Visuddhimagga (the pah of purification)

by Ñāṇamoli Bhikkhu | 1956 | 420,758 words | ISBN-10: 9552400236 | ISBN-13: 9789552400236

This page describes (1) Loving-Kindness of the section The Divine Abidings (Brahmavihāra-niddesa) of Part 2 Concentration (Samādhi) of the English translation of the Visuddhimagga (‘the path of purification’) which represents a detailled Buddhist meditation manual, covering all the essential teachings of Buddha as taught in the Pali Tipitaka. It was compiled Buddhaghosa around the 5th Century.

1. [295] The four divine abidings were mentioned next to the recollections as meditation subjects (III.105). They are loving-kindness, compassion, gladness and equanimity. A meditator, who wants to develop firstly loving-kindness among these, if he is a beginner, should sever the impediments and learn the meditation subject. Then, when he has done the work connected with the meal and got rid of any dizziness due to it, 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.

2. Why? Because hate has to be abandoned and patience attained in the development of this meditation subject, and he cannot abandon unseen dangers and attain unknown advantages.

Now, the danger in hate should be seen in accordance with such suttas as this: “Friends, when a man hates, is a prey to hate and his mind is obsessed by hate, he kills living things, and …” (A I 216). And the advantage in patience should be understood according to such suttas as these:

“No higher rule, the Buddhas say, than patience,
And no Nibbāna higher than forbearance” (D II 49; Dhp 184);

“Patience in force, in strong array:
’Tis him I call a brahman” (Dhp 399);

“No greater thing exists than patience” (S I 222).

3. 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.

But when he begins, he must know that some persons are of the wrong sort at the very beginning and that loving-kindness should be developed towards certain kinds of persons and not towards certain other kinds at first. [296]

4. For loving-kindness should not be developed at first towards the following four kinds of persons: an antipathetic person, a very dearly loved friend, a neutral person, and a hostile person. Also it should not be developed specifically (see §49) towards the opposite sex, or towards a dead person.

5. What is the reason why it should not be developed at first towards an antipathetic person and the others? To put an antipathetic person in a dear one’s place is fatiguing. To put a very dearly loved friend in a neutral person’s place is fatiguing; and if the slightest mischance befalls the friend, he feels like weeping. To put a neutral person in a respected one’s or a dear one’s place is fatiguing. Anger springs up in him if he recollects a hostile person. That is why it should not be developed at first towards an antipathetic person and the rest.

6. Then, if he develops it specifically towards the opposite sex, lust inspired by that person springs up in him. An elder supported by a family was asked, it seems, by a friend’s son, “Venerable sir, towards whom should loving-kindness be developed?” The elder told him, “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.[1] That is why it should not be developed specifically towards the opposite sex.

7. But if he develops it towards a dead person, he reaches neither absorption nor access. A young bhikkhu, it seems, had started developing loving-kindness inspired by his teacher. His loving-kindness made no headway at all. He went to a senior elder and told him, “Venerable sir, I am quite familiar with attaining jhāna through loving-kindness, and yet I cannot attain it. What is the matter?” The elder said, “Seek the sign, friend, [the object of your meditation].” He did so. Finding that his teacher had died, he proceeded with developing loving-kindness inspired by another and attained absorption. That is why it should not be developed towards one who is dead.

8. First of all it should be developed only towards oneself, doing it repeatedly thus: “May I be happy and free from suffering” or “May I keep myself free from enmity, affliction and anxiety and live happily.”

9. If that is so, does it not conflict with what is said in the texts? For there is no mention of any development of it towards oneself in what is said in the Vibhaṅga: “And how does a bhikkhu dwell pervading one direction with his heart filled with loving-kindness? Just as he would feel loving-kindness on seeing a dearly loved person, so he pervades all beings with loving-kindness” (Vibh 272); and in what is said in the Paṭisambhidā: “In what five ways is the mind-deliverance of loving-kindness [practiced] with unspecified pervasion? May all beings be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety and live happily. May all breathing things [297] … all who are born … all persons … all those who have a personality be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety and live happily” (Paṭis II 130); and in what is said in the Mettā Sutta: “In joy and safety may all beings be joyful at heart” (Sn 145). [Does it not conflict with those texts?]

10. It does not conflict. Why not? Because that refers to absorption. But this [initial development towards oneself] refers to [making oneself] an example. For even if he developed loving-kindness for a hundred or a thousand years in this way, “I am happy” and so on, absorption would never 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 the example, then desire for other beings’ welfare and happiness arises in him. And this method is indicated by the Blessed One’s saying:

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 (S I 75; Ud 47).

11. So he should first, as example, pervade himself with loving-kindness. Next after that, in order to proceed easily, he can recollect such gifts,[2] kind words, etc., as inspire love and endearment, such virtue, learning, etc., as inspire respect and reverence met with in a teacher or his equivalent or a preceptor or his equivalent, developing loving-kindness towards him in the way beginning, “May this good man be happy and free from suffering.” With such a person, of course, he attains absorption.

12. But if this bhikkhu does not rest content with just that much and wants to break down the barriers, he should next, after that, develop loving-kindness towards a very dearly loved friend, then towards a neutral person as a very dearly loved friend, then towards a hostile person as neutral. And while he does so, he should make his mind malleable and wieldy in each instance before passing on to the next.

13. But if he has no enemy, or he is of the type of a great man who does not perceive another as an enemy even when the other does him harm, he should not interest himself as follows: “Now that my consciousness of loving-kindness has become wieldy towards a neutral person, I shall apply it to a hostile one.” [298] Rather it was about one who actually has an enemy that it was said above that he should develop loving-kindness towards a hostile person as neutral.

[Getting Rid of Resentment]

14. If resentment arises in him when he applies his mind to a hostile person because he remembers wrongs done by that person, he should get rid of the resentment by entering repeatedly into loving-kindness [jhāna] towards any of the first-mentioned persons and then, after he has emerged each time, directing loving-kindness towards that person.

15. But if it does not die out in spite of his efforts, then:

Let him reflect upon the saw
With other figures of such kind,
And strive, and strive repeatedly,
To leave resentment far behind.

He should admonish himself in this way: “Now, you who get angry, has not the Blessed One said this: ‘Bhikkhus, even if bandits brutally severed limb from limb with a two-handled saw, he who entertained hate in his heart on that account would not be one who carried out my teaching?’” (M I 129). And this:

”To repay angry men in kind
Is worse than to be angry first;
Repay not angry men in kind
And win a battle hard to win.

The weal of both he does promote,
His own and then the other’s too,
Who shall another’s anger know
And mindfully maintain his peace” (S I 162).

And this: “Bhikkhus, there are seven things gratifying and helpful to an enemy that happen to one who is angry, whether woman or man. What seven? Here, bhikkhus, an enemy wishes thus for his enemy, ‘Let him be ugly!’ Why is that? An enemy does not delight in an enemy’s beauty. Now, this angry person is a prey to anger, ruled by anger; though well bathed, well anointed, with hair and beard trimmed and clothed in white, yet he is ugly, being a prey to anger. This is the first thing gratifying and helpful to an enemy that befalls one who is angry, whether woman or man. Furthermore, an enemy wishes thus for his enemy, ‘Let him lie in pain!’ … ‘Let him have no fortune!’ … ‘Let him not be wealthy!’ … ‘Let him not be famous!’ …’Let him have no friends!’ [299] …’Let him not on the breakup of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destiny in the heavenly world!’[3] Why is that? An enemy does not delight in an enemy’s going to a happy destiny. Now, this angry person is a prey to anger, ruled by anger; he misconducts himself in body, speech and mind. Misconducting himself thus in body, speech and mind, on the breakup of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of loss, in an unhappy destiny, in perdition, in hell, being a prey to anger” (A IV 94).? And this: “As a log from a pyre, burnt at both ends and fouled in the middle, serves neither for timber in the village nor for timber in the forest, so is such a person as this I say” (A II 95, It 90)?. “If you are angry now, you will be one who does not carry out the Blessed One’s teaching; by repaying an angry man in kind you will be worse than the angry man and not win the battle hard to win; you will yourself do to yourself the things that help your enemy; and you will be like a pyre log.” (Source untraced)

16. If his resentment subsides when he strives and makes effort in this way, it is good. If not, then he should remove irritation by remembering some controlled and purified state in that person, which inspires confidence when remembered.

17. For one person may be controlled in his bodily behaviour with his control in doing an extensive course of duty known to all, though his verbal and mental behaviour are not controlled. Then the latter should be ignored and the control in his bodily behaviour remembered.

18. Another may be controlled in his verbal behaviour, and his control known to all—he may naturally be clever at welcoming kindly, easy to talk with, congenial, open-countenanced, deferential in speech, and he may expound the Dhamma with a sweet voice and give explanations of Dhamma with wellrounded phrases and details—though his bodily and mental behaviour are not controlled. Then the latter should be ignored and the control in his verbal behaviour remembered.

19. Another may be controlled in his mental behaviour, and his control in worshiping at shrines, etc., evident to all. For when one who is uncontrolled in mind pays homage at a shrine or at an Enlightenment Tree or to elders, he does not do it carefully, [300] and he sits in the Dhamma-preaching pavilion with mind astray or nodding, while one whose mind is controlled pays homage carefully and deliberately, listens to the Dhamma attentively, remembering it, and evincing the confidence in his mind through his body or his speech. So another may be only controlled in his mental behaviour, though his bodily and verbal behaviour are not controlled. Then the latter should be ignored and the control in his mental behaviour remembered.

20. But there may be another in whom not even one of these three things is controlled. Then compassion for that person should be aroused thus: “Though he is going about in the human world now, nevertheless after a certain number of days he will find himself in [one of] the eight great hells or the sixteen prominent hells.[4]” For irritation subsides too through compassion. In yet another all three may be controlled. Then he can remember any of the three in that person, whichever he likes; for the development of loving-kindness towards such a person is easy.

21. And in order to make the meaning of this clear the following sutta from the Book of Fives should be cited in full: “Bhikkhus, there are five ways of dispelling annoyance whereby annoyance arisen in a bhikkhu can be entirely dispelled” (A III 186–90).

22. But if irritation still arises in him in spite of his efforts, then he should admonish himself thus:

Suppose an enemy has hurt
You now in what is his domain,
Why try yourself as well to hurt
Your mind?—That is not his domain.

In tears you left your family.
They had been kind and helpful too.
So why not leave your enemy,
The anger that brings harm to you?

This anger that you entertain
Is gnawing at the very roots
Of all the virtues that you guard—
Who is there such a fool as you?

Another does ignoble deeds,
So you are angry—How is this?
Do you then want to copy too
The sort of acts that he commits?

Suppose another, to annoy,
Provokes you with some odious act,
Why suffer anger to spring up,
And do as he would have you do?

If you get angry, then maybe
You make him suffer, maybe not;
Though with the hurt that anger brings
You certainly are punished now.

If anger-blinded enemies
Set out to tread the path of woe,
Do you by getting angry too
Intend to follow heel to toe?

If hurt is done you by a foe
Because of anger on your part,
Then put your anger down, for why
Should you be harassed groundlessly? [301]

Since states last but a moment’s time
Those aggregates, by which was done
The odious act, have ceased, so now
What is it you are angry with?

Whom shall he hurt, who seeks to hurt
Another, in the other’s absence?
Your presence is the cause of hurt;
Why are you angry, then, with him?

23. But if resentment does not subside when he admonishes himself thus, then he should review the fact that he himself and the other are owners of their deeds (kamma).

Herein, he should first review this in himself thus: “Now, what is the point of your getting angry with him? Will not this kamma of yours that has anger as its source lead to your own harm? For you are the owner of your deeds, heir of your deeds, having deeds as your parent, deeds as your kin, deeds as your refuge; you will become the heir of whatever deeds you do (see A III 186). And this is not the kind of deed to bring you to full enlightenment, to undeclared enlightenment or to the disciple’s grade, or to any such position as the status of Brahmā or Sakka, or the throne of a Wheel-turning Monarch or a regional king, etc.; but rather this is the kind of deed to lead to your fall from the Dispensation, even to the status of the eaters of scraps, etc., and to the manifold suffering in the hells, and so on. By doing this you are like a man who wants to hit another and picks up a burning ember or excrement in his hand and so first burns himself or makes himself stink.”

24. Having reviewed ownership of deeds in himself in this way, he should review it in the other also: “And what is the point of his getting angry with you? Will it not lead to his own harm? For that venerable one is owner of his deeds, heir of his deeds … he will become the heir of whatever deeds he does. And this is not the kind of deed to bring him to full enlightenment, to undeclared enlightenment or to the disciple’s grade, or to any such position as the status of Brahmā or Sakka, or to the throne of a Wheel-turning Monarch or a regional king, etc.; but rather this is the kind of deed to lead to his fall from the Dispensation, even to the status of the eaters of scraps, etc., and to the manifold suffering in the hells, and so on. By doing this he is like a man who wants to throw dust at another against the wind and only covers himself with it.” For this is said by the Blessed One:

“When a fool hates a man that has no hate,
Is purified and free from every blemish, [302]
Such evil he will find comes back on him,
As does fine dust thrown up against the wind” (Dhp 125).

25. But if it still does not subside in him when he reviews ownership of deeds in this way, then he should review the special qualities of the Master’s former conduct.

26. Here is the way of reviewing it: “Now you who have gone forth, is it not a fact that when your Master was a Bodhisatta before discovering full enlightenment, while he was still engaged in fulfilling the perfections during the four incalculable ages and a hundred thousand aeons, he did not allow hate to corrupt his mind even when his enemies tried to murder him on various occasions?

27. “For example, in the Sīlavant Birth Story (J-a I 261) when his friends rose to prevent his kingdom of three hundred leagues being seized by an enemy king who had been incited by a wicked minister in whose mind his own queen had sown hate for him, he did not allow them to lift a weapon. Again when he was buried, along with a thousand companions, up to the neck in a hole dug in the earth in a charnel ground, he had no thought of hate. And when, after saving his life by a heroic effort helped by jackals scraping away soil when they had come to devour the corpses, he went with the aid of a spirit to his own bedroom and saw his enemy lying on his own bed, he was not angry but treated him as a friend, undertaking a mutual pledge, and he then exclaimed:

“The brave aspire, the wise will not lose heart;
I see myself as I had wished to be” (J-a I 267).

28. “And in the Khantivādin Birth Story he was asked by the stupid king of Kāsi (Benares), ‘What do you preach, monk?’ and he replied, ‘I am a preacher of patience’; and when the king had him flogged with scourges of thorns and had his hands and feet cut off, he felt not the slightest anger (see J-a III 39).

29. “It is perhaps not so wonderful that an adult who had actually gone forth into homelessness should have acted in that way; but also as an infant he did so. For in the Cūḷa-Dhammapāla Birth Story his hands and feet were ordered to be lopped off like four bamboo shoots by his father, King Mahāpatāpa, and his mother lamented over him thus:

“Oh, Dhammapāla’s arms are severed
That had been bathed in sandalwood;
He was the heir to all the earth:
O king, my breath is choking me!” (J-a III 181). [303]

“Then his father, still not satisfied, commanded that his head be cut off as well. But even then he had not the least trace of hate, since he had firmly resolved thus: ‘Now is the time to restrain your mind; now, good Dhammapāla, be impartial towards these four persons, that is to say, towards your father who is having your head cut off, the man who is beheading you, your lamenting mother, and yourself.’

30. “And it is perhaps not so wonderful that one who had become a human being should have acted in that way; but also as an animal he did so. For while the Bodhisatta was the elephant called Chaddanta he was pierced in the navel by a poisoned shaft. But even then he allowed no hate towards the hunter who had wounded him to corrupt his mind, according as it is said:

The elephant, when struck by the stout shaft,
Addressed the hunter with no hate in mind:
What is your aim? What is the reason why
You kill me thus? What can your purpose be? (J-a V 51).

“And when the elephant had spoken thus and was told, ‘Sir, I have been sent by the king of Kāsi’s queen to get your tusks,’ in order to fulfil her wish he cut off his own tusks whose gorgeous radiance glittered with the flashes of the sixcoloured rays and gave them to him.

31. “And when he was the Great Monkey, the man whom he had pulled out of a rocky chasm thought:

‘Now, this is food for human kind
Like other forest animals,
So why then should a hungry man
Not kill the ape to eat? [I ask.]

I’ll travel independently
Taking his meat as a provision;
Thus I shall cross the waste, and that
Will furnish my viaticum’ (J-a V 71).

Then he took up a stone and dashed it on his head. But the monkey looked at him with eyes full of tears and said:

‘Oh, act not so, good sir, or else
The fate you reap will long deter
All others from such deeds as this
That you would do to me today’ (J-a V 71).

And with no hate in his mind and regardless of his own pain he saw to it that the man reached his journey’s end in safety.

32. “And while he was the royal nāga (serpent) Bhūridatta, [304] when he had undertaken the Uposatha precepts and was lying on the top of a termite-mound, though he was [caught and] sprinkled with medicinal charms resembling the fire that ushers in the end of an aeon, and was put into a box and treated as a plaything throughout the whole of Jambudīpa, yet he had no trace of hate for that brahman, according as it is said:

‘While being put into the coffer
And being crushed down with his hand,
I had no hate for Ālambāna
Lest I should break my precept vow’ (Cp 85).

33. “And when he was the royal nāga Campeyya he let no hate spring up in his mind while he was being cruelly treated by a snake charmer, according as it is said:

“While I was living in the Law
Observing the Uposatha
A snake charmer took me away
To play with at the royal gate.

Whatever hue he might conceive,
Blue and yellow, and red as well,
So in accordance with his thought
I would become what he had wished;

I would turn dry land into water,
And water into land likewise.
Now, had I given way to wrath
I could have seared him into ash,

Had I relaxed mind-mastery
I should have let my virtue lapse;
And one who lets his virtue lapse
Cannot attain the highest goal” (Cp 85).

34. “And when he was the royal nāga Saṅkhapāla, while he was being carried along on a carrying pole by the sixteen village boys after they had wounded him in eight places with sharp spears and inserted thorn creepers into the wounds’ orifices, and while, after threading a strong rope through his nose, they were causing him great agony by dragging him along bumping his body on the surface of the ground, though he was capable of turning those village boys to cinders with a mere glance, yet he did not even show the least trace of hate on opening his eyes, according as it is said:

‘On the fourteenth and the fifteenth too, Āḷāra,
I regularly kept the Holy Day,
Until there came those sixteen village boys
Bearing a rope and a stout spear as well.

The hunters cleft my nose, and through the slit
They passed a rope and dragged me off like that.
But though I felt such poignant agony,
I let no hate disturb my Holy Day” (J-a V 172). [305]

35. “And he performed not only these wonders but also many others too such as those told in the Mātuposaka Birth Story (J-a IV 90). Now, it is in the highest degree improper and unbecoming to you to arouse thoughts of resentment, since you are emulating as your Master that Blessed One who reached omniscience and who has in the special quality of patience no equal in the world with its deities.”

36. But if, as he reviews the special qualities of the Master’s former conduct, the resentment still does not subside in him, since he has long been used to the slavery of defilement, then he should review the suttas that deal with the beginninglessness [of the round of rebirths]. Here is what is said: “Bhikkhus, it is not easy to find a being who has not formerly been your mother … your father … your brother … your sister … your son … your daughter” (S II 189–90). Consequently he should think about that person thus: “This person, it seems, as my mother in the past carried me in her womb for ten months and removed from me without disgust, as if it were yellow sandalwood, my urine, excrement, spittle, snot, etc., and played with me in her lap, and nourished me, carrying me about on her hip. And this person as my father went by goat paths and paths set on piles,[5] etc., to pursue the trade of merchant, and he risked his life for me by going into battle in double array, by sailing on the great ocean in ships and doing other difficult things, and he nourished me by bringing back wealth by one means or another thinking to feed his children. And as my brother, sister, son, daughter, this person gave me such and such help. So it is unbecoming for me to harbour hate for him in my mind.”

37. But if he is still unable to quench that thought in this way, then he should review the advantages of loving-kindness thus: “Now, you who have gone forth into homelessness, has it not been said by the Blessed One as follows: ‘Bhikkhus, when the mind-deliverance of loving-kindness is cultivated, developed, much practiced, made the vehicle, made the foundation, established, consolidated, and properly undertaken, eleven blessings can be expected. What are the eleven? A man sleeps in comfort, wakes in comfort, and dreams no evil dreams, he is dear to human beings, he is dear to non-human beings, deities guard him, fire and poison and weapons do not affect him, his mind is easily concentrated, the expression of his face is serene, he dies unconfused, if he penetrates no higher he will be reborn in the Brahmā-world’ (A V 342). [306] If you do not stop this thought, you will be denied these advantages.”

38. But if he is still unable to stop it in this way, he should try resolution into elements. How? “Now, you who have gone forth into homelessness, when you are angry with him, what is it you are angry with? Is it head hairs you are angry with? Or body hairs? Or nails? … Or is it urine you are angry with? Or alternatively, is it the earth element in the head hairs, etc., you are angry with? Or the water element? Or the fire element? Or is it the air element you are angry with? Or among the five aggregates or the twelve bases or the eighteen elements with respect to which this venerable one is called by such and such a name, which then, is it the materiality aggregate you are angry with? Or the feeling aggregate, the perception aggregate, the formations aggregate, the consciousness aggregate you are angry with? Or is it the eye base you are angry with? Or the visible-object base you are angry with? … Or the mind base you are angry with? Or the mental-object base you are angry with? Or is it the eye element you are angry with? Or the visible-object element? Or the eye-consciousness element? … Or the mind element? Or the mental-object element? Or the mind-consciousness element you are angry with?” For when he tries the resolution into elements, his anger finds no foothold, like a mustard seed on the point of an awl or a painting on the air.

39. But if he cannot effect the resolution into elements, he should try the giving of a gift. It can either be given by himself to the other or accepted by himself from the other. But if the other’s livelihood is not purified and his requisites are not proper to be used, it should be given by oneself. And in the one who does this the annoyance with that person entirely subsides. And in the other even anger that has been dogging him from a past birth subsides at the moment, as happened to the senior elder who received a bowl given to him at the Cittalapabbata Monastery by an almsfood-eater elder who had been three times made to move from his lodging by him, and who presented it with these words: “Venerable sir, this bowl worth eight ducats was given me by my mother who is a lay devotee, and it is rightly obtained; let the good lay devotee acquire merit.” So efficacious is this act of giving. And this is said:

A gift for taming the untamed,
A gift for every kind of good;
Through giving gifts they do unbend
And condescend to kindly speech. [307]

[The Breaking Down of the Barriers—The Sign]

40. When his resentment towards that hostile person has been thus allayed, then he can turn his mind with loving-kindness towards that person too, just as towards the one who is dear, the very dear friend, and the neutral person. Then he should break down the barriers by practicing 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.

41. The characteristic of it is this. Suppose this person is sitting in a place with a dear, a neutral, and a hostile person, himself being the fourth; then bandits come to him and say, “Venerable sir, give us a bhikkhu,” and on being asked why, they answer, “So that we may kill him and use the blood of his throat as an offering;” then if that bhikkhu thinks, “Let them take this one, or this one,” he has not broken down the barriers. And also if he thinks, “Let them take me but not these three,” he has not broken down the barriers either. Why? Because he seeks the harm of him whom he wishes to be taken and seeks the welfare of the other only. But it is when he does not see a single one among the four people to be given to the bandits and he directs his mind impartially towards himself and towards those three people that he has broken down the barriers. Hence the Ancients said:

42. When he discriminates between
The four, that is himself, the dear,
The neutral, and the hostile one,
Then “skilled” is not the name he gets,
Nor “having amity at will,”
But only “kindly towards beings.”
Now, when a bhikkhu’s barriers
Have all the four been broken down,
He treats with equal amity

The whole world with its deities; Far more distinguished than the first Is he who knows no barriers.

43. Thus the sign and access are obtained by this bhikkhu simultaneously with the breaking down of the barriers. But when breaking down of the barriers has been effected, he reaches absorption in the way described under the earth kasiṇa without trouble by cultivating, developing, and repeatedly practicing that same sign.

At this point he has attained the first jhāna, which abandons five factors, possesses five factors, is good in three ways, is endowed with ten characteristics, and is accompanied by loving-kindness. And when that has been obtained, then by cultivating, developing, and repeatedly practicing that same sign, he successively reaches the second and third jhānas in the fourfold system, and the second, third and fourth in the fivefold system. [308]

[Texts and Commentary]

44. Now, it is by means of one of these jhānas beginning with the first that he “Dwells pervading (intent upon) one direction with his heart endued with lovingkindness, likewise the second direction, likewise the third direction, likewise the fourth direction, and so above, below, and around;everywhere and equally he dwells pervading the entire world with his heart endued with lovingkindness, abundant, exalted, measureless, free from enmity, and free from affliction” (Vibh 272; D I 250). For this versatility comes about only in one whose consciousness has reached absorption in the first jhāna and the rest.

45. And here endued with loving-kindness means possessing loving-kindness. With his heart (cetasā): with his mind (cittena). One direction: this refers to anyone direction in which a being is first discerned and means pervasion of the beings included in that one direction. Pervading: touching, making his object. He dwells (viharati): he causes the occurrence of an abiding (vihāra—dwelling or continuation) in postures that is devoted to the divine abidings (see IV.103). Likewise the second: just as he dwells pervading anyone direction among those beginning with the eastern one, so he does with the next one, and the third and the fourth, is the meaning.

46. So above: in that same way in the upper direction is what is meant. Below, around: so too the lower direction and the direction all round. Herein, below is underneath, and around is in the intermediate directions. So he sends his heart full of loving-kindness back and forth in all directions like a horse in a circus ground. Up to this point specified pervasion with loving-kindness is shown in the discernment of each direction separately.

47. Everywhere, etc., is said for the purpose of showing unspecified pervasion. Herein, everywhere means in all places. Equally (sabbattatāya): to all classed as inferior, medium, superior, friendly, hostile, neutral, etc., just as to oneself (attatā); equality with oneself (atta-samatā) without making the distinction, “This is another being,” is what is meant. Or alternatively, equally (sabbattatāya) is with the whole state of the mind; not reserving even a little, is what is meant. [309] Entire (sabbāvant): possessing all beings (sabbasattavant);associated with all beings, is the meaning. World is the world of beings.

48. Endued with loving-kindness is said again here in order to introduce the synonyms beginning with abundant. Or alternatively, endued with loving-kindness is repeated because the word likewise or the word so is not repeated here as it was in the case of the [preceding] specified pervasion. Or alternatively, it is said as a way of concluding. And abundant should be regarded here as abundance in pervading. But it is exalted in plane [from the sensual-sphere plane to the finematerial-sphere plane], measureless through familiarity and through having measureless beings as its object, free from enmity through abandonment of ill will and hostility, and free from affliction through abandonment of grief; without suffering, is what is meant. This is the meaning of the versatility described in the way beginning, “With his heart endued with loving-kindness.”

49. And just as this versatility is successful only in one whose mind has reached absorption, so too that described in the Paṭisambhidā should be understood to be successful only in one whose mind has reached absorption, that is to say: “The mind-deliverance of loving-kindness is [practiced] with unspecified pervasion in five ways. The mind-deliverance of loving-kindness is [practiced] with specified pervasion in seven ways. The mind-deliverance of loving-kindness is [practiced] with directional pervasion in ten ways” (Paṭis II 130).

50. And herein, the mind-deliverance of loving-kindness is [practiced] with unspecified pervasion in these five ways: “May all beings be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety, and live happily. May all breathing things … all creatures … all persons … all those who have a personality be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety, and live happily” (Paṭis II 130).

51. The mind-deliverance of loving-kindness is [practiced] with specified pervasion in these seven ways: “May all women be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety and live happily. May all men … all Noble Ones … all not Noble Ones … all deities … all human beings … all in states of loss be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety, and live happily” (Paṭis II 131).

52. The mind-deliverance of loving-kindness is [practiced] with directional pervasion in these ten ways: “May all beings in the eastern direction be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety, and live happily. May all beings in the western direction … northern direction … southern direction [310] … eastern intermediate direction … western intermediate direction … northern intermediate direction … southern intermediate direction … downward direction … upward direction be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety, and live happily. May all breathing things in the eastern direction … May all creatures in the eastern direction … May all persons in the eastern direction … May all who have a personality in the eastern direction … [etc.] … in the upward direction be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety, and live happily. May all women in the eastern direction … May all men in the eastern direction … May all Noble Ones in the eastern direction … May all not Noble Ones in the eastern direction … May all deities in the eastern direction … May all human beings in the eastern direction … May all those in states of loss in the eastern direction … [etc.] be free from enmity, affliction and anxiety, and live happily” (Paṭis II 131).

53. Herein, all signifies inclusion without exception. Beings (satta): they are held (satta), gripped (visatta) by desire and greed for the aggregates beginning with materiality, thus they are beings (satta). For this is said by the Blessed One: “Any desire for matter, Rādha, any greed for it, any delight in it, any craving for it, has held (satta) it, has gripped (visatta) it, that is why ‘a being’ (satta) is said” (S III 190). But in ordinary speech this term of common usage is applied also to those who are without greed, just as the term of common usage “palm fan” (tālavaṇṭa) is used for different sorts of fans [in general] even if made of split bamboo. However, [in the world] etymologists (akkhara-cintaka) who do not consider meaning have it that it is a mere name, while those who do consider meaning have it that a “being” (satta) is so called with reference to the “bright principle” (satta).[6]

54. Breathing things (pāṇa): so called because of their state of breathing (pāṇanatā); the meaning is, because their existence depends on in-breaths and out-breaths. Creatures (bhūta): so called because of being (bhūtatta = becomeness); the meaning is, because of their being fully become (sambhūtatta), because of their being generated (abhinibbattatta). Persons (puggala): “puṃ” is what hell is called; they fall (galanti) into that, is the meaning. Personality (attabhāva) is what the physical body is called; or it is just the pentad of aggregates, since it is actually only a concept derived from that pentad of aggregates[7] [What is referred to is] included (pariyāpanna) in that personality, thus it “has a personality” (attabhāvapariyāpanna). “Included in” is delimited by; “gone into” is the meaning.

55. And all the remaining [terms] should be understood as synonyms for “all beings” used in accordance with ordinary speech as in the case of the term “beings.” Of course, [311] there are other synonyms too for all “beings,” such as all “folks,” all “souls,” etc.; still it is for clarity’s sake that “The mind-deliverance of loving-kindness is [practiced] with unspecified pervasion in five ways” is said and that only these five are mentioned.

56. Those who would have it that there is not only a mere verbal difference between “beings,” “breathing things,” etc., but also an actual difference in meaning, are contradicted by the mention of unspecified pervasion. So instead of taking the meaning in that way, the unspecified pervasion with lovingkindness is done in any one of these five ways.

And here, may all beings be free from enmity is one absorption; free from affliction is one absorption—free from affliction (abyābajjha) is free from afflictedness (byābādha-rahita);[8] free from anxiety is one absorption—free from anxiety is free from suffering; may they live happily is one absorption. Consequently he should do his pervading with loving-kindness according to whichever of these phrases is clear to him. So with the four kinds of absorption in each of the five ways, there are twenty kinds of absorption in unspecified pervasion.

57. In specified pervasion, with the four kinds of absorption in each of the seven ways, there are twenty-eight kinds of absorption. And here “woman” and “man” are stated according to sex; “Noble Ones” and “not Noble Ones” according to Noble Ones and ordinary people; “deities” and “human beings” and “those in states of loss” according to the kind of rebirth.

58. In directional pervasion, with twenty kinds of absorption in each of the directions beginning with “all beings in the eastern direction,” there are two hundred kinds of absorption; and with twenty-eight kinds in each of the directions beginning with “all women in the eastern direction” there are two hundred and eighty kinds; so these make four hundred and eighty kinds of absorption. Consequently all the kinds of absorption mentioned in the Paṭisambhidā amount to five hundred and twenty-eight.

59. So when this meditator develops the mind-deliverance of loving-kindness through any one of these kinds of absorption, he obtains the eleven advantages described in the way beginning, “A man sleeps in comfort” (§37).

60. Herein, sleeps in comfort means that instead of sleeping uncomfortably, turning over and snoring as other people do, he sleeps comfortably, he falls asleep as though entering upon an attainment.

61. He wakes in comfort: instead of waking uncomfortably, groaning and yawning and turning over as others do, he wakes comfortably without contortions, like a lotus opening. [312]

62. He dreams no evil dreams: when he sees dreams, he sees only auspicious ones, as though he were worshipping a shrine, as though he were making an offering, as though he were hearing the Dhamma. But he does not see evil dreams as others do, as though being surrounded by bandits, as though being threatened by wild beasts, as though falling into chasms (see XIV, n. 45).

63. He is dear to human beings: he is as dear to and beloved by human beings as a necklace worn to hang on the chest, as a wreath adorning the head.

64. He is dear to non-human beings: he is just as dear to non-human beings as he is to human beings, as in the Elder Visākha’s case. He was a landowner, it seems, at Pāṭaliputta (Patna). While he was living there he heard this: “The Island of Tambapaṇṇi (Sri Lanka), apparently, is adorned with a diadem of shrines and gleams with the yellow cloth, and there a man can sit or lie wherever he likes; there the climate is favourable, the abodes are favourable, the people are favourable, the Dhamma to be heard is favourable, and all these favourable things are easily obtained there.”

65. He made over his fortune to his wife and children and left his home with only a single ducat (kahāpaṇa) sewn into the hem of his garment. He stopped for one month on the sea coast in expectation of a ship, and meanwhile by his skill in trading he made a thousand during the month by buying goods here and selling them there in lawful enterprise.

66. Eventually he came to the Great Monastery [(Mahāvihāra) at Anurādhapura], and there he asked for the going forth into homelessness. When he was being conducted to the chapter house (sīmā) for the going-forth ceremony, the purse containing the thousand pieces dropped out from under his belt. When asked “What is that?” he replied, “It is a thousand ducats, venerable sirs.” They told him, “Lay follower, it is not possible to distribute them after the going forth. Distribute them now.” Then he said, “Let none who have come to the scene of Visākha’s going forth depart empty-handed,” and opening [the purse] he strewed them over the chapter house yard, after which he received the going forth and the full admission.

67. When he had acquired five years’ seniority and had become familiar with the two Codes (Pātimokkha; see III.31) he celebrated the Pavāraṇā at the end of the Rains, took a meditation subject that suited him, and set out to wander, living for four months in each monastery and doing the duties on a basis of equality with the residents. While he was wandering in this way:

The elder halted in a wood
To scan the tenor of his way;
He thundered forth this roundelay
Proclaiming that he found it good:
So from your full-admission day
Till in this place you paused and stood
No stumbling mars your bhikkhuhood;
Be thankful for such grace, I say. [313]

68. On his way to Cittalapabbata he came to a road fork and stood wondering which turn to take. Then a deity living in a rock held out a hand pointing out the road to him.

69. He came to the Cittalapabbata Monastery. After he had stayed there for four months he lay down thinking, “In the morning I depart.” Then a deity living in a maṇila tree at the end of the walk sat down on a step of the stair and burst into tears. The elder asked, “Who is that?”—“It is I, Maṇiliyā, venerable sir.”—“What are you weeping for?”—“Because you are going away.”—“What good does my living here to you?”—“Venerable sir, as long as you live here nonhuman beings treat each other kindly. Now, when you are gone, they will start quarrels and loose talk.”[9] The elder said, “If my living here makes you live at peace, that is good,” and so he stayed there another four months. Then he again thought of leaving, but the deity wept as before. And so the elder lived on there, and it was there that he attained Nibbāna.

This is how a bhikkhu who abides in loving-kindness is dear to non-human beings.

70. Deities guard him: deities guard him as a mother and father guard their child.

71. Fire, poison and weapons do not affect him: they do not affect, do not enter into, the body of one who abides in loving-kindness, like the fire in the case of the lay woman devotee Uttarā (see XII.34 and Dhp-a III 310), like the poison in the case of the Saṃyutta reciter the Elder Cūḷa-Siva, like the knife in the case of the novice Saṅkicca (see Dhp-a II 249); they do not disturb the body, is what is meant.

72. And they tell the story of the cow here too. A cow was giving milk to her calf, it seems. A hunter, thinking “I shall shoot her,” flourished a long-handled spear in his hand and flung it. It struck her body and bounced off like a palm leaf—and that was owing neither to access nor to absorption, but simply to the strength of her consciousness of love for her calf. So mightily powerful is lovingkindness.

73. His mind is easily concentrated: the mind of one who abides in loving-kindness is quickly concentrated, there is no sluggishness about it. [314]

74. The expression of his face is serene: his face has a serene expression, like a palmyra fruit loosed from its stem.

75. He dies unconfused: there is no dying deluded for one who abides in lovingkindness. He passes away undeluded as if falling asleep.

76. If he penetrates no higher: if he is unable to reach higher than the attainment of loving-kindness and attain Arahantship, then when he falls from this life, he reappears in the Brahmā-world as one who wakes up from sleep.

This is the detailed explanation of the development of loving-kindness.

Footnotes and references:

[1]:

“‘Fighting against the wall’: having undertaken the precepts of virtue and sat down on a seat in his room with the door locked, he was developing loving-kindness. Blinded by lust arisen under cover of the loving-kindness, he wanted to go to his wife, and without noticing the door he beat on the wall in his desire to get out even by breaking the wall down” (Vism-mhṭ 286).

[2]:

Reading dāna-piyavacanādīni with Ce (see four saṅgahavatthūni—A II 32).

[3]:

The Aṅguttara text has “Let him … reappear in a state of loss” and so on.

[4]:

“The eight great hells beginning with that of Sañjīva (see J-a V 266, 270). At each of the four doors of the Great Unmitigated (Avīci) Hell there are the four beginning with the Ember (Kukuḷa) Hell (M III 185), which make up the sixteen prominent hells” (Vism-mhṭ 291).

[5]:

Saṅku-patha—“set on piles”: Vism-mhṭ (p. 294) says: “Saṅku laggāpetvā te ālambhitvā gamanamaggo saṅkupatho.” This disagrees with PED for this ref.

[6]:

Satta—“the bright principle”: Skr. sattva; one of the three principles in the Sāṅkhya system, the other two being rajas (Pali: rajo) or turbulence and tamas (Pali: tamo) or darkness. Not in PED.

[7]:

“Here when the aggregates are not fully understood, there is naming (abhidhāna) of them and of the consciousness of them as self (attā), that is to say, the physical body or alternatively the five aggregates. ‘Derived from’: apprehending, gripping, making a support. ‘Since it is actually a mere concept’: because of presence (sabbhāvato) as a mere concept in what is called a being, though in the highest sense the ‘being’ is nonexistent” (Vism-mhṭ 298). See also Ch. VIII, note 11.

[8]:

Harvard text reads byāpādarahita, which would be renderable as “free from ill will.” Vism-mhṭ (p. 299) supports a reading byābādha, which seems better.

[9]:

For duṭṭhulla see Ch. IV, note 36. Here the meaning is more likely to be “bad” or “lewd” than “inert.”

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