapon that can cause physical harm, kamati-will not befall him. In other words, no danger, such as, fire, poison, and lethal weapons like 'dahs', spears, arrows, etc., can cause bodily injury to an individual who is developing loving-kindness. Firearms, bombs, missiles and such other modern weaponry which can inflict bodily harm to a person may be regarded as being included in the list of lethal weapons. Therefore, when any kind of danger becomes imminent, it would be advisable to seriously develop mindfulness on mettā. In this connection, Visuddhimagga has cited a number of instances, such as, the case of a female devotee by the name of Uttarā who had escaped scalds from the burning oil, or the case of Cūḷasiva Thera, a famous scholar of Saṃyutta Nikāya who was immuned from poison, or the case of Saṃkicca Sāmaṇera who had escaped from the deadly effects of sharp weapons. Besides, a story of a cow which had become invulnerable against the piercing blows of a spear was cited as an illustration. At one time, a cow was feeding an infant calf. A hunter tried to hit this cow several times with his spear. However, every time the sharp-pointed spear-head struck the body of the cow when plunged, the pointed edge of the spear twisted or coiled up like a palm leaf instead of penetrating through the skin. This had so happened not because of upacā appanā-jhāna but because of her pure and intense love for her young son-the calf. The influence of mettā is indeed powerful even to that extent.
Among these stories, the one relating to Uttarā is quite outstanding as is contained in Dhammapada. A brief account of it will be quoted as an excerpt.
The story of Uttarā
Maung Poṇṇa was the name of Uttarā's father. He was at first a poor man in the employ of one Sumana, a millionaire from the city of Rajagaha. One day, he donated a piece of thin stick of a plant, a kind of tooth-brush used by monks for cleaning the tooth (called dampu) and clean water for washing the face, to Ashin Sāriputtrā thera who had just arisen from Samā-patti. His wife also on the same day, on her way to the place where he was ploughing the field bringing a pocket of rice-meal for him too, came across Ashin Sāriputtrā. With an overwhelming generosity at the sight of the Venerable Ashin Sāriputtrā, she offered the packets of rice-meal to the Arahat and shared her merits with her husband. By virtue of these meritorious deeds, it is said that the entire plot of land ploughed by Maung Poṇṇa had suddenly transformed into a field of pure gold. At the present day, this kind of incident may be considered ludicrous-as a sort of "Believe it or not" story. However, in those ancient times, special and peculiar advantages had been derived depending upon the moral qualities of certain outstanding persons or donees who possessed special noble attributes. There is reason to believe so, judging the nature of queer inventions of wonderful electronic mechanical devices such as computers, missiles and satellites which would ordinarily be considered unbelievable. Peculiar and astonishing happenings might have, therefore, occurred in those old days.
Since his plot of cultivable land had turned into pure solid gold, the poor Maung Poṇṇa became fabulously rich. At some future date, the wealthy Sumana solicited U Poṇṇa to give his daughter Uttarā in marriage to his son. U Poṇṇa, his wife and their daughter Uttarā had already become Sotāpannas after listening to the sermon delivered by the Buddha since the time of the opening ceremony of their new residence held immediately after Maung Poṇṇa had acquired his immense wealth and fortune. On the other hand, the whole family of Sumana, the rich man, was of different religion and none of the members of their household was a Buddhist. For this particular reason, the proposal made by Sumana was not accepted by Poṇṇa, the millionaire. He was quite outspoken in telling Sumana that Sumana's son had his faith in heretical doctrine whereas his daughter being a devout Buddhist could not help taking her refuge in the Triple Gems and that the proposed marriage would, therefore, be incompatible. For this simple reason he was unable to give his consent to the proposal made by Sumana. However, on being advised by many of his friends with a request not to get estranged in his relationship with Sumana, he finally acquiesced, and then Uttarā was eventually given in marriage to Sumana's son.
On the Full Moon day of Wāso, Uttarā had to accompany her husband to the home of Sumana's family. Since the day of her arrival at her husband's house, she had had no opportunity to seek her refuge in, and pay homage to Sanghās and Bhikkhunīs. Neither had she obtained any chance to do any act of charity or dāna, and to listen to the noble Dhamma. This state of affairs having lasted for two and a half months, Uttarā was compelled to send information to her father about her plight. What she had conveyed in her message was: "Why should I be locked up and kept under detention? It would perhaps be better to declare me outright that I am their mean slave. It appears unjustifiable to let me tied down and married to a heretic, nay, a man holding a heretical view. Since my arrival here up till now, I have been deprived of the opportunity to see or pay my respects and homage to sanghas and monks and perform any kind of meritorious acts."
Having heard these news, her father felt very much depressed, and lamented, "What a pity! My daughter is undoubtedly suffering misery." He, therefore, sent a sum of fifteen thousand rupees (kyats) to his daughter Uttarā. At that time, there lived a woman of some renown by the name of Thīrimā in the City of Rājagaha. She earned living by prostitution taking a fee of one thousand rupees for every night spent by her with a man. This girl Thīrimā was hired for a sum of fifteen thousand rupees to look after and make Uttarā's husband happy for a period of 15 days. The money sent to Uttarā by her father was to enable her to do merits-kusala-freely within a space of 15 days. She then summoned Thīrimā who, after consultation, agreed to be hired to Uttarā's husband. With the express consent of Thīrimā, she was taken to Uttarā's husband from whom permission was sought by Uttarā that for a period of 15 days she would like to freely devote herself to performance of merits and that this Thīrimā would in the meantime look after him properly. Her husband being delightfully impressed with Thīrimā's beauty and charm readily agreed to abide by the terms presented by Uttarā.
Commencing from that day, Uttarā daily accorded her invitation to the sanghas headed by the Buddha and offered meals in alms at her residence. She also listened to the sermons and then personally managed in preparing meals, etc., for the sanghas. On the 14th, Waxing day of Thadingyut, her husband when looking at the kitchen down below through the window of his residential building, saw his wife Uttarā personally managing and supervising the work of cooking food and preparing meals for the sanghas. She was perspiring and looking dirty with soot on her face. Finding her in such a predicament, he bemused, "O, what a foolish creature! She cannot find enjoyment in the luxury and comforts of this substantial and well-furnished building. How surprising is it that she could only find her satisfaction and pleasure in doing service to these bald-headed monks!". He then retreated his steps from the window smiling.
When Thīrimā found him wearing a smile on his face, curiosity had aroused in her wanting to know the reason for his demeanour. She, therefore, went towards the window and on observation being made, saw Uttarā in the kitchen. A feeling of jealousy then crept up in her and she thought to herself as; "O, this son of a millionaire still seems to have his close connexion with this blooming base female creature." Marvellous indeed! She considered herself as the real landlady and owner of the big mansion after her sojourn for only 15 days. In fact, she had entirely forgotten that she was living in that place on hire. Nevertheless, she became envious and resentful against Uttarā. Apart from that, she bore grudge against Uttarā. Hence, with her ill-will to make Uttarā miserable, she came down the stairs. Then making her way to the kitchen, she took a cup of boiling butter and went close to Uttarā to do mischief. Seeing Thīrimā, Uttarā immediately reflected and began developing a feeling of loving-kindness and said to herself in soliloquy: "My friend Thīrimā has done a lot of benefits to me. The Universe is comparatively narrow as compared to the world of advantages bestowed upon me by Thīrimā. The advantages are immense, and it is because of her care and attention given to my husband that I have been able to perform the charitable deeds and listen to the Dhamma. If I have harboured any feeling of resentment or anger, may this scorchingly hot butter-oil which Thīrimā is carrying with her cause me harm by scalding. If, on the contrary, I have no feeling of animosity or anger against her, no harm or injury may befall me." She solemnly took oath of the truth of her noble-mindedness in the manner stated, and radiated her loving-kindness, mettā, to Thīrimā. The burningly hot liquid of butter which Thīrimā cruelly poured upon her had the reverse effect of coolness of fresh water.
Thīrimā then reflected. "This cream of butter which has melted appears getting cold." She therefore again went off and fetched another cupful of boiled hot butter from the frying pan. Finding her doing what was considered horrible, the maids attending on Uttarā nearby became indignant and uttered, "Go away...you foolish bitch. Don't pour this burning oil on our Mistress." They simultaneously threatened her, gave her a good beating and kicked her about. This made Thīrimā fall flat on the ground. Uttarā intervened to deter her maids from causing bodily harm to Thīrimā but to no avail. At this juncture, Uttarā asked Thīrimā with a feeling of reprobation, "O, Thīrimā, what has made you commit such an awful and serious crime, etc." So saying, she immediately caused her to be given a warm bath and anointed with an extremely solf grease or jelly (lubricant) to relieve her pain and suffering.
Only then, realization came to Thīrimā that she was rendering her service on hire and tendered her apology begging Uttarā to forgive her. Uttarā then instructed Thīrimā to make an apology to and beg for pardon from her "father", the Lord Buddha. Briefly stated, as arranged by Uttarā, Thīrimā proceeded to the Buddha and His disciple-Sanghās, paid her obeisance, offered meals in donation, and tendered her apology. Buddha then gave an exhortation, preaching the Dhamma in the form of a verse which, in essence, conveys the meaning- "Make a conquest of an angry man by 'patience' without spite and getting angry, etc." After having heard this sermon, Thīrimā together with other five-hundred females attained Sotāpanna. The significant point intended to be stressed in the story now cited is that Uttarā, the female devotee, had escaped from the burning heat of the boiling butter-oil poured upon her by virtue of contemplating and developing loving-kindness (mettā-bhāvanā).
Relating to the story of Cūḷasiva Thera who became invulnerable from poison, no elaborated account was found in the present Aṭṭhakathā and Ṭīkās. In regard to the events concerning saṃkicca sāmaṇera, it has already been mentioned in Tuvaṭaka Sutta (Myanmar version) at page 90 where in reference is only made to the fact that he had plunged himself in jhāna. It was not obvious as to what kind of jhāna he had developed. In the present instance, however, according to what has been stated in Visuddhimagga, it is to be regarded as developing mettā-jhāna. This would mean that immunity was gained from the dangers of fire, poison and other lethal weapons, such as a sword or a dah.
(8) "Tuvattaṃ samādhiyāti", which means that the mind also quickly becomes stabilized and calm. To develop mindfulness wishing others happy is appropriate and easy in as much as everybody is willing to gain happiness, Hence, the mind is very likely to become tranquil within a short time.
(9) The next advantage is "Mukhavanno vippasīdati", i. e., the complexion of the face can become clear. As stated earlier, it should be developed as may be considered appropriate. It is easier, of course. This will undoubtedly bring clear complexion of the face.
(10) The next is: "Asammuhlo kālaṃ karoti". That is to say "Death takes place without bewilderment or perplexity." This is really important. When one is approaching death, he is likely to die without being able to gain proper concentration and mindfulness because of very severe pain, ache or tiredness which he has to suffer, or is likely to pass away with a feeling of greed or anger, or under delusion with a mistaken view imagining all sorts of erroneous thoughts. This is how death usually comes upon a person with the mind perplexed ridden by all kinds of entanglements. When death occurs to one in the manner as stated, it is almost certain that he is destined for the four Apāyas or Nether World. However, in some cases where one is in a state of coma or semi-consciousness, the mind may impinge on or stick to sensations relating to merits, or on nimittas (omens) concerning Sugati, i, e., the abode of Devas and the human world, fairly at ease. In that case, a person can hope to reach Sugati, an existence where happy conditions prevail.
(11) This is the last kind of advantage expressed in Pāḷi as: "Uttari appati vijjhanto". It goes to say that if arahatta-phala, the Fruition of Arahatship, is not realized or attained beyond, or rather, outside the range of mettā-jhāna, or in other words, if arahatta-phala which is superior to mettā-jhāna cannot be achieved, brahmalokūpago-Brahma World will be reached. An ordinary worldling can reach the Abode of Brahmās if he has achieved mettā-jhāna. Sotāpannas and Sakadāgāmis may be reborn in the Brahmā World. Of course, an Anāgāmi is likely to be reborn in the abode of Suddhāvāsa in the World of Brahmās. If jhāna is not attained and if only ecstatic concentration approaching the attainment of jhāna (upacāra samādhi) is achieved, he can reach the world of human beings and Devaloka which are existences known as Sugati. Dhanaṅjāni, the Brahmin, whose case had been earlier mentioned, had reached the Brahmā World for having acquired virtue by developing mettā, etc., within about half-an-hour before his death. This is particularly worthy of note. It also deserves emulation.
Having delivered my preachings relating to Brahmavihāra Dhamma in a fairly comprehensive way, I shall now continue to talk something about Vipassanā.
Developing Mettā and Vipassanā-in combination
A person after achieving jhāna by developing mettā-bhāvanā can reach the stage of arahatta-phala if he continues to contemplate Vipassanā depending on that mettā-jhāna as a basis. Even if falling short of arahattaphala, he can reach anāgāmi-magga-phala and become as Anāgāmi. The way to contemplate is to first enter into mettā-jhāna, and when this jhānic mind ceases, it is to contemplate on that jhāna. This method of plunging in jhāna and then contemplating jhāna in turn by developing and contemplating Samatha and Vipassanā in pairs is called "yuganaddha", i. e., equipping oneself with meditation in pairs. The method of meditating Vipassanā is the same as the method of contemplating and noting by the present Yogīs. It is to contemplate and note what has been seen, or hard, or contacted, or imagined as "seeing", "hearing", "contacting", or "imagining", as the case may be. In the same way, after the occurrence of the jhānic-mind, this jhānic-mind will have to be contemplated and noted. The only difference is that a person who has attained jhāna, contemplates the jhānic-mind, whereas the present Yogīs, not being endowed with the jhānic-mind, should contemplate and note the mind or consciousness that is aware of what has been seen, etc.
What shall be done now according to the method of yuganaddha contemplation is to develop mettā reciting as: "May all be happy". Then, contemplate with mindfulness on loving-kindness in turn. Developing mettā along with the contemplation of mettā-mindfulness in pairs is the method. If so contemplated, the mind that is intended to radiate to a particular person while recitation is made, rūpa-the material element which utters, the sense-object of voice which sounds, and the mind-consciousness which dwells in his heart while reciting as: "May all be happy", will all be found vanishing instantaneously and continually. Such realization or awareness is the genuine Vipassanā insight knowledge which knows the characteristics of impermanence. This is stated as, (khayatthena aniccam" having ceased or vanished in a moment, it is impermanent.) Let us bear it in mind and contemplate in the course of our recitation in the following manner:
May all those monks, individuals and Yogīs residing in this meditation centre be happy. (repeat)
May all beings in this Yeiktha-meditation centre be happy. (repeat)
May all monks and individuals within this township be happy. (repeat)
May all beings in this township be happy. (repeat)
May all people living in the Union of Myanmar be happy. (repeat)
May all beings be happy. (repeat)
Every time it is recited as: "May all be happy" with consciousness, the mind that is put into this consciousness, and the mind that intends to recite, the bodily behaviour, and the sense object of the voice which utters, immediately vanish.
On the Full Moon day of Wāso, I had already preached how to develop mettā. Most of the preachings then made, referred to the derivation of paramita and kusala by way of developing mettā. From the point of view of Visuddhimagga as stated in sequence, we have so far only covered the manner of reflecting the faults of the "anger", and the advantages of "patience". We shall now continue to talk about how to develop metta commencing from where we had stopped previously.
Way of sitting comfortably
We may add a little more according to the preachings of the Buddha relating to the manner of assuming a comfortable sitting posture.
The Enlightened One has directed, "Araññagato vā" either by going into or residing in a forest, OR, "rukkhamūlagato vā"- by approaching or occupying a position under the shade of a tree or close to the trunk end of the body of a tree, OR, "suññāgāragato vā"- by staying in a monastery, or a house, or a building where there are no people, nay, which stands in a solitary place, "nisīdati"-should sit down or be seated. Obviously our Lord Buddha, in His instructions, has given priority to prectising meditation exercise in a forested area. Only when one is unable to proceed to a forest, he is advised to take his seat and meditate at the foot of a tree in a quiet place. Then again, if it is impossible to do so, to practise meditation in a monastery, or a house, or a building uninhabited by people. It would be the best to select a secluded place where there is peace and tranquility. If, however, there is any other person who is indulging in meditation in the same area, it would be better if that person is of the same sex. In any case, the best would be a secluded spot in a remote area where there is no other person except the meditator.
The manner of sitting posture to be adopted is stated as: "Pallaṅkaṃ ābhujitvā", i.e., to sit cross-legged. I have already explained about it in full. Furthermore, at the time of sitting, the instruction given is: "U j jumkāyaṃ peṇidhāya", i.e., the upper portion of the body above the waist should be kept erect, straight and perpendicularly. If one sits down loosely bending his back or twisting his body, the strength of his exertion or effort will be weakened. That is the reason why it is necessary to sit erect keeping the body above the waist perfectly upright. After taking a sitting posture as is now described, the instruction given to be followed is: "Parimukhaṃ satim upaṭhepettvā"-which means to fix one's thoughts only on the object of sensation (sense-object) and to engage oneself in active meditation with fixed concentration without letting the mind go astray. In the present case of practising mettā-kammaṭṭhāna, the mind should be directed towards people for whom loving-kindness is intended to be developed. It is essential to know and understand from the very beginning as to who are those in whose favour Mettā should not be radiated or developed first, and who are those not worthy of receiving Mettā.
Persons towards whom mettā should not be
developed at the first initial stage
Mettā should not be developed at the beginning of the exercise towards: (1) persons who are hostile and unfriendly, or who deserves hatred (appiya); (2) persons who are dearest to you or your beloved ones, that is, those who have close affinity with the meditator through deep love (atippiya); (3) persons who deserve neither love nor hatred, i.e., neuntral persons; and (4) persons who are enemies.
Justification for not developing mettā beginning from such people is because it would be difficult to permeate the feeling of loving-kindness, or rather, it would be incongruous to send your mettā to one whom you hate. It is also rather hard or awkward to transmit your mettā first to one's beloved ones like your children, brothers and sisters for whom you have intense love and attachment. Neither will it be easy to develop loving-kindness for people, such as, your own pupils or disciples and other neutral persons. It is because, if persons for whom you have deep love and affection are found to have become a bit miserable or have suffered trouble and misery, you would probably become highly depressed or dejected. Next, it would also be difficult to put a stranger or a neutral person, who is unfamiliar with you, in the role of a beloved person. Yes, indeed. It is well-right impossible to constantly radiate loving-kindness to a complete stranger. Leave aside emitting loving-kindness to an enemy. As regards an enemy, the moment you remember him, feeling of anger will arise recalling the past incidents or memories of his wrong doings or faults. They are the four kinds of people in whose favour or for whom one should not develop mettā at the initial stage of your exercise.
Persons upon whom Mettā should not be bestowed
Persons towards whom mettā, loving-kindness, should NOT be developed are:
(1) Persons not belonging to the same sex. Mettā should not be developed and transmitted in particular to persons of different sex.
(2) Persons who are dead and gone. Mettā should not be developed towards such persons.
The reason for this abstention is that between the two persons who are not of the same sex, say, of the two persons-a male and a female-if a male or a man is particularly developing mettā towards a female or a woman, or vice versa, i. e., if a female is especially developing mettā towards a male, sensual or human passionate desires (rāga) is likely to occur. In the long time past, a son of a government minister asked his Mahāthera, his spiritual teacher, "Your Reverend Sir, on whom should I bestow my loving-kindness by developing mettā?" Mahāthera replied that he should develop his mettā in respect of a person whom he loved and adored. Thereupon, the minister's son, being very fond of his wife, after keeping observance of the noble eight-fold sīlas (aṭṭhaṅga-sīla) i.e., moral precepts, on one day, took his seat on the sleeping couch in a closed bed-room at night time, and developed mettā rediating his spirit of loving-kindness to his darling wife with concentrated contemplation. While thus performing, he became infatuated with extravagant passion (rāga). He therefore made an attempt to go to his wife. Under the inspired influence of his sensuous desires, he entirely forgot about the door and in moving about wildly losing control of himself, hit the wall many a time. Becoming so angry and blinded by his passion, he struck the Wall repeatedly with his hand and kicked it. It seems that this had happened not for a while or a few minutes. It has been stated in Visuddhimagga as: "sabbarattiṃ"-throughout the whole night, "bhitthiyuddhama-kāsi" (he) was at war with the masonry wall and fought against it. Visuddhimagga has also mentioned the upsurge of rāga as being an intrusion made by rāga itself enticing under the guise of mettā. As attachment of rāga has a tendency to take place with vigour, mettā should not be developed in a manner distinct from others, towards a person of different sex. However, transmission of mettā for the purpose of gaining pāramitā and kūsala for about four, five, or ten times appears not prohibitive.
It is stated that if mettā is developed towards a person who was dead and gone, neither appanā-jhāna-samādhi, i.e. boundless and perfect concentration by contemplation, nor, upacārasamādhi, i.e. inferior type of proximate concentration, can be achieved. Long time ago in the past, a young Bhikkhu was said to be developing mettā dwelling his mind on his spiritual teacher. He was, however, unable to reach the stage of jhāna-samāpatti which he had once successfully practised and attained by indulging in ecstatic meditation. When he made enquiries about his failure to attain the said jhāna as advised by a mahāthera, he found out that his spiritual teacher had already passed away. Thence, he developed his mettā towards another person with his usual concentration. Only then he attained mettā-jhāna. Therefore, mettā should not be developed in respect of or towards a person who had already passed away.
Person towards whom mettā should be developed
first and foremost
In developing mettā towards others, priority should be given to one's own Self. It is stated that first and foremost mettā should be developed towards one's own self giving voice to "May I be happy and free from misery." Or, "May I be free from danger, mental distress, bodily suffering, and be able to shoulder the burden of one's own khandhā (material body) with happiness." In developing mettā for one's own well-being, the intention, of course, is not to acquire merits. Nor is it developed to gain samādhi (concentration). It is meant to serve as an example by comparison that others also wish to be happy like he himself wishes to. One may be developing mettā as: "May I be happy for years and years, nay, for a hundred or thousand years, but there is no possibility of achieving appānā-samādhi. If one is developing mettā for his own wellbeing expressing his own sentiment, "May I be happy", it would serve as an evidence, or rather, stand witness to the fact that others would also wish to be happy, or, to live happily and be alive and also free from misery as he himself wishes to be so. That is the reason why instruction has been given to develop mettā towards one's own Self, or one's own wellbeing initially when beginning with the exercise. Visuddhi-magga has said so. The Enlightened One has made an exposition by preaching a Verse as quoted below which indicates that a person loves his own Self the most.
Sabbā disā anuparigamma eetasā, nevijjhagā piyatara mattanā kvaci. Evaṃ piyo puthu attā pareysaṃ, tasamā na him se paramattakāmo.
Sabbā disā-all ten regions or places, cetasā-with imagination or thoughts, anuparigamma-going round and round in search of, attanā piyataram-a person who deserves more love and affection than one's own self, kvaci-in any place or anywhere, neva ajjhagā-cannot be found. Evam-Similarly, paresam-other people also, puthu attā-with reference to their own respective Self, piyo-love (himself) the most. Tasamā-In as much as every being loves his own Self the most, attakāmo-one who loves his own Self, nay, who cares most of his own welfare or for his own good, param-will not cause another person, na him se-suffer misery, nay, should develop mettā without causing misery to others.
After developing mettā towards one's own Self taking one from the outstanding example cited above, mettā is to be developed towards either a teacher who is worthy of love and respect, or towards the grand-father, father, uncle, etc., Or, in the case of females, towards the grandma, mother, aunt and so on. The manner of developing mettā may be described as: "May the Sayādaw be happy and free from misery, Or, "May the grandfather, father, and uncle be happy. (In the case of females) May the grandma, mother and aunt be happy and free from suffering and misery" In this way, mettā should be developed about once in every three seconds. Mettā can also be developed towards any other person deserving of affection and respect, if not towards your teacher, grand-parents, mother, father and so on.
The mind should be bent upon the recipient of mettā, loving-kindness, whoever he may be, and then transmit this feeling of mettā as "May he be happy" for hundred times (thousand, ten thousand and hundred thousand times) continuously. If one's objective is for the achievement of jhāna-samādhi, mettā should be developed all throughout day and night without a break excluding the time for sleep as an interval for a respite. While developing, the mind may flit. These wandering thoughts are akusala, demerits, known as nīvaraṇas. The moment you become mindful of such thoughts or imaginations, these should be rejected, and then, continue to go on developing mettā, continuously. When the power of concentration, samādhi, becomes strong, such-wandering thoughts will gradually lessen. If samādhi is fully strengthened, the mind will cease to wander and remain fixed on the person to whom mettā is transmitted. This is the realization of upacāra-samādhi which is free from nīvaraṇas.
How jhāna is achieved
When this upacāra-samādhi becomes strong and keen, the mind will dwell fixedly on the recipient of mettā as if it is drifting and floating along the stream of sensation in a dream. However, the mind may stay on only for a moment in the first instance. When continuous development of mindfulness on mettā is further carried on, it may stay put on the sense-object for a duration of one minute or more up to even one hour or so.
When thus absorbed in mindfulness of mettā despite the environmental effects of sensational objects, the mind does not make short flights to these sensations but will remain firm, stable and gets implanted on the person who receives the mettā wishing him happiness. Rapturous feeling will also become conspicuous. Vitakka and vicāra, reflection on the mind and investigation of what is going on with a bent towards the recipient of mettā will become strengthened and obvious. The whole body will become evidently buoyant, light and comfortable. The stabilished mind becomes tranquil without going astray. This tranquility of the mind (ekaggatā) with particularly obvious manifestations of vitakka, vicāra, pīti and sukha is part and parcel of the noble attributes of the first jhāna. All these noble qualities are called the first jhāna. If such an achievement is derived, it is the attainment of first jhāna. This is the reason why Visuddhi-magga has said that such a person can attain appanā jhāna even while developing mettā using the expression-"Evarūpe ca puggale kāmaṃ appanā sampajjati."
This first jhāna, having imbibed or included the attributes of vitakka which reflects on the sensation, and of vicāra which investigates into the nature of sensation, is not as strong and vigorous as it should be. Even in the course of absorption in jhāna, if harsh sounds and shrill voices strike the ear-base of the sensation of hearing, the mind-consciousness may rise from jhāna and then reaches the sound which is the sense-object. That is why mettā should be repeatedly developed towards the person on whom the mind is usually made to dwell to create the tranquil Jhānic-mind without inclusion of vitakka and vicāra. When samādhi gets strengthened, extreme joy or rapture together with the calmness of the mind which are far more increasingly better will occur without making effort to let the mind inclined and reflected towards the sensation and also without making investigation into that sensation. This is the achievement of second jhāna. At the moment of absorption in a trance of that jhāna, intense delight or ecstasy is of the highest degree. If this extremely rapturous feeling- pīti is not desirable, continuous development and transmission of mettā should be made towards the usual recipient of mettā. When concentration gets fully developed and strengthened, excellent mental happiness and tranquility of mind without rapture (pīti) will become obvious. That is the third jhana. This jhāna is the most exalted or the highest jhāna among mettā jhāna.
Either after achieving the jhāna just mentioned, or, before achievement of that jhāna, if it is desirable to develop mettā equally balanced towards all beings, it may be developed and radiated on the most affectionate person as "may such one be happy, etc." It would be much better to develop and transmit mettā after the attainment of jhāna rather than before the attainment. Purified form of mettā can occur easily. Hence, after mettā-jhāna has been achieved in respect of the most affectionate person, development of mettā may be made directing towards, or in favour of a neutral person. After such an achievement of jhāna for the sake of a neutral person, mettā may be developed and bestowed upon a person who is an enemy, if there is any. In rediating mettā towards different recipients one after another, different kinds of feeling or mental consciousness of mettā should be developed only after firm and gentle mind has been brought about and cherished. This is what Visuddhimagga has stated.
The statement that the mind or mental consciousness has been brought about to become firm and gentle, in fact, refers to the acquirement of upacāra-samādhi in the least. The best method is to change the course of developing mettā only after achieving the jhāna. Of all the various expressions, the statement: "Mettā should be developed towards any enemy" is intended for the Yogī who has an enemy. Therefore, from the very outset, I have stated as: ".... a person who is an enemy, if there is any." A Yogī, if he has no enemy, should not bother about the enemy in developing mettā after he has developed loving-kindness towards a neutral person.
Anger is likely to occur remembering the wrong done by a person who is an enemy while a Yogī is developing mettā towards him. When such an incident happens, mettā-jhāna which has been previously achieved in respect of any other person beforehand may be recalled and repeatedly plunged in, and then, by developing mettā towards this particular enemy after rousing up, off and on, from the mental state of absorption in jhāna, he should dispel or extinguish the fiery anger. In regard to those expressions, since Visuddhimagga has stated as: "Mettaṃ samāpajjitvā vutthahitvā", it is clear enough that mettā-jhāna has been attained in respect of other person except the enemy. Hence, I have stated that developing mettā by shifting on to another after attainment of jhāna in respect of the former person is the best.
Method of reflection to subdue anger
After repeatedly absorbing in jhāna that has been realized in radiating mettā to persons mentioned in the foregoing, and then, by developing mettā towards an enemy after arising from that jhāna, if the anger cannot as yet be totally eradicated or repressed, advice is given to extinguish the burning anger by reflecting and bearing in mind the exhortation that has been made by the Buddha citing a saw as an example, etc. The manner of reflection to be done is:
"Oh, my dear indignant Yogī! Is it not true that the Exalted One has given exhortation as-O, monk! If one, for (having suffered badly in the hands of the bad-hats,) robbers and dacoits by being cruelly deprived of his bodily limbs, such as, hands and feet which have been out off with a double-edged saw fixed with a handle at both ends, gets angry and has done wrong in retaliation against the Villains who have ill-treated him, is, I say, a recalcitrant resisting my due admonition."
Next, if retaliation is made in anger on provocation against a person in whom anger has first arisen or started, the raging anger which subsequently takes place in another as a reaction is worse than the anger that has first occurred. (It is because the person who later becomes angry has knowingly and followed the wrong footsteps of the first man who gets angry.) Is it not true, as admonished by the Buddha, that "a person who can tolerate an angry man refraining himself from getting angry is a victor in battle which is hard to be won?"
And then, it has also been preached that if a Bhikkhu, who can remain calm or in mental peace without being angry although fully aware of the fact that the other (who provokes) is in an angry mood, may be said to be a disciplined person for the benefit of his ownself as well as for the benefit of the other.
Furthermore, putting it in a nutshell, out of the seven kinds (of behaviour) which the enemy would be pleased to see, the first is (1) a change in the facial expression of an angry person whose looks suddenly becomes ugly. This is one which the enemy would find it agreeable. (2) A person who is inflamed with anger will not have a sound and peaceful sleep. This is also one of the likings of the enemy. (3) A person heated with anger is likely to lose his business deal which might be adversely effected. This is one which an enemy will find it amusing. (4) A person who is dominated by anger may be lacking in riches, or rather, may not have enough of wealth and possessions. This, too, is one which an enemy likes to see. (5) A person who is of a fiery nature and is prone to vehement anger is likely to have a shortage in the number of personal attendants or retinue. An enemy is rejoined to find such a state of condition. (6) A person of anger will not have a wide circle of friends. This also brings delight to an enemy. (7) A person who is sensitive to anger and is furious cannot possibly be reborn in sugati (an existence where happy conditions prevail) after his death. The gist of this admonition is the advice given to nurture the spirit of patience by repelling the force of anger so that the likings or the wishes of the enemy may not be fulfilled.
Next, is it not also true that preaching has been made thus: "Just as the fire-wood which is used in disposing of corpses by burning at the time of cremation is worthless for use in both the rural and urban areas, a Bhikkhu who is avaricious and committing vices with anger and malice being deprived of both the benefits of enjoying sensual pleasures (kāmaguṇa), and of the accomplishment of morality will not be worthy of respect and will serve no useful purpose in the role of a Bhikkhu both in towns and villages, i.e. in urban and rural areas."
In view of the above facts, if you, a Yogī, is in anger, you will be regarded as a person who is disobedient to the noble instructions given by the Exalted One. You will be like a vanquished in a battle which is difficult of winning a victory, and will also be more vicious than the person who initially becomes angry with iniquity. One should therefore reflect and think over seriously by teaching and reforming himself, and then, exercise over his anger.
If, by reflecting as such, anger cannot as yet be suppressed or extinguished, do not think of and ponder upon the bad behaviours of the enemy, and instead, let your anger subside by reflecting on the good points in his physical, mental and verbal behaviours.
And still, if, by reflection as stated, feeling of anger cannot as yet be subdued, reflect upon what is going to be stated now, and put out this fiery anger which has arisen. The manner of reflection is only mentioned in Visuddhimagga and is not to be found in other Pāḷi Aṭṭhakathās. The relevant verses are exactly Ten (10) in number. I shall continue preaching relating to these verses very briefly.
The manner of reflection according to the ten Verses
(1) In the case of an enemy wishing to cause misery and suffering, injury can only be inflicted by him on your physical body. No harm can be done against the mind. In spite of this why do you want to do things to the likings of the enemy and cause mental distress which the enemy himself is incapable of doing?
(2) Why can't you discard or reject the anger which is likely to bring disastrous effects and no beneficial results, despite the fact that you have donned the yellow robes and have become a Bhikkhu after abandoning all your friends capable of giving you a lot of advantages?
(3) Why do you entertain and caress the spiteful anger which is capable of wiping or chucking out fear and shame, patience, loving-kindness and compassion which are the basic fundamentals of morality (sīla) which you have personally observed? Where can such a fool as you are, be found? (It means to say that you are the most silly person since you have entertained the anger which can destroy and root out your own morality (sīla).?
(4) You are angry against another for having done wrong to you. Is it not true then that you who have so become angry is plotting to offend him in the same manner as has been done to you, in retaliation?
(5) It is most likely that any disagreeable act done to you by another is to stir up your anger, or rather, to make you angry. Such being the case, is it not true that by yielding to your anger, it would amount to fulfilling the desire of another person?
(6) It is not quite sure that you who are angry will definitely make your enemy miserable. Hence, is it not true that even now, at present, you are ill-treating your own good-self by stirring up anger and causing misery to yourself?
(7) As the enemies are foolishly following the path of vice which is unprofitable, as provoked by anger, will there be any justification for you to commit wrongful acts as impulsed by anger following the foot-steps of your enemies?
(8) If any detestable and disagreeable deed is done to you by your enemy based upon anger, you should dispel or overcome this anger. As a matter of fact, why do you unnecessarily cause strain to yourself with an angry feeling towards an individual human being who is not deserving of spite and hatred. (It means that you have done something wrong only at the dictates of "anger" to whom you have become a slave. Hence, this anger itself needs be rejected.)
(9) Rūpa and nāma Dhamma, matter and mind, are transient by nature and are occurring only for a moment, followed by dissolution instantaneously. Such rūpa and nāma which are seemingly thought as having done wrong to you have already dissolved into thin air an instant. These rūpa and nāma are no longer there. They have disappeared altogether. Thus, at the present could you pinpoint that 'matter and mind' in the person of the enemy with which you are angry? New rūpas and nāmas which have subsequently occurred are not doing any wrongful act or harm to you. Those which are considered as having done harm to you have vanished. Hence, there is no meaning in being angry with rūpa and nāma. (It means to say that rūpa and nāma with which you are quarrelling no longer exist.)
(10) If one is causing misery to the other, both the doer himself and the one who suffers are the prime factors, which bring about or produce the effect of misery. In other words, both of them are responsible for the causation of misery. If that is so, since you yourself are not free from blame for the cause of misery, why are you angry with the 'door' only?
The above is the summarised statement of the ten (10) verses, gāthās-, translated in plain language, as mentioned in the Visuddhimagga. The manner of reflection laid down therein is extremely profound. Reflection may, therefore, be made as stated to extinguish the flame of anger.
How to subdue anger by reflecting on Kamma as
one's own property in possession
If, by reflection as indicated in the ten verses, anger cannot as yet be subdued or extinguished, it should be reflected upon kamma, the resultant effects of all good and bad actions done by you, as your own property in possession on which reliance is to be made to eradicate the anger. The manner of reflection may be stated thus: "Oh Yogī! you are developing the practice of mettā-bhāvanā. While being angry, what is your intention to do against the other? Is it not true that whatever action you have done based upon anger will in, consequence, bring about evill or bad effects to your detriment? Yes, indeed. Your kamma (the resultant effects of good and bad actions you have done) is nothing but the 'cause' of your own doing. Kamma is the only one which you really own or possess. You are sure to inherit this kamma which constitutes all kinds of wilful actions, whether mental, verbal or physical thoughts, words and deeds, either good or bad, done by you on your own volition. Kamma is your own relative and refuge. The kammic effect which occurs or takes place depending upon anger will not contribute to your achieving magga-phala. Neither will it do good to you to be reborn in the world of humans and Devas where happy conditions prevail. It will not render help but will only cause you to suffer misery in hell, etc. If you commit the evil kamma of anger, it will be like "a person who first suffers the burns and gets awfully dirty by holding and carrying in his hands the burningly hot coal, and disgusting filth or excrements, with which he is going to cause injury and misery to the other."
Just imagine a person whom you recognize as an enemy. What harm could possibly be done by him with his anger? Will not this anger that is generated in him be to his own disadvantage? He too has his own kamma (action-moral and immoral volition) as his real estate. He is the inheritor of his own kamma done by himself on his own volition, etc. The enemy who has done evil kamma by being angry will suffer its harmful effects "just as a person on whom the dust will fall back by the force of wind if he sprinkles or thrown the dust to shower upon another man standing against the wind on the leeward side from an adverse position." Buddha has, therefore, exhorted:
"If a certain fool commits wrong against a noble person of purified conduct, this wrong doing will react upon him as a retribution, etc."
How to suppress anger by reflecting on the
attributes of Bodhisatta
If anger is not yet abated or subdued by reflection as stated in the foregoing, it should be suppressed by reflecting on the noble qualities or the attributes of the Buddha in his various states of existence previous to attaining Buddhahood. The manner of reflection is:
"Oh, noble Yogī, the Buddha's disciple! Your Teacher, the Lord Buddha, in his capacity as a Bodhisatta, i.e. in his existences prior to attainment of his Enlightenment, for a period of four Asaṅkheyyas (aeons) and a lakh Kappas while relentlessly exercising the virtues required of a Bodhisatta to accomplish the pāramī (Perfection), had practised forbearance or patience without polluting the mind with anger even against all sorts of murderers who were his enemies. The way of practising patience is illustrated in Visuddhimagga beginning from the story of Sīlavā as an example. But now we shall cite an example commencing from Khantī-vādi-jātaka.
How patience was exercised by Khantīvādi,
a great hermit
At one time in the ancient days, during the reign of King Kalābu in the city of Benares, Bodhisatta, born of a high caste Brahmin (Brahmaṅa), was a multi-millionaire possessing eighty crores of rupees. When his parents died leaving behind all their wealth and properties, it had occurred to him that his parents were unable to take along with them what they physically owned on their demise though they were able to accumulate immense wealth. On his part considering that he should take them with him on his death, generously gave away all his possessions in charity to those who deserved. Thereafter, he went into a retreat in one of the forested areas of the Himalayas assuming the role of a hermit. He lived only on fruits which were available in the forest. There was, however, no salt for consumption. In order, therefore, to have proper and adequate nourishment, he made his way to villages where there were people to procure salt and sour fruits for his own personal consumption. Eventually, he reached the city of Beneres. When going round for alms in the city, the Commander-in-Chief of the army finding him worthy of reverence, respect-fully invited him to his residence to accept the offer of meals. Later, he was requested to reside in the pleasance of the king's royal garden. This request was accepted by him. He continued to stay in that royal garden as his place of retreat.
While he was so residing, on one day, king Kalābu visited the royal garden in the company of his queen and maids-of-honour together with a large retinue to hold a ceremonious function. The ceremony was held comprising a series of performances of music, ballet, etc. on a magnificient and spacious marble slab within the precincts of the royal garden. The king enjoyed the festivities watching the display of music, songs and dances after taking a lying posture with his head rest on the thigh of a damsel whom he adored. Merry-making including the dance with accompanying music formed part of the celebrations taken part by professional artistes and maids-of-honour from the royal palace. While listening to the soft music, the sweet melody had lulled the king to sleep. Finding the king in deep slumber, the troupe of female singers and dancers stopped playing music for a moment and roamed about the garden for sight-seeing. While thus making a rambling excursion, they came across the great hermit, the Bodhisatta. They then approached him wishing to listen to the preaching which he might be inclined to give. At their request, the great hermit delivered a sermon appropriate to the occasion.
At that time the maid-of-honour on whose thigh the king had pillowed his royal head manoeuvred her limbs to wake up the king. The king, when aroused from his sleep, found none of his retinue and maids near him. When inquired as to where they had gone to, the maid whose thigh had served as a cushion for the king's head, answered that the whole crowd had gone to the great hermit. On hearing the news, the royal monarch became furious with jealousy. He then picked up his sword and hurried his way to the hermit uttering with an uncontrollable anger that he would give the hermit a good lesson.
Seeing the king raging with anger, one of the maid-of-honour close to him caught hold of his sword and tried to calm him down. However, king Kalābu's anger remained uncontrollable. He asked the hermit what was the Doctrine which he, the hermit, professed. The great hermit replied that his tenet was the Doctrine of khantī (patience), saying that tolerance exercised by one without feeling angry against those who provoked, railed and raved is called "patience". The king then telling the hermit that he would put him to a crucial test to find out if he was really accomplished with patience, ordered his servant, the Executioner, in this manner. "You better pull down this villainous thief, the hermit, lay him prostrate on the ground and punish him with two-thousand lashes by whipping with a twisted cane fixed with sharp-pointed pins, on all four sides of his body."
The executioner gave the hermit two-thousand lashes as ordered by the king. Ordinarily, a person would surely succumb to the injuries received if he has to undergo a ponalty of 2000 lashes. Curiously, the great hermit was found still alive! possibly because of his noble qualities of 'khantī', or of relaxed or slack force put in at the time of whipping-no one can say. However, the thick outer and inner thin layer of skin covering the flesh of the entire body of the hermit was grievously torn. Flesh was also torn to bits. Blood flowed out profusely. Just imaging how severe the plain and suffering would be that the said hermit had to undergo. In spite of this ferecious ill treatment, the great noble hermit harboured no anger, ill will or grudge either against the king or the executioner. This is the cruel purnishment imposed without shy me or reason, or fault whatsoever. Ordinarily, such a treatment would induce anger and malicious feeling. This kind of patience indeed calls for the spirit of emulation from Yogīs who are developing mettā.
Finding the great hermit still alive, the king asked him what doctrine he was practising. Thereupon, the Reverend Hermit replied, "I firmly hold the Doctrine of Patience. O, King, do you think that this 'patience'-(khantī) can be traced in the skin of my body. It is not underneath the layers of the skin. 'Patience' resides in my heart of hearts and never runs out. Inturiated by this mental attitude, king Kalābu ordered that two hands of the hermit be cut off and also that the lower extremities-the two feet, the ears and the nose be sliced off. The Executioner strictly complied with the king's orders and cruelly cut off those bodily limbs with an axe. Every time a limb was severed, a question was put as to what was the kind of Doctrine accepted by the hermit. The reply given by the great hermit repeatedly to the questions was the same as before that he had held firmly to the doctrine of patience which found its abode in his heart. Eventually, the king, after uttering in disgust as: "You cunning hermit. Better live on invoking or hoisting your own 'khantī'," foully kicked the hermit in the breast with his foot and then departed. After his departure, when he reached the gate of the royal garden, this King Kalābu was swallowed down by the earth. It has been mentioned in the Aṭṭhakathā (Commentary) that this wicked king was dragged down to Avīcī-hell, enveloped in burning flames.
Thereafter, the Commander-in-Chief of the army came over to the great hermit and tendered his apology not to feel angry and bear malice against the state (country). Thereupon, the Reverend Hermit gave his reply as follows:
"Yo me hatthey ca pāde ca, kaṇṇa nāsañ ca chedayi.
Ciraṃ jīvatu so rājā, na hi kujjhanti mādisā.
Senāpati-Oh, Commander-in-Chief! Yo-He who is King Kalābu, (has caused), me-my, hatthe ca-hands and pāde ca-feet, kaṇṇa nāsañ ca-the ears and the nose, chedayi-to be cut off. So rājā-This king Kalābu, ciraṃ jīvatū-may live long. Hi=For being able to develop mettā without getting angry, mādisā-noble and virtuous person like me, na kujjhanti-are not used to get angry, nay, are able to develop mettā with best wishes and goodwill for not being accustomed to get angry.
O, dear Yogī who is developing mettā through meditation in accordance with the teachings of the Lord Buddha! Your enemy who has done wrong to you will not be as bad as king Kalābu. Isn't it then proper for you to be patient without getting angry just as the great Khantīvādi hermit was able to endure, with patience and with no anger, the afflictions of the heinous crime committed by king Kalābu?
Story of Dhammapāla, the young child
At one time in the past old days, Mahāpatāpa was the ruling monarch in the country of Benares. At that time Bodhisatta entered the womb of the chief queen Candā Devī who later gave birth to a son, Bodhisatta, the newly born baby was given the name of Dhammapāla. When this young prince Dhammapāla was 7 months old, his mother, the queen, after bathing her child and dressing him with fine costumes, was caressing and jovially playing with the infant with love. At that moment, the queen whose joyous thoughts were momentarily riveted on her bonny son, being so delighted that she failed to get up and pay respect to her husband, the king, who had by then come over to the place where the mother was molly-coddling the child.
The king on seeing the mother fondling her son, imagined, "Even now, this woman was becoming swell-headed and conceited relying on her son. When the child becomes a grown-up, it is almost certain that she will surely neglect me. Perhaps, it would be better to get rid of the son now." With a feeling of disappointment which had reflected on his facial expression, he left the place and proceeded to his royal chamber where the throne had stood. He immediately sent for the Executioner and gave orders that the infant child be brought before his presence. Judging from his looks from the very outset, the queen knew that her husband, the king, had entertained his resentment against her. Realizing this unhappy state of affairs, the queen was shedding tears while folding the baby to her breasts.
While she was thus weeping, the Executioner appeared and snatched away the child Dhammapāla from her. She followed from behind the Executioner with a pensive mood. On their arrival before the king, the child was put on a wooden slab. Orders were immediately given by the king to chop off the hands of the poor little unfortunate child. The queen Candā Devī entreated the king that the child was innocent and that only she had the fault. She pleaded repeatedly that her hands be cut off instead of the hands of her innocent son but to no avail. The Executioner had to obey and execute the orders of the king. The hands of the seven months' old infant Dhammapāla were, therefore, cruelly chopped off with an axe. The two small tender hands were dismembered as if a delicate sprout of a bamboo plant is severed. The young infant, Bodhisatta, however, did not flinch and cry but remained still with patience. Hence, the commentary goes to say:
So-This young child Dhammapāla, hatthesu chijjamānesu-when cut off in his hands, i.e. while his hands were chopped off, nevarodi-neither uttered a cry, naparideyi-nor wailed or lamented, khantiñca-exercising the spirit of patience and, mettiñca-wishing happiness to the other, purecārikaṃ katvā-guided by the thoughts of loving-kindness, adhivāsesi-endured the pain and suffering by resigning himself to the situation (fate).
The mother-queen Candā Devī after picking up the soft tiny hands that had been severed, folded them close to her bosom and was bitterly sobbing. Thereafter, the father Mahāpatāpa king again ordered the Executioner to cut off the two feet and then, the head of the child. The queen went on entreating her husband to pardon the innocent child but to no purpose. The Executioner then severed the child's head as ordered by the king and even tossed up the little delicate body of the child in the air and on falling down, caught it up with the sharp-pointed sword and played with it as if it were wreath of flowers. It is almost unbelievable that there was such a kind of foolish, wicked and heartless father without a tinge of mercy in him. However, there is every possibility of finding such a merciless man from among the worldlings when one become a slave to the "anger". Because of this possibility, the case of this wicked king Mahāpatāpa, father of Dhammapāla, has been cited as an example. The queen died of a broken-heart on the spot while weeping and wailing. By a curious coincidence, king Mahāpatāpa also fell down from his throne and dropped on to the floor first, and eventually reached the level of the earth below where he was swallowed down to death. It was stated that he had gone down to avīci, hell, one of the eight Nārakas.
As for the young child Dhammapāla, it was stated that he passed away peacefully while exercising patience without any anger which had not arisen till the time of his death. Considering this episode, it might be possible for a Yogī who is developing mettā to endure pain and suffering without being angry just as the young child Dhammapāla had practised forbearance.
The manner of practising patience by an elephant,
a monkey and a dragon
Mention was made in the Visuddhimagga to reflect as to how patience was exercised by Chaddanta, the King of the Elephants, our Bodhisatta in one of his previous existences, without anger and ill-will when Sonothe, a hunter shot at him with a poisonous arrow.
Mahākapi, a hugh monkey once saved the life of a man who had accidentally fallen into a deep ravine. After having been rescued from the danger of death, this man cruelly struck the head of his Saviour with a big stone when the latter had fallen asleep through exhaustion. However, the noble-minded monkey bore no resentment and grude against him and even rendered his assistance to this man by escorting him to reach the zone of safety where human beings lived.
Then also, there are instances of two Bodhisatta dragons-one by the name of Buridatta, and the other, Campeyya, a Nagā Chief, who were captured alive and ill-treated by a snake-charmer, while they were observing the noble precepts (sīla). The snake-charmer took these snake-dragons (Nagās) to towns and villages where he displayed an exhibition of these two noble creatures making them dance to the tune of music played by him. These Nagās possessed inherent supernatural powers and were so highly poisonous and potent that by just looking at the persons with spite and omitting fiery flames, people would be reduced to ashes or killed. However, the said two Nagās endured the misery brought about by their enemy, the snake-charmer. The manner in which they practised patience refraining themselves from anger, may be reflected, as explained in Visuddhimagga.
The manner of exercising patience
through mindfulness by ashin Poṇṇa
At one time, Ven. Poṇṇa, a native of Sunāparanta country, entreated the Exalted One to deliver a sermon to him in a concise way. The Buddha, therefore, preached him as stated below:
"O, my son Poṇṇa! There are pleasurable and agreeable sights and scenes, or sense-objects which can be perceived and known by the eyes. These pleasurable sense-objects are also concerned with one's own desires. They are also prone to sensuous attachments. If the sense-objects or rūpa that come into your view, are accepted with pleasure and looked upon as being agreeable with admiration, or are embraced and grasped or retained in your possession, it would cause rejoicings in you, called "Nandī". O, my son Poṇṇa! I say that misery will take place because of this delight and pleasure." (Similarly, preaching was done in respect of the sensations of sound, smell, taste, touch and thoughts.)
"O, my son Poṇṇa! The way to end misery, or rather, to make misery come to a cessation is not to accept or entertain the different sensations arising from different sense-objects which will cause to generate a feeling of delight and pleasure. If it is done so, there will be no opportunity for Nandī to occur. O, my son Poṇṇa! Because of the cessation of pleasurable conditions and feelings, misery and suffering will entire cease."
"O, my son Poṇṇa! I have already given due admonition to you in a brief manner. You, who have heard and received this admonition may now let me know the place where you are going to reside." To this query, Ven. Poṇṇa replied: "My Lord, I'm residing in Sunāparanta state in the westernmost part of the Continent of India, which is called Jambūdīpa."
"O, my son Poṇṇa! The citizens of Sunāparanta are rude, rough and petulant. If they scold you and utter abusive words at you, how would you feel?"
"My Lord, if they abuse and rail at me, I would bear in mind in this manner: O, these citizens of Sunāparanta are not at all bad. They only utter abusive words and rebuke, and have not yet made any physical assault on me.", answered Ven. Poṇṇa.
Buddha further interrogated him as: "If they give you a beating and attack you physically, how would you feel? He then replied, "I would forbear it with a feeling of tolerance that Sunāparanta citizens are only doing harm to me with their hands. Since they have not caused injury to me by throwing stones at me, they will be considered as having conducted themselves fairly well". Questions then followed as to how Ven. Poṇṇa would react or respond if he were assaulted physically with stones, sticks, and swords (dahs) not to the extent of causing him death. The reply given to every question put was that he would tolerate and consider them as not behaving badly. Then the question arose as to how he would bear in mind and feel if he were killed by being cut with a dah. The response given was that having heard of an incident where some of the Bhikkhus from among the disciples of the Lord Buddha had even to find for a lethal weapon such as a dah to commit suicide for being disgusted with their own material body and life existence, he would reflect on the said incident and consider himself lucky enough to be killed by another person without the need to look for a lethal weapon- a dah - which can cause death.
This Ven. Poṇṇa later made his way to Sunāparanta country and carried on practising meditation. He was said to have become an Arahat even before the end of his first Vassa.
As such, there is every likelihood of a Yogī to be able to extinguish his anger by reflecting on the manner in which Ven, Poṇṇa had borne in mind or his mental attitude, as cited in this Sutta.
If anger cannot as yet be exterminated by reflecting on the noble attributes and moral conduct of the Bodhisatta, Visuddhimagga has stated that the eleven advantages of mettā should be reflected as has been enumerated earlier. O, Yogī? If you who are developing mettā cannot dispel this 'anger' by so doing, you should kill it by reflecting upon yourself that you would otherwise lose all the advantages of mettā.
Extinguishing anger by reflecting on the elements
after chemically analysing them
It is stated that if anger cannot be subdued as yet by employing the method cited above, it should be reflected after examining the elements analytically. The manner of reflection to be made is:
O, Yogī, You who are developing mettā through meditation! With what are you angry in resenting against the other man? Are you getting angry with his hairs on the head, or against his urine? Putting it in another way, since the hairs are made up of four main constituents viz: elements of earth, water, fire and air, are you angry with pathavīdhātu, or āpodhātu, or tejodhātu, or vāyodhātu? In other words, who is your enemy in as much as he is dependent upon the five khandhās, twelve āyatanas (the six Organs of Sense and the six Objects of Sense-the internal and external senses or properties) and eighteen dhātus?
Are you angry with the rūpa, matter, from among the khandhās, etc.? Or, with vedanā, Or, saññā? Or, saṅkhāras? Or, mind-consciousness, the viññāṇa? Or, cakkhāyana (the eye), Or, rūpāyana (sight), Or, manāyatana (mind), Or, dhammāyatana, ideas or sensations?, Or, cakkhudhātu (the element of eye), Or, cakkhuviññāṇadhātu (the element of eye-consciousness-vision), Or, manodhātu (mental reflection or the mind that accepts), Or, dhammadhātu (ideas or objects), Or, manoviññāṇaḍhātu (mental consciousness)?
If analytical observation of the dhātus is made, it will be convincingly realized that anger has no abode in the human body, just as a tiny grain of mustard seed will have no place to be rested upon a very small pinpoint, or, just as there is no place in the sky for colouring-matter to be painted.
How anger is subdued by 'give & take' policy
If incapable of making an analytical observation of the dhātus, charity or almsgiving should be made. One's own personal property or any other thing should be offered in donation to the person whom one resents or hates. Property or goods be also accepted in return from that hateful person. However, if the person whom you hate has no propriety of conduct in making his livelihood, you should only offer your property. If such a "Give and Take" policy is adopted, feeling of animosity or vengeance will surely be eradicated. Even resentment or hatred borne by an enemy in his past existence that has resuscitated in this present life existence, will, it is stated, be extinguished. An instance may be cited in this regard.
On a mountain known as Cittala where Piṇḍapātika Thera resided, an old Thera who bore an inveterate hatred against the former made three attempts to oust him from his place of residence. In a Saṅghika monastery, i.e. a monastery which has been bestowed on the Saṅgha as a gift, the Bhikkhu who is younger in status is responsible to offer the place or make room for the senior Bhikkhu to reside. Contrary to this rule of discipline, the attitude of the old Thera amounted to causing annoyance to Piṇḍapātika Thera. With a view to expel the feeling of vengeance borne by the other, Piṇḍapātika Thera offered the other a bowl stating: "Sir, this is the begging bowl worth eight kyats which my mother had donated to me. You may please accept it and make use of it so that my mother, the donor, will derive merits." Since the time of acceptance of the gift of the said bowl, feeling of animosity and vengeance had totally subsided in the old Thera. Hence, the Commentators have stated:
"Adantadamānaṃ dānaṃ, dānaṃ sabbatthasādhakaṃ.,
Dānena piyavācāya, unnamani namanti ca."
Dānam-charity or act of almsgiving, adantadamanam-can make a rude person become civilized, or in other words, can tame an unruly person. Dānam-The act of donating gifts, sābbattha-sādhakam-will accomplish all the advantages, or rather, will carry with it full benefits. (In Sīlakkhanda Commentary, it is stated as "adānaṃ dantadūsakam" which, in fact, conveys the meaning that if a person worthy of receiving the offer of donation is not given a gift, it could bring about estrangement between him and a refined person who is friendly to him and has earned his respect.) It continues to say that by offering gifts with a feeling of generosity and by speaking sweetly in a gentle manner, the person who makes offerings with a sweet tongue will be enhanced in his prestige. And also, the relationship between the receiver of gifts who hears the talk and the giver who speaks will be cordial and in harmony.
How Sīmāsambheda occurs
As stated in the foregoing, if anger which has arisen against an enemy, or rather, a hostile person has subsided or been suppressed, feeling of mettā or loving-kindness will also constantly occur in such a hostile person just as the feeling of mettā occurs in respect of (1) an affectionate person worthy of respect and love, (2) a beloved person or a person on whom deep love is bestowed, (3) a neutral person who is neither dear nor hateful. At the same time while developing mettā repeatedly, this loving-kindness shall be transmitted to all four kinds of persons, viz: his own self, the one whom he dearly loves, the neutral person, and the hostile person with his equally balanced mind put on each and every one of them by inculcating a spirit of goodwill, wishing them happiness. By so doing, it would amount to avoiding discrimination between different kinds of persons to whom goodwill is to be imparted equally wishing them happiness. This is called "sīmāsambheda". In other words, the line of demarcation drawn, or, the boundary marked out between different individuals should be erased.
The manner of cancelling out or nullifying the limit of differentiation between individuals is:
Let us say that a person who is developing mettā together with the person who deserves love, i.e. one who is dear to him, the neutral person, and the enemy (a hostile person), all four of them, are living in the same place, and let's assume that while living together as stated, a number of villains and thieves came over and asked the person developing mettā with an ultimatum to hand over to them any one of the four so as to enable them to offer him as a sacrifice to propitiate a god in the performance of a ritual. When demanded as such, if a wavering thought arises imagining as to which of the four persons should be effered, it will not yet amount to achievement of the quality of sīmāsambheda. It is simply because it would be tantamount to discrimination or denying the interests of the person (victim) who is chosen to be taken away.
In reality, only if a feeling of loving-kindness occurs spreading out mettā equally on all four persons including himself wishing each and everyone to be happy without wishing to hand over anyone of the four, then, it is said to have amounted to sīmāsambheda. It means that no distinction has been made between himself and others. There will only be one sphere of activity which is confined solely to bringing about happiness and this means that there is no such distinguishing limit (known as Sīmā), which is, in fact, cancelled out.
How Mettā-jhāna Is achieved
Even if a feeling of loving-kindness occurs wishing others to gain happiness with his mind evenly balanced after the achievement of sīmāsambheda,a Yogī, while developing mettā through meditation, beholds nimittaṃ, the first sign of mental illumination. He also realizes the upacāra jhāna. Then after his realization of upacāra-jhāna-samādhī, if he continues practising by developing several times, the sensation arising out of nimitta, appanā-jhāna will soon be achieved. This is according to what has been stated in Visuddhimagga. This appanā-jhāna is nothing but the three kinds of jhānas as mentioned earlier.
After attainment of all these jhānas, 528 kinds of mettā can be developed continuously in sequence through the mental faculty of mettā-jhāna.
Presently, before winding up the second part of our preachings, we shall develop mettā to gain kusala (merits) and pāramitā (perfections). We will, therefore, proceed to contemplate on the vanishing of voice-rūpa in the course of our recitation with a sincere and hearty feeling towards all beings for their welfare and happiness.
May all Bhikkhus, Yogīs and people in this Sāsana-Yeikthā meditation centre be happy. (repeat thrice).
May all Devas in this Yeikthā meditation centre be happy. (repeat)
May all beings in this Sāsana Yeikthā be happy. (repeat)
May all Bhikkhus and people in this township be happy. (repeat)
My all Devas in this township be happy. (repeat)
May all beings in this township be happy. (repeat)
May all citizens of the Union of Myanmar be happy. (repeat)
May all Devas in the Union of Myanmar be happy. (repeat)
May all beings wherever they are, be happy. (repeat)
And may all those who are respectfully listening to this Dhamma on Brahmavihāra, by virtue of having heard the preachings of this sermon, speedily attain Nibbāna.
Preachings will be delivered now based fundamentally upon Metta Sutta which is quite familiar to a majority of the people here. This Metta Sutta is of paramount importance for the Buddhists in Myanmar. It has become an indispensable Sutta Dhamma when reciting prayers and various kinds of hymns or incintations (parittas) which are usually uttered or chanted on the occasion of religious functions to ward of the influence of evil spirits and impart loving-kindness to all beings, thereby affording us also contemporary message of goodwill or blessing.
It would also cause to enhance the advantages
of Dāna, almsgiving
If offerings of gifts were accepted while reciting this Metta Sutta, and by developing mettā at the same time, immense advantages can be derived by the benefactors who are donors. It is, therefore, necessary for the Bhikkhus to seriously study so as to grasp the meaning and significance of this Metta Sutta. Practice should be made to be able to recite this Sutta correctly and precisely with a smooth flow and without making any error in punctuation. Then, while reciting this Sutta, mettā should also be developed. This manner of performance would bring benefits to himself-the reciter and also the donors.
We shall now make a clear exposition of this Metta Sutta commencing from the first stanza in the body of this Sutta.
Preliminary Gāthā (Verse) of Metta Sutta
(a) Yassā nubhāvato yakkhā,
neva dassanti bhīsanaṃ.
Yamhi cevā nuyuñjanto,
(b) Sukhaṃ supati sutto ca,
pāpaṃ kiñci na passati.
parittaṃ taṃ bhanāma he.
(a) He-Oh, noble personages, yassa-In regard to this Metta Sutta Paritta, ānubhāvato-because of its supernatural powers or efficacy, yakkhā-the guardian angels of the trees (will refrain from displaying), bhīsanam-the dreadful or horrible sensations. (and) neva dassanti, i.e. will not make them manifested, Ca-Besides, yahmi eva-If this Metta Sutta (were re-cited), rattindivam-both day and night, atandito-without laziness or indolence, anuyuñjanto-one who is devoting oneself to the recitation of this Sutta.
(b) Sukham-will have a happy or comfortable, supati-sleep. Sutto ca-while sleeping too, kiñci pāpam-not a single bad or hideous dream, passati-will come into his sleeping vision. Evamādiguṇūpetam-(being) accomplished or endowed with such advantages and noble attributes, taṃ parittam-this Metta Sutta Paritta or hymn (be recited), mayam-by us, bhaṇā-ma-(and) we shall now begin to recite. In other words, "taṃ bhaṇāma he" i.e. Therefore, we shall recite this Metta Sutta.
These two stanzas or verses are the preliminary hymns of praise composed by the Sayādaws-teachers of the ancient times, and are handed down to us by tradition. These are expressed in verses to be uttered or recited in the form of a universal benediction with a rhythm simultaneously, by those individuals who will do the recitation.
The prologue to this Sutta also contained words of praise eulogizing its noble attributes. Moreover, this eulogy serves as an introduction to the Sutta indicating that by virtue of the attributes of this noble Sutta, the guardian Devas of the trees will neither make a display of horrible sensational scenes nor strike terror into the hearts of the people. How it had once happened may be explained as follows:-
The Deities terrify the five-hundred Bhikkhus
At one time, while the Lord Buddha was residing at Jetavana monastery in the city of Sāvatthi, five-hundred Bhikkhus after taking instructions from the Buddha on the method of practising Kammaṭṭhāna meditation, went out in search of a suitable monastery and a village where alms-givers or donors could be found. They then reached a mountain where lakes were in abundance at the fringe of the Himalayas. The place was hygienically clean and refreshingly cool and peaceful. They stayed for one night at this place. Early in the next morning, they visited a village in the neighbourhood to seek for alms. It was stated that this village was fairly large with one thousand dwelling houses. The villagers, being generous and hospitable, offered meals to all five-hundred Bhikkhus and also requested them to spend their Vassa at their place. They also donated a small 'Kyaung' (monastery) to each and everyone of the Bhikkhus to enable them to live in peace and meditate singly, and provided them with benches and footstools for sitting, water-pots, etc.
On the following day, they proceeded to another village. The inhabitants of that village similarly requested the Bhikkhus to reside at their place for a period of Vassa after they had offered the meals. They agreed to stay as requested making a remark in passing that it would be better if the place were free from dangers. Later, they carried on practising meditation day and night continuously at a grove in that forested area situated in close proximity of the village. Owing to the influential effect of the powers of the Bhikkhus who were endowed with morality (sīla), the guardian angels of the tree in the forested area dared not reside in their abodes from which they descended taking along with them their young children, and had to be moving about hither and thither. The Nats or the deities were, therefore, watching out from a good distance with embarassment as to when these noble Bhikkhus would be leaving the place.
Later, it had occurred to them as: "These Bhikkhus would no doubt be staying for a period of three months during the Vassa. We with our children cannot possibly remain outside our abodes for a long time. It would, therefore, appear advisable to create horror, and dreadful sensational sights to frighten them away." Implementing their thoughts into action, rukkha-devas, the guardian Devas of the trees, created themselves in the guise of ogres during night time while the Bhikkhus were meditating, and stood in the presence of the Bhikkhus making themselves visible causing weird sounds and hideous noise. Having heard these uncanny sounds and seen horrible sights, the Bhikkhus were all stricken with fear. Their hearts throbbed and their complexion turned pale. The mind became restless with worry and fright. While becoming miserable as stated, foul smell were omitted by the deities. This state of condition had caused the Bhikkhus great embarassment and suffering. It was mentioned in the Commentary as "Tena duggandhona nimmathiyamānamiva matthaluṅgaṃ ahosi." This expression comes very close to the view of the present day Western medical doctors. It may, therefore, be said that they had suffered severely from headache. Despite this pain and suffering, they remained mute with great patience without letting one another know about what had really happened.
One day, on being asked by the eldest Mahā Thera, each and everyone of the Bhikkhus made a candid disclosure of their own respective personal experience they had gone through. The eldest of the Bhikkhus, Mahā Thera, then expressed his opinion; "If that is the case, this place may be considered as unsuitable for us to stay and continue practising meditation. Let us, therefore, proceed to the Lord Buddha and respectfully apprised Him of this state of affairs, and then we shall shift our place of residence to some other suitable spot for the rest of the period of Vassa." Thereafter, they all came over to the Enlightened One from whom they sought instruction to direct them to a suitable and proper place which would be more congenial to practise meditation.
Buddha delivered Metta Sutta to deter delties from
causing dreadful sights and terror
On reflection being made as to which place would be most appropriate for these Bhikkhus, it was stated that Buddha had found no place within the whole region of Jhambudīpa suitable for the purpose of meditation other than the place where they had resided. Therefore, Buddha ordered them to return to the forest retreat from where they had come. The advice given by the Buddha was: "You should learn this Mettā-Sutta Paritta if you all wish to escape from the dangers brought about by the deities. This Mettā-Sutta would serves as a deterrent to the perils caused by those deities. It would also help towards better realization of the Dhamma in the practice of Kammaṭṭhāna." Furthermore, it has been elucidated in the Commentary as stated below:-
Imañca suttam-This Mettā-Sutta also, māsassa-during one month, aṭṭhasu dhammasavanadi-vasesu-for a period of eight days while occupied in preaching and listening to the sermon (It means waxing and waning days of the fifth, eighth, fourteenth, and fifteenth-altogether 8 days in a month), gandim ākotetvā-beat the wooden drum, ussāretha-utter incantations, dhammakathaṃ karotha-go on preaching, sākacchatha-make deliberations, anumodatha-and this Paritta be expressed with anumodanā-great rejoicing. Idameva kammaṭṭhānam-this Mettā meditational exercise, āsevatha-be relied upon, bhāvetha-be developed, bhahulīkarotha-(and) be done or performed several times. Tepi amanussā-these Devas or deities also, yo-will cause you, taṃ bheravā-rammaṇam-no such dreadful sights and sensations, na dassanti-(and) will not make a display, nay, i.e. will not strike torror into your hearts. This advice was given by the Enlightened One in passing.
After taking instructions from the Buddha, these Bhikkhus returned to their former place in the forest where their monasteries stood. They stayed on in that place practising meditation and reciting Mettā-Sutta according to the preachings of the Lord Bhddha. These Devas or deities having felt that "these Noble Ones are sympathetic and are really bent upon bestowing upon us a lot of advantages by developing loving-kindness, were so pleased and happy that they even assisted the Bhikkhus in every way possible to fulfil their needs. Under these favourable circumstances, all these Bhikkhus, after developing mettā and indulging in the practice of Vipassanā based upon mettā-jhāna, were said to have attained Arahatship reaching the stage of arahatta-phala during that period of Vassa. As such, at the commencement of the Verse eulogising the virtues of this Mettā-Sutta, it has been mentioned that in view of the powerful influence of the noble attributes of this mettā-paritta, the Guardian Devas of the trees had refrained themselves from displaying or exhibiting horrible sights and sensational objects to frighten the Bhikkhus.
It's not just adequate enough doing the recitation
only but also needs to practise
The third line in the first stanza contains the word "anuyunjjhanto"which denotes "practising". This expression alone in itself does not convey the sense to simply do the recitation of the Mettā-Sutta. The intention probably is to refer to the practising of mettā-bhāvanā, i.e. developing mettā through practical meditation. It is because in the mettā-sutta, where eleven advantages of mettā-bhāvanā are enumerated, it has been elucidated that these are the advantages of mettā ceto vimuttl. The expression "mettā ceto vimutti" could not possibly have reference to mere requirement of recitation only. Only appanā-jhāna is mettā cetovimutti. This has been clearly explained in Aṅguttara Commentary (p. 37). Hence, if advantages, such as sukhaṃ supati, i.e. has the benefit of a sound sleep, etc., are desirable, mettā should also be developed in addition to making recitation. Now that one or two stanzas (verses) of mettā-sutta in Pāḷi will be recited and elucidated.
The noble Mettā Sutta Paritta
(1) Karaṇīya matthakusalena,
yamta santaṃ padaṃ abhisamicca.
Sakko ujjū ca suhujū ca,
suvaco ca'ssa mudu anatimānī.
(1) Santam-blissful, padam-Nibbāna, abhisamicca-if desirous of achievement and realization, atthakusalena-a person who knows or realizes the desirable advantages which are essentially required, yam-this practice of sīla, samādhi and pañña, karaṇīyam-needs be exercised and performed. Taṃ, this practice (kātum-for the purpose of exercising it), sakko ca-is capable of, assa-achievement.
(1) Must be capable of practising
The gist of it is: If a person who fully knows the real advantages that can be accrued, if desirous of achieving and realizing the blissful Nibbāna, must invariably indulge himself in the practice of sīla (morality), samādhi (concentration), and paññā (insight wisdom). He must be capable of taking up this practice. What is indicated by this expression is that if one wishes to be liberated from all miseries and tribulations, he should have the ability to practise sīla, samādhi and paññā without any regard for his own self or material body to the extent of sacrificing his own life.
To amplify a bit more, it may be stated as resembling a worldling who, realizing the worldly advantages that can be derived, is striving to acquire the best advantage under the given circumstances either by way of earning his livelihood as an agriculturist, or a trader, or a paid public servant. Just as gold, silver and other kinds of properties will be of benefit to him in the pursuit of his worldly business affairs, sīla, samādhi and paññā are really the best advantages to be gained in his long journey through samsāra. These are the essential things to be practised and acquired. In the least, if one is accomplished in his sīla, moral conduct, he will not descend to the realm of apāyā, and instead, he is sure to reach the world of human beings and of Devas, where pleasant and favourable conditions prevail. If he could attain jhāna-samādhi, he will be elevated to a happy life existence in the abode of Brahmās, where the life-span lasts for aeons. If one is accomplished with Vipassanā insight knowledge and has fully achieved sotāpatti magga-phala, he will forever be emancipated from landing in the four apāyas. He will later enter into parinibbāna on his demise after attainment of Arahatship and after having been reborn in the abode of sugati for not more than seven existences. If accomplished with arahatta-magga-phalañāṇa, he will totally escape from the woes and worries of life existences, i.e. there will be no more future life-existence for him. That is the reason why sīla, samādhi and paññā are the real advantages in so far as samsāra is concerned. These attributes should be gained through the practice of meditation.
Such being the case, one who is thoroughly proficient in the practices of sīla, etc., should be capable of exercising Vipassanā meditation with complete understanding. It is a practice which should invariably be performed without any misgiving that these higher morality and learning's are hard to be practised. One should not feel disappointed that realization of insight knowledge is not within his reach. Neither should he find fault with it nor feel that it would perhaps be better and happier for him to avoid taking a training in the exercise, and that the practice of samādhi bhāvanā is difficult and tiresome. One should not give it up through indolence and weakness. Follow the Motto:-
"Genuine advantages of sīla, samādhi and paññā be fully grasped with keen proficiency. Having understood as such, one should be capable of practising meditation leading to the acquirement of advantages."
The statement "Genuine advantages .... be fully grasped with keen proficiency" is in consonance with what has been stated as "atthakusalena". One must, therefore, be competent to resort to this noble practice. To enable one to do so, one must have saddhā (absolute faith) and vīriya (perseverance or exertion). Only if one has absolute faith with a firm belief that the advantages or benefits are sure to derive, he will be inclined to take up the practice of Vipassanā meditation, which will eventually lead to the attainment of Nibbāna after achieving magga-phala.
On the other hand, those who have no faith in the Buddha's Dhamma will not be able to practise sīla, samādhi and paññā. Some of those who pretend themselves to be real Buddhists have said that these practices are not required to be exercised, and if practised, it will only end in misery. This sort of indiscreet remark is more wishful thinking. They are the people who have no faith or belief in the Doctrine of Buddha. Such people have no inclination to indulge themselves in the practices of sīla, samādhi and paññā. If they fail to do so, since it has been preached as "karanīyam", i.e. "should be practised without fail", (and) "sakko"-"must also have the ability to practise", they shall be deemed to have held dissentient views contrary to the Teachings of the Lord Buddha. As a matter of fact, they are absolutely lacking in sīla, samādhi and paññā, just like a pitiable penniless person. They are destined for the Nether World.
Moreover, unremitting effort is essential. If lacking in diligence, it becomes difficult to fully maintain the attributes of sīla (morality). Thus, it will be all the more burdensome to practise samādhi and paññā. Some are even reluctant or lazy to listen to the sermon on the subject of the practice of Vipassanā meditation. To a person who is diligent, nothing is difficult or burdensome. He will make his relentless effort to achieve fully in anything which needs be accomplished. Hence, "utmost endeavour should be made to practise for the achievement of sīla. He must have the ability to practise and perform the exercise with vigour and enthusiasm." To be capable of doing so, faith and exertion is essentially required to be accomplished. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to carry on the practice of sīla, etc., diligently, after having accomplished oneself as stated.
(2) & (3) must be frank and honest
Next, ujju ca-honest, assa-he must be, suhuju ca-extremely straight forward and honest, he should be. When first becoming an ordained Bhikkhu, though he may be honest at the initial stage of practising meditation by the strength of his faith and conviction, at a later stage when the strength of faith (saddhā) and exertion (vīriya) is at a low ebb, as he becomes slack and defective concerning his morality, "suhuju" the quality of extreme honesty will deteriorate. Only by practising without defect throughout the lifetime, "suhuju" will remain in tact. To put it in another way, if freed from treachery or craftiness without any pretension of having possessed the attributes which he is not really endowed with (sātheyya) he shall be deemed to be straightforward (uju). If free from the defect of pretension as stated, he may be regarded as extremely honest. In other words, if not cunning and treacherous from the point of view of physical and verbal behaviour, one shall be regarded as being honest and straight forward (uju). It is "suhuju", if a person is not crafty or cunning. The last method is that if refrained from revealing the truth of the attributes which he does not really possess, it would amount to being honest (uju). If no acceptance is made of the offerings or donations given by others through reverence under the false impression of the attributes which he (a Bhikkhu) does not really possess, he shall be deemed to be very honest and upright (suhuju).
In practising meditation, the qualities of honesty and uprightness are fundamentally important. If spoken under the pretence of having possessed the attributes of the Special Dhamma which one has not yet achieved, or in other words, if a false assertion of a claim is made without actually possessing the attributes, it is a clear case of dishonesty. Such a person who makes a false claim under pretence will have no chance of making progress in his meditational practice. The spiritual teacher will also find it difficult to mend him, or rather, put him on the right lines. If one does not truly admit his faults and does not know his responsibility to tell the truth, he is devoid of the quality of "suhuju". If the mind wanders or flits, he must openly admit as such and tell what has actually happened in his exercise. Otherwise; he will not be regarded as being very honest. Only if he tells the truth of what has taken place, or in other words, only if he reveals his incompetence or failure to achieve the Special Dhamma truthfully, it would amount to accomplishment of the attributes of "uju". Only when he is candid and honest, will the spiritual teacher be able to put him on the right track. If he sincerely and respectfully meditates as guided by his spiritual teacher, samādhi-ñāṇa, penetrating knowledge (by concentration), will soon be developed with progress. If it is done so, treacherous feeling, if any, may be wiped out, and honesty may be revived. In particular, when reaching the stage of udayabbaya-ñāṇa, passadhi-calmness, together with 'lahutā'-buoyancy, 'muditā'-gentleness of mind, kammaññatā; adaptability or readiness to do what is to be done, pāguññatā-observation and familiarity, and also ujukatā-honesty of purpose, may become conspicuous.
It is stated that at one time, when a female Yogī had reached that stage in progressive insight knowledge, she made a confession to her spiritual teacher as: "I have done wrong to my husband in the past. From now onwards, I will never commit such faults or offend him." It is highly essential that a person who is now developing mettā should be really frank and honest. Some, of course, with a false pride, make an exaggeration of how they are developing mettā. This kind of behaviour, both mental and verbal, is a clear evidence of a person's dishonesty and reflects his character. Hence, there is food for thought in regard to people giving a false impression of being lofty and noble in character by putting on airs with ornamented or big strings of beads.
(4) Should be docile or disposed to compliance
Next, suvaco ca- meek or obedient or in readiness to comply, assa, he should be. One who is stubborn or not amenable to taking good advice or admonition is an unruly person known as "Dubbaca". Such a person is obstinate and pig-headed and is not ready to listen to the benevolent advice given by the other. He is in the habit of speaking counter to what others have said with a tendency to hold a contrary opinion. He may think of the other as being bossy. When he is admonished or rebuked by his teachers, he behaves or reacts badly and when asked, he refuses to admit his own fault. If he remains silent, it would cause mental distress or annoyance to the other. Even though a person may admit his own fault then and there, he may later continue to do mischief without amending himself. This also amounts to disobedience or non-compliance. The commentary goes to say that such a person is remote, or rather, miles apart from achieving Special Dhamma.
A person, who is meek and mild (suvaca) and is ready to comply with or abide by the instructions given, will accept any kind of good advice or sincere warning, with pleasure. He will also reform himself. The Commentary has said that such a person is close to attainment of Special Dhamma. Presently, Yogīs who comply with the instructions of their spiritual teachers are found to have made great strides towards the region of progressive insight.
A person who is inclined to disobey due admonition given is likely to become angry without being able to develop mettā, being predominated by an offensive feeling against the other who tenders good advice or reprobate. It is really essential for a Yogī to be docile and obedient. If properly reflected, what others have said with the best of motives is for his own benefit. For instance, a person whose face is stained with soot will be a laughing-stock if he goes to a public function or a ceremony. If another person who has seen him with dirt on his face has made him known of this fact, he can very well wash and cleanse the dirt on his face. If he goes to the function after cleaning the dirt on his face, he will escape ridicule. If any shortcomings of a person is pointed out by the other, one should be grateful to the well-wisher. Therefore, one should gladly rectify his own fault or mistake if his attention is drawn to it by a friend or a relative. Rāhulā, when he was seven years old, piled up a mound of sand and even prayed earnestly that he might receive admonition many a time, or, as much as there were grains in the heap of sand. It is imperative for a person who is practising mettā-bhāvanā or other kinds of meditation to become a "Suvaca" individual.
(5) Must be gentle
Next, mudu ca-gentle and pliant, assa-he should be. However, it is not permissible (for the Bhikkhus) under the Rules of Discipline to speak or offer things or do any act to ingratiate oneself with the male and female benefactors and to earn their reverence, in a meek, mild and gentle manner. Nevertheless, in matters not contrary to the Rules of Vinaya, it would be proper for a Bhikkhu to speak and deal with his benefactors mildly, gently and amiably. More important, however, is to behave in an agreeable and conciliatory manner without being blunt and indolent in matters relating to the practice of Paṭipatti.
(6) Should not be haughty
Then comes, "anatimānī" ca-not to be conceited and arrogant, assa, as he should be. A Bhikkhu should not be proud and haughty relying upon his lineage and the attributes of his knowledge and achievement in the field of Pariyatti and Paṭipatti and of the nobility of his sect. He should not behave in a rude manner and underestimate the other with arrogance. If he slights others taking pride in himself, or, assumes a non chalant attitude, it will be difficult for him to successfully develop genuine mettā-loving-kindness. Some are lacking in deference to others who are worthy of respect simply on the ground that they belong to a different sect. It will be hard for him to nurse a feeling of genuine loving-kindness. Looking at it from the viewpoint of mundane affairs, one may meet with trouble and danger by being discourteous to the other who might appear to him as "having no aptitude and initiative." The disaster which came upon the royal family of Cakya Clan brought about by Viḍaḍūba was the consequential effect of negligence and conceit. Hence, one should be gentle in mind without being arrogant and quarrelsome. In this regard, the Commentary has pointed out that "one should humiliate himself just as the Venerable Ashin Sāriputta has inculcated the habit of humbleness like a mendicant." The mental disposition of the Venerable Ashin Sāriputta described in Tuvaṭaka Sutta (at page 38 of the Myanmar version) is as stated below:-
A beggar, whether a boy or a girl with an earthenware container in hand and with shabby clothes on, when entering a village, practises humiliation. The venerable Ashin Sāriputta respectfully put up to the Enlightened one that he had submitted himself to humiliation like this begger-boy or girl begging for food. This is really wonderful considering the fact that Ashin Sāriputta though born of a high caste Brahmin had condescended to that low level. One should, therefore, emulate his exemplary behaviour.
Let us go on to the second stanza.
2. Santussako ca subharo ca,
appakicco ca sallahukavutti.
Santindriyo ca nipako ca,
appagabbho kulesva nanugiddho.
(7) Should be easily contented
2. Santussako ca-easily contented, assa - as one should be. To be content means (1) to be satisfied with. what is available; (2) to be satisfied with what can be obtained within one's own ability; (3) to be satisfied with what is suitable or proper. These are the three kinds of "Contentment". If it is multiplied with four kinds of requisites (necessities) for a priest, (3×4), it will come to twelve (12). one should be contented in the light of these twelve qualities of contentment.
With reference to the mode of contentment mentioned in No. (1) above, a Bhikkhu should content himself with the four kinds of necessary things or properties, viz: meal, robes, monastery or dwelling place, and medicine, as may be available under any circumstances As regards meals (food), the Lord Buddha had given exhortation to the bhikkhus from the time of their first entering into Bhikkhuhood as: "Pindiyā lopa bhojanaṃ nissāya pabbajjā, tattha teyāvajivaṃ ussāho karaṇīyo." It means a Bhikkhu should truly maintain his observance of the precepts as a Bhikkhu by merely depending upon the food-may be a spoonful, or a handful-obtained from the respective house of the faithful donor by going in person for alms. The newly ordained Bhikkhu should endeavour to live on this kind of food obtained from the donor throughout his life. The significant point is that he should go round for alms and lead a holy life befitting a Bhikkhu without giving trouble to other, nay, without causing any other person to become burdensome for him.
It would be a very heavy responsibility on the part of a benefactor if he or she were to cook meals and serve the Bhikkhu every day. Nobody will have any trouble if the Bhikkhu can obtain food by going rounds for alms to the houses from where he can receive food and other eatables as may be willingly and generously offered by the benefactors. It is for the Bhikkhus to be contented with whatever is available. It will be dukkaṭa a breach of sekhiya conduct, of Bhikkhu if he asks for food from a person who is not a relative, without being invited, unless he is a sick (a Gilāna). It will amount to committing an offence of pācittiya if, for instance, a Bhikkhu receives cash for food or asks for a delicious buttered rice, etc. Even at the time of serving the meals, if a Bhikkhu is not invited, he should not ask for it. Nowadays, one can come across some Bhikkhus near a famous shrine, or a crowded place like a wharf or a jetty, asking for cash to be donated to them. These are a few instances where breach of conduct of Bhikkhu is involved. Some might offer cash. Every time a Bhikkhu handles the cash that is offered it will amount to committing Nisaggiya Pācittiya offence of Bhikkhu. Such a faulty conduct is harmful to the Sāsanā.
This misconduct according to the Rules of Vinaya and its degrading effect on the prestige of the noble Sāsanā are due to discontentment. It will be of advantage to a Bhikkhu if there is contentment. He will be free from fault and this will be in the interests of the Sāsanā. All good and noble Bhikkhus should be contented with whatever is available for his daily consumption of food.
As regards robes, Buddha had instructed to be content with pamsukūla robes, i.e. robes made of rags taken from a refuse heap. Permission has been granted to wear the robes donated by the benefactors of their own accord and out of generosity. As such, a Bhikkhu should remain in contentment with any kind of robes which he may receive in accordance with the Rules of Discipline. If he seeks for any other kind of robes contrary to the Bhikkhu's conduct, he is deemed to have committed an offence.
In respect of lodging and bed, Buddha has instructed the Bhikkhus to stay at the foot or under the shade of a tree, or reside in a monastery or a building offered as a gift. To remain in contentment is essential. If a Bhikkhu accepts cash and requests that a building be constructed with that money, or if he receives the gift of money in person and keeps it in his possession, or if he personally spends this money for the purpose of building a monastery, he is guilty of the Bhikkhu's offence. It is also against the Rule of Discipline for Bhikkhus to dwell in such a building either by him or any other Bhikkhu.
Next, in so far as medicines or drugs are concerned, Buddha had laid down instructions for Bhikkhus to take urine of cattle as medicine, called pūtimutta. It is learnt that some people who suffer from neurotic pain have been cured by taking orally the cattle urine. Medicine which has been discarded as rotten and putrid is called pūtimutta in a way. This definition calls for consideration whether it is the real intention of the Buddha because according to the present day pharmaceutical plants or pharmacologists they have instructed to avoid taking medicines or drugs the potency of which has expired. If the stinking and putrid drugs are taken, it may not have the desired effect for not being efficacious to remedy the disease. Also, it may be difficult to search for a medicine that has been discarded. Hence, there is food for thought as to whether, according to the interpretation of the grammatical term "pūtimutta", it will fall in line with what is really intended to mean by the Buddha Himself.
In regard to medicine, a sick Bhikkhu can ask for it from any person. However, it will be a Nissaggiya offence for a Bhikkhu if he asks for a gift of money from others, buys medicine and makes use of it. Contentment is also necessary relating to the medicine that is available. If he remains in contentment with what is available, it is known as "yathālābhasantosa."
Then, because of sickness, or general debility, when a Bhikkhu makes use of suitable food, robes, monastery, bed and medicines which he received in exchange for his own properties which are unsuitable, it is called "yathābalasantosa." What is meant by it is to be contented with what is available to him in his own capacity or within his own ability.
And then, consuming food or wearing robes, etc., which are pure in quality and which have been received in exchange for his properties that are considered too good and improper for him to make use of them is called "yathāsāruppasantosa". It means "to be contented or satisfied with properties appropriate or suitable for the purpose." In brief, one should have entire satisfaction with the said three kinds of contentment, and more broadly speaking, with the twelve kinds of contentment. Otherwise, one can be guilty as stated. In this mundane world, to have satisfaction with one's own lot is important. If no contentment can be found, one can become miserable. Being eagerly desirous of something which is not within his own reach, if one does anything that ought not to be done, he is likely to commit a criminal offence. If he yearns for a thing which is not obtainable, extreme misery will befall him. If the head of a household is not satisfied with the meals cooked and served at his own home, he can be at logger-heads with the house-wife, or that he may pick up a quarrel on that score which will thereby cause misery to him. In the present day world, there are a number of multi-millionaires who have become miserable for not being contented with what they own and possess. However, a person who is living from hand to mouth, if satisfied with his lot, can find happiness. That is the reason why Buddha has preached as: "Santuṭṭhi"-Contentment is -"paramaṃ dhanam"-The best and the noblest gift (or property). This noble dictum is very natural. Hence, a person who is practising meditation should have contentment in everything.
(8) Should be frugal
The next word is: "subharo ca"-easily supported by both male and female benefactors, assa-as it should be. Despite the fact that meals, robes, etc., offered as gift by the benefactors may not be good enough to meet one's taste or liking, these should be accepted and made use of without grumble and uttering with grunt. It is not for a Bhikkhu to pick and choose any kind of gift offered in donation. Otherwise, it will be a burden to the benefactors to support easily. It was stated that at one time during the British regime in Mawlamyaing district, there was a Bhikkhu who refused to take meals without a dish of chicken curry. Hence, his benefactors had to be always worrying about a dish of chicken curry to be provided. And then while travelling, if no chicken dish was available due to circum-stances, the said Bhikkhu totally abstained from taking meals for the whole day. It is not understood why he had behaved in that odd manner. Whether because he had made a vow emulating the example of a Sāmaṇera by the name of Paṅḍita who was desirous of taking his meals only when a dish of "Ngagyin" fish was included in the menu, as mentioned in the Dhammapada Vutthu, no one can say for certain. Such an attitude would amount to dubbhara instead of 'subhara' (frugality). It is for Bhikkhus at this Yeikthā to be satisfied with frugal meals as may be offered by the benefactors.
Some of the narrow-minded Bhikkhus might become surly and make a wry face despite the fact that the offerings made by the benefactors are of good quality unless these are to their likings. Sometimes, in the presence of the donors, he might give vent to his anger and greed blaming the donors churlishly and then parted with the offerings by giving them away to others. Such a Bhikkhu is one hard to be pleased and easily supported by the benefactors. A Bhikkhu who is frugal accepts what is offered whether good or bad, with satisfaction and delight which will be reflected on his face. A Bhikkhu who is avaricious and not frugal will find it difficult to develop a feeling of mettā or loving-kindness. It will also be difficult for him to achieve realization of knowledge in the practice of other kinds of meditation. That is why Buddha has given instructions to become a frugal person to make it easier for the development and attainment of genuine bhāvanā, such as, mettā-bhāvanā, etc.
(9) Should be carefree
The next expression is "appakicco ca"-having few duties, or free from care, assa-as it should be. The best thing for one who is earnestly developing any kind of meditation is to be abstemious, or rather, to abstain oneself from performing other duties, OR, to keep himself free from other duties except in matters which are unavoidably essential to be attended to. It has, therefore, been instructed to have few duties (appakicco).
(10) To be temperate in the way of living or be agile
The other word is: "sallahukavutti" -light or unwieldy, assa-as one should be. In this regard, to have light weight and to be nimble means: "to be frugal or contented with just the eight requisites of a Bhikkhu, such as robes, bowl, etc. Possessing a lot of personal belonging will make one become burdensome and preoccupied with the work of managing these properties. If a number of things are to be carried when proceeding to a certain place, it would cause a lot of trouble and inconvenience. The eight requisites of a Buddhist Bhikkhu (parikkhāra) are the three robes, the bowl, the girdle, a needle, a rozor, and a water-strainer. These are not clumsy and many to be kept and cared for at any place of residence, and can also be taken along personally without being burdensome. Hence, to live with these essential requisites is not an encumbrance. These eight requisites may be said to be unwieldy or light.
Among those eight requisites of a Buddhist Bhikkhu during these days, the needle is not really essential for the Bhikkhus living in Myanmar. The robes are readily available and there is no need to be sown or stitched by hand personally, and no robes worn by the present-day Bhikkhus are in rags. As these are in good condition, it will never came into one's head to take along a needle when travelling to any other place away from the residence. When I proceeded to Indonesia to promote Sāsanā in the year 1321 M.E., I entirely forgot to take along with me the needle and thread. All three robes which I took with me were all brandnew. However, at one time, it was found that in one of the robes, a line of stitch, which was originally defective, had gone loose. Then, I had to think of the way how it could be mended. On consultation being made with one Ashin Ariyavamsa, a Ceylonese Bhikkhu, who was with us, he said he had with him a needle and thread and that he would do the stitching. I had to tell him that it would not be troublesome for me to stitch it up and requested him to lend me his needle and thread for the purpose. In view of this incident, it has occurred to me that it would be advisable to take along the needle and thread when travelling on a long-distant journey. Carrying a needle and thread is not at all burdensome. It is quite easy and light.
Should also take along the bowl
Nowadays, some of the Bhikkhus do not take along even the bowl to avoid inconvenience, and also because food is readily obtainable at any place where he reaches. During the life time of the Lord Buddha and of the Commentators, when Bhikkhus went to attend the Conference of the Saṅghas, or when proceeding to attend a ceremony for the observance of uposatha (sabbath), they usually take along with them bowl and three robes. We have therefore instructed our disciple Bhikkhus to carry with them their bowls whenever they are to go to a farflung place or any other place for a visit or for taking meals in response to an invitation. The next important requisite is the water-strainer. If one proceeds to a place which is about half a yūjanā (i.e. about four miles or so), a water-strainer should be carried, otherwise it would constitute a breach of the Rule of Discipline known as dukkata āpatti i.e. he would be guilty of a priestly offence. Therefore, within the city limits of big cities like Rangoon or Mandalay, if Bhikkhus have to visit a place in the city on some business, and if the distance is about 4 miles away from their respective monastery, water-strainer must be taken with them. If there is no proper water-strainer, a handkerchief may be taken along bearing in mind that it will be used in substitute for a water-strainer, when necessary. To say the least, it should be borne in mind that the robe which one wears will be made use of as a water-strainer when occasion demands.
A Bhikkhu who is really bent upon practising meditation will not find it troublesome to carry with him all the eight requisite of a Buddhist Bhikkhu. It is not burdensome at all and these can be easily carried just like a bird whose wings are automatically borne when it flies. What is required will then be fulfilled with these eight requisites of a Buddhist Bhikkhu. In this connection, I would like to recount my personal experience.
I found it not burdensome
When I had put in 8 Vassas, I went in search of a suitable meditation centre, accompanied by a companion Bhikkhu from Mawlamyaing Taungwainggale Monastery. I had no umbrella, slippers, etc. Only about eight requisites, namely, a bowl, three robes, a girdle, a razor, water-strainer and a needle were carried with me. I had no cash for travelling expenses. A railway ticket for the train journey from Mawlamyaing to Paung, a small town, was provided by a Kappiya, a lay devotee from Mawlamyaing. I took the train only up to that small town which has a railway station along the route. The rest of the journey was mostly performed on foot-tramping. For some of the sectors of the journey, I was lucky to ride on a train as there was a donor by chance who provided a railway ticket as a gift. I visited Kyaikthiyo Pagoda in Thaton District on bare foot and from there I came back eventually reaching Thaton Mingun Zetawun monastery, a meditation centre, where I took up meditation practice under the guidance of the Venerable Mingun Zetawun Sayadawpayāgyi. This is how I had travelled to be able to practise Vipassanā meditation personally. It was in consonance with the instructions known as "Sallahukavutti".
(11) Should cultivate Indriya (calmness)
The next expression is "santindriyo ca"-have the moral quality of calmness and self-restraint, assa-as one should be In Pāḷi, it is "Indriya". In Myanmar, it means: "the six doors of senses, viz: the eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch and mind." One can see only if there is an eye. When an object is seen, it can be perceived as much as the eye with its strength of vision can see. Therefore, the eye is governable in so far as the faculty of seeing is concerned. Because it is so governable, the eye is called "Cakkhundriyam". The ear, etc. in respect of its faculty of hearing, is also governable. That is why the ear, etc. is called "Santindriyam". All these Indriyas should be kept under restraint, with a tranquil mind. If good or pleasant sights and sounds are seen, or heard as the case may be, a person who is attracted to these sensational objects will find them pleasurable and then he will become fidgety. He becomes restless, smiling and laughing when sensations arise from good smell, fine taste, and pleasurable touch. In the same way, when he sees an ugly sight, hears unpleasant sound, smell bad odour, etc., he becomes perturbed and restless if he is unable to tolerate such bad sensations. He may even murmur and grumble.
Hence, it is necessary to exercise restraint and remain calm and unperturbed in connection with both good and bad sensations. He should keep his mind at peace and control himself by reflection and also by contemplating and noting. The best way is to keep control of one's own mind by contemplating and noting at the moment of seeing, hearing, and so on. It will not be easy to do so for those who have no experience in contemplating mindfulness. Therefore, it will be sufficient enough for him to remain indifferent whether the sensations are good or bad. If, however, painful sensations become extreme, one should try his utmost to control them through reflection.
(12) Reflective knowledge must be mature
The next word is: "Nipako ca"- prudent and wise, assa, as it should be. In respect of reflective knowledge, one must be mature and fully developed mentally. Young children are lacking in maturity. The more a person advances in age, the more he becomes mature. This is how one's imaginative power or knowledge becomes fully developed and strengthened. In Visuddhimagga, the knowledge of pārihārika has been elucidated by an expression-"Nipako". This knowledge of pārihārika is nothing but the reflective knowledge or sound imagination which is capable of carrying out any task to completion. These are the knowledge's which reflect with full consciousness whether what one is doing is advantageous or not (sappāya-sampajan). This knowledge is extremely useful in matters relating to both lokiya (temporal) and lokuttarā (spiritual). This is the kind of knowledge which should be accomplished. In the Commentary which serves as an introduction to this Metta Sutta, this knowledge has been distinguishingly shown as: (1) the knowledge that protects the preservation of sīla, (2) the knowledge which is capable of managing or which takes care of the robes, (3) the knowledge which fully understands the seven kinds of sappāya, i.e. known as to what is suitable or profitable or advantageous. These are the reflective knowledge called pārihārika. Among these knowledge's, the one which knows how to manage things relating to robes, etc., does not seem to be urgently required in the matter of developing mettābhāvanā. However, an insertion of this particular knowledge has been probably made as it might become essential when practising meditation (bhāvanā) for a considerable length of time.
Seven Sappāyas or desirable things
These are (1) suitable accommodation which is profitable to one who is devoting to meditation, (2) suitable village where offerings of food or alms can be obtained. (3) suitable or appropriate speech, (4) suitable teacher and companion-Bhikkhus, (5) suitable food, (6) suitable or congenial weather, (7) suitable posture or deportment. It is for a Bhikkhu to be accomplished with the knowledge that can properly reflect and decide as to which monastery is suitable for him to reside, etc., etc.
It is necessary to consider whether it will be proper to reside in a wooden monastery, or a monastery made of bamboo, or masonry, and whether the place is peaceful, tranquil and congenial. In connection with the village where alms can be obtained, it is to be considered whether offerings of food will be received, and whether there can be molestations particularly because uncommon or different kinds of sensations may arise. It is to consider as to what kind of talk that is uttered or heard can be harmful to the practice of meditation. If there is nothing in particular, the best thing would be to abstain from talking anything not relevant to Dhamma. As regards individuals, it is to reflect whether there is any progress or lack of progress relating to Dhamma by relying upon such and such a spiritual teacher or other persons with whom he has to deal. With reference to food, it is to consider what kind of food will be agreeable and beneficial for him to depend upon from the point of view of health and of the Dhamma. One should also reflect as to what kind of posture will be best suited to make progressive strides in the exercise of his meditation. This is the way how mature reflective knowledge should take place or has taken place whether it will be profitable or not, tin connection with the selection of suitable monastery. The Motto is:-
"Reflection made as to whether it is profitable and agreeable or not is satthaka".
Although advantages may be derived, it needs consideration whether it would be proper (i.e. feasible) or not. If it is a room in a monastery, it will not be proper for a junior Bhikkhu to occupy the place if it is meant for the senior or an elderly Bhikkhu, and vice versa. In regard to speech, it would be improper to preach these who are busy even if the preaching on Dhamma will be of benefit to them. One should weigh and consider if it is proper or not to preach asubha Dhamma on an auspicious occasion. This is "sappāya sampajānam". The Motto is composed in the following expression:-
"Reflecting whether it is proper or not is sappāya".
(13) Should be free from rudeness
The next expression is: "appagabbho ca"-free from impudence, assa, as it should be. To be free from impudence conveys the meaning of being impolite or rude. There are three kinds of incivility, viz: (1) rudeness of physical behaviour, (2) rudeness of verbal behaviour, and (3) rudeness of mental behaviour.
(1) Rudeness of physical behaviour manifests itself under eight situations or conditions. Of these eight, what is generally found at the present time needs elaboration. Whether in the midst of an audience of sanghas, or amidst the public, to take a sitting posture with knees up, or with the thighs widely extended, is a clear evidence of rude bodily behaviour, or rather, unrefined manners. Sometimes, posture may be taken with either one knee up, or both the knees up with the hands folded across the knees. Such sitting postures also indicate rudeness of physical behaviour. If sitting or standing by touching the body of Mahā Theras, or, sitting or standing in front of them, or on an elevated place, or sitting by pulling over the long skirt-"longyi" on the body from head to toe, or, talking to others in a standing posture, or talking or chattering with gesticulation, i.e. expressive motion of the limbs, are clear instances of rudeness of bodily behaviour. If one squeezes himself in a congested place where young bhikkhus are sitting, or if one occupies the seats meant for the Mahā Theras, or if one overtakes the maha thera while walking, etc., are obviously rude and uncultured. One should avoid all such impolite physical behaviours and mannerisms.
At the present day, it is learnt that some elderly Bhikkhus under the guise of noble personages even make a pretensious display of supernatural powers by caressing or making a fondling touch on the head of the damsels with their hands as if they are blessing them. Such indecent behaviours are totally prohibited under the Rules of Vinaya. It has been strictly laid down under the said Rules that the Bhikkhus should not even give a fondling touch to their own daughters and mothers. A condition has been prescribed prohibiting. Bhikkhus from handling even a doll representing a female figure with pleasurable sensation. Hence, a fondling touch made as stated in the foregoing may be said to be a rude bodily demeanour.
Another thing is that while saṅghas are taking meals, or when taking meals together with others, emitting nasal secretion, or ejecting phlegm by coughing, or spitting are regarded as unrefined manners in as much as these are despicable. Such disgusting behaviours should also be avoided.
(2) Relating to rudeness of verbal behaviour, there are four conditions. In the midst of an assembly of Saṅghas or of people, or in the presence of Mahā Theras, if there is anything to be said, one should speak only after permission has been sought from Mahā Theras. Any utterrance made without permission is rudeness of verbal behaviour. If an explanation is given relating to a problematic issue without seeking permission, it would also amount to verbal misbehaviour. It is discourteous, or rather, rudeness of verbal behaviour if resorted to making utterrances in the midst of an audience of Saṅghas, or in the presence of Mahā Theras, and also asking the benefactors as to whether there is something to eat, or whether there is any meal or food, etc., ready to be offered to him while visiting the homes of the benefactors. Bhikkhus should refrain themselves from behaving in the like manner, which, in fact, is in contravention of the Rules of Conduct for Bhikkhus.
(3) Rudeness of mental behaviour means: to be disrespectful by thoughts to those who deserve respect. To think of a person superior in caste or racial status as being his equal, or imagine a noble personage end-owed with sīla, samādhi and paññā, as being his equal, or if a person who is lacking in knowledge or rather, unlearned in scriptures imagines an intellectual person as his equal, or if a person imagines the other as being unintellectual, nay, unknowledgeable as compared to him, or if a person who does not meditate imagines a well-accomplished meditator as his equal, are instances of rudeness of mental behaviour. Therefore, one should totally be free from all physical, verbal and mental misbehaviours.
(14) To be freed of attachment to both male
& female benefactors
The next word is "Kulesu"-among relatives- (The meaning of 'kula' is given as 'relative' as translated ordinarily in Myanmar). However, the word 'relative' (kula), in fact, does not convey the sense of 'kinsman' (relative) or a race. What it really means is a 'household' or a family. Hence, in the regard, it seems as if the word "kulesu" is to be interpreted as members of a household family. Nevertheless, this interpretation itself does not really make sense if considered in relation to Bhikkhus. As such, it would be more clear and convincing to translate the word "kulesu" as: male and female benefactors in a house-hold family. Kulesu-as regards male and female benefactors belonging to a family, ananughaddho ca-desirable attachment is also got rid of, assa-as it should be.
Actually it means that there should be no attachment to male and female benefactors, When a Bhikkhu is going round for alms to receive offerings of food or other things from his male and female benefactors, he should make an approach assuming himself in the role of a noble person worthy of offerings, called "dakkhiṇeyya". The benefactors should also donate bearing in mind that the receiver is a noble personage worthy of offerings in order to gain as well as to promote better advantages. Familiarity should be avoided by the Bhikkhu regarding a benefactor as his own kith and kin, or as a close acquaintance. If close intimacy is created by a Bhikkhu, it amounts to taking possession of, or rather, accepting or seizing the offerings with desirable attachment like an eclipse of a planet (gāha). It would be something like attachment to his own self. In that case, one is likely to become either rejoiced or sorry. This means, if the benefactors become prosperous and wealthy, the Bhikkhu will also feel happy. Similarly, if the benefactors meet with trouble or any kind of disaster, the Bhikkhu will also become sorry or dejected. This is not the way a noble Bhikkhu should feel or behave. Of course, the benefactors may feel glad if their teacher, the Bhikkhu, shares their feeling of joy and sorrow. However, this is not what the Lord Buddha wishes to happen. Buddha's wish is to see the Bhikkhus fully accomplished with sīla, etc., and to preach the Dhamma to his benefactors to gain the noble virtue of kusala.
Hence, it is for the benefactors to consider their spiritual teacher and guide as a plot of land which is to be cultivated for the germination of the seeds of kusala and to make offerings to him and revere him. For the purpose of cultivating a land, it is really important that this plot of land (a field) should be fertile. In the same way, it is essential for a Bhikkhu who is receiving the offerings to have good fertilizers, such as, Sīla, etc. No financial benefit can be derived by him in the shape of a considerable sum of money by being sorry or dejected or in other words, it does not pay him to be lamenting. If he renders assistance, the most he may probably benefit is by way of receiving gifts to the value of only a hundred or a thousand kyats. A Bhikkhu who is a noble Dakkhineyya with purity of Sīla for not having attachment to his benefactors should not expect anything. On the part of the benefactors for having generously donated to such a noble Bhikkhu accomplished with the admirable attributes of a holy personage, he is sure to derive kusala-merits-worth millions and millions of money if considered in terms of money. A person by the name of Eindaka, by virtue of kusala for having offered a spoonful of meal to the Venerable Ashin Anuruddhā, was reborn as a very powerful Deva in the heavenly abode of Tāvatimsā. Considering this fact, it is quite obvious that it is really noble and magnanimous to donate with a virtuous bent of mind on the golden attributes of Sīla, etc, of the recipient Bhikkhu. On the contrary, if the benefactors revere and make offerings of gifts to a Bhikkhu treating him as a close associate expecting temporal advantages, such as, wealth and prosperity, it would amount to grasping or seizing pleasure (gāha). It is something like taking hold of or, influencing the Bhikkhu as a personal secretary. The Commentary has said that if there is dishonest relationship between both the Bhikkhu and the benefactors, it would tantamount to gāhagāha. Both the teacher and the benefactor are then considered to be making a seizure, i.e. the one seizes the other, while the other also seizes in retaliation.
If the benefactors are dishonest despite the fact that a Bhikkhu is dealing with the benefactors in the capacity of a Dakkhineyya, it would amount to muttagāha. This means that the benefactors make a seizure but the Bhikkhus has escaped on his part. The effect would be quite the reverse if the Bhikkhu were dishonest. This sort of thing is fairly rampant. If both parties are dealing with one another honestly, it is "Mutta-mutta." Then, both are said to have escaped, or rather, been released from eclipse. Such kind of dealing or relationship is indeed very essential. Explanation given relating to the second verse (gātha) appears sufficiently comprehensive. We shall go on preaching the third gātha (stanza).
3. Na ca khuddamācare kiñci,
yena viññū pare upavadeyyum.
Sukhino va khemino hontu,
sabbasattā bhavamtu sukhitattā.
(15) The last fundamental rule of conduct
3. Ca-moreover, yena-for that kind of vice, viññū pare-other intellectuals, i.e. other menu of wisdom, upavadeyyum-will blame by pointing out the fault. Khuddam-such an insignificant and vile, tam-blameful vice, kiñci-even anything that is a trifle, na ācare-should not be done or practised. This is the last rule of conduct which ought to have been accomplished long before, out of the fundamental principles or rules of conduct in the practice of Mettābhāvanā. To make it convincingly clear, these 15 principles will be enumerated.
(1) Sakko-should be able or competent to practise, (2) U ju-must be straight forward, (3) Suhu jju-must be extremely honest, (4) Suvaco-should be meek and easy of compliance, (5) mudu-should be gentle, mild and supple, (6) Anatimānī-should not slight the other with self-pride thinking very highly of oneself, (7) santussako-should be easily contented, (8) Subharo-must be a person who can be easily supported by male and female benefactors, (9) Appakicco-should have few duties and free from care, (10) Sallāhukavutti-should not be clumsy or burdensome keeping only a few belongings in his possession, (11) Santinḍriyo-should have the moral qualities of serenity without being affected by the sensations arising out of the perception through the eye, etc., (12) Nipako-should have the mature reflective knowledge, (13) Appagabbho-should be polite and modest and free from impudence, (14) Ananugiddho-should be free from passionate attachment to male and female benefactors, (15) In regard to the principles of personal moral conduct, one should avoid any kind of vice, no matter how trivial it may be, which men of wisdom would find it blameworthy. Nothing should be done, spoken or imagined-even a very trifle thing-with which other wise men would find it faulty and reprobate. However, it would, of course, be difficult to completely control the imaginative mind. Therefore, in this regard, it should be rejected as far as possible.
After these fifteen principles of moral conduct which should have been accomplished from the very outset, the method of ordinarily developing mettā has been initially shown as follows.-
Ordinary way of developing Mettā
Sabbasattā-May all kinds of beings, sukhino vā-be happy, and (the usage of the word "ca" instead of "vā", would be more appropriate, and hence, it is construed as 'va' instead of "vā".) Khemino vā-may be free from danger, hontu-as they may wish to become. Sukhitattā-both physical and mental happiness, bhavantu-may take place.
In this regard. the word "sukhino" should be interpreted in a grammatical sense. Hence, it is to develop mettā either mentally or verbally by reciting as: "May all beings be happy and free from danger." In the expression "sukhitattā", the word "sukhita" means-"to have happiness" according to the rule of grammar. "Atta" conveys the meaning of either "mind", or, "body". If it is said to be "body", it can be taken to mean both material rūpa and nāma. Grammatically, it means: "To have both body and mind accomplished with happiness." It would, therefore, mean: "being happy both physically and mentally." As such according to the said expression, mettā can be developed by reciting-"May all beings be happy both in body and mind, or rather, physically and mentally. Let us then develop mettā by recitation. Let's recite.
"May all beings be happy, be free from danger and be happy both in body and mind". (Repeat thrice)
When developing mettā by reciting as stated, every time recitation is made, the mind which is inclined to recite, occurs afresh repeatedly, and then dissolves. The thought which is to be borne in mind as "May be happy" with a feeling of loving kindness, also vanishes repeatedly. The physical behaviour and the voice which utters also occur afresh again and again. This rūpa and nāma that dissolve repeatedly and immediately after occurrence should be contemplated at every time recitation is made and at every moment thought arises. This manner of contemplation is Vipassanā Khayato vayato sammasitvā, i.e. it can be achieved up to the stage of Arahatta-phala after observing and contemplating that it has ceased and disappeared. This is clearly stated in the Commentaries. Such being the case, immediately after recitation has been done, both the thought which is borne in mind, or rather, the mind that is conceived and the utterance or recitation made should be contemplated together. Let us contemplate while reciting.
"May all beings be happy, etc, etc." (Repeat thrice)
Thereafter, instructions have been given by preaching the two verses (gātha) as to how mettā should be developed by distinguishing the beings into two or three categories or parts.
How to develop Mettā by dividing it into
two or three parts
4. Ye keci pāṇabhūta'tthi,
tasā vā thāvarā va navasesā.
Dīghā vā ye va mahantā,
majjhimā ressakā aṇukathūlā.
5. Diṭṭhā vā ye va adiṭṭhā,
ye va dīre vasanti avidūre.
Bhūtā va sambhavesī va,
sabbasatta bhavantu sukhitattā.
4. Tasā vā-an individual who is trembling with fear and still on probation, thāvarā va-and a perfect and holy Arahat who is serene, steadfast and fearless, ye keci pāṇabhūtā-and also all living beings without distinction, atthi-do exist. Anavasesā-Without exception, all those, I me sattā-living beings or creatures, sukhi-tattā-may with happiness in both body and mind, bhavantu-become blessed and contented.
Tasā-Trembling and shaking with fear may be caused by anger or human passions, lust and desirable attachment (taṇhā). Those who are prone to fright are living beings who are not yet free from anger or hatred, such as, ordinary worldlings, Sotāpannas, and Sagadāgāmis. Those beings who get frightfully affected by passionate desires are common worldling (Putthujjana), and also include individuals who are Sotāpannas-Sagadāgāmis and Anāgāmis. How they are seized with fear because of passionate desires (taṇhā) is something similar to beings who are anxious for not getting or receiving which they crave for, or wish to obtain. Those whose mind is tranquil, unperturbed and steadfast without a feeling of fright are the noble Arahats who are absolutely free from taṇhā, human passions. Therefore, tasā-those beings who are prone to fear are beings who are not as yet liberated from passionate and desirable attachment. Thāvarā-beings who have absolutely no fear and are not apprehensive, with serenity and stability of mind, are the Noble Ones-Arahats. Hence, with those two phrases: "Tasā vā thāvarā vā", it has been distinguished into two parts or categories, viz: individuals who are not free from taṇhā, and who have entirely get rid of tāṇhā. These two should be kept distinct and separated in developing Mettā by reciting according to the said two verses. It should be also combined together with Vipassanā in practising contemplation. Please follow and join in the recitation.
Manner of developing Mettā by separating into two parts
May all Puthujjana Sekkha individuals who are likely to get easily frightened for not being free from taṇhā be happy in both body and mind. (Repeat thrice)
May all Noble Arahats who are serene and steadfast without any fear for having been fully emancipated from the bonds of taṇhā be happy. (Repeat thrice)
May all those fearless Noble Arahats as well as all beings who have fear and easily get alarmed be happy. (Repeat thrice)
Manner of developing Mettā separating into
three distinct parts
Ye dīghā vā-Those beings who have a long body, and ye vā mahantā-those beings who are big and large in size and stature, ye vā majjhimā-and those beings or creatures who are neither long nor short, nor big nor small in bodily stature, or in other words, who have medium-sized body, ye vā rassakā-those beings who are dwarfs, or rather, short, ye vā aṇukā-those beings who are tiny and small, ye vā thūlā-those beings who are bulky in body and built, fat, corpulent and fleshy, atthi-do exist or are living. Anavasesā-all without exception. I me sattā-these beings, sukhisattā-may with happiness in both body and mind, bhavantu-become accomplished and contented.
With this portion of gāthā or verse (words), Buddha has prescribed three methods by which Mettā should be developed after distinguishing the beings in three different kinds. The first method shown has reference to different kinds of beings according to the size of their body dimension or stature, whether it is long, short, or medium-sized. Out of these three kinds, those beings or creatures who have lengthy bodies are snakes, dragons, lizards, earth-worms, etc. Creatures who have short bodies are chickens, birds, frogs, etc. Medium-sized creatures or beings are horses, cattle, buffaloes, pigs, etc. However, it is pretty hard to give a definite decision on the matter of making a specific classification. Let's develop Mettā towards these three different kinds of beings or creatures. Please follow the recitation infra:-
"May those beings who have long bodies be happy."
"May those beings who are dwarf and have short bodies be happy."
"May those beings whose bodies are neither long nor short, i.e. medium-sized, be happy."
"May all those beings who have long, or short, or medium-sized stature, be happy."
N.B. Each and every message of goodwill as "be happy", may be uttered thrice.
Furthermore, the second method explains the way how to develop Mettā by distinguishing the beings according to their bodily size as to whether they are big, or small, or medium-sized. Of these three kinds, beings who have hugh bodies are marine mammals, such as, big fishes, turtles, etc., and those animal beings living on land, such as, elephant, dragons, etc. They include giants or ogres and also Devas as well as Brahmas of immense bodily dimension from the world of Devas. Aṇuka-small and tiny creatures or beings are small invertebrate animals like insects, etc. Human beings, dogs, pigs, fowls, birds, etc., may be regarded as belonging to the category of medium-sized beings. It would also be difficult to give a definite decision as to what kinds of beings should be included in the three respective categories as may be appropriate. Let us develop Mettā by distinguishing the beings according to the said three kinds. Please join the recitation.
"May all beings who have hugh bodies, be happy."
"May all beings who have small and tiny bodies, be happy."
"May all medium-sized beings who are neither large not small in their bodies, be happy."
"May all beings who have big, or, small, or, medium-sized bodies or physical structure, be happy."
N.B. The word "be happy" be repeated three times.
Next, the third method indicates as to how Mettā should be developed distinguishingly towards the three different kinds of beings, viz: round, big and fat beings, tiny creatures and medium-sized beings. Of these three kinds, the big, round and fat beings are fishes, tortoises, molluse (oysters), snails etc., whose body structures are short-winded, plump and flabby. Aṇuka-tiny and diminutive creatures are those which can not be seen by the naked eye, such as very small insects, germs and fleas. The middle-sized beings are those creatures which are ordinarily visible and which may be said to be beings not too big or too bulky or fat. These three kinds of beings are pretty difficult to be classified with certainty under which category they would fall. Hence, the Commentary has stated that in a way, among the same kind of beings, those which are big and not too fat and bulky, as well as medium-sized and tiny creatures or beings, may be said to come under the definition of "Aṇuka". According to this statement of explanation, it may be considered feasible to include persons with a height of more than five and a half feet, or six feet weighing over 100 pounds in the category of those who are fat, and to regard persons who are two or three feet in height with less than 100 lbs, in weight, as short and small beings, and to consider the rest of the people as medium-sized beings. This is also difficult to decide. As such, it would appear proper to develop Mettā by merely noting ordinarily as big and fat, small and medium-sized, without precisely distinguishing the beings. Let us, therefore, develop Mettā according to the last-mentioned three different kinds. We may recite as follows:-
"May all beings whose physical structure is round and fat be happy."
"May all beings whose physical structure is very tiny and small be happy,"
"May all beings who have medium-sized physical structure be happy."
"May all fat, tiny, and middle-sized beings be happy."
Three methods of developing Mettā
by again distinguishing into two parts
5. Diṭṭhā vā ye va adiṭṭhā.
ye va dūre vasanti avidūre.
Bhūtā va sambhavesī va,
sabbasattā bhavantu sukhitattā.
Ye diṭṭhā vā-those beings who have been seen before, and ye vā adiṭṭhā-those beings who have never been seen before, atthi-do exist. Ye vā-Some beings also, dūre-in a remote place, vasanti-are living there. Ye vā-Some beings also, avidūre-in the neighbourhood, vasanti-are residing there. Ye bhūtā vā-those beings who have become i.e. come into being), ye sambhavesī vā-those beings who are in the course of becoming, atthi-do exist. I me sabbasattā-All these beings, sukhisattā-may find happiness in both body and mind, (and) bhavantu-be accomplished.
The first pair is the manner in which Mettā is developed distinguishing between beings that have been seen before, and the beings that have never been seen before. This is quite clear and precise, and is easily understandable. Let us, therefore, develop Mettā relating to the first pair. Please follow the recitation.
"May those beings who have been met and seen before be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May those beings who have never been met and seen before be happy."(Repeat thrice)
"May all those beings who have either been met and seen before or never been met and seen before be happy." (Repeat thrice)
The second pair also indicates the manner in which Mettā is developed distinguishing between beings who live nearby and afar. In imparting the feeling of loving-kindness relating to the place whether it is near or remote, it may be distinguished according to one's own wish. Let us develop Mettā with reference to the second pair. Please follow the recitation.
"May all those beings who are living near be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May all those beings who are living afar be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May all those beings who are living near and afar be happy." (Repeat thrice)
In the third pair, according to the expression "bhūtā", what is meant by "beings", are the Arahats who will not be reborn in another existence for their having ceased to become. "Beings" who are about to become are those ordinary worldlings (Putthujjana) and Sekkha individuals who will be reborn again in the next existence as they have not been free from kilesas, human passions or moral defilements. According to the grammatical sense, it refers to beings who are seeking (Èsī) for another rebirth, or rather, fresh existence to become again (sambhava). Those beings who are seeking for new existence are those who will have a continuum of life existence. They are still about to become. Hence, to be more appropriate in the usage of the conjunctive word, and to be closely coherent, the expression: "Beings about to become" has been used. Therefore, let us develop according to this definition. Please do the recitation as follows:-
"May Holy Arahats who are said to have ceased to become be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May those worldlings and Sekkha individuals who will again be reborn and about to become be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May all those beings who have already become or been in existence, and who are about to become be happy." (Repeat thrice)
Putting it in another way, it means a person who has entered into the womb of an earthly mother, i.e. at the time of conception (sambhavesī), seeking for a new existence. After being born, he is deemed to be a person who has become a living being (bhūtā). Similarly, a creature about to come forth from an egg is "sambhavesī". If the gestation period has passed and if already hatched, it means: "bhūtā". Beings who have been reborn complete with the material body, and beings coming forth depending on viscous or vicid sticky substance from plants, shrubs, grass, vegetation, or mucilage, etc., at the moment rebirth consciousness takes place, are regarded as beings or creatures in the making, that is, about to become. All those who have become sentient beings caused by kamma without conceiving in a womb and without depending upon anything, with the sudden appearance of a material body or form, are said to be "sambhavesī". Furthermore, it has been explained in the Commentary as "bhūta". Let us develop Mettā towards them and recite as follows:-
"May those beings who are about to become and are conceived in a womb be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May those beings who have come to be and have already been born be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May all beings who are about to become and have already come into existence be happy." (Repeat thrice)
What has now been stated, describes the manner of developing Mettā with a view to bring about prosperity and wealth. Thereafter, it has been instructed how to develop Mettā hoping to get liberated from unmerited misery and sufferings, in the following way.
Manner of developing Mettā so as to be free
from unmerited misery
6. Na paro paraṃ nikubbetha,
nātimaññetha katthaci na kiñci.
Paro-one other person, param-against another, na nikubbetha-should not cheat or practise deception, nay, may escape from becoming a victim of fraud. In commercial or business affairs, fraudulent dealings or deception may take place. In religious affairs, deception is also practised. In the matter of making a business deal, criminal deception done is by way of deceiving the buyer by the seller in his transaction by the use of a false weight less than the correct weight by placing it on scales or weighing-machine, or, by using a measuring cup or vessel which holds less in quantity of goods or commodities in relation to a standard container, vessel or receptacle. This kind of trick being fairly common is well-known to the majority of the people. Another thing is found in the sale of articles made of gold or silver, and gold or silver ingots, which are imitations or spurious, i.e. not genuine. This is also not uncommon. Sometimes, a cheat may pose himself as an honest man. At one time during the anniversary of pūjā celebration held in this Sāsana Yeiktha, it so happened that a cheat visited a group of Shan people and played deception on them. It was disclosed that after the cheat had seen the bundle of currency notes in the hands of those Shan people, he persuaded them that if those currency notes were exchanged, they would get more money. Believing his words, some of them who were rather greedy, entered the cheat with their currency notes. The cheat, after promising them that he would bring back more money than what was originally worth, took away the money. This is also one kind of fraud.
Some deceived others into believing that they would turn the original weight of gold into a greater amount. Credulous persons with greed, wishing to receive more gold, handed over the gold in trust to the cheat. Not long afterwards, this cheat had disappeared never to return to them again. This is another kind of deceit. Then also, some offered charms or rather, magic trinkets to be worn for keeps so as to bring good luck and fortune to the one who wears or keeps in possession permanently. Such kind of deception should make one reflect as to whether it is believable or not. There are quite a variety of deceptive practices in connection with business dealings. What has now been described is just a hint.
In matters relating to religion, deceptive practices are in plenty. To preach false doctrines ostensibly as truth would cause to bring disadvantages to others who have accepted such heresy. During the life time of Lord Buddha, one Puṇṇa who was practising like an ox, and the other by the name of Seniya who was practising like a dog, called on the Buddha and asked what advantages could be derived from indulgences of such practices. The Enlightened One prevented them twice from putting up this problematic question. On being asked for the third time, the Lord gave the answer as stated below:-
"A person who indulges in the practice like an ox or rather a bullock to the full will become an ox after his demise. So also, a person who has fully practised like a dog will be reborn a dog in the next existence. If the practices performed are incomplete and not fully accomplished, it would amount to practising deception under a false pretence, and the person who thus practises for having accepted the heretical views would either descend to the Nether World (hell) or become an animal after his death."
Having heard Buddha's reply, Puṇṇa and Seniya wept bitterly. They wept because after becoming victims of fraud, they had gone through such ignoble and false practices for a considerable length of time, believing their teacher's deceitful words that by practising either as an ox or a dog, they would reach an existence in life hereafter where happy conditions prevail.
Another instance is that one Tālaputa, an instructor by profession in the art of dancing, reverentially asked the Buddha, "My Lord! I have heard what other teachers in succession have said that a dancer, being capable of giving delight and pleasure to the public, will, in his next existence, become a jovial or clownish Deva called "pahāsa" in another planet. What then is your Lordship's Teaching in regard to this matter?" Buddha twice rejected this question; but when the same question was raised for the third time, the Enlightened One gave a categorical reply as: "From the very outset, the dancer for having entertained with his performances to the delight of the audience who are as yet unliberated from the evils of greed (loba), anger (dosa) and delusion (moha) has caused to develop the ills of greed, anger and delusion. Hence, in the next existence after his demise, it is very likely that he would relegate to hell, called "pahāsa". By firmly holding a false and bigoted view that if by performing the dances, he would become a Devā in his future existence, he will probably land either in hell or become an animal."
Hearing this statement, Tālapuṭa, the chief Dance-Instructor began to cry because he had been deceived by his teachers all throughout a long period of time that "by staging dancing performances before an audience to make them happy and pleasurable, one will become a 'pahāsa' Deva."
Moreover, there are similar instances of this kind of deception. At the present time, a number of preachings are being done, which run counter to the noble wish of the Enlightened One, on an erroneous assumption of the Buddha's Dhamma. Although Buddha has precisely preached without any ambiguity that "all akusala-demeritorious acts-should be avoided, all kusala-virtuous deeds-should be performed, practical exercise should be made for the achievement of sīla, samādhi and paññā, Samatha and Vipassanā meditation should invariably be practised, the Eight fold maggaṅgas should be developed", preaching contrary to the Buddha's Noble Teachings are being delivered. Such false preachings made are in the manner described below.
"Akusala-kilesā means impermanence (anicca). As such, for not being permanently present, no rejection is required to be done. To make effort for the purpose of killing is more difficult than to refrain from killing others. It is suffering according to the desanā which says sabbe saṅkhārā dukkha if meritorious deeds are performed or if sīla, samādhi and pañña practices are exercised; and if bhāvanā, practical meditation, is resorted to. Preachings are also done that it would amount to practising asceticism and that all forms of severe exercises causing physical hardship are miserable. They go on preaching further that simply by retiring or remaining in seclusion at peace without putting in any effort in the practice of meditation, happiness is gained, etc." Such kind of nonsensical talks are obviously contrary to the Buddha's Teachings. Such being the case, it is quite certain that those who have accepted this wrong faith with a false belief in those perversities which are diametrically opposite to the Noble Teachings of the Buddha will have been developing akusala-sinful acts-without gaining merits. Eventually, without anything to be relied upon, these people are likely to become unhappy through their own personal experience when confronted with misery and suffering, at one time or the other, since evil kamma or akusala will predominate over kusala which has ceased to function, for being subjected to fraud.
As stated in the foregoing, a person who has been deceived will suffer badly either from the point of view of his business deal or of religion. It will, however, be more disastrous if he is defrauded in religious matters. Therefore, Buddha has instructed to develop mettā as: "May be free from deception" either in dealing with business or religious affairs. Let us recite according to that instruction.
"May one be able to refrain himself from cheating the other person and also escape from becoming a victim of fraud." (Repeat thrice)
The next phrase is: "katthaci"-at any place or anywhere whether in a town or a village or in a public place, kañci-any one person, nam-as against another person, na atimaññetha-may not disregard or slight, nay, may be free from becoming discourteous to or ignoring the other. If the other person is slighted or ignored by one with egoism, it would be sinful to the person who slights or ignores. This kind of attitude will have an adverse effect on him at one time or the other. A person who is slighted will fell bad and very much depressed. Some of the senior officers may ignores or slight an outsider or even a junior officer if that person calls on him on duty. Some of the Mahā Theras are likely to neglect or ignore the junior monks. Those who are thus slighted or neglected may feel extremely unhappy. There is hardly any doubt that the person who slights the other has no loving-kindness towards the other for having failed to put himself in another's shoes. That is probably the reason why Buddha has given instructions to develop mettā whereby the occurrence of miserable feelings in both parties will be prevented. If cordial relationship were established between the two parties without slighting one another, the whole world would be a very congenial place for everybody to live in. Please follow the recitation in developing mettā according to the given instructions.
"May not one fail in courtesy or respect to any other person."
"May one be free from thoughts to slight the other and be friendly towards others."
The next expression is: Vyārosanā-vyārosanāya-by causing bodily harm, and by threatening the other verbally and by ill-treating, paṭighasaññā-paṭighasaññāya-and with a feeling of anger, aññamaññassa-mutually towards each other, dukkham-misery, na iccheyya-may not occur and be desirable, nay, may not be longed for.
If one person physically assaults the other or, abuses, or, incites the other to do harm and cause injury, or, is plotting to cruelly ill-treat the other, such a person will have committed a vice. In future, when circumstances become unfavourable, he will meet with various kinds of suffering for that akusala, bad deeds, he has committed. The person who is subjected to ill-treatment, of course, presently suffers. It has, therefore, been instructed to develop mettā towards others to be free from such miseries by avoidance of the said misdeeds. To develop mettā according to that instruction, let us recite as follows:-
"May one be free from ill-will to cause misery to the other by making an assault physically."
"May one be free from ill-will to cause misery to the other by word of mouth."
"May one be free from ill-will to cause misery to the other by evil thoughts."
"May one be free from ill-will to cause misery to the other by his physical action, speech and thoughts."
When developing mettā in the aforesaid manner, it is not just to recite perfunctorily. One must be really serious and have profound loving-kindness towards the other wishing him happiness at the same time. This has been illustrated in the following example.
How genuine Mettā should be developed- An illustration
7. Mātā yathā niyaṃ putta,
māyusā ekaputta manurakkhe.
mānasaṃ bhāvaye aparimānaṃ.
Mātā-the mother, niyaṃ puttam-in respect of her own flesh and blood, ekaputtam-the only beloved son, āyusā-at the sacrifice of her own life, anurakkhe yathā-will always be guarding or looking after him. Evampi-In the same manner, sabbabhūtesu-in regard to all kinds of beings, aparimānam-boundless or immense, mānasam-Mettā or loving-kindness, wishing them happiness, bhāvaye-may be repeatedly developed.
In this Verse, the manner of relationship between mother and son has been particularly cited as an example Generally, mother's affection and loving-care for sons and daughters far surpasses than that of the father. That is the reason why the mother has been cited as an example. Loving-care and affection may not be bestowed upon adopted children by the parents as such as they would confer on their own children. Hence, an example of "the only beloved son" is cited. However, if there are many sons, the degree or strength of affectionate feeling and loving-care may not be great despite the fact that they are their own flesh and blood. Usually, boundless love is bestowed upon the only son in a family. That is why comparison has been made to "the only son". The degree of love for the only son is well-known to mothers who have sons of their own. This needs no elaboration. The mother will sacrifice her own life for her only son, the only child of her own, when occasion demands. Similarly, in developing mettā, it has been instructed that one should have utmost loving-kindness and compassionate feeling towards all beings regardless of his own Self. The example that has been illustrated is really deep and profound.
I have mentioned about how "sīmāsambheda" takes place as explained in Visuddhimagga in the second part of this text of Dhamma. In this connection what has been stated is that while a person who is developing mettā is living together with the person who is dear to him and person who is neutral, and also an enemy-a hostile person, he should not accede to the wish of the villains who demanded any one of them to be handed over to them for the purpose of offering him as a gift to propitiate a god in performing a ritual. Even if he surrendered himself as a victim, it will not yet amount to achievement of the quality of sīmāsambheda. On the other hand, according to this Metta Sutta, it would convey the sense that one who is developing mettā should radiate his loving-kindness wishing the other to gain happiness just as a mother would do with immense love for her only son which soars to the extent of her willingness to sacrifice her own life. If reference were made to what is stated in the Commentary comparing with the Pāḷi Text, it will be found that the illustration is made with emphasis upon the deep feeling of mettā which one should have towards beings just as a mother is lovingly taking care of her own son. It should be interpreted to mean that one must have a feeling of loving-kindness towards other beings to the extent as he would have for his own welfare. The instruction given in many Pāḷi Texts indicate one to develop mettā towards all other beings on an equal basis as he would have on his own self sabbathatāya). There are no instructions to the effect that one should have love for others more than he would love his ownself.
Furthermore, mettābhāvanā means: one should not leave out any one of the living beings, that is, without exception and without limit in developing mettā through meditation, if capable of doing so.
How to develop broadly without limit
8. Mettimca sabbalokasamim,
mānasaṃ bhāvaye aparimānaṃ.
Uddaṃ adho ca tiriyiñca,
To elaborate the manner of developing mettā in an unlimited scope, uddham-in places higher-up or above, adho-in the lower region or places down below, tiriyam-in the opposite eight regions round about the Earth, (It is the meaning rendered in conformity with the expressions in the Pāḷi Text as "Ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ," and in accordance with the exposition made in the Commentaries; and with the expression of the three words, the direction of the ten regions across the length and breadth of the universe, are pointed out. In the introductory portion of the Commentary of this Metta Sutta, the word "uddham" indicates the arūpabhava (formless existence); the word "adho" indicates the kāmabhava (sensual existence); and the word "tiriyam" indicates rūpabhava (Existence that has Form). Sabbalokasamim-in all the Universe-in the whole world, aparimānam-unlimited or boundless, mettaṃ mānasaṃ, feeling of mettā-loving-kindness, bhāvaye-be developed, etc.
The gist of it is to develop unlimited loving-kindness (mettā) towards all beings in all ten regions as mentioned earlier, wishing all of them happiness. In developing and radiating mettā as such, there is no limit in regard to the place or region and to the kinds of beings present in all those places. It covers a very wide range. Next, there being no angry feeling against all living beings, one is free from internal dangers, and also, having no animosity or grudge against any kind of beings as an enemy, one is also free from external dangers. Let us again develop mettā according to the desanā. Please follow the recitation, and while reciting be mindful and contemplate and note the rūpas and nāmas.
(1) May all those beings in the region higher-up be happy. (Repeat thrice)
(2) May all those beings in the lower region be happy. (Repeat thrice)
(3) May all those beings in the surrounding eight regions be happy. (Repeat thrice)
Uddhaṃ yāva bhavaggā ca,
adho yāva avīcito,
ye sattā pathavīcarā.
Avyāpajjhā niverā ca, niddhukkhā ca nupaddavā.
This Verse which conveys mettā appears to have been composed based on the phrase-"Uddhaṃ adho ca tiriyañca", as contained in this Metta Sutta. The meaning of it is:-
Uddham-in the region above or higher up, yāva bhavaggā ca-up to the abode of nevasaññā-nāsaññayatana (the Abode where there is neither consciousness nor unconsciousness called "bhavagga", the highest of the Arūpa Worlds), adho-in the lower region, yāva avīcito-down to Avīci Hell, (the terms 'highest bhavagga' and the lowest 'Avīci' are probably used on the presumption that the earth is a flat surface.) (Since the present day scientists have held the view that the Earth, the World we live in, is round in shape and is revolving and that it rotates round the axis, the highest point and the lowest point which would coin cite with the position where the two terminal points are, at the time mettā is being developed, may be targeted.) Samantā cakkavālesu ca-in the surrounding universes including heavenly abodes and all that exists, pathavīcarā-those who live and wanders on the surface of the earth, (according to the other verse, udakecarā-those who live in water; and then again, according to another verse-Ākāsecarā-those who live and travel through the air in the open air-space or sky; yesattā-such beings-santi, do exist.) Te sattā-these beings, avyāpajjhā-having a tendency to give trouble, be free from mental suffering called grief, niverā ca-be free from danger, nidukkhā ca-be free from bodily suffering, anupaddavā ca-be free from (upaddavo)-accident or misfortune which can bring about injury, hontu-may all be got rid of these sufferings and dangers.
In the said Pāḷi verse stated above and in its definition, the term: "upaddava-upaddavo" means all kinds of accidents, mishap and dangers that may be fall or happen unexpectedly and all of a sudden. These are, of course, the unexpected dangers which may be caused by wicked persons, bad-hats, villains, or by carnivorous types of animals and by serious illness or diseases.
Time and posture prescribed for developing Mettā
Furthermore, the manner of taking a posture and the time for the purpose of developing mettā has been prescribed as follows:-
9. Tiṭṭhaṃ caraṃ nissinno vā,
sayāno yāvatā'ssa vitamiddho.
Etaṃ satim adhiṭṭheyya,
brahma mettaṃ vihāra'midha māhu.
Tiṭṭham-while standing, or, caram-while walking, or, nissinno vā-while sitting i.e. seating, or, sayāno vā-while lying, yāvatā-as far as possible, vitamiddho-assa-should be free from torpor, i.e. free from sleepiness, or rather, free from the spell of dozing. Tāvatā-for so long as one becomes sleepy and has not yet fallen asleep, etam-satim-this mildfulness, the precursor of mettā, adhiṭṭheyya-should be developed by way of observing and dwelling upon it, or rather, contemplation.
Mettā should, in fact, be developed not only while sitting but also while standing. It must also be developed while taking a walking exercise along the corridor to relax the limbs after prolonged sitting; while lying in bed before falling asleep, and for so long as one is awake, it must be continually developed. This is to say that an interval for respite should be only for the period when one is fast asleep. The moment a person is roused from sleep when full consciousness revives, one should carry on developing mettā beginning from the time he becomes alert and mentally alive to the occasion. In this regard, Mindfulness along with mettā should be contemplated and incessantly developed. If he is a person who has achieved jhāna, mettā-jhāna combined with Mindfulness should be developed always. This is to let oneself plunged in a trance of mettā-jhāna. Developing mettābhāvanā as stated, is to abide in a noble and perfect state. It has been preached that all Buddhas had extolled this mettā as being the Dhamma which, if developed, amounts to abiding in this Sāsanā in a holy and perfect state (Brahmavihāra).
Living in the exercise of
four noble postures called Vihāra
Pāḷi Commentaries have distinguished Vihāra, -"the Abiding" in four different kinds of the position of the body, viz: (1) Iriyāpathavihāra, (2) Dibbavihāra, (3) Ariyavihāra, and (4) Brahmavi-hāra.
Number (1) Iriyāpathavihāra means walking, standing, sitting and lying down at times in turn as may be considered appropriate in accordance with the four characteristics of postures. This manner of deportment is adopted by every Bhikkhu, or individual or being, and is not strange at all.
(2) Dibbavihāra-This means lofty mahaggata jhānas, such as kasiṇa jhāna, etc., by which one may become or lead to be reborn an outstanding celestial being called Brahma,. after his demise. Plunging in a profound trance in such jhānas or religious exercises productive of the highest spiritual advantages is called 'dibbavihāra'.
(3) Ariyavihāra-that is, the four ariya-phalas or Fruitions. To be mentally absorbed in the four Fruitions which are the attainments of the results of the four Paths-the manner of abiding in the Fruition of the Paths by the Noble Ones (Ariyās) may be called 'Ariyavihāra'.
(4) Brahmavihāra means-the Four Jhānas, namely, mettā-jhāna, karuṇā-jhāna, muditā-jhāna, and upekhhā-jhāna. In particular, by virtue of being faultless and of its noble qualities, it is said to be abiding or remaining in a perfect and holy state. That is the reason why in this Verse, it has been expounded by the Buddha using the expression-"Brahmavihāra" for the word "mettā".
Appamaññā and Brahmacora
In Abhidhammā Vibhaṅga Pāḷi (284), these four kinds of Brahmavihāra are stated to be Appamaññā. In Sutta Mahāvā Mahā Govinda Sutta, it has been preached as 'Brahmacariya'. It means the practice of the life of holiness led by the sanctified, or in other words, the practice of Appamaññā-the perfect exercise of the qualities of loving-kindness or friendliness, compassion, goodwill, and equanimity (mettā, karuṇā, muditā and upekkhā). The term "Brahmacora Dhamma" commonly known and spoken in Myanmar language is derived from the Pāḷi word-"Brahmacariya".
When this "mettā" is caused to be developed, it must be developed dwelling one's mind on the paññatta-the manifestation of what is known by the nomenclature "puggala" (individual) and "sattavā" (being). Hence there is every likelihood of having a false belief in atta or Self (atta-diṭṭhi) with clinging attachment or a notion that 'an individual', or 'a being' really exists. Such being the case, the Exalted One has preached the last Verse in conclusion as quoted below, in order to cause to dispel this "attadiṭṭhi" which is likely to occur, and to enable mankind to attain ariya-magga-phala.
Practise to escape from rebirth or entering
into a mother's womb (gabbhaseyya) by rejecting Diṭṭhi
Diṭṭhiñca-towards attadiṭṭhi which sticks or clings to the view that there is really atta-individual or Self or a being, which is the false doctrine, or rather, "the heresy of individuality, anupagamma-having no desire to cling to or grasp with attachment. What is now driving at by the usage of this expression is that though one may be developing mettā as: "May be happy", or, "May all beings be happy", the terms "puggalā" and "sattavā", i.e. individuals and beings, are mere terminology currently in use. As a matter of fact, there is no such thing as "an individual", or, "a being", or, what is called "atta", Self. The primary intention is to make one realize with his own personal knowledge that so-called 'Self', being nothing but an aggregate of the four main elements incessantly arising becoming and dissolving, called rūpa and nāma-matter and mind, attadiṭṭhi, the false view, should be dispelled or rejected.
The manner of rejection may be explained thus. This false conception should also be rejected with his background knowledge of what has been heard and noticed (sutamaya-ñāṇa). long before meditation is practised. If he is a person who has achieved mettā-jhāna, he should first of all absorbed himself in that jhāna, and on being awakened from the trance of jhāna, rejection should be done through his realization of the said jhāna and rūpa, the material body, on which reliance is made, by practising contemplation. As regards a person who has not yet achieved jhāna, he should reject through his intuitive knowledge by contemplating with mindfulness on rūpa which is relied upon, and through recitation which is the object of sense, at every moment of developing mettā as "May be happy", or, "May all beings be happy". It should also be rejected by relying fundamentally on mettā-jhāna, and by realizing the truth through contemplation of the respective phenomenon of rūpas and nāmas.
No special mention need be made with regard to the manner of rejection by sutamaya knowledge. The phenomenal nature of rūpa and nāma be rejected by practical exercise, noting and reflecting after listening to the sermon as far as possible.
The manner of rejection by contemplation and awareness of the jhāna after plunging in jhāna is to contemplate on the Jhānic-mind when consciousness in jhāna has ceased after his absorption in mettā-jhāna. It is just like those persons with no achievement of jhāna who realize by contemplating and noting the mind that imagines and knows at every moment of arising consciousness. It is required to contemplate and become aware several times repeatedly by absorbing in jhāna and by contemplating the Jhānic-mind. It will then become obvious in the course of contemplation that consciousness of the Jhānic-mind wishing others happy, and rūpa on which reliance is made as well as the Vippassanā mind which contemplate and knows, are quite different from one another. At that moment, the material object of rūpa that is depended upon and which does not know and feel the sensation will be found quite distinct from the consciousness of the Jhānic-mind that has just occurred wishing others happy, and also the mind that contemplates and knows will be visualized and distinguishingly realized. It will then be distinguishingly known with one's own insight knowledge that there is no 'living entity', no 'being' and no 'atta-being', and that this material body is comprised of two different things viz: the one which knows the sensation and the other which does not know the sensation. When realized as such attadiṭṭhi, which holds the view of atta as 'a being', will be got rid of. This is the manner by which 'diṭṭhi', the false view, is completely dispelled or exterminated with the knowledge of nāmarūpa pariccheda, i.e., knowledge of discernment distinguishing between mind and matter, after practising mettā-jhāna and Vippassanā by turns.
From this stage, if effort is continuously made in his meditational exercise by absorbing in jhāna and then again by contemplating on that jhāna, realization will come through personal insight knowledge that there is only Cause and Effect. This knowledge will lead to rejection of that diṭṭhi. Thereafter, jhāna as well as the contemplative mind with awareness, and the rūpa on which reliance is made, will be found continually arising and dissolving. Rejection will then be made knowing the characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta. Eventually, this "diṭṭhi" will be totally eradicated with the knowledge of sotāpatti-magga. This is how 'diṭṭhi' is rejected and rooted out by developing jhāna and Vipassanā, alternately.
The manner of rejection that has now been stated is similar in nature to the method of rejection of 'diṭṭhi' after developing mettā, saying "May happiness be gained" and after contemplating the rūpa with awareness of the mind which is pervaded with 'mettā'. The only difference is between "mettā-jhāna" and ordinary "mettā". The method of contemplation is, however, the same. Let us now contemplate Vipassanā after developing mettā according to this method. Please contemplate and note while reciting.
"May all monks (Bhikkhus), Sāmaṇeras, persons and Yogīs in this Meditation Centre be happy." (Repeat three times)
"May all monks (Bhikkhus), Sāmaṇeras, persons and Devas in this Township be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May all citizens of the Union of Myanmar be happy" (Repeat thrice)
"May all beings be happy." (Repeat thrice)
Manner of practising to get Attadiṭṭhi rejected
The manner of rejecting diṭṭhi by one contemplating on his consciousness of mind, as and when it arises either from thoughts or imagination, 'touch', 'hearing', and 'seeing', after immersing in mettā-bhāvanā from which he has risen, is similar in nature to what the present Yogīs are contemplating. The only difference is that it may be with or without the basic jhāna. The method of contemplation is, however, the same.
If the strength of contemplation and awareness becomes slackened while contemplating based on jhāna on the phenomena, as and when they arise on their own, respectively, mettā-jhāna should again be developed and revived. When calmness or peace of body and mind has been resuscitated, contemplating and noting of the phenomenal occurrences wherever they become manifested should again be carried out.
The present Yogis here are initially contemplating on the rising and falling movements of the abdomen which is regarded as fundamental. In the course of contemplating and noting as described, the imagination and thoughts that may occur should again be contemplated and noted. Thereafter, contemplating and noting be reverted to the rising and falling of the abdominal movements. If bodily sensations of pain, stiffness and hotness are felt, then these sensations should be contemplated and noted, as and when they occur. Afterwards, it should be reverted back to contemplation and noting of the rising and falling movements of the abdomen. Bending and stretching of hands and feet, if taken place, should likewise be noted. While contemplation is done in the like manner, the sense-object of contemplation and noting, and the knowing-mind will be distinguishingly known. Cause and Effect are also distinctly realized. The nature of their impermanence (anicca), suffering (dukkha), and non-Self (anatta) will be apprehended with the personal knowledge in the process of contemplating and noting the psycho-physical phenomena. When bhaṅga-ñāṇa (Insight into the dissolution of things) gets strengthened with constant awareness as stated, contemplating and noting should be spread widely beginning from every sensation of touch and contact covering the whole body. If tiresomeness occurs while so meditating and if contemplating and noting loses its momentum, the mind that contemplates and notes be reverted to the usual rising and falling of the abdominal wall. Only when the body and mind becomes tranquil, further contemplation of all bodily phenomena should be carried on and noted.
When contemplation gains strength in the manner as stated, achievement of progressive insight will be advanced towards baya-ñāṇa, ādhīnava-ñāṇa, nibbidā-ñāṇa, muñcitukamyatā-ñāṇa and paṭisaṅkhā-ñāṇa, and thereafter, the stage of saṅkhārupekkhā-ñāṇa will be reached. At that stage all objects of contemplation will be perceived automatically without making exertion. Vipassanā with its penetrating insight will also occur spontaneously. Then, one will be unable to pursue and note with his knowledge the arising of a number of sensations occuring over the whole body, and only automatic awareness of a few usual sensations is taking place. It is also very delicate and gentle. And awareness is also very clear. There are times when continuous contemplation is to be carried on one after the other on roughly about three phenomena, such as, the nature of the rising of the abdomen, falling of the abdomen, and stiffness felt in the sitting posture, the entire body being thought of as having vanished altogether. Sometimes, the meditator may become aware of only the two occurrence, viz: "rising" and "falling" of the abdomen oblivious of the fact that he is sitting. Occasionally moments may arise when consciousness fails to grasp the "rising and falling" of the abdomen, and if it so happens, he may be fixing his attention only on the clear knowing mind merely contemplating and noting it as "knowing", "knowing". While being conscious of what is happening, awareness becomes greatly accelerated, and sudden ceasation of the contemplating object and mind will be perceived and realized. The knowledge and perception of the cessation of all rūpas and nāmas is "magga-ñāṇa".
As a matter of fact, rejection of attadiṭṭhi called ārammanānussaya has been made completely even before attaining magga-ñāṇa with the faculty of Vippassanā insight-knowledge which has become aware of the existence of only rūpa and nāma, in the course of his contemplation and noting.
Ariyamagga which realizes the nature of cessation of all rūpa-nāma-saṅkhāras totally dispels that attadiṭṭhi called santānānusaya. From them onwards, the false view of the existence of 'an individual', 'a being', 'an atta-being', and 'a living entity' has been completely wiped out. This explains in brief that manner of practising meditation to be able to reject attadiṭṭhi, though one may be developing mettā toward the paññatti beings, and it is in conformity with the instructions given by the Buddha as: "diṭṭhinca"-towards attadiṭṭhi which clings to the view that there is really atta, individuality or Self, or a being, "anupagamma"-having no desire to grasp with attachment.
If attadiṭṭhi is rejected by methodical contemplation and noting through earnest meditation, micchā-diṭṭhi, the false view or misconception will be totally eradicated. Then, after rejecting diṭṭhi "sīlavā"-one should also be accomplished with sīla (morality). This sīla can be fully accomplished. Purified sīla will, of course, remain in tact in the case of laymen if they strictly and respectfully observe either the Five precepts, or Eight, or Ten Precepts-the basic requirement of bhāvanā. As regards Pātimokkha Sīla, i.e. a Collection of precepts prescribed for Bhikkhus, this can be fully accomplished if the moral practices are respectfully observed according to the Rules of Vinaya. Such precepts both for laymen and Bhikkhus should be fully perfected before practising meditation. It has been already instructed to fulfill this perfection in moral practices with the words-"karaṇīyamattha kusalena, etc:" appearing in this Metta Sutta.
In this regard, it means to refer to the accomplishment or ariyamagga sīla. This too, being embraced in the attributes of ariyamagga which has uprooted the "diṭṭhi", it is already included in the expression: "Not having a desire to grasp or cling to attadiṭṭhi, which means, "having rejected the 'attadiṭṭhi'. Nevertheless, to make it more convincing that ariya-magga-sīla has also been accomplished, it was repeated with the word-"sīlavā"-i.e. one should be accomplished with sīla (morality). Furthermore, "dasanena"-with the insight knowledge of sotāpattimagga which realizes and perceives Nibbāna, the state of cessation of all saṅkhāra dukkha, "Sampanno"-having been accomplished, it would not also cling to diṭṭhi, nay, would reject diṭṭhi. It conveys the same sense as the expression "accomplishment to ariya-magga-phala" This again is a repetition to make the meaning all the more obvious.
How to practise to be liberated from Gabbhaseyya
or entering into a womb
Then, kāmèsu-desirable sensation of kāmaguṇa (sensual desires), gèdham-clinging pleasurable attachment called kāmataṇhā, vinaya-having been rejected by the knowledge of anāgāmimagga, or rather, when rejected, so-such a person, after becoming a Sotāpanna, will reach the stage of sakadāgāmi-magga-phala if continuous contemplation is practised. Again, when further contemplation is carried on after becoming a Sakadāgāmi, he will attain anāgāmimagga, which will totally eradicate kāmataṇhā. He will then proceed to achieve anāgāmiphala to become an Anāgāmi. An Anāgāmi person, after his death, will be reborn in Suddhāvāsa abode of the Brahma World. He becomes an inhabitant of Avihā Abode, the last of the five Suddhāvāsas. There are some who enter Parinibbāna after achieving Arahatship. If he does not as yet become an Arahat in that abode, he will reach an Abode called Atappā after expiry of the life span of one thousand kappas. There are some who, after attainment of Arahatship while living in that Abode of Atappā, enter into Parinibbāna. If Arahatship is not yet attained in that abode, after two thousand kappas of his life span, he will be reborn in the Abode of sudassā. There are instances where some who die at the end of their life-span there after becoming Arahats. Again, if he still fails to attain Arahatship in that abode, he will meet with his death after four thousand kappas, and reach the Abode of Sudassī. There too, some might pass away, i.e. enter into Parinibbāna after attaining Arahatship. Similar course of events will be gone through up to akaniṭṭha, the highest abode of Suddhāvāsa, where the life period runs very long to the extent of sixteen thousand kappas. During this extraordinary length of life-time, one will definitely become an Arahat and then finally enter into Parinibbāna. Parinibbāna means the Ultimate and complete cessation of all rūpa nāma-khandhās on the demise of an Arahat. This is the last of his round of existences in samsāra. All human passions and desirable attachment which bind mankind to existence and all that leads to rebirth will be wholly extinct. This is the end of all miseries, a Blissful State, the lamp of life having been burnt out. On death, he will forever be released from becoming, thereby misery and suffering of old age, sickness and death which are the concomitant effects of the life existence will be escaped. It is the absolute extinction of a being whereby eternal bliss is gained.
After reaching the abodes of suddhāvāsa as stated, he comes to a road end culminating in death known as Parinibbāna. Human existence is no more for him and there is no likelihood of his entering into a mother's womb. This has been elucidated in the following manner:-
So-That a person who has achieved mettā-jhāna," diṭṭhiñca anupagamma"-being unserious of clinging to this attadiṭṭhi, nay, since attadiṭṭhi has been expelled by Vipassanā knowledge, "sīlavā"-is not only accomplished with the insight knowledge of Vipassanā. As such, "kāmesu"-the sensations of sensual pleasures, "gedham"-to which the desires of kāmataṇhā, human passions, are clinging, "vinaya"-being rejected with anāgāmi-magga-ñāṇa, nay, having been already rejected "gabbhaseyyam" -formation of new existence which requires conception in a mother's womb, "puna"-again, "na hi jāti eti"-will not definitely take place, or in other words, he will enter into Parinibbāna without again conceiving in a mother's womb.
The gist of it is that jhāna will be achieved by developing mettā through meditation. If Vipassanā contemplation is made based upon this jhāna, one will reach up to the stage of Anāgāmi, and no further rebirth will, therefore, take place by entering into a mother's womb. He will be elevated to reach the Brahmaloka called Suddhāvāsa Abodes, and will become an Arahat, and from there, will enter into Parinibbāna. The meaning of it is unambiguous up to that extent only. However, Lord Buddha wishes to see people reach the stage of arahatta-magga-phāla even in the present life existence and attain the final goal of Nibbāna on their demise. Therefore, based on the matter of pregnancy which would require conceiving in a mother's womb, some hold the presumption that all new existences or rebirths have been rejected. It may be stated that this presumption appears appropriate since it falls in line with the wish of the Buddha. However, it is pretty difficult to make an interpretation to arrive at this meaning In accordance with the expression-"kāmesu", it may be possible to accept the transliteration as "the desirable rūpa and arūpa bhavas" without assuming the sense of the term "kāmaguṇa". Hence, the meaning of the last two phrases may be furnished as follows:-
Kāmesu-in respect of all desirable sensations, gedham-the clinging passionate attachment taṇhā, vinaya-after rejecting with the four ariyamaggas, nay, since rejection has been made, gabbaseyya-coming into a new existence by entering into a mother's womb such as, paṭisondhe conception), puna-again, na hi jāti eti-will not surely happen, nay, will enter into Parinibbāna in this present life existence without having any more rebirths.
This explanation is in consonance with the wish of the Buddha though it is not in agreement with the usual translation from the viewpoint of grammar. It also conforms to the statement that the five-hundred Bhikkhus who, after listening to this Metta Sutta Paritta, become Arahats through meditation in the same year Vassa); and then it falls in line with the desanās, Noble Teachings, that it can reach up to the stage of Arahatta-magga-phala by Vipassanā contemplation based upon mettā-jhāna. It is rational and natural and conventional too. This explanation, therefore, is considered to be most appropriate.
I have so far delivered my preachings on mettā, one of the four kinds of Brahmavihāra Dhamma. I would like to add a bit more about the method of developing mettā, and about the method of practising Vipassanā contemplation, and also some stories relevant to the advantages of mettā-bhāvanā as preached by the Buddha Himself. Hence, Buddha's preachings in Pāḷi from Aṅguttara Nikāya, Fourth Nipat, Second Metta Sutta (445) will be reproduced in the first instance.
Second Metta Sutta
Idha bhikkhave ekacco puggalo mettāsahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati. Tatthā dutiyaṃ. Tatthā tatiyaṃ. Tatthā catutthaṃ. I ti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabhadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvamtaṃ lokaṃ mettā sahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena avereyna abyāpajjhena pharitvā viharati. So yadeva tattha hoti rūpagataṃ vedanā gataṃ saññāgataṃ saṅkhāragataṃ viññāṇagataṃ, te dhamme aniccato dukkhato rogato ghandato sallato aghato ābādhato parato palokato suññato anattato samanupassati. So kāyassa bhedā paraṃ maranā suddhāvāsānaṃ devānaṃ saha-byataṃ upapajjati. Ayaṃ bhikkhave upapatti asādhāra-ṇā putthujjonehi.
N.B. (It has been shown fully to make it clear that this Pāḷi was originally preached without a break continuously. However, when preaching is done it must be delivered in separate parts.)
Bhikkhave-O Bhikkhus! Idha-in this Sāsanā, ekacco puggalo-some individuals or persons, mettāsahagatenacetasā-with thoughts based on goodwill, ekaṃ disam-towards a region of the earth, nay, all beings who are living or present in one region or place, pharitvā-by emitting and spreading with a feeling wishing happiness to others, vihārati-live or remain fixing their attention as such.
Similar explanation of this Pāḷi has been mentioned in the First Part. This Pāḷi as preached by the Buddha is almost the same as stated by the Venerable Ashin Sāriputta except that the former rendering in Pāḷi uttered by Ashin Sāriputta does not contain as to how Vipassanā should be contemplated. The former Pāḷi expression ekaṃ disam-could be interpreted to mean-"one of the four regions of the East, West, South and North". However, according to the usual way of radiating mettā, it must be construed as the region in the East. Let us, therefore, recite in developing mettā as below:-
"May all beings in the Eastern region be happy." (Repeat thrice)
In the same way, mettā is radiated towards the Second region and also towards the Third region and Fourth region. This is the manner of radiating mettā with a feeling of good-will towards the regions in the West, North and South. Let us recite by developing mettā according to these three phrases.
"May all beings in the Western region be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May all beings in the Northern region be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May all beings in the Southern region be happy." (Repeat thrice)
I ti-in this manner, uddham-towards all beings living in the higher region, adho-towards all beings in the lower region, tiriyam-towards all beings in the remaining four regions of the opposite direction, sabbadhi-in all regions, sabbattatāya-treating or looking upon all beings on equal terms or as having the same status comparing with his own self, nay, with all good-will or thoughts, sabbāvantaṃ lokam-towards all universes where all beings live, mettāsahagatena cetasā-with a feeling of good will wishing them happiness, vipulena-with widespread (extensive) thoughts, mahaggatena-with the Jhānic-mind called mahoggotta, appamāṇena-with boundless thoughts, averena-with thoughts freed of animosity, abyāpajjhena-with thoughts freed of ill will to cause sufferings, pharitvā vihārati-remains fixing his attention, or, lives radiating (loving-kindness).
With these words, it has been instructed as to how mettā should be radiated towards the higher regions, lower regions and regions in the opposite directions of the point of compass. It is region wise according to the desanā. Let us, therefore, recite by developing mettā according to the sequence mentioned in paṭisambhidā magga.
"May all beings in the South-Eastern region be happy ...."
"May all beings in the North-Western region be happy ...."
"May all beings in the North-Eastern regions be happy ...."
"May all beings in the South-Western regions be happy ...."
"May all beings in the Lower regions be happy ...."
"May all beings in the Higher region be happy ...."
It is to radiate mettā towards all the ten regions, with the Jhānic-mind called mahaggata by developing mettā only after attaining mettā-jhāna. However, there is no fault in developing mettā as such, without the attainment of jhāna. It can accrue advantages as may be appropriate. What are then the advantages? It may be stated as below:-
The derivation of advantages from kāmāvacara mettā kusala by virtue of which, one can sleep well, wake up from sleep happily and with joy, will have no bad or horrible dreams, gain respect and love from both Devās and Humans, and be free from dangers that might otherwise befall him in connection with all ten regions. Then also, if he is a Bhikkhu, he will prove himself to be a noble and worthy recipient of dāna (charity), and thereby causing the donor to achieve greater advantages. In making use of the four requisites or properties concerning the Bhikkhus, he is released from debt which he would otherwise be under obligation to repay. If death occurs while developing mettā with mindfulness, he will be liberated from the Four Nether Worlds, and be reborn in the Abode of Sugati-caletial or human worlds. I have, therefore, been repeatedly giving you instructions to develop mettā in order to enable you to reap the fruits of advantages as already stated. Let us recite in the form of a verse which will indicate how benefits can be derived.
"Happy in sleep, and in waking,
Delightful dreams come in a vision
Humans, and Devas showering love and affection
Celestial beings constantly keep on guarding;
Fire, poison and 'dah' avoid causing bodily harm
Speedily becomes the mind serene and calm
Facial complexion with joy is sparkling;
Without gloom and anxiety on the verge of death
Verily destined to become a Brahma
All constituting eleven attributes in number
Are the advantages accrued from developing mettā.
Of these eleven advantages, three of them, viz: (1) sleeps well, (2) wakes up from sleep happily, (3) have no dreadful and bad dreams and will have only good dreams, are clear enough, and do not require elaboration. The next is Number (4) Loved and respected by the public. In this connection, the story of prince Malla by the name of Roja is considered appropriate to be cited and quoted from Viniya Mahāvā Pāḷi (345).
Story of Rojamalla
At one time, the Lord Buddha accompanied by one thousand, two-hundred and fifty disciple-Samghās made his way to Kusināgara from a place called Āpaṇa. At that time, the ruling princes of Malla on hearing the news of Buddha's proposed visit to Kusināra, issued a royal proclamation that any person who failed to turn up and welcome the Buddha and his Disciple Bhikkhus would be punished with a fine of five-hundred kyats. On Buddha's arrival at Kusināra, Roja was one among the crowd who were present to welcome the Buddha. He was an intimate friend of the Venerable Ashin Ānandā. When Ānandā expressed his best wishes being delighted to see his friend Roja saying it was very nice of him to give a hearty welcome to the Lord Buddha, Roja was said to have replied as: "I came out to meet the Buddha not because I have great respect and reverence for Buddha, Dhamma and Samgha, but because I fear I would have to pay a penalty of five-hundred kyats which will be imposed upon me should I fail to be present on that occasion of according reception to the Buddha and his Disciples."
Having heard this reply, Ashin Ānandā felt sorry and wondered what had made Roja to speak to him in that manner. Ashin Ānandā then reflected, "Roja is very rude and impolite. He is ignorant of the great value of advantages that will be derived by paying his reverence to the triple Gems-Buddha, Dhamma and Samgha. He would, therefore, lose all benefits which he should have gained." After reflecting as such, Ashin Ānandā apprised the Buddha of this matter and respectfully put up that if Roja were bent upon giving his best regards to this noble Sāsanā, he would have a lot of advantages.
Thereupon, Buddha exhorted Ashin Ānanda to develop mettā-bhāvanā with his concentration fixed firmly on Roja only. Usually Buddha developed and radiated Mettā equally on all beings. Buddha also used to emit his compassionate feelings evenly balanced towards all beings. However, on this particular occasion, Buddha imagined thus: "This man Roja would fail to gain merits as he should, if he does not take the opportunity of paying his reverence despite his meeting with the Exalted One, personally." He, therefore, developed and put forth his mettā concentrating on Roja only. It is something like a beam of search-light. If the rays of the light were diffused, it would lose its brightness. If, however, the light is focussed on only one single narrow opening or object, it would be very powerful and dazzling, something that resembles the light emitted by the rays of the sun during day time. Heat is also intense. Similarly, when Buddha radiated his mettā concentrating fixedly on Roja alone instead of spreading out the rays of mettā towards all beings, it would be extremely powerful.
The immediate reaction was that a feeling of immense reverence had occurred in the mind of Roja. It was stated that the mind which revered resembled that of a newly born calf which had its deep and firm attachment to its mother-cow with intense love and devotion. Hence, Roja immediately left the precincts of a small monastery to another, and then another making his way hither and thither in search of the Exalted One. Eventually, as directed by the Samghās, he reached the perfumed Chamber of the premises where the Buddha was residing. He then took his seat in the presence of the Buddha worshipping and devotedly paying his obeisance. Buddha then gave his due admonition and delivered a discourse relating to the virtues of dāna, sīla, etc. After hearing the Sermon, he became a Sotāpanna. He even entreated the Buddha to let the Sanghās recognize him as their benefactor and accept his offer of the four necessities relating to the priests, namely, monastery, robes, food and medicine, and not to accept offerings from others.
Relying on this incident, it is to be understood that "If mettā is developed and radiated towards others with concentrated attention, it would have a telepathic effect, and the recipients of mettā would tend to love and respect in reciprocity. Not only human beings but also animals are likely to reciprocate love. Some time ago, the Home for the Aged had published a magazine in which a peculiar incident was found to have been mentioned.
U Ba Htu's Mettā
A man by the name of U Ba Htu was a lover of animals and had a deep compassion for them. Particularly, his sympathy went more for dogs. He used to look after the dogs and feed them well. On certain days which he had fixed earlier, he visited the dogs in the precincts of Kyaikkasan Pagoda, cooked the meals and fed them. Whenever he came over to that place, the dogs were said to have greeted him warmly. This is not very strange though.
At one time, U Ba Htu and his companions went on a pilgrimage to worship Kaylāsa and Myathabeik Pagodas which situate near a place called Taungzun in Kyaiktho Township. I had also been to these places and had spent about three nights. I also went round for alms in the villages at the foot of the famous Kaylātha Hill. Dogs in these villages were noted for their ferocious propensity, They used to attack and bite the strangers in a group. If a person is going to visit a shrine up on the hill, he has to pass through a village at the foot of the hill. When the party of pilgrims led by U Ba Htu passed through the village, a group of dogs came running towards U Ba Htu. The villagers who were then watching them with anxiety took it for granted that the dogs would attack U Ba Htu. To their great astonishment, however, these dogs approached U Ba Htu and greeted him putting their fore-feet up with love and affection as if U Ba Htu was their beloved master. It is, therefore, to be surmised that this had so happened because of love and compassion that was bestowed upon dogs.
(5) Devas also give their love. (6) I have spoken about protection given by the Devas (7) Relating to the incidents of invulnerability from fire, poison and lethal sharp weapons, etc., mention has been made about the miraculous escape from injury which could have been brought about by the burning butter-oil. Immunity from poison as described in the story of Cūḷasiva Thera has been only mentioned in brief. Invulnerability against sharp weapons like a 'dah' in the case of Saṃkicca Sāmaṇera has been cited in passing and a brief story of a cow unharmed by the stroke of a spear has been stated as shown in the Commentaries. I would, therefore, like to add here other stories such as, Sāmāvatī Vatthu, etc., as had been illustrated in other commentaries.
Story of Sāmāvatī who was invulnerable
against the shot of an arrow
During the life time of our Lord Buddha, King Utena was the ruling monarch of the State of Kosambi (rather, a City). He had three Queens; one of them being Vāsuladattā in name. She was the daughter of King Caṇḍapajjota, the Ruler of Ujjenī State. The other queen's name was Sāmāvatī. She originally belonged to Baddavatī town and was the daughter of a millionaire named Baddavatī. Sometime after the death of her parents, having been adopted by Ghosaka, the rich, she was generally recognized as the daughter of Ghosaka. The next queen bore the name of Māgaṇḍī. She was the daughter of a Brahmin by the name of Māgaṇḍī from the country of Kuru,
Māgaṇḍī, the Brahmin's daughter had a very fair complexion and was said to be extremely attractive. Hence, a number of wealthy persons were stated to have made proposals asking for her hands in marriage for their sons. However, these proposals were turned down by Māgaṇḍī's father on grounds of their being unworthy of acceptance for his beautiful daughter. One day this Brahmin Māgaṇḍī came across the Exalted One. Having noticed the majestic features and lineaments of the Buddha, he considered Buddha as being a worthy suitor for his daughter, and then asked the Buddha not knowing who he was as: "O, Reverend Bhikkhu! I have a charming daughter. I have been searching for a man deserving of giving marriage to my daughter all throughout in the past, but to no avail. O, Bhikkhu! You have the manly qualities really worthy of my daughter's hands. I wish I could offer my daughter to you. Could you please wait for a while at this place?", said the Brahmin, He then immediately left the place in a hurry and soon came back bringing his wife and daughter.
Buddha, after leaving his foot-print at that place where he met the Brahmin, proceeded to another place not too far away from the place of their meeting, and stayed on. On their return to the site where they first met, he could only find the foot-print of the Buddha. When he told his wife that this was the foot-print of the Bhikkhu he had met, the wife remarked that the owner of this foot-print was a person who had already discarded the sensual pleasures (kāmaguṇa), or in other words, it was the foot-print of a man totally devoid of sensuous pleasures and human passionate desires, with her knowledge of the science of astrology. The Brahmin, after telling his wife to keep her mouth shut, followed the direction of the foot-prints implanted on the surface of the earth, and eventually found the Enlightened One. He then addressed the Buddha, "O Ashin Bhikkhu! I offer you my daughter to be your wife and looked after by you."
Buddha, before replying to him as to whether he would accept the offer of the Brahmin's daughter Māgaṇḍī or not, recounted his life story beginning from His Great Renunciation up to the time he settled down at the foot of Ajapāla (Bodhi) tree after His Enlightenment, and as to how Māra, the Evil One, had been shadowing him, or rather, investigating and keeping constant vigilance on him. When Māra knew about Buddha's total emancipation from lusts of the flesh and sensuality, he was put to mental distress with full of anxiety, Māra's three daughters with a view to giving help to their father, disguised themselves as beautiful devine maidens (female Devas) and tried to allure and entice the Buddha. This was related to him by the Buddha, and after that speech, the Lord went on to explain how he had withstood and eliminated rāga, the worldly pleasures or desires, though these very charming and fascinating daughters of Māra had tried to invoke his passion, in the following words:-
Disvāna taṇhaṃ aratim ragiñca,
nāhosi chando api methunasamaṃ.
Kimevidaṃ mutta karīsapuṇṇaṃ, pādāpi
naṃ samphusitum na icche.
Brahmaṇa-O, Māgaṇdī, the Brahmin! taṇhaṃ aratim ragiñca-the three daughters of Māra by the name of 'taṇhā', 'arati' and 'ragā', disvānaapi-even though seen, methunsamam-in the matter of sexual connection (intercourse) chando-desirable passionate attachment or inclination, me-in me, the Buddha, ahosi-has not occurred. Muttakarisapuṇṇam-Being full of or brimful with urine and excrements (faeces), idam: imam-this Māgaṇḍī, disvā-though seen, chando na hoti-reason for desirable passionate feeling not being arisen in me, kimeva-needs no mention, or rather, is not at all surprising. Nam-In regard to this girl Magaṇḍī, pādāpi-even with my foot, samphusitum-to touch (her). na icche-is undesirable or loathsome, that is to say "I cannot bear it".
In brief, it means: "No clinging sensual desire has occurred in me even at the sight of the three daughters of Māra. Accordingly, there is hardly anything to say in the case of your so-called beautiful daughter Māgaṇḍī, a worthless body full of loathsome filth, such as faeces and urine. I'm not even inclined to touch her with my foot." After having heard these Buddha's words or preachings, both the parents of Māgaṇḍī becoming mindful and aware of the truth of the Dhamma, reached the stage of anāgāmi-phala and became Anāgāmis. These words, however, made Māgaṇḍī, the daughter, intolerable. She felt so bad and indignant that she bore grudge against the Exalted One from that time onwards. Bearing in mind that she was purposely put to disgrace, she plotted with iniquity to take vengeance upon Buddha at one time or the other when she got married to a person of her own choice.
Relating to this incident, it seems reasonable to raise a question as: "Doesn't Buddha know that Māgaṇḍī would bear grudge out of resentment?". Yes, indeed, Buddha was well aware of it. It has been explained in Dhammapada Commentary that the Exalted One uttered these words of truth purposely knowing fully well that only by preaching in that manner, her parents would attain anāgāmi-phala and that the speech was delivered after due consideration of the benefits which would be derived as against the vengeance which was sure to be hatched against him by Māgaṇḍī.
Having been liberated from kāmarāga after becoming Anāgāmis, Māgaṇḍī's parents put their daughter under the care and guardianship of her uncle and then, entered priesthood in the realm of Buddha's Sāsanā. Later, after continuous exercise of intense meditation, they became Arahats. Sometime afterwards, Māgaṇḍī's uncle offered her niece's hands to King Utena. The King made her his Chief Queen.
At that time, Ghosaka, the rich, had donated a monastery, named Ghositārāma, to the Buddha and Disciple-Sanghās in Kosambhī State. Kukkuṭa, the millionaire had also erected a monastery and offered it in donation to the Exalted One, while another millionaire Pāvārika offered a monastery called Pāvārikārāma. Buddha, in response to the invitation of these three millionaires, proceeded to Kosamhbī State and resided in the three monasteries by turns. The Buddha also accepted and took the offer of meals generously given by these three donors and honoured them with His presence at their respective homes.
One day, Sumana, a flower seller offered meals to the Sanghās led by the Buddha after she had obtained permission from the said three millionaires. On that very day, a maid servant of the Queen Sāmāvatī by the name of Khujjuttarā went out to buy flowers as usual. Sumana, the flower seller told Khujjuttarā: "To-day I've fervently requested the Enlightened One to accept and take the offer of meals at my residence. I invite you also to join with me to hear the Buddha's sermon after the feeding of meals is over. You may buy the flowers and take them away only after listening to the Buddha's sermon." Khujjuttarā accepted the invitation and them listened to the Anumodanā Dhamma attentively along with Sumana. In the course of the sermon, Khujjuttarā through contemplation and noting on what had been heard, achieved sotāpatti-magga-phala, and became a Sotāpanna.
It was stated that usually Khujjuttarā bought only four kyats worth of flowers out of eight kyats given her from the King's coffers, keeping four kyats for her own personal use. On that particular day since she had become a Sotāpanna, she had absolutely no mind to steal other people's property. She therefore bought eight kyats worth of flowers. Seeing the flowers much more than that had been usually found, Sāmāvatī inquired, "O, Sister! Did the King give you double the amount of money that was ordinarily given to purchase the flowers particularly to-day?" To this query, Khujjuttarā replied, "No, Madam, certainly not." "Why then there are flowers about twice as many as was usually the case? "asked the Queen. Khujjuttarā admitted: "Usually on previous occasions, I pocketed four kyats, and only bought four kyats worth of flowers. To-day, I had bought flowers to the full value of all eight kyats." This was a candid reply by abstaining herself from telling leis or falsehood. This manner of reply deserves paying attention. Simply because, in those ancient times, a Queen had full and absolute powers to the extent of imposing a capital punishment on any person whom she disliked or considered guilty. The Queen could possibly give orders to execute Khujjuttarā for having committed theft of the money paid to buy flowers, or rather, for the offence of misappropriation. However, Khujjuttarā had spoken the truth and nothing but the truth without fear of the consequences that might befall her. This noble and honest attitude in telling the truth is the courageous attribute of sotāpattimagga, the Special Dhamma. Further interrogation was made as to why she did not slice off half the amount of money given her on that day. Khujjuttarā replied that it was because she had gained the Special Dhamma, the awakening of the higher consciousness of the Dhamma after listening to the sermon delivered by the Buddha.
Sāmāvatī then reflected with her right devotion of mind that to become purified in mind without any intention to steal was indeed marvellous. She imagined that this Dhamma must be really noble. This kind of thought could only occur in the mind of a virtuous person. If the person is vicious and wicked and not virtuous, anger would have arisen in him or her, particularly in such a case like this when it was known that the other had stolen or misappropriated the money given for the purpose of buying flowers. Sāmāvatī, however, being a person with a virtuous mind with her background perfections, was elated to find her maid-servant cleansed of vice, and equipped with the noble Special Dhamma. A keen desire with a feeling of enthusiasm having pervaded Sāmāvatī, she entreated Khujjuttarā, "O, my elder sister! We also wish to hear and share the Special Dhamma which you said have achieved. Please explain to us." Khujjuttarā in reply requested to let her take a bath to keep her body clean before she preached the spotlessly purified Dhamma. Khujjuttarā was, therefore, permitted to bathe with scented water and to wear a complete outfit of dress made of a very fine texture. Khujjuttarā then put on a piece of garment round her waist and wrapped herself up with another piece of cloth in the upper portion of her body above the waist letting a part of the garment rest upon one shoulder while leaving the other shoulder bare-(ekamsaṃ pārupitvā). Later, she took her seat on the alloted place. With a peculiar kind of glittering fan called 'citrabījani' holding in her hands, she beckoned the five-hundred maids-of-honour batch by batch and gave them her preachings. While listening to the Dhamma preached by Khujjuttarā, with utmost concentration they devotedly contemplated and noted with diligence. For having immersed themselves in Vipassanā Dhamma, higher awakening consciousness had arisen in them that led to their attainment of sotāpatti-phala. Sāmāvatī and all her maids-of-honour to talling two hundred and fifty in number became Sotāpannas.
Thence, all of them after paying homage to Khujjuttarā requested, "O, Sister! Effective from to-day please relinquish this lowly and mean duties of a maid-servant and assume the role of our mother and Teacher. Then, please be kind enough to visit the Buddha daily and listen to the sermon delivered by the Enlightened One. Thereafter, please impart to us the Dhamma you have heard." Therefore Khujjuttarā went to pay obeisance to the Lord Buddha everyday and listened to His noble preachings. On her return, she recounted the Dhamma with wonderful precision as had been heard and remembered by her. Having had her Special Perfections (pāramitās), she remembered all what had been preached by the Buddha and could impart the prsachings exactly in the same manner as was delivered by the Enlightened One both in modulation of the voice, accent and tone Even nowadays, some people could imitate the style of preaching done by the preachers in demeanour, mode of delivery, pitch and rhythm. This appears possible because of their pāramitās. On the part of Khujjuttarā, she had prayed for attainment of this Special attribute in the past hundred thousand kappas. That is why she had later become an outstanding intellectual well-versed and fully accomplished in the Three Baskets of the Buddhist-Scriptures (tipiṭakadhara). Some time later, she was conferred upon by the Buddha with the pre-eminent Title of Etadagga, the foremost rank among the learned female disciples (Bhikkhunīs) unrivalled in the knowledge of the Scriptures and in possessing the ability to expound them.
Five-hundred maids of honour led by Sāmāvatī then requested Khujjuttarā to find ways and means to enable them to worship the Buddha and the Sanghas. It is pretty difficult for those residing in the King's Palace to meet outsiders. As such, Khujjuttarā gave them advice to make small holes in the wall of the upper storey of the palace building to be able to see through these holes when Buddha and his sanghas came walking along the road on their way to the residential mansions of the millionaires (benefactors) living in the city to take meals on invitation. This advice which was accepted and implemented had enabled the Queen and her maids to peep through the small holes at the time when Buddha and his company of disciples came strolling along.
On one day, when Māgaṇḍī saw by chance the small holes in the wall of the King's Palace, inquired as to why the wall had been so perforated with small holes. Sāmāvatī and her maids, not knowing that Magaṇḍī had her grievance and grudge against the Buddha, told her that the Exalted One was presently residing in the City, and that these were the holes through which they looked furtively to revere and worship the Buddha when He wended his way along the road down below. When she got that information, it had occurred to Māgaṇḍī, "Oh! the monk Gotama has come over to this City to stay. I will have to do what should be done. These womenfolk's are those who revere the monk Gotama. I'll also have to deal with them as may be considered proper." Imagining as such, she made a slanderous talk to let the King know that Sāmāvatī and her followers were trying to win the love of outsiders and were bent upon coaxing them and would, therefore, sooner or later conspire to assassinate His Majesty the King. The King, however, did not believe her malicious gossip though she had repeated as first stated, three times in succession.
She, therefore, told the King, "If Your Majesty doesn't believe what I have said, you may please visit the main building of the palace and see for yourself as to what is actually happening." The King then made his way to the said building and had a look round inside the palace. He found the small holes in the wall and in making his enquiry as to why these were so perforated, came to know that these holes were meant to be peeped through to see the Lord Buddha and to revere the Lord. He was unperturbed. The King even caused these holes to be patched up and closed and instead to let new fan-lights be fixed up. The fanlights being much better than the tiny holes, it gave delight to Sāmāvatī and her retinue. Falling in her attempt to disparage Sāmāvatī and her maids-of-honour, Māgaṇḍī put a cobra, after its fangs had been extracted, in the inside hollow space of the King's royal harp, and covered up the opening space with a wreath of flowers, when time was due for the King to make his rounds to the Chamber where Sāmāvatī resided.
After carrying out her plan as stated. Māgaṇḍī coaxed the King saying that it was not advisable for His Majesty to visit Sāmāvatī on the grounds that she had had her bad dreams which portended ill-omen. Nevertheless, King Utena did not fail to call on Sāmāvatī at her private chamber according to the program he had mapped out. On that occasion, Māgaṇḍī accompanied the King as if she was worrying about his safety. After his arrival there, the King had his meals served by Sāmāvatī and the chamber maids, and later, placing his harp at the top of the golden couch, he lay down on it to take rest. Meanwhile, Māgaṇḍī loitered about the couch and surrepticiously removed the wreath of flowers which served as a cover to the hollow space in the Harp. Then came the cobra sliding out from inside the harp and remained on the sleeping couch raising its venomous hood. Seeing the snake, Māgaṇḍī raised an alarm seemingly in terror as: "Tut! Tut! Your Majesty. Snake! Snake!", uttering at the same time obscene words against the King and Sāmāvatī and then, continued to talk rudely as: "This stupid King is inglorious, ignoble and a dullard as well. He refused to believe my words. These stupid and wicked bunch of maids also have no morality and are simply rascals. Is there anything that has so far been denied to you all by the King? I have had a horrible dream last night. Despite my warnings not to visit the Chamber of Sāmāvatī, Your Majesty had refused to listen to my sincere advice, etc."
The King, when faced with an imminent danger of death that could be brought about by the venomous snake, believed what Māgaṇḍī had spoken ill of Sāmāvatī. Vehement anger had arisen in him too. Hence, orders were immediately given to shoot Sāmāvatī and her five-hundred maids with poisonous arrows and kill them on the spot. Sāmāvatī and her followers were then directed to sit in a row to take the punishment. Sāmāvatī advised her maids, "O, Sisters! At this critical moment we have nothing to rely upon except mettā. You all may shower upon the King and Māgaṇḍī your feeling of mettā wholeheartedly, spreading your loving-kindness evenly balanced on them. You may also prevent your anger from arising." So saying, Sāmāvatī sat in the forefront of all her maids-of-honour and started developing and radiating mettā to the best of their ability. King Utena personally picked up the bow and arrow and shot directly at Sāmāvatī.
It was stated that the arrow which was shot from the bow instead of going straight to the target rebounded towards King Utena as if it were about to pierce through his breast and then dropped short in front of him on the surface. When it so happened, repentance immediately came upon the King. Then uttering, "Alas! the arrow which I had shot could have pierced even through a thick marble slab; and yet, this arrow recoiled and came back directly to me as if it were about to hit me. Even a lifeless thing like an arrow knows the gratitude and noble attributes of the queen, Sāmāvatī. How regretful it is that a human being like me has failed to appreciate her noble qualities....", he threw away his bow. The King then kneeled down before Sāmāvatī and respectfully begged of her to pardon him, saying:
sabbā muyhanti me disā.
Sāmāvatī maṃ tāyassu,
tvañca me saranaṃ bhava.
Sāmāvatī-O, my beloved Sāmāvatī!, aham-I am, sammuyhāmi-very much bewildered, pamuyhāmi-(and) extremely perplexed, me-to me, sabba disā-regions in all directions, muyhanti-are all in confusion with my thoughts meandering not knowing which is which. Tvam-You may, mam-to me, tāyassu-lend your help. Tvam-You are, me-my, saraṇañca-only refuge, bhava-and may so become, i.e. a person on whom I can rely upon and take my refuge.
Sāmāvatī therefore gave her reply in the following words:
MĀ maṃ tvaṃ saranaṃ gaccha,
yamahaṃ saraṇaṃ gatā.
Esa buddho mahārāja,
esa buddho anuttaro.
Saranaṃ giccha taṃ buddhaṃ,
tvañca me saraṇaṃ bhava.
Mahārāja-O, my beloved Lord, the great King, tvam-you, maṃ mā sataṇaṃ giccha-shall not revere me as your refuge, aham-I do, yam-regard the Buddha, saraṇaṃ gatā-(and) revere (the Buddha) as my refuge. Esa- This Buddha, buddho-is fully Enlightened and Omniscient. Esa buddho-This Buddha, anuttaro-is Supreme. I am buddham-That Buddha, saraṇaṃ giccha may be sought as refuge and worshipped. Tvañca-May Your Majesty also (be), me-my, saraṇaṃ bhava-refuge, or rather, become my only refuge or Protector.
On hearing this reply, His Majesty the King Utena admitted, "Very well, Oh my beloved! I pay my homage and deep respects to you and also have great reverence for the Buddha. I offer you anything you may wish to have." Afterwards, the King made his way to the Enlightened One and took refuge in the three Jewels of Buddhism, viz: Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. He invited the Sanghas led by the Buddha to his grand Palace, and for seven days continuously, he resorted to almsgiving or charity on an immense scale. He also asked Sāmāvatī to mention her wish so as to enable him to fulfil her desire according to the promise already given. Thereupon, Sāmāvatī besought the King to permit her to offer alms-meals to the Buddha and Sanghas every day. King Utena then personally went to the Enlightened One and requested the Omniscient as desired by his chief Queen. Buddha, in response to the King's invitation, sent the Venerable Ashin Ānandā together with five-hundred of his disciple-monks. From that time onwards, Sāmāvatī and her maids-of-honour, five-hundred in number, had had an opportunity to do charity, offer meals, pay homage to the samghas, and then listen to the Sermon, daily.
In the story of Sāmāvatī now cited, the recoil of the arrow, with which King Utena had shot through anger, was the beneficial result or the influence of the virtue of mettā-bhāvanā. This is one of the eleven advantages which signifies invulnerability from fire, poison, and 'dah'. In the event of any untoward incident taking place, or rather, at any time of emergency, this mettā should be fully developed with deep concentration. If it is so developed, no danger can befall a person. Even if there is no chance of escape from the danger, special merits can be gained. No loss is incurred. It is sure that benefits will be derived.
Story of Sīhabāhu
Ceylonese history refers to a story of a man, an offspring, by the name of Sīhabāhu, born of a princess with her conjugal relationship with a Lion. On attaining the age of sixteen, this young man asked his mother, "Why is it that you, my mother, is different in race from that of my father?" The mother recounted what had happened as: "I'm the daughter of the King of the Country of Vaṅga. At one time, on my way to the State of Magadha together with other travellers, we all came upon this great lion. The whole crowd of travellers except me fled in fear. I was, however, unable to lift my foot and run away for my life exactly as was once formerly predicted by an astrologer that I would have my conjugal relationship with a lion. The prophecy was confirmed by a miraculous event in this way. While I remained at a standstill, with fright, of course, this great lion carried me on his back and took me away into a cave (den) where he lived." Sīhabāhu then inquired why she continued to remain in the cave without returning to the palace where her own kith and kin were residing. She told her son that she was unable to leave the place for being confined in the cave which was blocked up with a hugh massive rock at its mouth. Thereupon, Sīhabāhu removed this hugh rock and left the place carrying his mother and sister on his shoulders.
On return to his den, the great lion, not seeing his wife and children, felt dejected and went out in search of them. He attacked all people living in the outskirts of the villages where he had set his foot. On receipt of complaint from the people concerned about the ravages done by the lion, the King of Vaṅga issued a royal proclamation that any person who could suppress this enemy, the lion, would be offered a reward of three thousand kyats. Sīhabāhu came forward to undertake the task of killing the lion. His mother twice prevented his son from doing harm to the lion, his own father. On the third time, without the knowledge of his mother, Sīhabāhu accepted the award. On his arrival before the King, the latter promised that he would surrender his Kingdom to Sīhabāhu, if Sīhabāhu could quell the danger brought about by this great lion. He, therefore, left the palace and proceeded to where the lion could be traced. The great lion, on seeing his son, being greatly touched with an instinctive paternal love, was developing his loving-kindness. The arrows which were shot at the lion by Sīhabāhu had no effect on the lion, and these arrows were said to have rebounded and dropped before him near his foot by virtue of mettā that had been developed and radiated towards the son. Three attempts were made to kill the lion in the like manner, but in all his attempts, all arrows bounded back to Sīhabāhu and dropped on the earth before him. Because of repeated attacked by his son, a feeling of anger and bitterness had arisen in the great lion. Hence, the arrow which was shot on the fourth occasion hit the lion and pierced through its body. Judging from this incident, it is to be borne in mind that this weapon of arrow had failed to hit and pierce through the lion's body because of the father's love towards the son and not just merely because of ordinary loving-kindness.
Story of Suvaṇṇasāma
Relating to the advantages of mettā stated in the foregoing, explanation given to the query put forward will be found in Milinḍapaññā Pāḷi Text of Dhamma. The question that arose was: In mentioning the eleven advantages of mettā it has been stated that "a person who is developing mettā will escape bodily injury, or in other words, will be immuned from the dangers of fire, poison, etc." However, in the story of Suvaṇṇasāma Jātaka, mention has been made that though Suvaṇṇsāma was said to be always developing mettā, he was badly wounded and was in a state of semi-consciousness because of the injury caused by the poisonous arrow which was shot at him by the King Pīḷiyakkha while hunting deer to find out the truth of what he considered as a strange thing. Such being the case, the statement that Suvaṇṇasāma had been hit by the arrow must be wrong if the statement that no harm or injury could be inflicted by a weapon on a person who was developing mettā. On the other hand, if the statement that Suvaṇṇasāma was actually hit by an arrow, then, the statement that "a person who is developing mettā becomes invulnerable", must be wrong. Since these two statements were conflicting and were contrary to one another, King Milinḍa requested Ashin Nāgasena to kindly clarify the two opposite views or the discrepancy.
To this problematic matter in issue, Ashin Nāgasena Thera explained as follows:-
"O, noble King Milinḍa! It is exactly true that no weapon can hit or harm a person who is developing mettā. It is also true that Suvaṇṇasāma was hit by an arrow. Though both are, in fact, correct. the reason for having no discrepancy between the two statement is that the advantage of invulnerability is derived not because of the inherent power or quality of the person but because of the attributes or quality of mettā. Although it had been stated that Suvaṇṇasāma was developing mettā at the time when he was struck by the arrow, he was picking up the water-pot, and it was during that brief moment of interval. Suvaṇṇasāma had a break or a lapse in the process of developing mettā. That is the reason why he was struck by an arrow."
For example, in ancient times, soldiers had an armoured suit made of metal steel. When such an armour was worn in fighting as a covering in defence, no arrow or spear could pierce through it. It served as a protection against sharp weapons. The escape from injury caused by a weapon, such as, spear, arrow or a 'dah', is because of the faculty of the armoured suit. It is not attributable to the inherent power or faculty of the man. If this suit of armour is not worn by a person, any kind of weapon used against him would have cause an injury. In the same way, immunity from such lethal weapons should be attributed to the faculty of mettā and not to that of the person. Hence, at the moment of a lapse from mettā-development, Suvaṇṇasāma was struck by the arrow.
The second example is that a person living in a sound masonry building will not get wet by rains. This is not due to his faculty but the inherent quality of the building itself. If he lacks shelter and stays outside the building, he will be soaked to the skin. Similarly, if a person is lacking in mettā, any kind of weapon could harm him at the moment of his lapse in the development of mettā, just as a man who will get soaked if he were outside the building when raining.
The next example may be cited. This is what is called a "medicinal tree of an angel". It is stated that a person who was holding its branch or any part of its wood would become invisible to the naked eye. It had the power of making a man "Invisible". There is every likelihood that people nowadays may find it difficult to believe such a miracle. However, I have made a mention of it according to what is found in the Text of Milinḍapañhā. Invisibility is the power of this "Medicinal Tree of an Angel", and not of the man. The main significance which I want to stress is to constantly develop mettā, if you want to protect yourself from any kind of danger.
Relating to No. (7) of the eleven advantages that can be accrued from mettā in connection with the "invulnerability from fire, poison and 'dah' etc.", nothing more is required to be said. Regarding No. (8) speedily becomes the mind serene, (9) facial complexion is bright and sparkling with joy, and (10) without gloom and anxiety on the verge of death, it does not appear necessary to be repeated. What now remains to be said is connected with No. (11) "verily destined to become a Brahmā", the last of the advantages. This advantage is clearly mentioned in the Pāḷi Texts. Under the sub-heading "Second Metta Sutta" appearing in the beginning of Part IV of the Dhamma, the method of Vipassanā Contemplation to be jointly exercised has been shown. This will again be clarified now.
How to contemplate, etc. re: Second Metta Sutta
So-A person who has attained mettā-jhāna tattha-while being absorbed in that mettā-jhāna yadeva rūpagataṃ vedanāgataṃ saññāgataṃ saṅkhāragataṃ viññāṇagatam-such rūpa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa are only present or appearing. (It means to say there is an absence of 'atta' at that brief moment). Te dhamme that rūpa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra, viññāṇa dhamma are looked upon, aniccato-as impermanent, dukkhato-and as suffering, rogato-and are similar to the disease that has been contracted, gaṇḍato-and like a tumourous growth, or rather, an inflamed suppurating tumour which has burst, sallato-and as resembling a sharp-pointed stump which has stuck in, aghato-and are not free from suffering and misery, nay, like an evil deed. ābādhato-and similar to sickness, parato-and resemble a stranger or an alien, palokato-and easily destructible, suññato-and devoid of atta being without any entity, and anattato-do not constitute a living being, but merely a natural phenomenon, samanupassati-and are contemplated and perceived as such.
The above describes the manner of contemplating Vipassanā after arising from the trance of jhāna. What is contemplated is on rūpa and vedanā, etc., as and when they occur at the moment of his absorption in jhāna. It is something which is similar to what the present Yogīs are contemplating and noting as "seeing"-"hearing", or, "imaging" after the arising consciousness of what is seen, heard, or imagined. At the time when the Jhānic-mind occurs, rūpa or matter, on which the Jhānic-mind depends, is present. It is extremely pure, refined and good. As these good sensations have pervaded the whole body, one would feel very comfortable and nice. It is similar to the characteristics of consciousness or knowledge which occurs at the moment of achieving udayabaya-ñāṇa. This rūpa on which reliance is made and rūpas-material elements or sense-objects which have taken place by virtue of jhāna are mentioned in Pāḷi Texts as "yadeva rūpagatam". Vedanā, etc., which occur hand in hand simultaneously and in combination with the Jhānic-mind have been mentioned as "vedanāgataṃ saññāgataṃ and saṅkhāragatam". The Jhānic-mind is, however, described as "viññāṇagatam". This is how a person who has attained jhāna contemplates on the Jhānic-mind, etc. This resembles the manner of contemplating and noting the arising consciousness of imagination as "imagining", when it occurs, by the present Yogīs.
How awareness and perception is gained by insight-knowledge through contemplation as has been stated is shown as "aniccato", etc., totalling eleven kinds. A person who is endowed with special or deeper knowledge can grasp all the eleven characteristics or conditions. A person who is lacking in knowledge cannot realize all of them. He may know only a few. The most significant point, however, is to know the true characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta. Hence, Buddha has preached laying emphasis on these three kinds, viz: anicca, dukkha and anatta. If these three marks are truly perceived and known, the rest eight can also be understood. For instance, paloka-easily destructible-carries the same sense as anicca, impermanence or not lasting. It is similar to (1) a virulent type of disease, (2) a chronic malignant tumour, (3) a sharp-pointed stump that has struck or pierced through, (4) agha- not free from suffering, nay, it can bring evil just like vice or demerit (5) the five conditions which are said to be similar to illness are all dukkha-sufferings. (1) Para-it resembles a stranger, (2) Saññā-it is devoid of 'atta', a being, or individuality. The said two also convey the same meaning as 'anatta'-non-self or ungovernable. That is why I have now explained the manner by which the nature or characteristics of anicca, dukkha and anatta can be known and realized.
Anicca, characteristic of Anicca and Aniccānupassanā
Aniccaṃ veditabbam-anicca must be known or understood. Aniccatā veditatbā-the characteristic of anicca must be noted and known as impermanent. Aniccā-nupassanā veditabbā-Vipassanā knowledge which contemplates and knows that it is impermanent or not lasting should be understood. It has been stated as such in the Commentary. This shall be recited. Now let us recite:
"Anicca must be known. The characteristic of anicca must be known. Aniccānupassanā must be known,"
It has been expounded that: "Anicca means aniccanti khanhā-pañcakaṃ and that is, what is impermanent called 'anicca' is nothing but the aggregate of Five Khandhās." Please recite the following Motto:-
"Thou shall remember the Five-Khandhās as Anicca-impermanent."
These Five khandhās which are transient by natures are rūpas and nāmas-matter and mind-which have existed at the moment of the occurrence of the Jhānic mind. These are mentioned in the Pāḷi Text as "rūpagataṃ, vedanāgataṃ, etc." This is the Dhamma which should be correctly and vividly known as anicca-impermanence-when contemplation is carried on after arising from jhāna. It is similar to what is clearly known by the Yogīs with personal insight knowledge of the rūpas and nāmas at the moment of seeing, hearing and imagining, in the course of their contemplation and noting as: "seeing", "hearing" and "imagining", with awareness. Anicca possessing the characteristic of 'impermanence' realized through contemplation and noting, may be explained thus:-
Hutvā-Originally what has not yet existed before has occurred, and then abhāvākāro-suddenly disappears and vanishes. This transient nature of aniccalakhaṇam-is to be noted and understood as the characteristic of anicca. Hence, it has been expressed in the form of a motto as stated below, and this may be recited.
"Vanishing after occurrence is the characteristic of anicca."
All things are impermanent if they arise instantly followed by dissolution. For example, a house is constructed in an open field. Is it not a house which has sprung up a new though it has not existed before? Yes, it is. Is it not subjected to decay for the simple reason that one day or the other, or with the passage of time, it will meet with destruction? Shall we, therefore, say it is everlasting, or impermanent? If a thing appears and then again disappears, it is undoubtedly impermanent and transitory. In the same way, a person is born into this world as what is called his life existence. He has come into being afresh, but will one day pass away or die. He, as a living being, is no doubt impermanent and not lasting. Likewise, it resembles a flash of lightning which appears and vanishes all of a sudden. These are the examples of the transient nature or the characteristic of anicca.
A Yogī who is contemplating and noting will perceive the manifestations of the sensations of touch, of thoughts and imagination, sound and sight constantly arising and vanishing, and then appearing again followed by dissolution at every moment of his noting when his power of concentration (samādhi) becomes strong. Such happenings will be realized with his own personal insight knowledge. He will become elated with joy that everything which occurs passes away instantaneously. This is the characteristic of anicca. When awareness takes place while contemplating that things have arisen and disappeared all at once, he will come to realize that these are all "Impermanence". This knowledge or awareness is "aniccā-nupassanā-ñāṇa."
This is Vipassanā knowledge through contemplation and noting and not the knowledge of reflective thought gained by Sutamaya.
When a person is said to be absorbing in mettā-jhāna, he is actually developing his mindfulness praying as "May all be happy, etc." While immersing himself thus, the mettā-Jhānic-mind occurs wishing others happy. This Jhānic-mind may last for a second, or a few minutes. When this Jhānic-mind ceases, then usual sensuous thoughts or desires will appear or arise. This is to be called as "rising from jhāna." It is something like waking up from a deep slumber. If the Yogī who plungs himself in a trance of jhāna bearing in mind or with predetermination that he will carry on with Vipassanā contemplation after rising from jhāna, the moment Jhānic-mind ceases, contemplative mind with awareness-Vipassanā-consciousness-will take place. He knows distinguishingly the arising consciousness of Vipassanā and the cessation of the Jhānic-mind. It is not that the Jhānic-mind singly is known. The simultaneous arising and dissolution of rūpa, vedanā, saññā and saṅkhāras are also known and realized. He clearly perceives and understands that everything being (in the process of) arising and dissolving incessantly is, in fact, impermanent, etc.
Applying this method in order to develop Vipassanā-ñāṇa, or, insight knowledge, we shall develop mettā. Let's recite with a feeling of loving-kindness by radiating mettā, and at the same time, develop the characteristic of impermanence of the sense-object-the sound (voice) that emanates from our recitation or chanting.
"May all beings be happy ...." (Repeat thrice)
Dukkha characteristic of Dukkha and Dukkhānupassanā
Since it has been preached that dukkha means: "Yadaniccaṃ taṃ dukkham-which is transient and therefore, 'suffering', the five khandhās not being lasting, are dukkha (suffering). Of these khandhās, only dukkha vedanā, the sensation of suffering which is one of the constituents of vedanakkhandhā is misery, for being distressful. The rest of the four khandhās and sukha-upekkhā are not the miserable conditions which are causing harm and distress. However, since they are devoid of pleasure for being impermanent or transitory by nature, they are to be termed "dukkha". And also because it cause the distressing sensation-dukkhavedanā-and is likely to cause trouble and pain, it is said to be "dukkha" Let's recite a motto as shown below:-
"Impermanent are the Five Khandhās which are in reality dukkha, suffering."
These five khandhās being incessantly arising and dissolving are always causing pain and suffering. These khandhās by causing stiffness, hotness, etc., are often ill-treating. That is why it is termed as "dukkha"-terribly miserable. This nature of constant suffering and misery is to be understood as the characteristic or mark of dukkha, Let's recite a motto which is composed as follows:-
"Constant ill-treatment caused by the arising and dissolution of khandhās is the characteristic of dukkha (dukkhānupassanā.)"
A Yogī who is continuously contemplating on the arising phenomena of rūpa and nāma, perceives the formation or arising of new khandhās following instantaneously without appreciable interval upon the dissolution of the old. He realizes the causation of unbearable pain and suffering, and becomes satisfied finding them as being miserable and frightful through his personal insight-knowledge. This is the real 'dukkhānupassanā-ñāṇa'. I have coined a motto which may be recited as follows:-
"Awareness of suffering and misery for having found the transient nature of arising and dissolution at the moment-of-contemplation and noting, is dukkhānupassanā-ñāṇa."
Let us now recite by developing mettā as: "May all be happy" while contemplating the manner of ill-treatment caused by the condition of arising and dissolution of things, and developing dukkhānupassanā. Please follow the recitation.
"May all beings be happy ...." (Repeat thrice)
Anatta, characteristic of Anatta, and Anattānupassanā
What is "Anatta"? It means: "Yaṃ dukkhaṃ tadanattā-the dukkha dhamma, as preached by the Buddha. Hence, the five khandhās which are called "dukkha" is not "atta", a living entity. It is Non-Self, the "anatta". It is unmanageable and cannot be coaxed to become happy in as much as it's inherent nature is "suffering". Since it is unmanageable and uncontrollable, it cannot be called or regarded as One's Own 'Self'. As such, Anatta is a condition which is ungovernable. Let's recite a Motto which embraces the said meaning.
"The Five Khandhās, being ungovernable, are not Atta.
If it is one's own Self, it should respond as you may wish to happen. The five-khandhās refuse to act or behave as you would desire, and comply with your demand. It happen according to circumstances, and under unforeseen circumstances, it happens against one's own will. What is good and pleasurable may occur but it will not be lasting and will not continue to remain constant as you wish to be. It immediately vanishes. Since they happen against one's own wish, and are ungovernable, it should be noted and realized as "Non-Self" and Not as "Atta". Hence, it has been stated as merely the characteristic of anatta and as a condition, uncontrollable and unmanageable, which would not happen according to one's own wish, i.e. (avasavuttana kāro anattalakhanam). The Motto is couched as below. Let's recite.
"Not happening according to one's own wish is the characteristic of Anatta."
A Yogī who is continuously contemplating on the arising phenomena of rūpas and nāmas will find them incessantly appearing and disappearing according to the relevant circumstances against his own will. Therefore, he realizes distinguishingly with his own personal insight-knowledge that they are by nature Anatta which is ungovernable. This is the genuine Anattānupassanā-ñāṇa. Let us recite the motto which has been composed in the light of the above.
"Finding it ungovernable and unresponsive to one's own wish while contemplating and noting, and realizing it as 'Non-Self', is Anattānapassanā-ñāṇa".
Though one may wish to develop mettā through meditation all throughout day and night when developing and radiating mettā mentally or verbally reciting as "May all be happy", it will not be possible to do so if perseverance and energetic effort are lacking. It would be possible if there is full accomplishment of strong will, diligence and resolution. Hence, it is 'anatta' Dhamma which does not happen or respond according to one's own will. In order to follow up with an action to contemplate the nature of anatta, let us develop mettā. Please follow the recitation.
"May all beings be happy ...." (Repeat thrice)
It would amount to contemplating the spirit of loving-kindness, the kāmāvacara kusala, i.e., merits relating to the domain of sensual pleasures, if serious contemplation is made so as to realize the marks of anicca, etc., by reciting from the innermost heart as: "May all be happy."
Contemplation made on mettā-Jhānic mind by a person who has achieved jhāna is nothing but contemplating on mahaggata-kusala mind, i.e., the state of mind that is highly meritorious, etc., The only difference is between the nature of kāmāvacara and that of mahaggatajhāna, i.e., lofty or extensive jhāna. The manner of contemplating mettā is, however, identical. Hence, while contemplating the virtuous of though of mettā, etc., when vipassanā-ñāṇa becomes strengthened, Nibbāna-the state of complete extinction of rūpa and nāma-will be realized through ariya-magga-ñāṇa. Following this magga-ñāṇa, the knowledge of fruition (phala) will be attained. If such attainment is accomplished, one will at least become a Sotāpanna. A person who has achieved mettā-jhāna, if continues to contemplate and note, will attain Nibbāna through the achievement of stage of Sagadāgāmi magga-phala and Anāgāmi-magga-phala. In most cases, Anāgāmiship is attained. If he becomes an Anāgāmi by faculty of which he is entirely free from kāmarāga (human passionate desires), he will no longer reach the abode of kāma. Rebirth will take place only in the abodes of rūpāvacara and arūpāvacara. It is very likely that he may have his next existence in rūpāvacaya abode called Suddhāvāsa. Hence--
Continuation of the Second Metta Sutta
"So-A person who contemplates mettā-jhāna as anicca etc., or rather, a person who has become an Anāgāmi by contemplating mettā-jhāna, etc., as anicca and so on, kāyassa bhedā-from the time of the destruction of the material body, maraṇā-from the time of death, param-subsequently, suddhāvāsānaṃ devānam-(became) one of the inhabitants of the Abode of Suddhāvāsa Celestial Brahma, sahabyatam-having the same status or life existence of a Brahma, upapajjati-and accordingly will have his rebirth. The Buddha continued to say: "O, Bhikkhus! ayaṃ upapatti-to be reborn, or to reach this Abode of Suddhāvāsa, putthujjanehi-unlike the majority of worldlings, asādhāraṇā-is a peculiar and unrivalled attainment."
In this regard, since it has been stated as reaching the Abode of Suddhāvāsa, it is also necessary to attain the Fourth jhāna. By developing mettā-bhāvanā, only the Third jhāna can be attained. As such, a question may arise as to how it could reach Suddhāvāsa Abode. It may be answered that after becoming an Anāgāmi by contemplating mettā-jhāna, the Fourth jhāna is achieved through upekkhā bhāvanā. To achieve as such is not difficult for an Anāgāmi. It is quite easy. Even a person who has become an Anāgāmi through Vipassanā contemplation without the attainment of any jhāna can easily achieve up to the Fourth jhāna and reach the Abode of Suddhāvāsa. Hence, it should be understood that Suddhāvāsa abode has been reached after attainment of the Fourth jhāna through the exercise of upekkhā-bhāvanā.
In so far as an ordinary worldling is concerned, although he has attained mettā-jhāna and upekkhā-jhāna, he cannot possibly reach the abodes of Suddhāvāsa. That is why the existence or rebirth in Suddhāvāsa abode is not connected with, or rather, beyond the reach of, ordinary worldlings (Putthujjanas). Is it not true that Sotāpannas and Sakadāgāmis cannot also be reborn in Suddhāvāsa Abode? Then the question may arise as to why it is not mentioned that it does not concern Sotāpannas and Sakadāgāmis. It is true that Sotāpannas and Sakadāgāmis cannot be reborn in Suddhāvāsa. However, they can easily achieve Anāgāmiship and then, reach Suddhāvāsa. As such, it may be understood that it has been mentioned as not connected with only ordinary worldlings who have no chance of becoming in Suddhāvāsa.
What has now been preached relates to the Second Metta Sutta as contained in Aṅguttara Nikāya, Fourth Nipāta. In the First Metta Sutta, however, preaching has been done that if death takes place as an ordinary worldling after attainment of mettā-jhāna, he will, by virtue of his achievement of jhāna, be reborn in the abodes of First jhāna, of Second jhāna, of Third jhāna and vehappho the tenth abode of Brahmaloka), and then, on expiry of the life span in these abodes, he will be reverted to kāmasugati after his death; and also there is every possibility of his descending to the Four Nether Worlds. However, in the case of a person who has become an Ariyā, he will become an Arahat in that Brahmaloka from where he will enter into Parinibbāna. To be able to revere it, further elucidation will be made by reciting the meaning of the Pāḷi phrase based on the method of Nissaya.
The First Metta Sutta
(Reference: Aṅguttara-P. 443)
Bhikkhave-O, Bhikkhus! Ida-in this world, ekacco puggalo-certain persons, mettāsahagatena cetosā-with the thought that arises along with mettā, ekaṃ disam-towards one region, pharitvā viharati-remain spreading out. Tathā dutiyam-In the same manner, they remain radiating the thoughts of loving-kindness towards the Second region. Tathā tatiyam-Similarly remain spreading out towards the Third region. Iti-in this manner, uddham-towards the higher regions above, adho-towards, the lower regions below, tiriyam-towards the regions in the opposite direction or across, sabbadhi-towards all the regions, sabbattatāya-regarding all beings on the same level with their ownselves, nay, with all the thoughts that arise, sabbāvantaṃ lokam-towards the whole Universe where all beings are inhabited, mettāsahagatena cetasā-with a benevolent mind and with good-will towards ill, vipulena-with extensive thoughts, mahaggtena-with the Jhānic-mind called mahaggata, averena-with unmalicious thought, abyāpajjhena-with undetected thought, pharitvā viharati-remain radiating.
Buddha's preaching (desanā) up to this stage is identical to the Second Metta Sutta. It describes how jhāna is radiated after it has been achieved and the manner in which one plunges himself in a trance of jhāna. Thereafter, exposition is made of the peculiar characteristic by embracing jhāna without contemplating Vipassanā, as follows:-
So-Such a person or individual, tam-in that mettā-Jhāna, assādeti-has found delight. Tam-To that Jhāna, nikāmeti-he has become attached with affection. Tena-With that Jhāna, vittaṃ ca āpajjati-be has gained happiness with pleasure. Tattha ṭhito-and remains in that Jhāna, tadadhimutto-becoming attached to that Jhāna with consciousness. Tabbahula vihāri-Then, after repeating his absorption many a time in that jhāna, aparihīno-without being deprived of the faculty of this jhāna, kālaṃ kurūmāno-when death occurs, brahmakāyikānaṃ devānam-in the abode of the First jhāna Brahmas, sahbaaytam-he goes into companionship with the Byahma and on the same level as a Brahma upapajjati-and is reborn or becomes a Brahma. (This refers to how it happens relating to a person who has achieved the First mettā-jhāna). So-A person who attains the Second mettā-jhāna, tam-in that jhāna, assādeti-finds delight. As in the case of the person who has attained the first mettā-jhāna, he has found pleasure in that Second jhāna, and without being deprived of the faculty of that Jhāna, on his death, he becomes a Brahma on the same status as that of ābhassara Brahmā. This explains how it happens to a person who has achieved the Second mettā-jhāna. Of course, in this regard, emphasis is laid on the highest abode of Ābhassara Devā of the Brahmaloka out of the three abodes of Second jhāna, viz: Parittābhā, Appamāṇābhā and Ābhassarā.
Thereafter, when death takes place after attaining the Third Mettā-Jhāna, the significant point stressed is as to how a person reaches the highest abode of Subhakiṇhā from among the three abodes of Third jhāna, namely, Parittasubhā, Appamāṇasubhā and Subhakiṇhā. Thenceforward, mention has been made that after attaining the Fourth Jhāna through Upekkhā-bhāvānā, etc., he becomes elated, and on death, reaches vehapphala Abode. This is the highest among the Rūpāvacara Abodes where worldlings can hope to reach. The life-span there is 500 kappas. After reaching these abodes, when the life-span expires, he will be relegated to the life existence of the human world and Kāmāvacara world of devas. After that, it has been stated as to how one is likely to descend to the Four Apāyas. It is described in the following manner.
Tattha-In that Brahmaloka, putthujjane-the ordinary worldling, yāvatāyukam-throughout the life-time, thatvā-will exist or live, yāvatakaṃ Tesaṃ devānaṃ āyuppamāṇaṃ, taṃ sabbam-for the entire life-span of the Brahmas. Khepetvā-After that life span has been spent, nirayampi gacchati he is likely to descend to Hell, Tiracchāna-yonimpi gacchati-(and) may find himself in the Animal World, or rather, become an animal, pettivisayampi gacchati-and may also reach the World of Petas.
These three expressions indicate the possibility of descending to the world of either apāya or animal or Peta for not being free as yet from kamma and kilesā. One cannot, of course, reach the world of Apāyas immediately after demise from the Brahma World. It is because of the meritorious result or kamma of upacāra-samādhi which he had developed and by virtue of which he had achieved jhāna to be elevated to the World of Brahmas. With this achievement, a person usually will be reborn either in the Human World or the Celestial World. A noble disciple of Buddha who has achieved ariya-magga-phala through mettā-jhāna will, after his death, reach the Brahmaloka if he is not yet liberated from the bonds of kilesā. He will enter into Parinibbāna while in the Brahmaloka after he has attained Arahatta-magga-phala. This distinguishing feature has been elucidated as follows:
Bhagavato-The Lord Buddha's, sāvako pana-noble disciple who is in Ariyā ( the usage of this word in this regard indicates the attainment of Ariyahood as either Sotāpanna or Sakadāgāmi or Anāgāmi by contemplating Vipassanā after acquiring the basic achievement of mettā-jhāna), tattha-in that Brahmaloka yāvatāyukam-all throughout the life-term, ṭhatvā-he will live and thereafter, yāvatakaṃ tesaṃ devānaṃ āyuppamānaṃ, taṃ sabbaṃ khepetvā-on the expiry of the life-span of those Brahmas, tasamin yeva bhave-in that very existence of Brahma, parinibbāyati-will enter into-parinibbāna, Bhikkhave-O, Bhikkhus! Ayam-the ordinary worldling who has attained jhāna after becoming a Brahma and when his life-span expires, will be reverted to kāmasugati, the world of sensual pleasures, and then, may possibly be reborn in the World of Animals or of Petas; but as regards an Ariya-sāvaka who has achieved mettā-jhāna, he will first come into being as a Brahma, and only in that Brahmaloka, will attain Arahatship and then finally enter into Parinibbāna." These are the two kinds, viseso-which have the distinctive features.
What is required to be known according to the First Metta Sutta which has just been stated is that If one is contented with the more achievement of this mettā-jhāna which he has attained, he will reach the Abode of Brahmas after his demise. However, since he had not yet achieved ariya-magga-phala, the Special Dhamma, for failing to contemplate Vipassanā, he will surely be reverted to the world of human beings or of Devas when the life-span in Brahmaloka expires. Then, after so becoming, if he has committed evil deeds that can bring him down to the Nether World, he will again descend to the four Apāyas. Hence, despite that fact that he has reaches the Brahmaloka by virtue of his attainment of jhāna, he will be in the same boat as other ordinary worldlings who are still liable to go down to the four Nether Worlds. However, if Sotāpanna is achieved in the least, after his attainment of mettā-jhāna through Vipassanā contemplation, he will reach the Brahmaloka after his death, and will not be reborn in the world of sensual pleasures, and will eventually become an Arahat in that Brahma Abode whereby all miseries will come to an end. Although such a person is not an Anāgāmi, he will not be reborn in the world of sensual pleasures since kāmarāga has been dispelled by him with the faculty of jhāna. He is called a Jhāna-Anāgāmi. Similarly, a Sakadāgāmi who has already achieved jhāna, will never be reborn in Kāmaloka. He too is known as a 'Jhāna-Anāgāmi.'
If, however, a person becomes an Anāgāmi after attainment of jhāna, there is an opportunity for him to enter into Parinibbāna as an Arahat in the lowest abode of Avihā, one of the five abodes of Suddāvāsa, where he will be reborn, as mentioned in the Second Metta Sutta. If he fails to gain Arahatship after the expiry of a life span of two-thousand kappas in that Abode, he will have his rebirth in the third elevated abode called Sudassā from among the Abode of Suddhāvāsa. There are cases in which Parinibbāna had taken place after becoming an Arahat in that abode. If no Arahathood is achieved as yet, he will land in the Fourth Abode called Sudassī on expiry of the lifespan of four thousand kappas. In that abode too, there are instances of persons entering into Parinibbāna after the attainment of Arahatship. If no Arahatship is achieved, rebirth will take place in the highest Akanittha Abode after the life-span of eight thousand kappas has exhausted. However, Arahatship will definitely be attained in that abode and when its life span of sixteen thousand kappas comes to an end, final attainment of Nibbāna (Parinibbāna) is sure to come.
Now that elucidation made in connection with the eleventh advantage with reference to Aṅguttara Pāḷi Texts has been fairly completed. In Aṅguttara Pāḷi (3rd 542) it has been preached as: "uttari appaṭi vijjhanto brahmalokūpago hoti." The Commentary has given an exposition of this Pāḷi phrase as: Mettāsamāpattito-attainment of mettā-thāna, uttari-beyond that, arahattaṃ adhigantum to achieve arahatta-phala, asakkonto-a person who is incompetent, itocavitva-on expiry of this human life existence, suttappabuddho viya-like a person who has risen from sleep, brahmalokaṃ upapajjati-reaches the Brahma World.
In this regard, the expression-"if Arahatta-phala cannot be reached beyond the attainment of mettā-jhāna." embraces all what have been stated as: "if there is achievement of mettā-jhāna only, one can reach the Brahmaloka," and also "Brahmaloka can be reached by attainment of any one or two or all three of the lower stages of phala based upon the endowment of mettā-jhāna." Hence, in the motto which described the advantages of mettā, it is stated as "Happy in sleep, and in waking ...... varily destined to become a Brahmā; all constituting eleven attributes in number are the advantages accrued from developing mettā."
To contemplate Vipassanā while developing Mettā
In order, therefore, to gain benefits that can possibly be derived, let us develop mettā as a fundamental. When developing mettā by recitation, nāma rūpa should be contemplated in train. While thus developing by recitation, contemplation and noting be done simultaneously, as follows:-
"May all Bhikkhus, Yogīs and laymen in this Meditation Centre, be happy." (To be repeated thrice)
"May all Devas in this Meditation Centre be happy." (Repeat thrive)
"May all individuals, Devas and beings in this Township, be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May all individuals, Devas and beings in the Union of Myanmar, be happy." (Repeat thrice)
"May all beings be happy." (Repeat thrice)
By virtue of having heard this sermon on Brahmavihāra Bhāvanā Dhamma, and of reciting and developing mettā through Samatha and Bhāvanā with the practice of Vipassanā contemplation, may those noble audience be able to develop and exercise mettā-bhāvanā as far as possible and enhance the development of contemplating and noting the arising phenomena of rūpa and nāma towards attainment of magga-phala-ñāṇa and eventually reach Nibbāna, the total extinction of all miserable conditions, in the shortest possible time.
What is meant by Karuṇā
Karuṇā means "Thanea-gyin" in plain Myanmar. This Myanmar terminology (Thanergyin)-which means 'pity' in English, is not mingled with any other sense of expression. It is quite precise. Mettā in Myanmar should be translated as "Love". This term "love" is mixed up with rāga-passionate feeling of attachment. In fact, mettā means wishing others to be blessed with happiness. On the other hand, "pity" i.e. karuṇā, is not mingled with any other sense. It is exact and definite. It conveys the same sense as: "wishing a person who is in trouble, to be free from suffering or misery." That is the reason why the intrinsic quality and characteristic of the term "karuṇā" is explained in Visuddhimagga as "dukkhapanayanākārappavattilakkhanā", i.e., having the characteristic of removing the suffering or misery.
If anybody or a good many other people is or are found or seen to be suffering and in misery, a noble-minded person will feel like removing this suffering or miserable condition. This is nothing but a feeling of pity and goodwill. Hence, paradukkho sati-if any other person is suffering, nay, if anybody is seen or heard to be in distress or in suffering, sādhānam-men of virtue, hadayakampanam-moved with self-giving compassion, or the heart palpitates, karotīti-makes the hearts of virtuous men moved with compassion, (and therefore) karuṇā-is called karuṇā, vacanattha-and expressed or stated authoritatively as such.
To put it in another way, paradukkham-regarding another's suffering, kinātihim sati vināsetīti-being likely to remove, or rather, eager to remove, it is known as 'karuṇā'. Since it is stated as being "eager to remove" another's suffering, a question may arise as to whether it would really remove or wipe out the suffering. A person who feels pity, having had deep sympathy for another in trouble, may save the other by exercising his faculty of karuṇā or compassion. There are clear instances where suffering is removed or cured as also where no assistance to rescue can be rendered. Though suffering cannot be subdued, a person who has the compassionate feeling will still feel like removing the suffering. In any case, one would feel sorry for another's plight, or feel like dispelling the distress or misery suffered by another. When a person stricken with disease is found, feeling of compassion or pity will arise automatically wishing the other to get immediate relief, or if possible, get cured. Much as he may wish, If he is not competent to give medical treatment, he cannot effectively assist the other. And Yet, he is at heart willing to see him recovered from illness or suffering. Such being the case, this instinctive nature of a man wishing to remove or cure another's suffering should be regarded as "karuṇā".
In other words, kaṃ suham-one's own happiness, rundhtīti-is likely to be prevented or hindered, and hence, karuṇā-it is known as 'karuṇā!. Karuṇā is said to have the basic quality of preventing one's own self happiness from occurring, or rather, deterring one's self-realization of happiness. A person who is compassionate will lose his opportunity to some extent to make himself happy since he has to be rendering help to another so as to let the other escape from trouble or misery. If one is found to be suffering in his close proximity or under his own eyes, he is ready to offer his aid. During this interregnum, he will not have an opportunity to seek for his own happiness. He may even lose his sleep during night time for having had to render his assistance and look after the welfare of another person. He may have to forego his sleep and sacrifice his own happiness. If a sick person is found, he has got to nurse-aid him as far as possible, and by doing so, he may himself suffer stiffness in his own limbs or get tired. Sometimes, he may even fall sick. At one time, a medical doctor was said to have suffered from gastric ulcer for being fully preoccupied in attending the sick which had caused him to miss his regular meals. He died of that stomach disease while still young. Hence, karuṇā-pity or compassion can prevent one's own happiness. This is indeed true.
Our Lord Buddha in one of his previous existences as Sumedhā hermit, more than four asaṅkheyyas and a hundred thousand kappas ago, offered his own body to serve as a platform (a bridge) on the path which was then under repairs, to be treaded upon by Dīpaṅkarā Buddha who was about to come along that roadway. At that time, if he had practised the noble Dhamma after assuming the role of a Bhikkhu, he would have become an Arahat and then entered Parinibbāna in that very life-existence. He too realized and believed as such because he was then an extraordinary person accomplished with jhāna-abiññā, supernatural knowledge or faculty. A person who has attained jhāna can become an Arahat even while listening to the sermon preached by the Buddha.
However, Sumedhā, the hermit (the would-be Gotama Buddha) had pondered thus:-
"Rare indeed is a person like me who is fully endowed with the strength of faith, energy, mindfulness, contemplation (concentration), and wisdom (saddhā, vīriya, sati, samādhi and paññā). The majority are unfortunately lacking in the quality of this bala (strength). Such individuals and beings cannot know and realize on their own intuition the Dhamma which can lead them to the state of liberation from the sufferings of old age, sickness and death. Nor were they able to practise that kind of Dhamma. Despite the fact that I am accomplished with the necessary strength, it will not be very beneficial by merely endeavouring for my own individual salvation. I should emulate the example of Dīpaṅkarā Buddha by performing moral practices and accumulating the merits of paramitas (perfections) to become a Buddha, and then save all beings who are weak and mentally deficient. This has been mentioned in the historical writings in Pāḷi (chronicles) concerning Buddhism, as stated below:-
"Icchamāno ahaṃ ajja, kilese ghātayāmahaṃ.
Kim me ekena taṇṇena, parisena thamadassinā.
Sabbaññutaṃ pāpuṇitva, santāressaṃ sadevakaṃ."
Aham-I can, icchamano-if I wish, ajja-even to-day, kilese-in respect of all kilesas (defilement), ghatayāmi-get rid of them. Pana-However, thāmadassinā-though endowed wish the strength capable of achieving Buddha-hood, purisena hontena-being a man, ekena tiṇṇena-by crossing the deep ocean of Samsāra towards Nibbāna alone seeking only one's own salvation. me-to me, kim-how could it bring benefits? Aham-I will, sabbaññutam-of Omniscience, pāpunitvā-after attainment, sadevakam-(save) all Devas and human beings (as a Saviour of mankind), santāressam-cause all of them to reach Nibbāna on the opposite shore (of the vast ocean of Saṃsara).
After reflecting as such, Sumedhā received the prediction of the Buddha for his future attainment of Buddhahood. He had all throughout the period of four asaṅkheyyas and a hundred-thousand kappas fulfilled the Perfections which could lead to becoming a Buddha by practising virtues in the most perfect manner-During these countless existences, he had undergone the severest sufferings and privations and had come across old age, sickness and death repeatedly. In one of his last ten existences as King Vesantarā, he was banished to a forest as the people of his country were discontented with the way he practised charity in giving away the White Elephant which was in those days regarded as one of the most sacred treasures of the State. While remaining in the forest in exilement, a Brahmin by the name of Jūjakā appeared and asked him to give away his young son and daughter in charity for the purpose of employing them as servants. It was really heart-rending and yet, he had nobly offered his innocent little son Jālī and daughter Kaṇhājina despite his mental distress to the extent of shedding tears in sorrow to gain his vowed Perfections. Just imagine how he would suffer mentally. To achieve those difficult Perfection (Pāramitas), he had gone through great misery and sorrow.
And next, though a Bodhisatta, as he was not yet free from kilesas, defilement, which could drag him down to apāya, he still had his akusala kamma, the result of demeritorious acts committed through greed (loba), anger (dosa) and delusion (moha); For such demerits, he had his rounds of existences many a time as animals, and thereby suffered pain and misery. Moreover, mention was made in "Temiya" Jātaka that he had even gone through the Hell for illtreating a person in one of his existences as a King in which capacity he had passed a judgment imposing a cruel penalty.
All these untold miseries which he had faced during an innumerable number of existences, nay, for a period of Four Immensities (asaṅkheyyas) and a hundred-thousand kappas, were the resultant effects of his wishful prayer to become a Buddha with unbounded Universal Love and goodwill for all beings. Hence, it is quite evident that "Pity" or compassion prevents one's own happiness.
Buddha's great compassion
After attainment of the full Enlightenment as a Buddha, he could have found happiness without having to worry, and lived comfortably if he refrained himself from preaching his Doctrine to all beings. However, for the entire period of forty-five Vassa (years), in as much as he had to impart his noble Teachings day and night without rest, he had to undergo a lot of physical hardship and strain. This benevolent performance with relentless effort had been done simply because of his Universal Love and Great Compassion for all beings who are drifting along endlessly in the miserable whirlpool of Samsāra.
All beings, no matter in whatever existence they may be, wish to escape from the sufferings of old age, sickness and death which are bound to be met as living beings. Nevertheless, against their own wish, they are going through miserable conditions of life existence continuously in getting old, sick and eventually meeting with death. That is the reason why as a Buddha, he had preached his Dhamma knowing fully well that there was no Saviour other than him to save all living beings with his Great Compassion without regard to his discomforts and weariness. This also stands witness to the extent how he had to undergo miseries without having opportunity to gain happiness for being deterred by his unparalleled Karuṇā.
This Karuṇā is extremely noble and gentle. It is usual for a virtuous man to have pity and sympathy for a person who is in trouble. On the other hand, he who has no feeling of sympathy towards others in dire distress is not a man of virtue but of vice. That is why this karuṇa dhamma-"sevitabba, bhavittabba dhamma"-ought to be resorted to, developed and depended upon by each and everybody who is noble. Ordinarily, even without practising bhāvanā, one should have a feeling of sympathy towards a pitiable person, if seen or found. Every time feeling of pity arises, it would amount to developing merits.
If desirous of developing through bhāvanā, the method to be applied is similar to that of developing mettā-bhāvanā. It should not be developed beginning from these who are near and dear to one who is developing, at the initial stage. Neither should it be developed starting from the most beloved person. Nor should it be developed beginning from a neutral person or from a person who is hostile, or rather, an enemy. It is because and who is dear to you will remain as a dear and affectionate person, and hence, no pity is called for. Similarly, the most beloved person, etc., will continue to remain as the most beloved ones and so on. As a matter of fact, no feeling of pity needs be invoked. In the case of a person of opposite sex, since rāga is likely to occur, one should avoid developing karuṇā towards him or her at the very initial stage. Also in respect of a person who is dead and gone, no karuṇā should be developed as it is uncalled for. Such being the case, the question arises as to who should be the first towards whom karuṇā is to be developed. It may be explained as follows:
Person towards whom Karuṇā should be developed first
Bhikkhu-A Bhikkhu, karuṇāsahagatena cetasa-with the mind which volitionally occurs with a compassionate feeling, ekaṃ disam-towards only one region, nay, towards all beings living in one region, pharitva-radiates his karuṇā. Kathañca viharati-How he remains developing, seyyathapi nāma-is in this manner, for example, duggatam-where distressing situation is faced, durupetam-and where worse condition prevails, ekaṃ puggalam-relating to a certain person, disvā-if seen (in such a state), karuṇa yeyya yatha-would have his sympathy or pity. Eva meva-In the same way, sabba satte-towards all beings, karuṇāya-with compassion, pharati-he spreads out his pity. It has been mentioned as such in Abhidhamma Vibhaṅga Pāḷi. According to this Pāḷi, explanation has been given in the Commentary that karuṇā should be developed and radiated first and foremost towards a very pitiable person who is in great distress.
Karuṇā should be developed initially towards individuals who are in extreme distress, such as, a person who is in great trouble, or a destitute with no friends and relatives to be relied upon, or a disease-stricken person who is groaning with pain for not receiving the aid of a medical doctor and for lack of medicine, or a detestable person afflicted with leprosy so loathsome that nobody would like to touch him. Feeling of pity will easily arise if such a person in distress is seen. For that reason, instruction is given to start developing karuṇā beginning from a poor pitiable person.
If such a person who deserves pity is not found or seen, karuṇā should be developed towards a happy-go-lucky person who is committing evil deeds by comparing him with a man awaiting orders to be hanged, or rather, an imminent death after receiving a capital punishment. The manner of comparison made there in is as follows:-
In ancient times, the man on whom death sentence was passed was tied up with ropes and exhibited to the people while in custody by letting him go on foot under escort along the road in the City to the place where execution was to be done. At every junction of the road, the poor criminal was made to stop for a while and cruelly whipped more than a hundred times. The man in custody with death hanging over his head was generally offered with good and delicious food, etc., by some kind-hearted people who pitied the fate of that condemned man. Taking this opportunity which came in his way for a moment, the guilty man enjoyed the food, etc. The majority of the spectators, however, did not think of him as being happy. They had pity on him knowing fully well that every step he took brought him closer to death. In much the same way, a person who is developing karuṇā, through he may see a happy spectacle can develop karuṇā towards another person who is full of vice. It has been stated that he should develop imagining that the scoundrel may be happy now but that misery will befall him in the near future as he is going to descend to the Nether Worlds for his demerits, after demise.
At the present time, it is not uncommon to find people who are deserving of pity, such as. a person who is in distress for being cruelly illtreated by the other, or a person who is afflicted with serious disease, or a person who is leading a miserable life for being in financial straits. In fact, such cases are generally found rampart. It is, therefore, required to develop karuṇā towards such pitiable persons.
There is only one mode of developing karuṇā, unlike developing mettā which involves many kinds. It is stated as: "dukkha muccantu", i.e. 'May escape from misery.' This is the way how to develop karuṇā to all being-sabbe sattā. However, if karuṇā is developed towards a certain person, name should be uttered and karuṇā be radiated as: "May (so and so) be free or liberated from misery".
This misery which should be liberated is one which is occurring in the corporeality of a particular individual right at the moment. It is to develop continuously and earnestly from the bottom of his heart that such and such a person be free or liberated from misery or suffering.
The manner of developing just described can be adopted in the case of developing karuṇā towards a person who may be suffering misery caused by illness, or by severe weather condition, or by maltreatment, or by discontentment. Even if no misery is prevailing at the present moment, that person will have the inevitable suffering of his life existence (vaṭṭa). Development of karuṇā can be resorted to wishing him to be liberated from such suffering or misery.
While feeling of karuṇā-pity-is occurring visualising the person in distress, an "enemy" from near and a fat (remote), may appear. If he still has his grievance against another person, unpleasant thoughts or feeling of animosity may occur. This is the "enemy" who is said to be near. Thought may arise to make a reprisal against a person who has illtreated you. For example, if a dog is found bullying and biting the other dog, one may feel like beating the dog that bullies through pity towards the other dog which is subjected to attack.
Another instance may be cited thus. If a snake snatches and snaps with its teeth a frog, the frog utters a pitiable sound in fright and pain. The man who sees this unpleasant sight and hears the sound has his sympathy for the frog wishing the poor creature to escape from being bitten and swallowed. This feeling is "karuṇā". Thereafter, a thought may arise wishing to hit the snake in favour of the pitiable frog. This is "anger" called vihimsa which occurs after karuṇā, wishing to hurt the snake. It is the remote "enemy". It will, therefore, be necessary to remove or get rid of the two enemies-near and remote, and only to develop purely karuṇā-compassion.
Next, it is also essential for one who is developing karuṇā to render assistance to the person in distress both physically and verbally to the best of his ability. This is for the sake of the person in distress to get relief. If physical assistance is offered, it amounts to karuṇā-kāyakamma. If help is given verbally, it is karuṇā-vacīkamma. If both physical and verbal assistance cannot be rendered, karuṇā will have to be developed merely by way of radiating Compassion-karuṇā. An instance may be cited. No matter one may have his great pity on cattle, goats, pigs, fowls and ducks which are about to be slaughtered at the slaughter-house or elsewhere, one cannot lend his assistance to save the poor creatures, One who has witnessed this plight can only have pity, and nothing else could be done. It is purely manokamma. If feeling of karuṇā as: "May....be free from suffering" is radiated, it brings merit. If he has his Special Perfections (pāramitās), he can even achieve karuṇā-jhāna while developing karuṇā.
To develop karuṇā is not as easy as developing metṭā. It is because mettā can be developed with one's innermost feeling of loving-kindness and imparted to any other person as "May he be happy." As regards karuṇā, it will be plausible to radiate one's feeling of compassion only to a person who deserves pity. It is not easy to develop mindfulness on karuṇā towards a person who is in a happy mood. Nor is it easy to inculcate the spirit of compassion in favour of a person in a practical way effectively. In any case, we shall now develop karuṇā towards all beings as laid down in the Pāḷi Texts. Among these beings, there are many who are in distress and really pitiable.
How to develop Karuṇā according to the phrase
"Sabbe Sattā Dukkhā Muccantu"
"May all beings be free from misery and suffering" (Repeat thrice)
Beings in Hell or Naraka are suffering torments, petas also, as beings condemned to suffering, are in misery. Animals, such as, buffaloes, cattle, goats, pigs, fowls, birds and so on, are also in a state of suffering. Among human beings, some are subjected to persistent illtreatment by those who have the upper-hand. Some are afflicted with various kinds of diseases, while some are undergoing hardships and are in a miserable state. Some are physically and mentally distressed being at logger-heads with one another among themselves, where-as some are greatly depressed because of dotage, sickness and death. Some are bereaved and lamenting due to loss of their dear and beloved ones. Some are in trouble for having lost their business deals, or for destruction of their wealth or property. Some are ridden with grief for being separated from their loved ones. Among Devas also, some are in misery because of their insatiable desires. On the eve of their death when ill-omens of their next existence come into vision, they become extremely dejected. We shall, therefore, bring such beings to our mind and develop karuṇā wishing them escape from various kinds of miserable or unhappy conditions which they are undergoing. Please follow the recitation and develop karuṇā.
Manner of developing 132 kinds of Karuṇā
"May all beings be liberated from misery."
This is in accordance with the statement in Pāḷi which runs as: "Sabbe sattā". Let's proceed to develop according to the four phrases such as, Sabbe-pāṇā, etc. Follow the recitation.
"May all those beings who breathe be liberated from misery."
"May all those beings whose identity is well-known be liberated from misery."
"May all individuals be liberated from misery."
"May all those beings who have body and individuality be liberated from misery."
The above are the Five Anodhisa-karuṇā indicating the manner of developing karuṇā towards all beings without limitation and distinction. We shall now go on developing the Seven kinds of Odhisa-karuṇā.
"May all females be liberated from misery."
"May all males be liberated from misery."
"May all Ariyās be liberated from misery."
"May all Putthujjanas (worldlings) be liberated from misery."
"May all Devas be liberated from misery."
"May all human beings be liberated from misery."
"May all Apāya beings be liberated from misery."
This is the manner of developing the Seven kinds of Odhisa-karuṇā. If these seven Odhisa-karuṇā is added to Five Anodhisa, it will come to twelve (12). These are the dhisā-anodhisā karuṇā twelve kinds in number without distinguishing or limiting region wise. If developed by distinguishing the region, there will be twelve each for every region. As there are ten regions, it will come to a total of 120. We shall now develop by reciting briefly. Please follow:-
"May all beings in the Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all those beings who breathe in the Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all those beings whose identity is well-known in the Eastern region be liberated from misery.
"May all individuals in the Eastern region be liberated from misery.
"May all those beings who have body and individuality, in the Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all females in the Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all males in the Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all Ariyās in the Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all Putthujjanas (worldlings) in the Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all Devas in the Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all human beings in the Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all Apāya beings in the Eastern region be liberated from misery."
The above indicates the manner of developing karuṇā in twelve different kinds covering the Eastern region. Similarly, there are twelve (12) kinds each in the Western region and so on. We shall only briefly recite them.
"May all beings in the Western region be liberated from misery."
"May all Apāya beings in the Western region be liberated from misery."
"May all beings in the Northern region be liberated from misery.
"May all Apāya beings in the Northern region be liberated from misery.
"May all beings in the Southern region be liberated from misery."
"May all Apāya beings in the Southern region be liberated from misery."
"May all beings in the South-Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all Apāya beings in the South-Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all beings in the North-Western region be liberated from misery."
"May all Apāya beings in the North-Western region be liberated from misery."
"May all beings in the North-Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all Apāya beings in the North-Eastern region be liberated from misery."
"May all beings in the South-Western region be liberated from misery."
"May all Apāya beings in the South-Western region be liberated from misery."
"May all beings in the Lower region below be liberated from misery."
"May all Apāya beings in the Lower region below be liberated from misery."
"May all beings in the Higher region above be liberated from misery."
"May all Apāya beings in the Higher region above be liberated from misery."
What has now been recited are 120 kinds of disā-odhisa karuṇā. If it is added to 12 kinds of disā-anodhisa, it will come to a total of 132 kinds of karuṇā. The manner of developing karuṇā has now been fully described. It is, however, rather important to inculcate a spirit of real compassionate feeling at the time karuṇā is to be developed. Karuṇā will only be effective and genuine if there is real pity by visualizing the miserable conditions under which the beings are suffering. In this regard, if one imagines the way Buddha had radiated His Compassion with his faculty of Great Compassion (Mahākaruṇā), it will become obvious to a certain extent how pitiable are those beings. I will therefore give an illustration with relevant extracts from Paṭisambhidā-Magga Pāḷi as to how Mahākaruṇā knowledge had occurred. These are worthy of reverence, and will give you a clear vision of the pitiable state of all beings. Anyhow, only a few extracts will have to be explained for want of time.
How knowledge of Mahākaruṇāsamāpatti occurs
"Katamaṃ tathāgatassa mahākaruṇāsamāpattiyā ñānaṃ."
Tathāgatassa-buddha's mahākaruṇāsamāpattiyā ñānam-knowledge that falls within the ambit of the endowment of mahākaruṇāsamāpatti, katamam-is what?
Buddha's knowledge or Wisdom which cannot be achieved by his disciples comprises six kinds. These are (1) Indriyaparopariyatta ñāṇa which knows the maturity or otherwise, i.e. the depth of the faculty or 'sense of knowledge', of the living beings; (2) Āsayānusaya-ñāṇa-which knows the Anusayas or inclinations relating to the seat of mental disposition and Kilesā that may arise of the living beings; (3) Yamakapātihāriya-ñāṇa-which knows the faculty or power to create a double miracle, or rather, a miracle in pairs; (4) Mahākaruṇāsamāpatti ñāṇa-knowledge or endowments of Great Compassion induced by estatic meditation; (5) Sabbaññuta ñāṇa-attainment of omniscience: All Knowing Wisdom; (6) Anāvaraṇa ñāṇa-faculty which dispels all obstructions or hindrances in the way of such knowledge's. These knowledge's, being out of reach of or unconcerned with the Disciples, are also called Asādhāraṇa ñāna i.e., knowledge which is peculiar or unrivalled. The question raised was: "What is Mahākaruṇā-samāpatti-ñāṇa, from among the said six kinds? The answer given in continuation was as mentioned below:
"Bahukehi ākārehi passantānaṃ buddhānaṃ bhagavantānaṃ sattesu mahākaruṇā okkamati."
The above Pāḷi phrase conveys the meaning that great compassion for mortals or beings enters the hearts of the Enlightened Buddhas who see various conditions under different circumstances to which beings are subjected.
Feeling of Great Compassion occurs in the minds of Omniscient Buddhas seeing numerous kinds of sufferings prevailing among all beings. Most living beings do not perceive other being's miserable conditions. They might see only creatures or living beings who are in great distress and suffering. When fairly happy persons see others who are in the same boat, they think of them or imagine them as being happy as they are. Relating to people who are found to be more happy than they are, they might look upon them as living in a state of extreme happiness without any misery, and consider them as not deserving of pity. This indicates death of compassionate feeling for not actually knowing the state of misery. The Buddhas, however, clearly perceive the various kinds of circumstances under which beings are suffering. Seeing the sentient beings in such miserable conditions, Great Compassion has entered the hearts of the Buddhas. How karuṇā occurs will be stated in amplification as follows:
Constant worry is pitiable
"Uyyutto lokasannivāsoti passantānaṃ Buddhānaṃ bhagavantānaṃ sattesu mahākaruṇā okkamati."
All beings have to be always exerting themselves and constantly worrying. Seeing living beings in such a miserable state fiercely struggling for their own survival, Buddha's hearts go for them with Great Compassion.
What is to be realized is that mankind are constantly striving and worrying for their own livelihood or subsistence. Ordinary worldlings may not think it as being pitiable. They may consider this state of condition as being normal. They generally imagine that as a man, one will have to strive or sweat for his own living and that it is quite natural. Some may argue that there is no need to grumble. However, from the point of view of the Buddha, the Enlightened One, these beings are perceived as toiling, struggling and constantly worrying for one's own burden of khandhā, and are therefore in misery, nay, they are found to be in great distress. In any kind of existence wherever they are born, they have to be worrying without any interval in their life-time carrying this heavy load of khandhā. In the life existence of a human beings, as a small child, one has to depend upon the parents and others. He cannot stand on his own. From the age of about four, five or six years and onwards, he has to attend school for his education. Since about the age of eighteen or twenty or so, he has to perform various kinds of work and bear the workload under the given circumstances for his own subsistence or to satisfy his needs. If fortune fails to smile on him, he will face a lot of trouble to make ends meet with his income. Impairment of his health will bring misery and suffering. Sometimes, he may come across pitfalls in the path of his life and meet with dangers, and if so happens, misery will befall him. Throughout the life existence, he is living in anxiety and is struggling continuously. While thus indulging himself enmeshed in trouble and misery, time comes when he grows old, suffers sickness and eventually meets his death. Some even die while labouring and working with all their might. It implies the growth, change and decay of the physical man in the course of his human existence, in which he suffers constant misery.
In the life existence as animals, from the time of birth, the majority have to find food for their survival. Among animals living in places where food and water are scare, they have to undergo great hardships in finding food and shelter. Animals in the forests have no protection at all. They have to be worrying for their preservation and for the upkeep of their khandhās in tact with constant fear of danger and death. Some of the animals have to search for food only at night being afraid of going out in the day time. In hell and in the world of Petas, apāya beings are in constant misery and suffering. They cannot, of course, be seen by human naked eyes. Even among 'nats' (Devas), there are demons, goblins or spirits called 'Yakkha' who are in a state of misery nearly as bad as Petas, Vinipāta, i.e., those beings of lowly existence have a very hard life under worse conditions to the point of near starvation. They too are in great misery. Those Devas in the higher abodes-up in the heaven, are, of course, in a state of happiness. However, when their life span expires, those whose kusala-kammas are lacking in strength become miserable.
As such, all beings are living in misery and are striving with endless worry to keep their existing khandhā (body) in good trim to gain happiness, and at the same time, to get a new set of khandhās with happiness in the future existences to come. Though people are said to be living under favourable circumstances and are in a state of happiness, they have to be always worrying in order to maintain themselves in good shape at present and also to achieve future benefits in their next existences. They want to enjoy life with happiness in future existences as well and hence, in the present life time, they are trying to accumulate merits. Of course, to achieve happiness in future existences, one has to struggle with constant worry and anxiety according to one's own conviction in the religious doctrine which he has accepted as true. Whether it is proper or not, one is trying hard for the welfare of his future, relying on his own faith and conviction. Those who do not believe in the doctrine of existences to come, i.e., the religious view of complete annihilation in this very life existence, are nonetheless striving with all heart and souls to be able to enjoy a most happy and pleasurable life in this present existence.
Great was Buddha's Compassion for all beings having himself seen and found them always suffering with worry in their persistent effort hoping to gain happiness in every life existence, while at the same time they are burdened with their khandhās. Buddha realized that there was no other Saviour except Him to lead them to Nibbāna at which stage all khandhās would cease to exist. Realizing as such, with his deep Compassion and good-will, Buddha had travelled far and wide during his life time and had imparted his noble preachings. He tackled all questions put to him by human and Devas on points relating to Dhamma. He had hardly any rest throughout day and night except a brief respite of 3 or 4 hours. He had to deliver his preachings daily for about (20) hours to Devas, humans and Brahmas. This lends evidence to the fact that his own great compassion had prevented his happiness, as stated earlier. Great was his unbounded compassion that the benevolent Buddha had gone to the extent of imparting his Dhamma to Subhadda, a wandering ascetic (paribbā jako), while lying on his death-bed a few hours before his Parinibbāna. To that extent, he has bestowed his unstinted love with self-sacrificing pity on all beings seeing their miserable plight.
The gist of the foregoing account is to make it clear that Buddha had his great compassion on all beings who are struggling with worry in every life existence. This will perhaps enable you to grasp the fact that one can develop his karuṇā towards pitiable beings who are going through a lot of difficulties and misery throughout their life-span. This will also place you in a nobler state of mind which would invoke a feeling of reverence to the Most Exalted One who had painstakingly preached proclaiming his message for forty odd years with unfailing patience, sympathy and good-will for the welfare of all mankind.
Hence, with a view to developing karuṇā in the light of what has been now stated, please follow the recitation.
"May all beings who have always been striving with worry to gain happiness be liberated from misery." (Repeat thrice)
Full liberation from this misery will be rewarded only when Nibbāna is reached whereby all rūpa-nāma-khandhās will cease to occur again. This means to say that "May all beings be emancipated after attainment of Nibbāna."
Let us repeat developing karuṇā.
"May all beings who have always been striving with worry to gain happiness be liberated from misery."
It is pitiable for being also carried away to old age,
sickness and death
"Upanīyati loko adāhuvoti passantānaṃ buddhānaṃ bhagavantānaṃ sattesu mahākaruṇā okkamati"
Loko-All beings, upanīyati-are being conveyed to inevitable old age, sickness and death, Addhuvo-O, it is impermanent! Iti passantānam-Seeing as such, nay, endowed with this realization or perception, buddhānaṃ bhagatantānam-Holy Buddha, sattesu-towards all living beings, mahākaruṇā-Great compassion with sympathy, okkamati-arises in their hearts. In other words, a great compassion of mortals arises in the Holy Lord Buddha.
In every existence, all living beings are carried away to reach old age from the time of their birth, and from old age to sickness and then, from sickness to death. Buddha, perceiving with his insight knowledge the nature of "impermanence", has great pity on all beings. Of course, in so far as beings are concerned, if they reflect, they will have an inkling of the impermanent nature of their own khandhās. However, they may still think that they will have to live long apparently assuming that no deterioration is taking place in their youthful appearance and in their health. While imagining as such, unexpectedly, sickness may prevail on them under unfavourable circumstances. Some died at an early age while still young. If death does not occur early, they gradually grow older and older day by day, month by month and year by year. Yet, inadvertently at first sight, they do not think of themselves as getting old with the passage of time. Only when their hairs turned grey and their teeth decayed, etc., they would come to realize that they have become old and decrepit. Who are those carrying them away to inevitable old age, sickness and death? It is the rūpa-nāma-khandhās in one's own material body who are convying them, as stated already. From the time of conception, new rūpas and nāmas are incessantly forming or arising and dissolving and then appearing afresh to be again dissolved undergoing a gradual process of continual change. A person slowly and perheps unnoticeable grows older in every split second and a fraction of a minute, etc., until when becoming advanced in age, say about forty, the bodily appearance becomes obviously changed showing signs of deterioration or decay with the appearance of grey hairs, wrinkles, etc. Withering with age, one can easily be afflicted with a disease at one time or other, and after serious derangement of his health, he reaches his death-bed and ultimately passes away. It therefore becomes evident that hour by hour, as time goes on, one is carried closer to old age. sickness and death.
Karuṇā that had once occurred at the time of Sāmaera
An example may be illustrated. A group of cattle-slaughterers carried away an ox to be killed. Every step taken by that ox brought him nearer to the threshold of death. It seemed that the ox knew of the coming disaster-an imminent death, and as such, it was found struggling to escape from the hands of the butchers. The cattle-slaughterers were, however, seen pulling it hard and dragging the poor animal with force. The ox had no way out but to submit to this illtreatment against its own will. It was indeed a pitiable sight. As I had personally seen this heart-breaking spectacle, I felt pain in my heart with pity, and since then, I had abstained from taking beef. This incident had happened when I was a Sāmaṇera, a novice in my priesthood before I received my higher ordination as a senior Bhikkhu. Just like that ox which was carried away by the slaughterers to the slaughter-house, human beings are being carried away by their rūpas and nāmas without any break even for a second to make them suffer from old age, sickness and death. Having seen all beings drifting towards disaster, great pity had arisen in him.
What the Lord Buddha had perceived was that one is fast appreaching old age, sickness and death at every moment of an arising though which occurs incessantly with great acceleration much faster than a split second, nay, a flash of lightning. This perception brought forth a feeling of boundless compassion in the Lord Buddha. Even Yogīs who are now contemplating Vipassanā can fully appreciate that they are gradually approaching towards old age, sickness and death at every moment, if they perceived the mind that constantly changes. Those Yogīs who are contemplating and noting as instructed by us, on reaching the stage of bhaṅga-ñāṇa, will find it very obvious that the object of sensation that is noted and the knowing mind dissolve part by part incessantly. It is something like each bead threaded with others on the string falling down one after the other in great speed. Every time dissolution takes place, it carries one nearer to old age, sickness and death. Yogīs who have achieved bhaṅga-ñāṇa may guess with their insight knowledge that it is so happening.
Ordinary persons can imagine this state of phenomena within a second, or a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a month, or a year. Roughly speaking, one will clearly perceive himself as coming a bit closer to old age, sickness and death if he could reflect upon his own self year to year. Signs of withering in age followed by sickness and death can be visualized. Generally most people die when they reach the age of seventy or eighty plus. Both the rich and the poor, as well as dictators, powerful rulers and heroes came to a road-end in the path of life, i.e. Death, between the age of 70 or 80 or a little beyond that age. Rupas and nāmas in one's own body are carrying him away to old age, sickness and death. Let us recite a motto composed in this regard.
"Oh! men are impermanent, being driven to old age, sickness and death."
If this motto is reflected upon, the nature of anicca becomes obvious. Maraṇānussatti i.e., mindfulness contemplation on the nature of death will also become developed. In every existence, all beings have to go through the process of inevitable old age, sickness and death. This is the rugged and dangerous path they are treading along. How pitiable they are. One can very well imagine this awful state. It is not surprising that Great Compassion had arisen in Buddha towards beings. Let's develop karuṇā as Buddha Himself had done. Please follow the recitation.
"Oh! all beings are subjected to old age, sickness and death to which they are being conveyed. That's really Impermanent!"
"May all beings be liberated from this misery." (Repeat)
The manner of developing karuṇā, as stated above, is of a very high standard. It is similar to the great compassion bestowed upon mankind by the Lord Buddha. Among people in general, a great many of them are in misery for having suffered loss in their business venture or for loss or destruction of their property, or for being separated from their beloved ones. Karuṇā can be developed towards such people in misery. Please recite as follow:-
"May all beings who are suffering misery in one way or the other be liberated from such misery."
It is pitiable for not really having anything to depend upon
"Atāno loko anabhissaroti passantānaṃ buddhānaṃ bhagavantānaṃ sattesu mahākaruṇā okkamati."
Loko-All beings, atāno-have no one to look after them, anabissaro-and nothing to depend upon. Iti passantānam-Having perceived as such, nay, seeing as such, buddhānaṃ bhagavatānaṃ -in Holy Buddhas, sattesu-towards beings, mahākaruṇā-Great Compassion or self-sacrificing pity, okkamati-has occurred or sprung up.
It means that all living beings have no one to protect or look after them and no one to rely upon. Korabya King, not being able to grasp the meaning of this statement, had once asked Ashin Raṭṭhapāla: "O, Ashin Raṭṭhapāla! We have many armed forces to defend and protect us. They are to be relied upon. What is then the intention conveyed in the statement"-have no one to protect and rely upon." Thereupon, Ashin Raṭṭhapāla queried. "O, Your Majesty Korabya! Don't you ever have any affliction? If that afflicted disease ill-treats you cruelly, how would you feel?" To this query, King Korabya replied: "When this disease becomes very serious and illtreats me, I will suffer gravely to the point of near death. There had been occasions when my relatives in close proximity of my sick-bed, wept bitterly even shedding tears thinking that I was about to die."
Having heard this reply, for the purpose of verification, another question put was: "O, King Korabya! When this disease had caused you terrible pain and suffering, could you share it with your relatives and friends? Will you be able to share the suffering if you ask them to give you relief?" To this, King Korabya gave his reply, "Sir, it's impossible to share it. Neither can they take a share in it. I alone have to suffer severely and endure the pain with all the will-power at my command." Ashin Raṭṭhapāla then explained saying, "Aye! Exactly, Your Majesty. Buddha has, therefore, preached that just as there is no one who can give protection and on whom reliance can be made in times of extreme distress such as this, living beings also have no one to protect them and in whom refuge can be sought."
Despite the presence of parents and relatives who are rendering utmost assistance and giving full protection, they cannot possibly prevent their dear ones from getting old, sick, and suffering death. No one is capable of looking after another to keep him always young and vigorous. When time comes, one is sure to get old. This nature of old age cannot be shared. In case, it can be shared, by distributing part and parcel of it to others, one would have become always youthful and sprightly. If it can be done that way, how fine would it be.
Though preventive measures in regard to health can be taken by appropriate drugs and medicines, total prevention against diseases is impossible. If really serious or malignant disease is afflicted, no perfect cure can be done. Suffering from disease can neither be shared in piece meals. If it is within the bounds of possibility to share the sufferings, how nice would it be.
No one can possibly prevent 'death'. Old age or agedness, sickness and death cannot be prevented from occurring by any one. No one can also prevent a person from descending to the four Nether World to which he is destined after his demise. Realizing this fate of all living beings, Buddha had bestowed his immense compassion on them. Let us recite a motto in the light of what has just been stated.
"Without a protector and without anything to rely upon, how feeble and weary we are."
In the entire Universe, no one will be found who can save a person to get liberated from the suffering of old age, sickness and death, or to escape from descending to the Nether World, or to get emancipated from the miseries of Samsāra. According to the Doctrine of the creator of mankind, God is said to be able to save mankind. Nevertheless, adherent to this Doctrine will also, in course of time, become old, sick and meet with death like any other beings. On the other hand, the manner in which Buddha save all mankind is by way of preaching laying down the method of practice to get liberated from the world of sufferings and miseries. It is something like prescribing and administering medicines by a physician to a patient under treatment. Just as the sick who complies with the advice and instructions given by the doctor has recovered from sickness, a person who obeys and complies with the instruction of the Lord Buddha and practises according to his preachings will be liberated from the miseries of Apāya and Samsāra. The meaning of this statement as preached by the Buddha is as mentioned below.
Buddha could only preach and guide the way
Tumhehi-You, who are my disciples, ātappam-sammappadham-relating to the practice of sīla, samādhi and paññā, which need be exercised with diligence and right exertion, kiccam-shall and must be carried out by yourselves. Tathāgatā-We, the Buddhas, akkhātāro-can only preach the right method of practice to be exercised. Jhāyino-By contemplating both Samatha and Vipassanā, paṭipannā-he who practises according to my teachings, mārabandhanā-from the bonds of kilesā, mokkhanti-will be liberated.
This means that those who work out their own salvation with right exertion and diligence as taught by the Buddha will be free from the fetters of kilesās, cravings, which are but the miseries of Samsāra. If no practice is exercised according to His Teachings (desanā), there will be no escape. The Right Method can only be known and heard only when Buddhas appear in this Universe. Outside the realm of Buddha's Sāsanā, there can be no emancipation from miseries since no right method is known and understood to be practised. In the absence of the right method of exercise, and in as much as there is no one on whom reliance can be made, beings are whirling round and round in Samsāra, i.e., floating and drifting in the whirl-pool of endless existences, and are therefore, suffering in misery. This state of pitiable condition being seen and observed by the Lord Buddha, the flame of compassion for all beings had awakened in him. Just as Buddha had his compassion, we shall dwell our mind on all beings who have no one to rely upon as a protector, and then develop karuṇā. Please follow the recitation.
"May all beings who are suffering misery in the Samsāric existences without having any one to protect them from becoming old, sick and meeting death, be liberated from misery." (Repeat thrice)
To abandon everything is pitiable
"Assako loko sabbaṃ pahāya gamanīyantī passantānaṃ buddhānaṃ bhagavantānaṃ sattesu mahākaruṇā okkamati."
Loko-All beings, assako-have no personal property of their own: sabbam-after everything, pahāya-is abandoned, gamanīyam-one will have to pass away or leave for good. Iti-Thus, passantānam-seeing, nay, realizing as such, buddhānaṃ bhagavantānam-in the person of Buddhas, sattesu-towards beings, mahākaruṇā-Great Compassion, okkamati-occurs.
This is to say that beings have no personal belongings or properties of their own. As is universally accepted, everyone has its own personal property. The only difference being the magnitude of the property or wealth which may be ample or scanty. At least, they own something in commensurate with their own status. For so long as destruction or loss has not yet met or incurred in the absence of any destructive element as danger, the property will continue to remain in their hands. However, (sampatti vipattipariyosānā) sampatti-all accomplishments (of properties, etc.) vipattipariyosānā-meet with destruction in the end. All accomplishment in connection with worldly matter, such as, property and wealth will eventually be reduced to nothing, or rather, terminate in entire destruction. This is quite true. Sickness will finally overcome good health. Youthfulness ends in old age, or in other words, sound and vigorous body grows old in the end. Though a person is fully accomplished with wealth, honour or fame, nothing can be taken along with him on his death. Even endowment with a large number of retinue in whose company one has once lived and enjoyed will eventually be deprived of. To live is to die in the end. Moreover, everything that is good and pleasurable from the mundane point of view will in the end be dispossessed or deprived of. This can be clearly known from the life history of the King Sirīdhammāsoka.
Story of King Sirīdhammāsoka
About 218 years after the Parinibbāna of the Lord Buddha (about 270 B.C.), there came to the throne of India, a famous King by the name of Asoka. It was stated that his fame and glory had spread all over the Continent of India (Jambudīpa) which was founded by him as an Empire. According to what is contained in the rocks and stone pillars on which his edicts were carved and where writings were inscribed as directed by this great monarch, the country then called 'Jambudīpa' is to be understood as the Indian Continent as is known to-day. It is because in these rock and pillar inscription, mention has been made of the places at the periphery of his vast Empire where his dynamic power was felt. In those days, it was considered to be a vast domain. He was one of the greatest of India's kings. According to the Commentaries, Asoka was said to be a powerful sovereign of a large empire, its area stretching even up to one Yojanā right up to the sky above. Although he was a benevolent dictator and an Emperor with absolute powers possessing immense treasures, at the time of his approaching death, only a remnant of his vast dominion remained under his sway and it was stated to have been reduced to an area equal to about half of the size of a white plum fruit. So says Visuddhimagga as mentioned below.
"Sakalaṃ medinim bhutvā,
datvā koṭisataṃ sukhī.
ante issarataṃ gato."
Sukhī-Extremely rich and well-endowed with prosperity and immense wealth, asoko-a king by the name of Asoka, sakalaṃ medinim-the entire earth surface of Jambūdīpā. bhutvā-having ruled and owned, koṭisataṃ datvā-and after giving away in charity numerous properties and all his wealth worth billions, ante-at last, addāmalakamattassa-only about half the size of a stony plum fruit, issaratam-had remained in his dominion, gato-and had gone down, or rather, lost his eminent position to that extent. The gist of it is that fabulously rich and powerful King Asoka who had dominated over the whole Continent of India, after offering all his properties and wealth in his possession, eventually had been reduced to the status of a sovereign with dominion over only a patch of territory about the size of the diameter of the round plum fruit.
In the earlier part of his life, he was extolled as an extremely powerful monarch with sovereignty over the entire length and breadth of India (Jambūdīpā). He had accumulated riches and properties to such an extent that he offered in donation ninety-six (96) crores of kyats in a single day. Eventually however, in the last days before his death, his health had deteriorated. It seemed that his ministers, Generals, and other officers appeared to treat him with seant respect. These facts were disclosed in what is called the Text of Dibyāvadāna. A fairly comprehensive account of it is described in the Myanmar version of Visuddhimagga. Now that I would have to give you only a brief account of it.
At the time when the great King Asoka was on his sickbed, he was served with food put in a tray made of pure gold as usual. After taking his meals, the King donated the gold trays, plates and cups to Kukkuṭārāma monastery. Later, he was served with silver plates. These silver wares were also sent to the Kukkuṭārāma monastery to be given away in charity. These offerings of gifts were stated to have been made to fulfil his main objective to reach to the value of his gifts up to a total of one-hundred crores as the total value of gifts was then short of four crores i.e., only 96 crores. Thereafter, his State Ministers were said to have served the food and meals for their King with only earthen pots. Thereupon, the King was dismayed and alarmed since only half of plum fruit which was presented to him had reached his hands. He therefore ordered that a meeting of State Ministers and courtiers be convened. At the convention, King Asoka asked, "who is ruling this country?" The Chief Minister replied, Your Majesty is the Sovereign who governs this country."
Then, King Asoka remarked, "What the Chief Minister has said falls short of the truth now. Presently, I own and govern only half of this white plum fruit," and proceeded to tell his Chief Minister that "All kinds of accomplishments only end in utter destruction," as preached by the Buddha is perfectly true. If further amplification is desired to be known, reference may be made to Visuddhimagga, Volume II of the Myanmar version at page (217, etc.) Hence, the statement that "beings have no personal property of their own, and when death occurs, everything will have to be abandoned," is really true and accurate. All that have been considered as one's own possessions with great attachment had to be abandoned or left behind at the time when death seizes. Even the corporeal body with all clothes, etc., which are dressed up, will invariably have to be forsaken. Having seen all beings in this pitiable plight, feeling of compassion had arisen in the Buddha. Let us devote our mind to such beings, and develop karuṇā.
Beings, seeking after worldly possessions as their own and keeping all these in their personal custody though not actually belonged to them, are in misery both in body and mind, and are therefore pitiable. Hence, all beings may be liberated from such misery. The Motto is couched refering to this state of condition, as:-
"There is no personal private property. Oh, all things have got to be abandoned eventually!"
To be a Slave to Taṇhā is indeed Pitiable
"Ūno loko atitto taṇhādāsoti passantānaṃ buddhānaṃ bhagavantānaṃ sattesu mahākaruṇā okkamati."
The gist of this Pāḷi phrase is that beings are not fully furnished or provided with everything. There is no contentment or satisfaction with what they possess. This is also perfectly true and correct. One may try to possess things which they are originally lacking, imagining at first that he will remain content with what is available sufficient enough for his present needs to live on. However, when things are obtained as envisaged, they may still crave for more. One who is earning a kyat will hope to get two kyats. and one who gets two kyats, may desire to receive three kyats, and so on. His thirst for getting more and more cannot be quenched. That is the reason why multi-millionaires at the present day are worrying and making their efforts to get richer and richer. While thus seeking after wealth with their insatiable desires or greed, they have to die without contentment.
For example, any amount of rain water and waters from rivers and rivulets may flow into the vast expense of the ocean, and yet the mighty ocean never gets Flooded. Another instance may be cited. Any amount of inflammable material may be poured into a burning heap of fire and yet it will be consumed in no time. Every time combustible material is put in, it ingurgitates and burns all the more. Similarly, beings are never satiated. This greed and discontentment is caused by the influence of taṇhā. As impulsed by taṇhā, beings go on striving to earn for their living. Accordingly, they have become slaves to taṇhā. Buddha, seeing these beings who are ridden with taṇhā and are toiling for their livelihood, have great pity on them. It is just like a laborious servant sweating in misery through fear as ordered by his master to perform a task. It is a pitiable sight as seen by a person who has sympathy towards other fellow beings. The motto composed for the purpose may now be recited.
"Unfulfilled desires are unsatisfying,
All are but slaves to taṇhā-cravings."
Beings who are not yet free from taṇhā have become slaves, and have to be doing things as dictated by taṇhā. Worldlings are compelled to do the act of killing if ordered to do so by taṇhā. Those who think they will prosper by resorting to killing are committing this heinous crime as prompted by taṇhā. King Ajātasattu of Magadha assassinated his father Bimbisāra because he was incited by taṇhā which craved for the kingly pleasures of life. All those worldlings not yet liberated from taṇhā for having committed pañcānantariyakammaṃ, the five sins that bring with them immediate retribution, are now suffering great misery in Hell or Apāya, etc. However, a Sotāpanna is free from taṇhā that can drag him down to Apāya. Hence, he will abstain from committing vices, such as, killing and stealing which can cause one to land in the nether world. Nevertheless, for not being free from kāmataṇhā, passionate attachment, he is still in trouble seeking for sensual pleasures as stimulated or urged by taṇhā. A Sakadāgāmi also is still doing things as provoked by the subtle form of kāmataṇhā. Even an Anāgāmi, though he has got rid of kāmataṇhā, has to do things as forcibly urged by rūpa-taṇhā and arūpa-taṇhā. However, he has no misery physically and mentally because of that taṇha He has only saṅkhāra-dukkha. As for an Arahat, having totally eradicated all kinds of taṇhā, he has been fully emancipated from the slavish bonds of taṇhā. Therefore, Compassion which had arisen in Buddha was simply because He found and realized that Putthujjana-sekkha individuals who, for not having been free from taṇhā, are undergoing great misery as slaves of the taṇhā. Among them the most pitiable are the ordinary worldlings. Taking cue from the manner in which Buddha had nurtured Compassion, let us develop karuṇā. Please follow the recitation.
"All beings who are in misery and are discontented for not being able to fulfil their desires thereby becoming slaves to taṇhā be free from the slavish condition caused by taṇhā and be liberated from misery."
All beings in whole world and in all Universes including planets and infinite space as well as all beings in the Union of Myanmar, are undergoing all kinds of misery, as already stated. They are, in reality, physically and mentally distressed. They are also in misery and are becoming wearisome through constant toil in pursuit of what they wish to earn and possess. Therefore, for their demeritorious actions, there is danger of descending to the Apāya. Miseries are lying in wait for the inevitable old age, sickness and death that will take hold of them. Hence, we should develop karuṇā with our noble intention wishing them escape from all such kinds of misery. You should contemplate and note every time you recite with mindfulness. Now, please follow the recitation.
"May all citizens of Myanmar be liberated from misery ...."
"May all beings in the whole world be liberated from misery ...."
"May all beings in this Universe be liberated from misery ...."
"May all beings in all unlimited Universes be liberated from misery ...."
Dukkhappattā ca niddukkhā,
bayappattā ca nibbhayā.
Sokappattā ca nissokā,
hontu sabbepi pāṇino.
The above Verse (gāthā) indicates the manner of developing karuṇā as contained in Mahā-Paritta. The meaning of it is:-
Dukkhappattā-All in suffering, sabbepi-and everybody, pāṇino ca-and also all beings, niddhukkhā-be free from misery, hontu-be so accomplished. Bayapattā-All those involved in danger, sabbepi-and everybody, pāṇino ca-and also all beings, nibbhayā-be free from all dangers, hontu-be so accomplished. Sokkappattā-those who are in anxiety, sabbepi-and everybody, pāṇino ca-and also all beings, nissokā-may be free from anxiety and have peace of mind, hontu-be so accomplished.
The meaning of this Pāḷi Verse by itself is quite clear in indicating the manner of developing karuṇā. Karuṇā can be developed with mindfulness as: "May all individuals who are suffering be free from misery. May all those who are meeting with dangers be free from all dangers. Those individuals who are in anxiety, may be free from worry and anxiety," Let us develop karuṇā, as proposed.
"May all those individuals in distress be liberated from misery."
"May all those individuals who are meeting with danger be liberated from dangers."
"May all those individuals who are in anxiety be liberated from all anxieties."
Furthermore, I wish to mention something about the manner of developing karuṇā in connection with the occurrence of Mahākaruṇā-samāpatti knowledge which is self-appreciated after being known and realized.
By virtue of having respectfully learned and borne in mind this karuṇā-bhāvanā with dhammasava-nakusala-kamma, those who have just listened to the sermon be able to practise and develop the karuṇā-bhāvanā to the best of their ability, and to further develop and practise Vipassanā dhamma through contemplation and noting the arising phenomena of rūpa and nāma, and finally attain the noble Nibbāna, the state of cessation of all miseries and eternal Bliss, with their much coveted magga-ñāṇa and phala-ñāṇa, as speedily as possible.
I have in mind to preach in accordance with the four objectives. viz: (1) to gain more knowledgeable experience, (2) to enhance the treasures of faith and reverence, (3) to make it obvious for developing karuṇā, and (4) to display and disclose the manner of contemplating Vipassanā. Only after I have preached the manner of arising of mahākaruṇā, I shall proceed to describe the manner by which muditābrahmavihāra is to be developed.
Having already preached the manner of arising of Mahākaruṇā concerning four kinds of dhammuddesa, I shall deliver the dhamma relating to how sentient beings are hit and pierced by arrows, how they are enmeshed, how they are drifting in the current or stream of water, and how they are being burnt by the blazing fires. Let us first preach relating to how living beings are pierced by arrows.
Beings are being pierced by arrows
Sasallo lokasannivāso viddho puthu sallehi, natthañño koci sallānaṃ uddhatā aññatara mayāti passantānaṃ buddhānaṃ bhagavantānaṃ sattesu mahākaruṇā okkamati.
Lokasannivāso-All beings, sasallo-are stuck or pierced by arrows! Putthusallehi-With many arrows, viddho-they are hit and pierced. Aññatara mayā-Except me, the Buddha, sallānaṃ uddhatā-capable of taking out, or removing the arrow that has pierced, aññokoci-any other single person, natthīti-is not yet born and in existence. Passantānam-Seeing, nay, being, perceived as such, buddhānaṃ bhagavantānam-in the persons of Buddhas, sattesu-towards beings, mahākaruṇā-Great Compassion or Pity, okkamati-has occurred. It has been stated as such.
"Sallā" in this regard refers to a stump or an arrow. It would be acceptable, if it were mentioned as a 'stump', i.e. a pointed stout piece of wood projected from the ground. However, in the Commentary (Aṭṭhakathā), it has been stated as 'arrow'. Hence, one may imagine as having had sympathy for all beings who are pierced by arrows. Just as people who are injured or wounded by gun shots while fighting in a war as in the present era, the people in the ancient times who were hit by arrows during skirmishes had received injuries. Sentient beings are suffering similar to those who have suffered from pain caused by the piercing arrows. The kind of arrows that have pierced are the akusala, arrows of demerits, such as, rāga, dosa, moha, māna, diṭṭhi and kilesās, which are vices, the immoral conduct. If pierced through the body from the breast to the back-bone, it would be very distressing and painful. In the same manner, beings are really pitiable for having been hit and pierced by the seven arrows of rāga, dosa, etc., etc.
And yet, as ordinary worldlings, they are rather pleased for being pierced by the arrows. Sentient beings in the kāma-abode enjoying all the sensations of sensual pleasures (kāmaguṇa), have found a taste for kāmarāga. That is why they are nurturing and encouraging kāmarāga and are in hot pursuit of the sensations of sensual pleasures. From the point of view of Buddhas and Arahats, they see and feel the arising sensations of kāmarāga as being unbearable just as they are pierced by arrows. Rāga which tends to have pleasurable attachment to rūpa-bhava (Form Existences) and Arūpa-bhava (Formless Existence) has the same nature of intolerance that can hardly be endured. The manner of piercing by the arrow of anger is more conspicuous. From a state of happiness which reflects on personal appearances, the complexion of the face immediately turns black, ugly, and gloomy when anger blazes up. The mind also becomes morbid, restless and intolerable. However, the man in an angry mood thinks of the rising anger as pleasurable. For this reason, if any other person with goodwill intervenes to bring about a compromise and advises to refrain from anger and bearing grudge, an angry person is likely to resent. He may even think of that mediator as unfairly taking sides.
Mohā means a mistaken or false view not knowing what is right or true. What is impermanent or transitory is thought of as permanent and ever-lasting. All things, which are incessantly arising and dissolving, are considered as pleasurable. The nature of rūpa and nāma which is not an atta, a living entity, is looked upon as a living entity, a being, or 'Self'. If rāga and dosa occur, moha follows suit. Sentient beings pierced by arrows of moha, delusion, are in misery. Under delusion, a person commits anything which is improper, by physical action, or by speech, or by thought. For having done so, only demerits are derived thereby causing miserable conditions.
Also because of the arrow or stump of māna, one meets with misery for his unworthy self-pride or vanity, and because of the arrow of diṭṭhi which has pierced through the mental khandhā, men cling to false beliefs. They cannot discard or part with them. Falsely hoping to gain benefits, what ought not to be done, is done physically, verbally and mentally. Because of these vices, they all suffer misery. During the life time of Lord Buddha, Purāṇakassapa and a bunch of five other teachers of a heretical Sect together with their adherents had unfortunately accumulated a great deal of demerits for committing vices. They had gone to the extent of doing wrong to the Buddha, and for these vicious thoughts and evil actions (wrong-doings), they had derived akusala, demerits, in return. For these demerits, they were committed to Hell and had suffered intense misery as a resultant. There are quite a number of people who are suffering misery for being pierced by this arrow of diṭṭhi, false belief.
There are other sufferings for being pierced by the rest of the kilesās, such as, Vicikicchā, sceptical doubts. Vicikicchā means feeling of doubt as to whether Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha are really the truth. Uncertainty regarding the derivation of advantages in practising Sīla, Samādhi and Vipassanā, or the attainment of jhāna, or the achievement of Vipassanā insight-knowledge, or the realization of Nibbāna through magga-ñāṇa and phala-ñāṇa, are also "Vicikicchā". Then, if any doubt arises as to whether rebirths will really take place in existences under happy conditions by virtue of kusala-kamma, or, one has to suffer in the four nether worlds for the resultant effects of his akusala-kamma, immoral actions, it is "vicikicchā". For having been pierced by the arrow of Vicikicchā, no practical meditation exercise can be done in accordance with the correct method or on the right lines. Such being the case, there will hardly be any chance to escape from the miseries of Samsāra which are bound to come across.
And next, the piercing arrow of what is called 'duccarita'-evil deeds or misconduct-is conjoined with 'the arrows of kilesās, such as, rāga and dosa. When rāga is raging, evil deeds of duccarita-kamma, such as, acts of killing, stealing, cheating, etc., are sure to be committed. For such akusala-kamma or demeritorious (immoral) actions, one would descend to the four Apāyas and suffer misery. Undoubtedly, there are a number of people who will go down to the Four Apāyas or Nether Worlds, and who will thereby suffer miserable conditions.
Compassion, therefore, had arisen in the heart of the Buddha, for having seen those beings who were pierced by arrows, such as, rāga, etc. Being moved to pity (compassion) which had sprung from the heart, Buddha had delivered his Teachings under varying circumstances for the entire period of 45 years, day and night, without rest. Individuals who have diligently practised in accordance with his Teachings are, therefore, able to get rid of the piercing arrows of rāga, etc. If one arrow that has pierced through can be extracted or removed, he gets better to the extent a single arrow would have caused him hurt or pain. Accordingly, one who assiduously practises Dhamma gradually gets rid of the arrows of kilesās one after another until he is entirely relieved from all sufferings.
The manner of getting rid of an arrow stump
by contemplating and noting the Dhamma
At present those Yogīs who are continuously contemplating and noting rūpas and nāmas arising from the six-sense-doors, that is, contemplating what is going on in one's mind and body in accordance with the Teachings on Mindfulness Meditation (Satipaṭṭhāna) are free from five nīvaraṇas, abstacles to the progress of meditation. When their mind becomes tranquil and stabilised. This is called Citta Visuddhi, purity of mind. With the mind becoming tranquil and cleansed of the nīvaraṇas at every moment of contemplating and noting, it occurs to the mind of the meditator with awareness that what is contemplated and known is quite different from the mind that contemplates and knows, i.e., these two are distinguishingly known. When the rising movement of the abdomen is contemplated and known, the rūpa, that is, the rising abdominal wall, and the mind-nāma that contemplates and knows, are distinguishingly known. Similar knowledge will be realized in contemplating the falling of the abdomen and the acts of walking, stepping, dropping, bending and so on, Every time it is so contemplated and noted, what is to be known and the knowing mind, rūpa and nāma (matter and mind) are well appreciated as the only two attributes of an individual representing material and mental elements which form an aggregate of a sentient being. This appreciation or the knowledge dispelling to a certain extent, the arrow of diṭṭhi, is known as diṭṭhi-visuddhi.
Thereafter, if contemplating and noting is carried on, cause and effect will be distinguishingly known that because of mental inclination to bend, beding (which is rūpa) take place. So also, because of the will to walk, the act of walking (rūpa) happens, and because of the object of sensation which is to be known, the knowing-mind occurs, etc. At that moment, the piercing arrow of doubt called "kaṅkhā" has been cleared away to a reasonable extent. From then onwards, at every moment of contemplating and noting, the beginning of the phenomenal occurrence and the final dissolution of what has occurred will be clearly perceived and realized. The nature of such arising and dissolution in respect of the other phenomenal occurrences in the body and mind, such as, stiffness and upward and downward movements of the abdominal wall, and of bending, stretching, lifting, stepping, and so on, will be distinctly known part by part when contemplation is in full swing. When realization comes, it will be fully appreciated with awareness that these are mere characteristic of anicca (impermanence) and of misery constituting the nature of anatta without substance or atta.
When such realization comes of the existence of only rūpa and nāma, it will be found that what Buddha had preached as being "impermanence", misery and anatta-Non-Self, is absolutely true and correct. This awareness and understanding will enhance one's faith in Buddha as really an Omniscient. Belief in the Dhamma as preached by the Buddha will get firmer or strengthened. Faith in Sanghas who are diligently practising according to the preachings of the Buddha will become stronger. Depending upon the degree of faith and belief, vicikicchā, doubts, will be cleared away.
Thenceforth, when contemplating and noting is further carried on, progress will be made leading one to achievement of the knowledge of Vipassanā, ten in stages, step by step towards Nibbāna, where rūpa and nāma and all miseries will come to a cessation through attainment of ariya-magga-ñāṇa. Then awareness or consciousness firmly takes place that there is no such thing as an Atta-being or "Self", and that the entire so-called body is composed of only two things rūpa and nāma. As such, all false views (micchādiṭṭhi) commencing from attadiṭṭhi and sakkāyadiṭṭhi, will be completely free or eradicated. This explains how the arrow of diṭṭhi has been fully got rid of. A Motto relevant to the foregoing explanatory account has been composed as follows: Let us recite.
"Nothing to be thought of as "I" - an individual or Self except as an aggregate of rūpa and nāma."
This illustrates how a Sotāpanna is free from sakkāyadiṭṭhi-a false view of Self. While contemplating and noting, or imagining, knowledge of awareness is clear that "there is only an aggregate of rīpa and nāma which is arising and dissolving incessantly and that there is no such thing as an atta being, or "I", or "Self." And then, there is no doubt about the efficacy and noble moral qualities of sīla (morality), samādhi (concentration) and paññā (wisdom). Firm conviction and faith without a tinge of doubt has also arisen that "Only by practising to gain accomplishment of the qualities of sīla, samādhi and paññā, Nibbāna can be reached. In particular, only by the true realization of the characteristics of anicca, etc., through continuous contemplation of the arising phenomena of rūpa and nāma, Nibbāna can be attained." Relating to this, a motto has been framed. Please follow the recitation as follows:-
"Have nothing to doubt about the practice and the Triple Gems."
This is how to get rid of vicikicchā, the doubt, in connection with Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha as well as the noble practices involving morality. It also indicates how a Sotāpanna is freed of sceptical doubts. This is the manner how one can be fully liberated from the piercing arrows of vicikicchā, according to Mahākaruṇāsamāpatti desanā.
If dispelled from the false view of Sakkāya (sakkāyadiṭṭhi) and doubt (vicikicchā), other kilesās, such as, rāga, dosa, moha, māna, etc., which can drag down a person to the Four Nether Worlds, will be eradicated. All bad kamma, the resultant effect of evil deeds which can cause one to lend in Apāya existence, will also be freed. Hence, if one becomes a Sotāpanna through the practice of Vipassanā meditation, he will escape from the harm inflicted by the arrows which can cause misery by pulling him down to the realm of four Apāyas. Buddha had therefore preached his noble Dhamma with great Compassion towards all beings. I am following in the footsteps of the Lord Buddha in importing His Teachings (Dhamma) with a view to make beings escape from such harmful arrows.
Putting it in a nutshell, if one proceeds of contemplate and note after his attainment of the status of Sotāpanna (the first stage of progressive sanctification), he will become a Sakadāgāmi, and then, an Anāgāmi. On attainment of Anāgāmiship, he will again be freed from the arrows of kāmarāga and byāpāda, ill-will and hatred. Thereafter, if contemplating and noting is further carried on, he will attain Arahatship after reaching Arahatta-magga-phala. When becoming an Arahat, the stinging arrows of rūpa-rāga, of arūparāga, māna and avijjā (ignorance) with which he was wrapped up as an Anāgāmi, will be totally liberated. It means that all arrows of akusala smeared with kilesās will be completely expatriated. That is why the Noble Arahats after Parinibbāna will be totally emancipated from all kinds of sufferings attached to rūpa-nāma-saṇkhāra, for having been freed from all kinds of arrows. This would bring them to everlasting peace and happiness.
Before reaching the state of a worthy Arahat, even an Anāgāmi for being pierced by the arrows of rūparāga, arūparāga, etc., he would still be subjected to conditioned miseries of existence (saṅkhāra-dukkha) after reaching the abodes of Form and Formless Brahmas. As for Sotāpannas and Sakadāgāmis, since the sharp arrows of kāmarāga, etc., are penetrating into their ownselves, they will have their rebirths in existences of human beings and Devas whereby they are to go through miserable conditions of old age, death, etc. Finding the beings stuck with those arrows, Buddha's heart was filled with pity and thus, with a feeling of deep compassion, He had preached the Dhamma despite the fact that he had to undergo a lot of hardships merely for the sake of the emancipation of all beings.
In particular, having observed and found the worldlings (Putthujjanas) suffering in misery for being struck with such arrows piercing through their material khandhās, Buddha reflected and realized that there was no other person except him who could remove or extract those sharp-pointed arrows. The Compassionate Buddha therefore went on preaching the Dhamma.
"Aññatara mayā-Except me, the Buddha, sallānaṃ uddhatā-capable of extracting the sharp-pointed arrows, añño koci-any other single person, natthīti-is not in existence. Passantānam-Seeing, nay, having seen or observed as such, buddhānaṃ bhagavantānam-in the hearts of Buddhas, sattesu-towards the beings, mahakaruṇā-great compassion, okkamati-has arisen." It has been stated as such in the Paṭisambhidāmagga Pāḷi.
Buddha's compassion towards all beings is equally balanced without distinction irrespective of whether a person is intimate or unfamiliar. The degree of compassion bestowed upon Rāhulā, his own son born while he was a prince, was on the same level as he had conferred upon Ashin Devadatta, who had done grievous wrong to him with animosity. At one time, Ashin Devadatta in collusion with King Ajātasattu conspired to assassinate the Buddha. They incited the royal elephant by the name Nāḷāgīri to make an assault on Buddha while on His rounds for alms. This elephant had a ferocious propensity and trampled to death all persons whom he met on his way. As instructed by Ashin Devadatta, the mahouts fed this great Nāḷāgīri elephant with liquor profusely and released the big animal along the road where Buddha was to come to seek for alms.
On that occasion, a good number of Sanghas were in the company of the Enlightened One. The huge elephant being intoxicated rushed forward to the Buddha to attack. Even human beings under the influence of liquor used to do things and speak what ought not to be done or spoken. Being an animal, there is noting to be said of the elephant which came rushing violently towards the Buddha to bore the Lord Buddha to death with its tusks. Seeing this terrible state of affairs, the Bhikkhus, in great anxiety, requested the Buddha to retreat and avoid the charge. The Lord Buddha, however, preached His disciples as follows:-
Āgacchatha bhikkhave-Come! Come! O, my Disciple Bhikkhus! Do not shun, mābhayittha-Do not fear. Aṭṭhānametaṃ bhikkhave anavakāso, yaṃ parūpakkamena tathāgataṃ Jīvitā voropeyya-O, Bhikkhus! no other person will have opportunity to plot and strive to cause death to the Buddha. Anupakkamena bhikkhave tathāgatā parinibbāyanti-O, Bhikkhus! It is usual for the Buddhas to enter into Parinibbāna without being subjected to harmful death by anyone through conspiracy or attempt. His disciple-Sanghas, nevertheless, pleaded three times repeatedly. However, Buddha remained adamant and gave his reply as stated above three times in succession.
Thereupon, Ashin Ānandā becoming frightfully anxious of the impending disaster, took his standing posture in front of the Lord Buddha with the intention of sacrificing his own life first, in place of the Exalted One. Buddha asked him three times to make way, or rather, quit. However, since Ashin Ānandā failed to comply, the Buddha had to make him move from the place he had taken up by the exercise of His supernatural powers.
After having removed the Venerable Ashin Ānandā from the occupied place, Buddha radiated his mettā (mettāya phari) toward Nāḷāgīri, the elephant. This reveals the primary importance of the quality of mettā. Feeling of pity that had arisen can also be regarded as developing as a supplement (appadhāna) just as radiating with mahākaruṇā-samāpatti, as has been earlier stated. As a result, the big elephant, Nāḷāgīri, which had been showered upon with loving-kindness and compassion by the Buddha, had suddenly turned sober. Its mind became mild and gentle. Faith and reverence in Buddha had occurred in him too. The hugh creature then respectfully approached the Buddha dropping down its proboscis from its vertical position, and then squatted at the feet of the Exalted One. Thereupon, the Buddha after caressing the elephant Nāḷāgīri on the forehead touching with His right hand and admonished him as mentioned below:-
"Oh, Nāḷāgīri! You should abstain from committing wrong to a Buddha such as me. If wrong or evil act were committed, serious trouble and suffering will come upon you. Don't get drunk and intoxicated. Neither should you be forgetful. If you are not mindful, or rather, forgetful and fail to give thought to yourself, you cannot reach an existence to come where happy condition prevails. To reach a noble abode of life existence you should cultivate noble practice in your ownself and do things on your own in a virtuous way.
From that time onwards, Nāḷāgīri, the hugh elephant, had transformed into a well-tamed moral creature fully accomplished with the five noble precepts (pañcasīla). In the past, he used to trample down the people to death. Thenceforth, he abstained from killing others. Nor die he get drunk. This is the manner in which the Lord Buddha had given his admonition to the big unruly elephant which had once attempted to make a fatal attack on Him, by inculcating a benevolent spirit of loving-kindness (mettā) and great compassion (karuṇā) with an equally balanced degree of love, pity, and compassion as he had bestowed upon His own son Rāhulā.
Enmeshed in Taṇhā and drifting in the current of Taṇhā
"Taṇhā jālena otthaṭo lokasannivāsoti. Taṇhā sotena vuyhati lokasannivāsoti passantānaṃ buddhānaṃ bhagavantānaṃ sattesu mahākaruṇā okkamati."
Lokasannivāso-All beings, taṇhā jālena otthaṭo-are covered and caught in the net of taṇhā. Taṇhā sotena vuyhati-(and) are drifting along the mid-stream of taṇhā. Iti-As such, passantānam-in the hearts of the Buddhas, sattesu-towards beings, mahākaruṇā-Great Compassion with pity, okkamati-has arisen.
The term "taṇhā" conveys the meaning of thirst or lust. Being desirous of seeing and enjoying the pleasures of sight, and becoming pleasurable with attachment, without being contended, to all that have been seen and enjoyed, is merely thirst for a beauteous sight. No matter one may have seen good and pleasant sights of an unlimited scope, his thirst for it remains unquenched and discontented. In the same way, getting unsatisfied with what is heard in respect of any good and pleasant sound, as desired, is but a thirsty taṇhā. So also is thirsty taṇhā in respect of good smell and fragrance, good taste with great appetite, of good touch or contact, and of imagination. Taṇhā, in fact, occurs unceasingly in everything that is seen, heard and so on. It is arising all the time everywhere. The moment one gets up from sleep, what is desirable is invariably thought of or imagined. One has found pleasure in his own-self. He also finds pleasure in others as well as in all properties or goods, or commodities for his own consumption. Because of this pleasurable attachment with the thirst of taṇhā, one has his continuous rebirths in one existence after another. In every form of existence, one has to go through the process of old age or decay, disease and death. Having had to seek for what is needed or desirable, suffering and misery take place. And then, for having his bounden duty to manage and look after all that have been obtained or have come into his possession, one is to undergo misery, or rather, becomes miserable.
All these miseries are due to taṇhā which is always in thirst that grows like a creeper. One is unable to overcome this taṇhā from which he cannot get away. Hence, this taṇhā is similar to a big net that has spread over all beings. Animals which are caught in a net cannot escape. Death is hanging over their heads. Much in the same way, beings who are trapped in the net of taṇhā cannot take to flight elsewhere. In every existence, sufferings take place by getting old, sick and meeting with death. Having perceived and observed such miserable conditions in which beings are wallowing, it had moved Buddha to pity and brought forth great compassion in Him.
Moreover, a person who is drifting in a mid-stream of water will be carried by the current of water. It is likely that he will soon be drowned to death. In the like manner, beings are compelled to oblige and follow as induced by taṇhā. They are, therefore, landing in the four Apāyas for having done immoral acts. Sometimes, for having done good deeds or good kamma, they reach the world of human beings and of Devas. Even in these existences of human beings and Devas, they have to suffer the miseries of old age, sickness and death. Buddha therefore had His Great Compassion towards beings who have been so suffering and drifting with the tide of taṇhā.
Caught in the net of Diṭṭhi, and drifting