The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes The Perfection of Loving-kindness (metta-parami) contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as on Pāramitā. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).

(9) Ninth Pāramī: The Perfection of Loving-kindness (mettā-pāramī)

Three Kinds of Pema

Teachers of old have translated the word “mettā” of mettā-pāramī into Myanmar (love). Similarly, they translate “pema” also as love. “Love” meant by mettā is a specialised term while “love” meant by pema is a general one.

Therefore, pema is divided into three:

(1) Taṇhā-pema is love between men and women and is generated by craving, greed; this love is called singara in books on rhetoric.

(2) Gehasita-pema is attachment between parents and children, among brothers and sisters, and is based on living together in the same house. This kind of love is called vacchala in rhetoric.

Both taṇhā-pema and gehasita-pema are not wholesome, the former is passion (taṇhārāga) while the latter, greed (lobha).

(3) Mettā-pema is loving-kindness or unbounded benevolence shown towards others for their wellbeing. This love is entirely free from attachment or desire to live always together with others. People may be living poles apart and yet one is happy to hear that those living far away are prosperous. Such separation does not prevent one from feeling satisfied with their wellbeing. Therefore, mettā is pure and noble and has been also called Brahma-vihāra (Sublime Abode). That is to say, developing such love is living in a sublime state of mind. Not only mettā, but karuṇā (compassion), muditā (altruistic joy) and upekkhā (equanimity) are also Brahma-vihāra.

So Brahma-vihāra comprises all these four virtues. They are also known as four Brahmacariya (Noble Practices). (Another name for Brahma-vihāra is Apamaññā (Illimitable), for they are the mental qualities to be developed and extended towards all beings whose number is limitless.)

It should be carefully noted that development of loving-kindness is not development of impure taṇhā-pema and gehasita-pema, but that of pure and noble mettā-pema. How to develop mettā will be shown later.

Mettā and Adosa

Mettā is a reality which exists in its ultimate sense (Paramattha). But when ultimate realities are enumerated, mettā is not shown as a separate item for it is covered by the term adosa cetasika (mental concomitant of hatelessness) which has wide connotation. Mettā forms a part of that mental concomitant of adosa.

To explain further: According to the Abhidhammattha Saṅgaha, adosa cetasika is associated with 59 sobhana-cittas. Whenever these 59 cittas arise, there arises adosa cetasika, too. Adosa can contemplate various objects, but mettā can have only living beings as its object. In performing different acts of dāna or observing various kinds of sīla, there invariably arises adosa. But each time adosa arises in this way, it is not necessarily mettā. Only when one contemplates living beings with the thought “may they be well and happy”, wishing them prosperity, can adosa cetasika be called mettā.

With reference to the aforesaid, Khantī Pāramī (Perfection of Forbearance), too, khantī may mean adosa cetasika, but not all adosa cetasikas are khantī; when one is wronged by others, one restrains oneself from showing dosa (hate or anger) to them, and it has been discussed that only such adosa should be taken as khantī. Similarly, not all adosa should be taken as mettā, but only that adosa that arises in the form of goodwill towards other beings should be.

528 Kinds of Mettā

With reference to mettā, people say that mettā is of 528 kinds. But in reality it is not so. It should be noted people say so because according to the Patisambhidāmagga there are 528 ways of developing mettā.

Of the 528 ways, five are anodhisa (without specifications of beings). They are:

(1) sabbe sattā (all beings)
(2) sabbe panā (all living things)
(3) sabbe bhūtā (all existing creatures)
(4) sabbe puggala (all persons or individuals)
(5) sabbe attabhāvapariyāpannā (all those who have come to individual existences.)

When one directs one’s thought to all beings that exist in the 31 planes of existence in any one of these five ways, they all are embraced without any one of them being left out. Since there is none who is not covered by these five ways, these five are called five anodhisas. (Or also called five anodhisa individuals.) “Odhi” of “anodhisa” means “boundary; limit”. Hence “anodhisa” is “having no limit.”

(The next paragraph on the usage of ‘satta’ and ‘puggala’ deals only with the meaning of those words in Myanmar; it is, therefore, left out from our translation.)

When mettā is directed towards beings who are specified, the classification is as follows:

(1) sabbā itthiyo (all females)
(2) sabbe pursā (all males)
(3) sabbe ariya (all noble persons, ariyas)
(4) sabbe anariya (all ignoble persons, those who have not yet attained the state of ariyas)
(5) sabbe deva (all devas)
(6) sabbe manussā (all humans)
(7) sabbe vinipātikā (petas belonging to miserable states).

Each of these seven belongs to a separate category of beings and they are accordingly called odhisa (or seven odhisa beings).

In this way, there are twelve kinds of beings, five anodhisa (unspecified) and seven odhisa (specified), to whom mettā should be directed.

How mettā is directed to these twelve categories of beings is taught as follows:

(1) averā hontu (may they be free from enmity)
(2) abyāpajjā hontu (may they be free from ill will)
(3) anīghā hontu (may they be free from unhappiness)
(4) sukhī attānaṃ pariharantu (may they be able to keep themselves happy).

When mettā is suffused in these four ways on each of the above twelve categories of persons, the modes of suffusing mettā become 48 in number. There is no mention of directions in these 48 modes.

When the four cardinal points, the four subordinate points and the upward and downward directions are mentioned in each of these 48 modes, there will be 480 modes all together: “May those beings in the east be free from enmity, be free from ill-will, be free from suffering and may they be able to keep themselves happy.” In this way, beings in other directions also should be suffused with mettā thus the number of modes of suffusing mettā become 480.)

If 48 modes of suffusing without mention of directions are added to those 480 modes, the total becomes 528.

These 528 modes of suffusing mettā are named briefly “suffusion of mettā” by teachers of old and composed as a traditional prayer. If one desires to suffuse mettā in the first way in Pāli one should do so by reciting “Sabbe sattā averā hontu.—May all beings be free from enmity.” Repeating in this way continuously means development of mettā. If one desires to do so in the second way in Pāli one should recite: “Sabbe sattā abyāpajjā hontu.—May all beings be free from ill-will.” Repeating in this way continuously also means development of mettā. (In this manner all the 528 ways of suffusing mettā should be understood.)

The development of mettā in these 528 ways, as shown above, is taught in the Paṭisambhidā-magga and is well-known. In that Text there is no mention of development of karuṇā, muditā and upekkhā at the end of that of mettā.) But, nowadays, suffusion of mettā, as published in some books, contains at the end of development of mettā (a) dukkha muccantu—— ‘may they be free from suffering’, which is development of karuṇā (b) yathā laddha sampattito māvigacchantu——‘may they not suffer loss of what they have gained’, which is development of muditā, and (c) kammassakā——‘they have their deeds, kamma, as their own property; each being is what his or her kamma makes’, which is development of upekkhā. They are included by ancient teachers so that those who wish to develop karuṇā, muditā and upekkhā may do so by taking development of mettā as a guide.

Therefore, if one desires to develop karuṇā one should incline one’s thought towards living beings like this: Sabbe sattā dukkha muccantu.——‘May all beings be free from suffering’; if one desires to develop muditā: Sabbe sattā yathā laddha sampattito māvigachhantu.——‘May all beings not suffer loss of what they have gained’; if one desires to develop upekkhā: Sabbe sattā kammassakā.——‘All beings have their deeds, kamma, as their own property.’

But this does not mean that only this way, as mentioned in the scriptures, should be adopted but not others. Because for covering all beings without any classification, there are not only terms like sattta, pāna, bhūta, puggala and attabhāvapariyāpannā, but there are such words as sariri, dehi, jiva, paja, jantu, hindagu, etc. To suffuse beings with the thought: Sabbe sariri averā hontu.——‘May all those having bodies be free from enmity’, etc. is also to direct mettā towards them.

The number of ways to direct mettā is also given as four in the Paṭisambhidā-magga. But there are other ways as well, for instance, Sabbe satta sukhino hontu.—— ‘May all beings be happy.’: Sabbe sattā khemino hontu.—— ‘May all beings be secure.’, and such thoughts are also mettā. The fact that suffusing beings with one’s mettā by using other Pāli words and by adopting other ways also constitutes development of real mettā is evidenced by the Mettā Sutta.

Development of Mettā according to The Mettā Sutta

The Mettā Sutta was delivered by the Buddha in connection with forest-dwelling bhikkhus and was recited at the Councils and preserved in the Sutta Nipāta and the Khuddaka Pātha. The Sutta first describes fifteen virtues which those desirous of developing mettā should be endowed with. These fifteen are known in Pāli as fifteen Mettāpubbabhāga, i.e. virtues to be endowed with before developing mettā. The Sutta says:

He who is clever in what is noble and profitable and who desires to abide contemplating Nibbāna through his wisdom, i.e. Nibbāna which is peaceful and blissful, should endeavour to be endowed with the following:

(1) ability to execute what is good,

(2) uprightness in conduct,

(3) total straightforwardness,

(4) being receptive to the words of the wise,

(5) gentleness in manners,

(6) having no conceit,

(7) being easily contented with what one has,

(8) being easy to support,

(9) not being burdened by unnecessary cares and duties,

(10) frugal living (i.e. not being saddled with too many personal belongings for one’s travel; a bhikkhu should travel light only with his eight requisites just as a bird flies taking with it only its wings),

(11) having calm and serene sense-faculties,

(12) mature wisdom with regard to faultless things,

(13) modesty in one’s deeds, words and thoughts,

(14) having no attachment to one’s supporters, male or female, (which is particularly concerned with bhikkhus as the Sutta is originally meant for them. Lay people also should not have attachment to friends),

(15) not doing even the slightest deed that would be reproved by the wise.

The Sutta explains how to develop mettā after becoming endowed with these fifteen virtues saying: “Sukhino vā khemino hontu, sabbasattā bhavantu sukhitattā” etc.

How to develop mettā, as taught in the Mettā Sutta, should be briefly noted as follows:

(a) Sabbasaṅgāhika mettā: ‘Mettā developed in an all inclusive manner covering all beings.’
(b) Dukabbhāvanā mettā: ‘Mettā developed by dividing beings into two groups.’
(c) Tikabhāvanā mettā: ‘Mettā developed by dividing beings into three groups.’

(a) Sabbasaṅgāhika Mettā.

Of these three ways of development of mettā, that of Sabbasaṅgāhika mettā is explained in Pāli as suffusing thus: Sukhino vā khemino hontu, sabba sattā bhavantu sukhitattā, If one wishes to develop mettā according to this explanation one should keep reciting and contemplating as follows:

(1) Sabbe sattā sukino hontu - ‘May all beings be happy physically’,
(2) Sabbe sattā khemino hontu - ‘May all beings be free from dangers’,
(3) Sabbe sattā sukhitattā hontu - ‘May all beings be happy mentally’.

This is the development of Sabbasaṅgāhika mettā as taught in the Mettā Sutta.

(b) Dukabbhāvanā Mettā

Dukabbhāvanā mettā and Tikabhāvanā mettā are both likely to be confusing to those who do not know how to interpret the Pāli text. (How one may get confused will not be explained, lest it should cause more complications.) The Dukabbhāvanā mettā is developed as follows:

There are four pairs of beings, namely,

(1) Tasa thāvara duka - the pair of frightened and unfrightened beings.
(2) Diṭṭhādiṭṭha duka - the pair of seen and unseen beings.
(3) Dūra santika duka - the pair of far and near beings.
(4) Bhūta sambhavesi duka - the pair of Arahats and worldlings together with learners.

(1) Tasā vā thāvarā vā anavasesā sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhitattā.——‘May all those worldlings and noble learners who are frightened and may those Arahats who are unfrightened, without exception, be happy both physically and mentally.’ Contemplating thus is development of Tasa thāvara duka bhāvanā mettā.

(2) Diṭṭhāadiṭṭhā vā anavasesā sabbasattā bhavantu sukhitattā.——‘May all those beings seen and unseen, without exception, be happy both physically and mentally.’ Contemplating thus is development of Diṭṭhādiṭṭha duka mettā,

(3) Dūrā vā avidurā vā anavasesa sabbasatta bhavantu sukhitatta.——‘May all those beings living afar and living near, without exception, be happy both physically and mentally.’ Contemplating is development of Dūra santika dukabhavana mettā.

(4) Bhuta va sambhavesi va anavasesā sabbasattā bhavantu sukhitatta.——‘May all those beings who are Arahats, and those who are worldlings and learners, (or those who have been born and those who are still in the womb of their mothers), without exception, be happy both physically and mentally.’ Contemplating thus is development of Bhūta sambhavesi dukabhāvana mettā.

The above-mentioned four ways of development of mettā is called dukabhavana mettā, i.e., mettā developed after dividing beings into two groups.

(c) Tikabhāvanā Mettā

This Tikabhāvanā mettā is of three kinds:

(1) Dīgha rassa majjhima tika - the set of three of tall, short and medium beings, (2) Mahantāṇuka majjhima tika - the set of three of large, small and medium beings. (3) Thūlānuka majjhima tika - the set of three of fat, thin and medium beings.

(1) Dīgha vā rassā vā majjhima vā anavasesā sabbasattā bhavantu sukhitattā.——‘May all those beings having long bodies, those having short bodies and those having bodies of medium length, without exception, be happy both physically and mentally.’ Contemplating thus is development of Dīgha rassa majjhima tikabhāvanā mettā.

(2) Mahantā vā aṇukā vā majjhima vā anavasesā sabbasattā bhavantu sukhitattā.——‘May all those beings having big bodies, those having small bodies and those having bodies of medium size, without exception, be happy both physically and mentally.’ Contemplating thus is development of Mahantānuka majjhima tikabhāvanā mettā.

(3) Thūlā vā anukā vā majjhima vā anavasesā sabbasattā bhavantu sukhitattā.——‘May all those beings having fat bodies, those having thin bodies and those having bodies of medium build, without exception, be happy both physically and mentally.’ Contemplating thus is development of Thūlāṇuka majjhima tikabhāvanā mettā.

The above-mentioned three ways of development of mettā is called Tika bhāvanā mettā, i.e., mettā developed after dividing beings into three groups.

Since these three ways of development of mettā, namely, (a) Sabbasaṅgāhika mettā, (b) Dukabbhāvanā mettā and (c) Tikabhāvanā mettā are thoughts of loving-kindness, developed with the desire to see others attain prosperity and happiness, they are called Hitasukhāgamapatthanā mettā.

Similarly, thoughts of loving-kindness developed with the desire to see others free from misfortune and not suffering are called Ahitadukkhānāgamapatthanā mettā.

This kind of mettā is described in Pāli:

Na paro param nikubbetha,
Nā' timaññetha katthaci nam kañ ci
Vyārosanā patighasaññā,
Nānnamaññassa dukkham iccheyya

The meaning is: 'May not one being deceive another; may not one despise another; may they not wish to cause suffering to one another by offending and hurting physically, verbally and mentally."Contemplating thus is development of Ahitadukkhānāgamapatthanā mettā.

It may be asked: “Why development of mettā is described not in one way only but in several different ways in the Paṭisambhidā-magga and the Mettā Sutta?"

The answer is: The mind of a worldling roams about continuously from one sense object to another. The mind, in such a state, cannot be kept steady on the object of mettā by adopting one means only. Steady concentration of the mind can be achieved by repeated change of method of contemplation. Therefore, a variety of ways of developing mettā was taught by the Buddha. Sages of later times, too, were obliged to explain these different ways. (Or alternative explanation:) Those who develop mettā are of different basic aptitudes; for some anodhisa mettā method is more comprehensible; for some odhisa mettā method is more intelligible; for some mode of suffusing beings in different directions with mettā is more lucid; for some sabbasangāhika means of the Mettā Sutta is clearer; for some dukabhāvanā is more suitable; still for some tikabhāvanā means is more appropriate. Since the different basic aptitudes of those who develop mettā require adoption of diverse means suitable for each individual, the Buddha had to teach these different method and later teachers had to explain them fully.

The Bodhisatta’s Mettā

How the Bodhisatta had developed mettā (how he had fulfilled the Perfection of Lovingkindness) has been explained in the Suvannasama Jātakatold in the Cariya Piṭakaand the Mahā Nipāta (of the Jātaka). The story as told in the Cariya Piṭaka in brief is as follows: “Dear Sāriputta, when I was Suvaṇṇasāma, living in the residence made ready by Sakka, I directed loving-kindness towards lions and tigers in the forest. I lived there being surrounded by lions, tigers, leopards, wolves, buffaloes, spotted deer and bears. None of these animals was frightened by me: nor am I frightened any of them. I was happy living in the forest as I was fortified with the powers of mettā.”

From this passage, we know nothing of Suvaṇṇasāma’s family, birth, etc.; we know from it only of his noble and happy living without a trace of fear for the beasts in the forest, sustained by the virtues of his loving-kindness.

In the Mahā Nipāta, however, it is said that when the Bodhisatta Suvaṇṇasāma was struck by an arrow, he asked: “Why did you shoot me with the arrow?” and King Piliyakkha replied: “While I was aiming at a deer, the deer that had come nearer to the point of the arrow fled, being frightened by you. So I was annoyed and shot you.”

Then Suvaṇṇasāma replied: “Na mam migā uttasanti, araññe sāpadānipi.—Seeing me, deers are not frightened; nor are the other beasts of the forest.”

He also said:

“O King, even Kinnarās who, with a very timid nature, are living in the mountain of Gandhamādana, would joyfully come to me while they are roaming in the hills and forests.”

From this Pāli verse, it is known that the Bodhisatta Suvaṇṇasāma, living in the forest, directed mettā towards all forest-dwelling animals including Kinnarās and that he was accordingly loved by each and very animal in the forest.

In the list of eleven advantages that accrue by developing mettā, one is: being loved by devas, humans, demons and ghosts. But from the Suvaṇṇasāma story, we know that animals too love one who develops mettā. (The eleven advantages of developing mettā have been shown in connection with the Navanga Uposatha in the Section on the Perfection of Morality). Of these eleven advantages, in connection with amanussanām piyo, ‘love of deva, demons and ghosts’, the story of the Venerable Visākhā is cited in the Brahmavihāra Niddesa of the Visuddhi-magga.

The Story of Venerable Visākhā

Visākhā, a householder of Pātaliputta, having heard about Ceylon, was desirous of going to that country to devote himself to practice of Dhamma. After leaving his wealth to his family, he crossed over to Ceylon and became a monk at the Mahāvihāra. For five months, he studied Dve Mātikā (the two books of concise Vinaya) and then left the Mahāvihāra for a group of monasteries which were suitable places for meditation. He spent four months at each monastery.

On his way to the hill-monastery called Cittala, Visākhā came to a junction of two roads and while he was thinking which road to follow, the deva of the hill guided him to the right direction. Accordingly, he arrived at the monastery and stayed for four months there. After planning to go to another monastery the following day, he went to sleep. While he was thus sleeping, the spirit of an emerald green tree sat on a wooden plank at the edge of a staircase and wept. “Who is weeping here?” asked the monk. “I am the spirit of the emerald green tree, Sir,” was the reply. “Why are you weeping?” “Because you are about to leave.” “What advantage is there to you of my stay here?” “Your stay here makes the local devas, demons and others show loving-kindness to one another. (Love prevails among them.) After your leaving, they will quarrel among themselves even using harsh words.”

“If my stay here really helps you live happily as you have told,” said the monk, “well, I will stay on for another four months.” When the four months had lapsed, the monk was about to leave and the spirit wept again. In this way, the monk could not leave the place at all and passed into Nibbāna at the same monastery of Cittala.

The story shows that those who receive mettā not only love him who directs mettā to them, but they show goodwill to one another under the influence of his mettā.

Loving-kindness of A Hunter

In the Mahā Hamsa Jātaka of the Asīti Nipāta, when the Bodhisatta, King of Hamsas, was caught in a snare, he suffered much from injury. At the instance of the Hamsa General, the repentant hunter picked up the Hamsa King tenderly and nursed him with loving-kindness to relieve his pain. Even the weals raised by the snare did not remain on his feet, which became normal with the veins, flesh and skin undamaged because of the power of the hunter’s mettā.

This is but a pertinent extract from the Mahā Hamsa Jātaka. The story in full may be learnt from the same Jātaka. Similar stories are told in the Pathama Cūla Hamsa Jātaka of the Asiti Nipāta, the Rohana Miga Jātaka and the Cūla Haṃsa Jātaka of the Vīsati Nipāta. The power of mettā may be well understood from these stories.

Passion in The Guise of Loving-kindness

He who wants to direct his mettā towards beings should be careful about one thing and this is not to have developed passion (rāga) in the guise of mettā as it is warned in the Netti Commentary: “Rāgo mettāyanāmukhena vañceti.—Passion in the guise of loving-kindness is deceiving.” In the Brahmavihāra Niddesa of the Visuddhi-magga, too, it is stated: “Extinction of anger means fulfilment of mettā, but arising of passion means destruction of mettā.”

The meaning is: When a man directs his mettā towards another whom he has shown anger, the anger disappears and there appears in him mettā which is goodwill. Therefore, disappearance of anger leads to appearance of mettā. If passionate attachment appears in him while he is thus developing genuine mettā, his genuine mettā fails. He has now been deceived by passion which assumes the semblance of loving-kindness.

As mettā is one of the Ten Perfections, it should be directed towards other beings until they return their good-will. Therefore, disappearance of anger leads to appearance of mettā. If passionate attachment appears in him while he is thus developing genuine mettā, his genuine mettā fails. He has now been deceived by passion which assumes the semblance of loving-kindness.

As mettā is one of the Ten Perfections, it should be directed towards other beings until they return their goodwill to oneself, as per example the Bodhisatta Suvannasama and others. Not only is mettā included in the Ten Perfections, but included in the forty methods of Samatha meditation, which leads to attainment of jhāna and abhiññanas. Therefore, Bodhisattas and virtuous men of ancient times developed mettā and with sharp and intense concentration attained jhānas and abhiññānas (which are called Appanā in Pāli). To give illustrations of such an attainment while fulfilling the Perfections, the Seyya Jātaka, Abbhantara Vagga of the Tika Nipāta, and the Ekarāja Jātaka, Kaliṅga Vagga of the Catukka Nipāta, may be cited.

Seyya Jātaka

A synopsis of the Seyya Jātaka: King Brahmadatta of Bārāṇasī ruled righteously, fulfilling his ten kingly duties. He gave alms, kept the Five Precepts, observed uposatha morality. Then a minister, who had committed a crime in the palace, was expelled by the King from the kingdom. He went to the neighbouring country of Kosala and while serving the King there, he urged him to attack and conquer Bārāṇasī which, he said, could easily be done. King Kosala followed his suggestion, arrested and imprisoned King Brahmadatta, who put up no resistance at all, with his ministers.

In the prison, Brahmadatta directed his mettā towards Kosala, who had robbed him of his kingdom, and in due course he (Brahmadatta) attained mettā-jhāna. Because of the power of that mettā, the robber King Kosala felt burning sensations throughout his whole body as if it were burnt with torches. Suffering from particularly severe pain, he asked his ministers: “Why has this happened to me?” They replied: “O King, you suffer thus because you have imprisoned King Brahmadatta who is endowed with morality.” Thereupon Kosala hurried to the Bodhisatta Brahmadatta, begged for forgiveness and returned Bārāṇasī to Brahmadatta, saying: “Let your country be yours again.” From this story it is clear that mettā is conducive to attainment of jhāna.

Ekarāja Jātaka

The story of Ekarāja: Once upon a time, a minister serving King Brahmadatta of Bārāṇasī committed an offence. The story thus begins with the same incident as that in the previous Seyya Jātaka. Both the Seyya Jātaka and the Ekarāja Jātaka runs like the Mahā Sīlava Jātaka of the Ekaka Nipāta. For the full story read the Mahā Sīlava Jātaka.

What is peculiar to the Ekarāja Jātaka is this: While King of Bārāṇasī was sitting in great state with his ministers in the courtyard, King Dubbhisena of Kosala had him tied and caged and then hung upside down above a doorstep in the palace. Having developed mettā with the robber king as the object of his contemplation, Brahmadatta attained jhānas and abhiññāṇas. He managed to release himself from bondage and sat cross-legged in the sky. Dubbhisena’s body became burning hot and the heat was so intense that he rolled from side to side on the ground, grumbling: “It’s so hot; it’s so hot.” Then he asked his ministers: “Why has this happened to me?” The ministers replied: “O King, you suffer very painfully like this because you have wrongly arrested and suspended upside-down the virtuous and innocent King.” “In that case, go and quickly release him.” Under this order, the royal servants promptly went where the King Brahmadatta was and saw him sitting cross-legged in the sky. So they turned back and reported the matter to King Dubbhisena.

The Buddha’s Mettā

Once while members of the Sangha headed by the Buddha were travelling to Kusinara, Malla princes made an agreement among themselves that any one of them who did not extend his welcome to the congregation would be punished. Accordingly, a Malla prince, Roja by name, who was a friend of Ānanda while he was a layman, extended his welcome with other Malla princes to the congregation. Thereupon Ānanda said admiringly to Roja that it was a great opportunity to do so as the congregation was under the Buddha’s headship. Roja replied that he did so not because he had faith in the Triple Gem but because of the agreement made among themselves. Finding Roja’s reply unpleasant, Ānanda approached the Buddha and told him of it. He also requested the Buddha to make

Roja’s mind more pliant. The Buddha then directed His thoughts of mettā exclusively to Roja, who could not remain still in his residence and like a calf which has been separated from its mother, went to the monastery where the Buddha was staying. With genuine faith in the Buddha arising in him, he paid homage to the Buddha and listened to His sermon, as a result of which he became a sotāpanna.

At another time, too, when members of the Sangha, with the Buddha at its head, entered the city of Rājagaha and went on alms-round. Devadatta, after consulting King Ajātasattu, sent Nāḷāgīri the Elephant, who was in must, to attack the Buddha. The Buddha overcame the elephant by suffusing him with mettā.

Then the citizens of Rājagaha recited with joy the following verse:

Daṇḍen'eke damayanti ankusāhi kasāhi ca
adaṇḍena asatthena ṇāgo danto mahesinā

Some cattle-trainers, elephant-trainers and horse-trainers tame (their respective animals) by beating or hurting them with a goad or a whip.

However the mad elephant Nāḷāgīri has been tamed by the Buddha without any stick or any weapon.

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