Maha Prajnaparamita Sastra

by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 940,961 words

This page describes “benefits of loving-kindness (maitri or metta)” as written by Nagarjuna in his Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra (lit. “the treatise on the great virtue of wisdom”) in the 2nd century. This book, written in five volumes, represents an encyclopedia on Buddhism as well as a commentary on the Pancavimsatisahasrika Prajnaparamita.

Appendix 2 - The benefits of loving-kindness (maitrī or metta)

Note: This Appendix is extracted from a note from Chapter XXXIII, Fruits of the immeasurables (apramāṇa):

“He who enters into the concentration of loving-kindness (maitrī-samādhi) receives, at the present, five benefits (anuśaṃsa):

i) he is not burned if he enters fire (agni);
ii) he does not die if he swallows poison (viṣa);
iii) the soldier’s sword does not wound him;
iv) he will not die a violent death;
v) the good gods protect him.

Having been of benefit to innumerable beings (apramāṇa-sattva), he receives immense merit (apramāṇa-puṇya). By virtue of this immeasurable mind of impure order that has beings as object, he is reborn in a pure place, namely, the form realm (rūpadhātu).”

Five benefits in the sūtra cited by the Vibhāṣā, T 1545, k. 83, p. 427a6–7; eight benefits according to Anguttara, IV, p. 150; eleven benefits according to Anguttara, V, p. 342; Vinaya, V, p. 140; Paṭisambhidā, II, p. 130; Milinda, p. 198; Visuddhimagga, p. 253.

Anguttara, V, p. 342 (Tseng yi a han, T 125, k. 47, p. 806a17–806b3; Che yi siang sseu nien jou lai, T 861a23–b7):

Mettāya cetovimuttiyā āsevitāya… ekādasānisaṃsā pātikaṅkhā… Sukhaṃ supati, sukham paṭibujjhati, na pāpakaṃ supinaṃ passati, manussāsaṃ piyo hoti, amanussānaṃ piyo hoti, devatā rakkhanti, nāssa aggivisaṃsatthaṃkamati, tuvaṭaṃ cittaṃ samādhiyati, mukavaṇṇo vippasīdati, asammūḷho kālaṃ karoti, uttariṃ appativijjhanto brahmalokūpago hoti.

Transl. –

If the liberation of the mind consisting of loving-kindness (maitrī) is observed and cultivated, eleven benefits are in store:

1) The benevolent person sleeps happily;
2) he awakes happy;
3) he has no bad dreams;
4) he is dear to humans;
5) he is dear to non-humans;
6) the gods protect him;
7) fire, poison and the knife do not harm him;
8) his mind becomes concentrated quickly;
9) his face is serene;
10) he dies without worry;
11) if he goes no higher, [after death] he wins the world of the Brahmā gods.

The reservation uttariṃ appaṭijjhanto ‘if he does not penetrate any higher’, i.e., ‘if he is incapable of attaining the state of arhat’ (arahattaṃ adhigantuṃ asakkonto) is necessary as it permits one to understand that loving-kindness (maitrī) can, by way of exception, accede to the supreme fruit of the religious life. But judging from the Chinese versions, this reservation does not appear in the Sanskrit āgamas.

The sūtra on the eleven benefits of maitrī is fully commented on, with supporting stories, in Visuddhimagga, ed. Warren, p. 258–260. See also Manorathapūraṇi, V, p. 82–84.