Loving Kindness Meditation


"Metta", one of the illimitables or boundless states [appamanna] or divine abidings (Brahmavihara), is a common usage in Buddhism, though its significance is rarely understood. According to the definition "Mijjhati sinihyatiti Metta" because of the nature of friendliness, wetness (sensibility) and adherence it is termed metta; in essence, it is "Sineha5" or "SnehcC (friendship) which has the same rendering. It is synonymous with Adosa (non-resentment or goodwill), one of the three wholesome roots. Its object is the friendly conceptual being.

When one is displeased (dosa or patigha), one becomes dry (insensible, unfeeling) or the consciousness which is accompanied with this mental state becomes dry. Dry papers will not adhere together, whereas wet ones will. When two persons are displeased with each other, they will not adhere to each other but will dislike each other. Society exists through strong adherence and goodwill. Here is given an illustration of plywood which consists of a number of veneers glued over one another so as to render it one solid plank.

In one who is overcome by dosa, his cittaja-rupa will change, especially his blood circulation, with adverse consequences such as heart failure. Another instance of dosa, of the sinking, retractive nature that is dosa in a timid or low-spirited situation, is when you catch a timid animal; it suddenly dies of fright due to the derangement of vital functions.

The Buddha Sasana has existed through the ages with metta - goodwill between teacher and disciples and goodwill within the brotherhood. The elder cares for the younger who in turn respects the former. The elder relies on the younger who in turn depends on the former. Such a tradition of interdependence has produced the following advantages:

• virulhi - growth of requisites;

• vepulla - development and expansion of the practice of sikkha.

Genuine and Fictitious Metta

Now, let us discuss fictitious metta, as different from the genuine one. Fictitious metta is nothing but tanhapema (craving affection) though its object is the same, that is the friendly conceptual being through friendliness, wetness and adherence. It is conventionally known as metta or simply love.

As to genuine metta, it arises either with kusala or kriya (functional) consciousness, depending on whether the consciousness arises in the non-arahats or arahats. As to fictitious metta or tanha pema, lobha arises, that means akusala. The kind of love developed with attachment towards one's family is not genuine metta, instead it is mostly tanha pema. Such kind of love is known in the literatures as "GehassitapemcC (home or domestic affection), which is a hindrance to dhamma practice. For instance, a bhikkhu called Chanda had this kind of mettatowards the Blessed One and thus was unable to perceive the dhamma during the lifetime of the Buddha. He grew up together with the Buddha, and thus considered that the Buddha belonged to him. He became too proud to associate with the others. It is only after the Mahaparinibbana (death) of the Buddha, that he was subdued and softened by the extreme penalty, by which is meant noble taming or civilised punishment {brahmadanda) and became an arahat. This punishment involved dissociation and ostra-cisation by the other bhikkhus. Whatever he did or said, nobody would have anything to do with him. In the Buddha Sasana, if a bhikkhu, being subjected to excommunication, does not receive any teaching or advice, his life is finished and he is as good as dead.

At one time, a horse dealer by the name of Kesi was asked by the Blessed One how he tamed wild horses. The former replied that he used gentle methods or harsh methods or sometimes both, in order to domesticate his animals. And, the Buddha asked, what did he do when he could not tame them by these methods. He replied that he killed them, so he would not be discredited. The horse dealer took his turn to ask the Lord how he tamed his disciples as he was unparalleled in taming the untamed. The Buddha replied that at times he tamed them by praising, at times by subduing and at other times by both methods. And, the horse dealer asked, what did he do if all these methods failed. The Buddha replied that he also killed them.

This is strange. Is such a behaviour becoming of the Buddha? Though the usage is the same, the nature is different. In the world of ariyas, non-receipt of teachings, admonishments and instructions is as good as being killed.

Going back to the discussion of fictitious metta, one cannot take for granted that no genuine metta at all is involved in domestic or family love. Once a cow was feeding its calf when a hunter approached and threw a spear at it. The spear could not pierce the cow, but fell away from it. This metta, balava piya citta, arises as kamavacara kusala (sensuous-sphere morality) and not as jhana kusala. Even as kamavacara kusala or ordinary kusala, it is mightily powerful. Briefly, one has to note that love with attachment or domestic or family affection is fictitious metta. Detached love with goodwill towards others is genuine metta.

The indirect or proximate enemy of metta is tanha pema or affection. The direct or distant enemy is dosa. He who can overcome these two enemies can develop metta bhavana. Although you may be able to overcome that distant enemy, it will be difficult to overcome the proximate enemy. In a boxing match it is easy to avoid the distant blow but difficult to avoid the near ones. One should be careful of false metta, which is apt to cheat one. In the scriptures it is mentioned as "Metta yana mukhena rago vanceti" - sensuous lust in the guise of loving-kindness is deceitful.

Nature of Metta

In the development of meditation with metta as the subject [metta bhavana), the yogi dwells his mind on all beings for the welfare of all. The yogi who has the habit of practising metta bhavana is always overwhelmed with the spirit of loving-kindness in the bottom of his heart like the profusion of fragrance. Whenever he sees, hears or judges that beings are at the mercy of suffering, he would show compassion (karuna) and would like to help them. Also when he sees, hears or judges that beings are enjoying happiness, he would feel sympathetic joy [mudita). All these three beautiful mental states can arise in a noble-minded person wherever he may be.

Though in this retreat preference is given to vipassana bhavana, metta bhavana is preached and practised. As to vipassana, not everybody can practise it, and at times it is regarded as not being concerned with the good or welfare of others (parahita). In fact it is indirectly beneficial to others as will be accepted by those who have practised the dhamma. Having perceived the sankhara dhammas (reflection on the impermanence of mind and matter) he attains real bliss and peace, and this he wants others to share with him. Such compassionate consideration (anukampa) arises in the yogi in a natural manner. This subject will be dealt with later in connection with the exposition from Mahaparinibbana Sutta, delivered at Vesali.

Metta is one of the Brahmacariya dhammas (holy practices) . In the Abhidhamma, it is given as an Appamanna dhamma (Illimitable or Boundless State) identical with Brahmavihara (divine abiding) in the Suttas. Metta has the promotion of the aspect of welfare as its characteristic - hitakara pavatti lakkhana (state of benevolence or goodwill). Its function is the act of goodwill towards others. As both the intention and the act are for the welfare of others, any ill-will is subdued. Hence it is manifested as the suppression of ill-will, the pacification of animosity - aghata vinaya paccupatthana. Its proximate cause is optimism or viewing on the more favourable or brighter side of things - sattanam manapabhava dassana padatthana. If one looks on the unpleasant side of things, one will feel miserable and ill-tempered.

Here I would like to stress the importance of adjusting your mentality to look on the brighter side of things. Such a mentality is called yonisomanasikara - adjusted or reasoned consideration. It reminds me of an authoress named Eleanor H. Porter, who writes about viewing things on the bright side in a constructive attitude and not finding fault with them (in her book called "PoUyanncC). She deserves the name "Lady or Madam MetbaT.

The disappearance of vyapada (ill-will) arises with the fulfilment of metta. This is how the distant or direct enemy is won. Metta is disrupted by the arising of tanha pema, which is its proximate or indirect enemy. Such affection is also called false metta, which is deceitful.

Family Love (Gehassita Pema)

Looking at ordinary, domestic (family) metta as different from samatha metta, one will find how effective love can be. For instance, when you smile at another, you will get a smile in return, like the saying 'love begets love'. This is a simple example of sineha.

Have you seen a kind of one-eyed fish known in Pali as 'yugamacchd? Only when the two fish adhere together can they swim about easily. The same thing goes with teacher and pupil, monk and lay supporter. Even when somebody helps us in times of trouble, relieving us from samsaric suffering, metta and karuna are more profoundly felt.

There is a story of two friends travelling to Jerusalem on a pilgrimage. On their way, they stayed at a rest house. On seeing a poor family, one of them stayed behind to help them and later returned home. The other proceeded on his journey to Jerusalem. Which of the two is nearer to God?

In working for the well-being of others, with cetana and metta, one can benefit by after-thoughts of civic-mind-edness. Moreover, in times of difficulty you are liable to get assistance from somewhere, not necessarily from the ones you have assisted.

Methods of Development

There are two methods of developing metta. One is to develop it as part of kusala activity or fulfilment of paramis - mentally, verbally and bodily, without any expectation of return or self-interest. If you expect anything in return and later find ingratitude, you will be disappointed and your metta will become tainted.

The second method of development is by way of metta jhana samapatti - the attainment of concentration on metta or the mind-deliverance of loving-kindness. First and foremost, he should sever the impediments (pali-bodha) and learn the meditation subject. Then when he has done the work con-nected with the meal and got rid of any dizziness due to it, (either by walking or sleeping it off), he should seat himself comfortably on a well-prepared seat in a secluded place. To start with, he should review the danger in hate and the advantage in patience (khanti) and forgiveness. Why? Because hate has to be abandoned and patience attained in the development of this subject. If a man hates, he is liable to transgress by killing, stealing, etc., with untoward conse-quences. Thus will he see the dangers in hate and abandon unwholesome acts. In accordance with the Buddhist Law such acts, being kammapatha, can send you to apaya. Similarly the advantages in patience should be understood according to the saying: "Patience leads one to nibband\

To illustrate further, in taking food, you avoid unwholesome ones because you know the fact in advance. Knowing the wholesome food in advance, you can eat with confidence and at ease. All such knowledge is to your advantage. You cannot abandon unseen dangers and attain unknown advantages.

Knowing the advantages of metta bhavana in advance causes interest, confidence and enthusiasm in the practice; just like knowing the seven advantages of sati-patthana practice, as revealed by the Blessed One in the beginning of the desana, arouses faith in the yogi.

Thereupon, he should embark upon the development of loving-kindness for the purpose of secluding the mind from hate, seen as a danger, and introducing it to patience, known as an advantage.


The advantages obtained are eleven:

he sleeps in comfort;

• sukham patibujjhati -he wakes in comfort;

• na papakam supinam passati -he dreams no evil dreams;

he is dear to and beloved by human beings;

• amanussanam piyo hoti -

he is dear to and beloved by non-human beings;

• devatd rakkhanti -deities guard him;

• nassa aggi va visam va sattham va kamati -fire, poison and weapons do not affect him;

• tuvatam cittam samadhiyati -his mind is easily concentrated;

• mukhavanno vippasidati -

the expression ofhis face is serene;

• assammulho kalam karoti -he dies unconfused;

• uttarim appativijjhanto Brahmalokupago hoti -he reappears in the Brahma World.

We have discussed briefly the eleven advantages obtained by developing the mind deliverance of loving-kindness - cetovimutti metta bhavana - which is practised as an attainment concentration (appana-samadhi). Let us now deal with them in more detail.

As regards the first advantage - Sukham supati - some people can simply sleep leaning on the right side in a peaceful manner, whereas others turn and twist on the bed and snore. He who develops metta bhavana can sleep comfortably as though he were entering upon an attainment - Samapatti. There are instances in some countries about couples breaking up because one of the partners snores during sleep. Some would gag their children to prevent them from snoring.

The second advantage is Sukham. patibujjhati - waking in comfort and fresh as though he had emerged from concentration attainment.

The third one is Na papakam supinam passati - he dreams no evil dreams. When he dreams, he sees only auspicious ones, as though he were worshipping a shrine, making an offering or hearing the dhamma. He does not have evil dreams, such as being threatened by bandits or wild beasts or falling into chasms. Four kinds of dreams are given in the scriptures:

• pubbanimitta - prognostic;

• anubhüta - reflection of past experiences;

• devata upasamhara - teasing by the deities;

• dhatukkhobha - agitation due to ailment.

Even if he suffers any ailment, he will not be agitated during sleep due to the development of cittqja-rüpa which supports aharqja-rüpa and utuja-rüpa, and prevents any abnormalities caused by the latter.

Manussanam piyo hoti is the fourth one. He is dear to and beloved by human beings. You will realize this effect through practice.

Amanussanam piyo hoti is the fifth. He is dear to and beloved by non-human beings. At one time, there lived a landowner called Visakha at Patna, India. Hearing that the island of Sri Lanka was adorned with shrines and offering favourable things such as climate, abodes, people and dhamma, he handed over his fortune to his family and left his home with only a single ducat. While he was waiting for a ship at the sea coast he made a thousand ducats by lawful trading.

On arrival at Sri Lanka, he was ordained at the Mahá-vihara Monastery. When he had acquired five years' seniority he set out to wander, living for four months in each monastery. On his way to Cittalapabbata he came to a road fork where a deity pointed out the road to him.

After he had stayed at the Cittalapabbata Monastery for four months, while about to depart, he saw a deity sitting on a step of the stairs weeping. On enquiring, the deity replied that the Elder's presence had caused trust and peace among the deities, and if he were to leave, there would be quarrels among them. So, the Elder stayed on another four months. When he thought of leaving again, the deity wept as before. And so the Elder stayed on there till he attained Nibbana. This is how, through one individual's metta, others can live in peace and harmony, just like a local saying: "One good tree can accommodate ten thousand birds".

During the Buddha's time, some five hundred bhikkhus were meditating in a forest. Owing to their spiritual powers, the deities in the forest were unable to stay on the trees. Realizing that the monks were going to stay during the period of Vassa, they enacted horrible sights, sounds and smells to frighten the monks, who later suffered and became sick.

They discussed the situation among themselves and went to the Buddha for advice. He instructed them to return to the same forest with the metta weapon. On their return, the monks were warmly welcomed and helped by the deities because the monks developed metta towards them as instructed by the Blessed One.

This brings us to the sixth advantage, namely, devata rakkhanti - deities guard him. It should be noted here that one should not develop metta bhavana just for the sake of protection by the deities, because if one does, it will amount to self-interest.

The seventh one is nassa aggi va visam va sattham va kamati - fire, poison and weapon do not affect him. There was the case of one lay woman devotee, Uttara, who, because of her loving-kindness, was not affected by the burning of hot liquid butter cruelly poured upon her. Another case was that of a bhikkhu who was not affected by poisoned food. In another, the novice Sankicca was not affected by a knife.

My own personal experience as regards poison may serve as further illustration. Once I was injured by a fish whose fin was poisonous. Although my hand was bleeding and swelling, I did not feel any pain. Some 30 years ago, while trying to save a dog which had fallen in a well, I was bitten by it. I did not suffer any pain or disease though scars were left on my hand. On another occasion, while I was one night sleeping in Sri Lanka, I was bitten by a centipede. I did not feel any pain. Cobras also came to that monastery but did not do any harm.

Tuvatam cittam samadhiyati is the eighth, meaning that the mind is quickly concentrated. He who abides in loving-kindness will find no difficulty in practising vipassana.

The ninth advantage is mukhavanno vippasidati - his face has a serene expression, like a palmyra fruit or a sunkist orange,just fallen from its stem and still glossy with its golden lustre.

The next is assammulho kalam karoti - he dies uncon-fused. Death takes place without bewilderment. Instead, it takes place as though emerging from attainment.

The last one is uttarim appativijfhanto or Brahmalokupago hoti. That is, if he is unable to reach any states higher than the attainment of loving-kindness to attain ara-hatship, then, when he falls from his life, he reappears in the Brahma world as if waking up from sleep.

For some people who are interested in further dhamma practice, they may abide in loving-kindness so as to be reborn in the Brahma world, where they can continue the dhamma practice. In these planes, there is no kama raga and no differentiation of male and female.

Relationship with Non-humans

To illustrate further the advantages of metta bhavana, I would like to quote a discourse called Kula Sutta (The Clans) from Samyutta Nikaya (The Book of the Kindred Sayings or Grouped Suttas), Nidana (Vagga) which runs thus:

Just as whatever clans that have many women and few men, are easily harassed by robbers and pot-thieves, even so, brethren, any brother who has not developed and often practised liberation of will through love is easily harassed by beings other than human.

Just as whatever clans that have few women and many men, are hard to be harassed by robbers and pot-thieves, even so, any woman who has developed and often practised liberation of will through love is hardly harassed by beings other than human.

The literature mentions earth-bound goblins (Pamsu-pisaca) as non-humans [amanussa) who are not so powerful. There are more powerful non-humans who can annoy humans. Such beings came to be known after the Buddha's enlightenment. Though their existence cannot be proven easily, it can be believed through Siddhas (Chapter 13). Such a faith is not blind [muddha pasanna). It is rational faith cultivated after self-evaluation based on previous accomplishments which lie within one's own orbit of intelligence.

Such unseen beings could have been one's past enemies or they are just fond of teasing one for the fun of it. Such instances are many in the scriptures. One such instance was that of Elder Sariputta, who was hit by a demon. One can imagine how beings can be naughty at times. The moral of the story is that if even such a great individual like Elder Sariputta could be afflicted by demons, one cannot speak about ordinary persons who do not abide in loving-kindness. Metta is all the more important for yogis who practise sati-patthana, in order to protect themselves. Hence the name Arakkha Bhavana (Protective Mental Culture). Another sutta from the same book is "Okkha" (the Rich Gift) which says:

If anyone, brethren, were to give a morning gift of a hundred okkhas (pots), and the same at noontide, and the same at eventide, or if anyone were to practise a morning heart of love, a noontide heart of love, and an eventide of love, even if it were as slight as one pull at a cow's udder, this practice would be by far the more fruitful of the two - mahapphalatara.

Kinds of Persons

There are four kinds of persons towards whom he or she should not suffuse metta at the very beginning, namely:

• an unsympathetic person (anatthakaraka appiya puggala);

• a very dearly loved person [atippiya sahayaka puggala);

• a neutral person [mqj[jhattapuggala);

• a hostile person (anatthakaraka veri).

There is one kind of person to whom he would not develop specifically, namely, the opposite sex, though he can develop as a group, and another kind to whom he should not develop at all, namely, a dead person.

To put an unsympathetic person in a dear one's place, i.e., uplifting from the appiya to piya status, is fatiguing. To put a very dearly loved friend in a neutral person's place, i.e., lowering from atippiya to piyamanapa status, is also fatiguing, because it would grieve him to see his close friend in the slightest trouble. To put a neutral person in a dear one's place is fatiguing. Anger may spring up in him if he recollects a hostile person.

If he develops it specifically towards the opposite sex, lust inspired by that person may spring up in him. At one time an Elder was asked by a layman to whom loving-kindness should be developed. The former casually replied, "Towards a person one loves". He loved his own wife. Through developing loving-kindness towards her he was fighting against the wall all the night to go to his wife because his door was locked and he did not notice it.

If he develops it towards a dead person, he reaches neither absorption nor access. A young bhikkhu started developing loving-kindness inspired by his teacher. His bhavana made no headway at all. He wondered what the reason was. Later, finding that the teacher had died, he proceeded with developing metta inspired by another, who was alive, and attained absorption. Metta bhavana should be developed in the following order of persons:

• a very dearly loved person (atippiya sahayaka puggala);

• a neutral person [mqj[jhattapuggala);

• a hostile person (anatthakaraka veri).

Towards Oneself

In developing only towards oneselfhe repeats thus:

• may I escape from all dangers (aham avero homi);

• may I be free from mental distress or suffering [aham abyapqjjo homi);

• may I be free from bodily suffering or injury [aham anigho homi);

• may I be able to look after myself happily [aham sukhi attanam pariharami).

• may I be happy and free from suffering [aham sukhito homi niddukkho).

Though the expressions are different, the objective, which is the welfare of oneself, is the same. Does it tie in or conflict with what is said in the texts? For there is no mention of any development of it towards oneself in the vibhanga, patisambhida and karaniya or metta sutta. It appears so. But it does not conflict. Why not? Because what is said in the texts refers to absorption [appana jhana). But this initial development towards oneself refers to making oneself an example. By mere developing to oneself, absorption would not arise. But if he develops it in this way:

I am happy.

Just as I want to be happy and dread pain, as I want to live and not to die, so do other beings too.

Making himself as the example, then desire for other beings' welfare and happiness arises in him. This is like starting a motor car engine.

Now to the question: 'Who is the dearest person in one's life?' Oneself, of course. Is it selfishness? At one time King Kosala asked his Queen Mallika who her dearest person was. She answered: "Myself and none dearer." "How about yourself?" questioned Mallika. "The same," answered the King. When the King asked, he expected a different answer because it was he who uplifted Mallika from a poor gardener family to the status of queen. However, Mallika was too intelligent and courageous to be prejudiced [pakkhapatita). Not fully satisfied with the answer, King Kosala approached the Blessed One for the Lord's opinion. The Blessed One replied:

"I visited all quarters with my mind, Nor found I any dearer than myself; Self is likewise to every other dear, Who loves himself will never harm another"

What do you think? Is it sensible?

Towards a Dear Person

The next in order to pervade is piyapuggala (dear person) or manapa puggala (he who has a pleasant, amiable character), recollecting their gifts such as kind words, etc., to inspire love and endearment; recollecting their virtue such as learning, etc., to inspire respect and reverence experienced with a teacher (acariya) or his equivalent, or a preceptor (upqj[jhdya) or his equivalent (such as his sikkhas, knowledge, ascetic practices), developing loving-kindness towards him in the way beginning:

• may he escape from all dangers (avero hotu);

• may he be free from mental distress or suffering [abyapqijo hotu);

• may he be free from bodily suffering or injury [anigho hotu);

• may he be able to look after himself happily [sukhi attanam pariharantu).

• may this good person be happy and free from suffering.

With such a person, he attains absorption. This person should not be of the opposite sex (unless taken as a group) or a dead person. He may develop towards as many such persons as he can, one at a time. Why choose one person? Because just as when you plough the field you work one furrow after another, to achieve thoroughness and particularity you develop towards one person at a time.

Four Expressions

As to the development: "avero hottf (may he escape from all dangers or enmities), the dangers refer to both internal and external ones with emphasis on the former, which means the gross forms of kilesas, such as greed, hatred and delusion. Such internal dangers cause external ones, such as ill conduct and criminal acts with consequent miseries to oneself and others in this life as well as the next. Transgressions of this sort render him to be a danger to himself as much as to others. Hence, by developing towards the dear person in this manner, he (the dear person) may be able to purify his bodily and verbal actions and thus be freed from internal dangers, which are the root of all miseries, and to achieve bliss.

As to the development: "abyapqjjo hottC (may he be free from mental distress or suffering), it means wishing him mental bliss.

As to the development: "anigho hobuC (may he be free from bodily suffering or injury), it means wishing him physical bliss. So, when he is both mentally and physically happy, what more does he need? This kind of development is very fundamental, going to the root cause of all evils.

This is still not considered enough. Everyone has to look after his own body - the burden (bhara) of khandha, such as feeding, relieving, clothing, washing, resting and so on. So in all these essential daily responsibilities too he may be able to manage. Hence the fourth development: "sukhi attdnam. pariharantiC (may he be able to look after himself happily). Though in the beginning, the development is made in four ways, as the practice matures the yogi should be able to develop non-conceptually by mere mental advertence, thus facilitating the unification of mind.

Four Postures

As to the manner of taking a posture and the time for the purpose of developing, it is said in the Karaniyametta Sutta as:

Tittham caram nissinno va Sayano yavatassa vitamiddho.

It is developed while standing, walking, sitting or lying and as far as possible should be free from torpor, that is, in all the four postures (iriyapatha) like in the case of satipatthana.

Resolutions and Mastery

As the yogi gains energy and concentration power he will make a resolution to enter upon and dwell in the jhanas, first, second, third and fourth, mastering the jhanic factors at each stage in order to develop knowledge and skill for higher endeavour. He should acquire mastery in the five ways, first of all with respect to the firstjhana. There are five kinds of mastery:

• mastery in adverting (avqj[jana vasibhava);

• mastery in attaining (samapqjjana vasibhava);

• mastery in resolving or steadying the duration [adhitthana vasibhava);

• mastery in emerging [vutthana vasibhava);

• mastery in reviewing (paccavekkhana vasibhava).

He should also practise jhana sport {jhana kila) such as anuloma (upward), patiloma (downward), shuttle, every one other and every two other methods, thus sharpening his concentration capabilities.

Associated Benefits

Like it is said: "attani bhavana noma sakkhi-bhavata", as a result of self-development one can reap an assortment of associated benefits following the main benefit.

After one has started up one's self-developed metta to proceed with the piya puggala, one will become free of hindrances and attain bliss such as viveka (hindrance free) sukha which is the immediate benefit, followed by jhana sukha as a result of the attainment.

If, as a samathayanika yogi, he practises mindfulness of the mental states associated with the jhanas - the mental element which dwells in his heart while reciting "May he be happy", and the rupa dhamma - the material element which utters, the sense-object of voice which sounds, he would experience vipassana nana with consequent magga and phala sukhas.

Other sukhas which he can attain are anavqjja (blameless due to absence of defilements) and avyapqj[ja (freedom from suffering or purified). The former arises as a result of the attainment of magga and phala. This is very important in the world of Buddhism, for blame-lessness is more important than glory. If you are glorious and not blameless, you will not achieve this kind of bliss. If you lead a blameless life, glory will follow. Hence a niyama (natural order, law):

If glory is not aspired it increases, If it is aspired it decreases.

The wise will go after blamelessness.

Having gained the power of concentration to which is added khanika samadhi, the yogi will achieve abyasekha sukha - pure bliss without any addition or the bliss which is as good as raw or unprocessed. It is also called asammissa sukha (unmixed bliss) or paris-uddha sukha (pure and clean bliss) - all due to the proper control of faculties and the power of sati.

He who values the dhamma will find its suitability [satthaka sampqjanna) and its benefits [sappaya sampqjanna). Whosoever possesses such reasoning powers will always choose the correct path, making him worthy of a human being. They are also called 'nepakka panna! (prudence) or 'parihariya panna! (sagacity in judging abstinences and observances or do's and don'ts). They bring happiness with contentment not only to oneself but also to others - santosa or santutthi sukha. In a situation where one is surrounded by materials, this kind of attitude will relieve one of one's insatiable worldly desires.

Metta Bhavana and Vipassana

Some twenty years ago in Sri Lanka I met a lay devotee to whom I taught metta bhavana in addition to sati-patthana practice. He practised the samatha and found it very inspiring. He blamed me for not having given the method to him previously, comparing himself to Sari (Elder Sariputta's mother), who also blamed her son for not teaching her the dhamma. Why do we sandwich metta bhavana in with vipassana? Because it gives support in the form of protection,just like one engaging in a battle behind a cover instead of in the open or crossing a river in a boat instead of swimming.

At times the vipassanayanikayogi (yogi whose vehicle is insight only or practises vipassana only) may find his practice wearisome and difficult in attaining sama-dhi and panna, suffering a sort of burning sensation in his head. In such a situation he may switch over to samatha, such as metta bhavana, and develop the mundane jhana for a change and revitalisation, and then resume the vipassana practice. Such a yogi is called 'samathayanika yogi' (yogi who practises both samatha and vipassana).

During the Buddha's time there were vipassanayanikay-ogis who did not practise samatha jhana at all. Such a practice is known as 'Suddha (pure) Vipassanayanikd, and the yogis are known as 'Sukkha Vipassakd (Dry Contemplation - dry because it is devoid of mundane jhanas). Of course, when one has become an anagami or arahat one can practise and attain mundanejhdnas without difficulty.

There is a note of warning, that is the yogi may get attached to samatha jhana and not progress to the noble objective of bhava vimutti (liberation from exist ence). Hence the teaching: Never allow the mind to wander outside nor to stop inside.

The Four Bhavanas

Metta bhavana is included in the four protective mind developments [caturarakkha bhavana) or fourfold guardian meditations, namely:

• Buddhanussati (recollection of the special qualities of the Buddha);

• Metta bhavana (loving-kindness meditation);

• Asubha bhavana (contemplation of foulness);

• Marananussati (mindfulness of death).

As a rule, a vipassanayanika yogi would practise these four developments as protection. When he is devoted to the recollection of the Buddha (Buddhanussati), he conquers fear and dread. He is able to endure fear and pain. Metta bhavana cultivates friendliness with other beings. With Asubha bhavana, he will not become attached to pleasurable visions or feelings. Devotion to mindfulness of death [Marananussati) causes constant diligence, perception of impermanence grows in him and he will make the best use of his time for dhamma practice. He conquers attachment to life and a sense of urgency will awaken in him. For the Western yogis, metta bhavana is most appropriate.

The Breaking Down of the Barriers (Simasambheda)

After he has pervaded to himself and the piya person, he should proceed with a very dearly loved person, a neutral person and a hostile person (if he has any) in order of sequence, making his mind malleable (mudu bhuto) and wieldable (kamanya) in each instance before passing on to the next. He will transform a very dearly loved person to the status of a dear person through metta, thus normalising his relationship. So too will he do to a neutral person and a hostile person. If he has no enemy or he is of the type of generous person who does not perceive another as an enemy, he need not develop towards him.

He should break down the barriers by practising loving-kindness over and over again, accomplishing mental impartiality towards the four persons, that is to say, himself, the dear person, the neutral person and the hostile person.

Suppose bandits come to him and ask for the head of one of the above four for sacrificial offering, whom would he choose? It is only when he directs his mind impartially towards himself and the other three persons that he does not see who to single out (to be given to the bandits) that he has broken down the barriers of partiality - simasambheda.

Developing 528 Kinds of Metta

Pharana (pervasion) is of three kinds:

• anodhisa (boundless or illimitable);

• odhisa (identification);

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