SN V 46.54 Filled with Love

HeartDhamma

SN V 46.54 Filled with Love

Mettāsahagata Sutta

 

Once, 

The Awakened One was living with the Koliyans,

In a small Koliyan village named Haliddavasana.

 

Then, in the morning, 

Many monks took their bowls and robes 

And went to Haliddavasana for alms.

 

Then it occurred to those monks:

 

“It is very early to go for alms in Haliddavasana.

Perhaps we could visit the ashram of wanderers 

from a different teaching.”

 

Arriving there, the wanderers all gathered to greet them.

 

After having rejoiced and been welcomed, 

They sat down together.[1]

 

The wanderers of a different tradition asked:

 

[The Teaching of Gotama] #

 

[Wanderers]

“Friends, 

The Samaṇa Gotama teaches Dhamma to his followers saying:

 

‘Come monks, let go of the five hindrances,

The impurities of the mind 

            that impair [conscious] discernment, [2]

 

(1) Meditate with a heart filled with Love;

Suffusing one direction,

a second, a third, and a fourth.

 

Above, below and everywhere across.

To all that is, all living beings, 

In this boundless universe.

 

Meditate with a heart filled with Love,

Vast, expansive, measureless,

Free from anger and impatience. [3]

 

 

(2) Meditates with a heart filled with compassion;

Suffusing one direction,

a second, a third, and a fourth.

 

Above, below and everywhere across.

To all that is, all living beings, 

In this boundless universe.

 

Meditate with a heart filled with compassion,

Vast, expansive, measureless,

Free from anger and impatience.

 

 

(3) Meditates with a heart filled with joy;

Suffusing one direction,

a second, a third, and a fourth.

 

Above, below and everywhere across.

To all that is, all living beings, 

In this boundless universe.

 

Meditate with a heart filled with joy,

Vast, expansive, measureless,

Free from anger and impatience.

 

 

(4) Meditates with a heart filled with calm;

Suffusing one direction,

a second, a third, and a fourth.

 

Above, below and everywhere across.

To all that is, all living beings, 

In this boundless universe.

 

Meditate with a heart filled with calm,

Vast, expansive, measureless,

Free from anger and impatience.

 

[Claiming the Same Practice] #

 

[Wanderers]

We also friends, teach our students in this way saying:

 

‘Come monks, let go of the five hindrances,

The impurities of the mind that impair [conscious] discernment,

 

(1) Meditates with a heart filled with Love…

(2) Meditates with a heart filled with compassion…

(3) Meditates with a heart filled with joy…

(4) Meditates with a heart filled with calm;

Suffusing one direction,

a second, a third, and a fourth.

 

Above, below and everywhere across.

To all that is, all living beings, 

In this boundless universe.

 

Meditate with a heart filled with Love,

Vast, expansive, measureless,

Free from anger and impatience.

 

 

“Here friends, there is no difference, no distinction,

between other samaṇas and the Gotama’s discourses,

teachings and instructions.”[4]

 

 

When this was said, the monks neither rejoiced nor reproved.[5]

They stood up and left thinking:

 

‘We shall learn the proper answer for this 

in the presence of the Buddha.’

 

Then, the monks went to Haliddavasana for alms.

 

Later in the afternoon, 

After alms round,

They went to the Awakened One,

Paid loving respects, 

Sat down in front of him and said:

 

[Asking the Buddha] #

 

[Monks]

“Here Bhante… [all that had occurred]

 

 

[The Buddha]

“Monks, when this is said by wanderers of other traditions, 

you should ask them:

 

‘How is the liberation of the heart by Love developed?

Where does it lead to? [6]

What is its limit? [7]

What is its fruit?

What is its culmination? [8]

 

How is the liberation of the heart by Compassion developed?

Where does it lead to?

What is its limit?

What is its fruit?

What is its culmination?

 

How is the liberation of the heart by Joy developed?

Where does it lead to?

What is its limit?

What is its fruit?

What is its culmination?

 

How is the liberation of the heart by Calm developed?

Where does it lead to?

What is its limit?

What is its fruit?

What is its culmination?’

 

“Asked in this way monks,

Practitioners from other teachings will be unable to proceed further

And they will [most likely] be at a loss. [9]

 

Why?

 

Because monks, it is not their field, [not their domain]. [10]

 

“Monks, I see nobody in this world

of Devas and Māras and Brahmas,

of samaṇas and Brāhmaṇas

this era of kings and people,

Who could satisfy a person’s mind by answering this,

Other than the Truth-Finder 

or one of his disciples 

or one who has heard it from them.” [11]

 

[1. Radiant Love] #

 

How is the liberation of the heart by Love developed?

 

Where does it lead to?

What is its limit?

What is its fruit?

What is its culmination?

 

Here monks, 

(1) One develops the awakening support of awareness, 

filled with Love;[12]

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.[13]

 

(2) One develops the awakening support of discernment, 

filled with Love

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(3) One develops the awakening support of inspiration, 

filled with Love;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(4) One develops the awakening support of joy, 

filled with Love;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(5) One develops the awakening support of calm, 

filled with Love;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(6) One develops the awakening support of mental collectedness, 

filled with Love;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(7) One develops the awakening support of steadiness of mind, 

filled with Love;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

[Balance of Mind] #

 

[One trains:] [14]

 ‘Let me live, unattached [15] to what is favorable. [16]

One then lives, unattached to that. [17]

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, accepting what is unfavorable. [18]

One then lives, accepting that. [19]

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, unattached to both favorable and unfavorable.’

One then lives, unattached to that.[20]

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, accepting both favorable and unfavorable.’

One then lives, accepting to that.[21]

 

[One trains:]

‘Having discarded both the favorable and unfavorable, 

Let me live, calm, present and fully conscious.

Calm, one then meditates, present and fully conscious.[22]

 

One meditates, having arrived at the liberation of the beautiful.[23]

 

Monks, I say that the liberation of the heart by Love 

has the beautiful as its limit.

 

Here for a wise monk who has not discerned a higher liberation.[24]

 

[2. Radiant Compassion] #

 

How is the liberation of the heart by compassion developed?

 

Where does it lead to?

What is its limit?

What is its fruit?

What is its culmination?

 

Here monks, 

(1) One develops the awakening support of awareness, 

filled with Compassion;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(2) One develops the awakening support of discernment, 

filled with Compassion;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(3) One develops the awakening support of inspiration, 

filled with Compassion;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(4) One develops the awakening support of joy, 

filled with Compassion;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(5) One develops the awakening support of calm, 

filled with Compassion;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(6) One develops the awakening support of mental collectedness, 

filled with Compassion;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(7) One develops the awakening support of steadiness of mind, 

filled with Compassion;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

[Balance of Mind] #

 

[One trains:]

 ‘Let me live, unattached to what is favorable.

One then lives, unattached to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, accepting what is unfavorable.

One then lives, accepting that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, unattached to both favorable and unfavorable.’

One then lives, unattached to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, accepting both favorable and unfavorable.’

One then lives, accepting to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Having discarded both the favorable and unfavorable, 

Let me live, calm, present and fully conscious.

Calm, one then meditates, present and fully conscious.

 

Having entirely gone beyond all perception of form,

With the awareness of sensory impact fading away,

Turning away from the awareness plurality,

Knowing: ‘There is Endless Space’

One understands and abides in the plane of endless space.

 

Monks, I say that the liberation of the heart by Compassion 

has the plane of endless spaciousness as its limit.[25]

 

Here for a wise monk who has not discerned a higher liberation.

 

[3. Radiant Joy] #

 

How is the liberation of the heart by Joy developed?

 

Where does it lead to?

What is its limit?

What is its fruit?

What is its culmination?

 

Here monks, 

(1) One develops the awakening support of awareness, 

filled with Joy;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(2) One develops the awakening support of discernment, 

filled with Joy;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(3) One develops the awakening support of inspiration, 

filled with Joy;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(4) One develops the awakening support of joy, 

filled with Joy;

 

Rooted in letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(5) One develops the awakening support of calm, 

filled with Joy;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(6) One develops the awakening support of mental collectedness, 

filled with Joy;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(7) One develops the awakening support of steadiness of mind, 

filled with Joy;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

[Balance of Mind] #

 

[One trains:]

 ‘Let me live, unattached to what is favorable.

One then lives, unattached to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, accepting what is unfavorable.

One then lives, accepting that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, unattached to both favorable and unfavorable.’

One then lives, unattached to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, accepting both favorable and unfavorable.’

One then lives, accepting to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Having discarded both the favorable and unfavorable, 

Let me live, calm, present and fully conscious.

Calm, one then meditates, present and fully conscious.

 

Having gone entirely beyond the plane of endless space,

Knowing: ‘There is Endless Consciousness’

one understands and abides in the plane of Endless Consciousness.

 

Monks, I say that the liberation of the heart by Joy

has the plane of endless consciousness as its limit.[26]

 

Here for a wise monk who has not discerned a higher liberation.

 

[4. Radiant Calm] #

 

How is the liberation of the heart by calm developed?

 

Where does it lead to?

What is its limit?

What is its fruit?

What is its culmination?

 

Here monks,

(1) One develops the awakening support of awareness, 

filled with Calm;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(2) One develops the awakening support of discernment, 

filled with Calm;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(3) One develops the awakening support of inspiration, 

filled with Calm;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(4) One develops the awakening support of joy, 

filled with Calm;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(5) One develops the awakening support of calm, 

filled with Calm;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(6) One develops the awakening support of mental collectedness, 

filled with Calm;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

(7) One develops the awakening support of steadiness of mind, 

filled with Calm;

 

Supported by letting go,

Calming down, 

Release,

Culminating in relaxation.

 

[Balance of Mind] #

 

[One trains:]

 ‘Let me live, unattached to what is favorable.

One then lives, unattached to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, accepting what is unfavorable.

One then lives, accepting that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, unattached to both favorable and unfavorable.’

One then lives, unattached to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Let me live, accepting both favorable and unfavorable.’

One then lives, accepting to that.

 

[One trains:]

‘Having discarded both the favorable and unfavorable, 

Let me live, calm, present and fully conscious.

Calm, one then meditates, present and fully conscious.

 

Having gone entirely beyond the plane of endless space,

Aware of nothing [in particular] [27]

One understands and abides 

in the plane of bare awareness.

 

Monks, I say that the liberation of the heart by calm 

has the plane of bare awareness as its limit.[28]

 

Here for a wise monk who has not discerned a higher liberation.

 

 


[1] Sammodanīyaṃ kathaṃ sāraṇīyaṃ vītisāretvā ekamantaṃ nisīdiṃsu.

[2]   ‘etha tumhe, bhikkhave, pañca nīvaraṇe pahāya cetaso upakkilese paññāya dubbalīkaraṇe  

[3] mettāsahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharatha, tathā dutiyaṃ, tathā tatiyaṃ, tathā catutthaṃ; iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ mettāsahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjena pharitvā viharatha.

[4] Idha no, āvuso, ko viseso, ko adhippayāso, kiṃ nānākaraṇaṃ samaṇassa vā gotamassa amhākaṃ vā, yadidaṃ—dhammadesanāya vā dhammadesanaṃ, anusāsaniyā vā anusāsanin”ti

[5] Atha kho te bhikkhū tesaṃ aññatitthiyānaṃ paribbājakānaṃ bhāsitaṃ neva abhinandiṃsu nappaṭikkosiṃsu.

[6] Gatika (adj.) 1. going to, staying with, in bhikkhu° a person living with the bhikkhus. — 2. leading to: yaṁ° what they lead to. — 3. having a certain gati, leading to one of the four kinds of rebirth:

[7] Parama (adj.) [Vedic parama; superl. formation of para, lit. “farthest,” cp. similarly, although fr. diff. base, Lat. prīmus] highest, most excellent, superior, best;

[8] Evaṃvādino, bhikkhave, aññatitthiyā paribbājakā evamassu vacanīyā 

‘kathaṃ bhāvitā panāvuso, mettācetovimutti, kiṅgatikā hoti, kiṃparamā, kiṃphalā, kiṃpariyosānā Pariyosāna (nt.) [pari+osāna of ava+sā] 1. end, finish, conclusion

[9] Evaṃ puṭṭhā, bhikkhave, aññatitthiyā paribbājakā na ceva sampāyissanti,   uttariñca vighātaṃ āpajjissanti.

[10] Yathā taṃ, bhikkhave, avisayasmiṃ. Visaya [cp. Sk. viśaya, fr. vi+śī] 1. locality, spot, region; world, realm, province, neighbourhood

[11] Nāhaṃ taṃ, bhikkhave, passāmi sadevake loke samārake sabrahmake sassamaṇabrāhmaṇiyā pajāya sadevamanussāya, yo imesaṃ pañhānaṃ veyyākaraṇena cittaṃ ārādheyya, aññatra tathāgatena vā tathāgatasāvakena vā ito vā pana sutvā.

[12] Mettāsahagataṃ satisambojjhaṅgaṃ bhāveti,

[13] Vivekanissitaṃ virāganissitaṃ nirodhanissitaṃ vossaggapariṇāmiṃ.

[14] For a more complete explanation of cultivating balance of mind through detachment and accepting, see AN V 144 Tikaṇḍakī Sutta – Purpose of Unattractiveness

[15] Paṭikkūla (adj.) [paṭi+kūla] lit. against the slope; averse, objectionable, contrary, disagreeable. — app° without objection, pleasant, agreeable. — nt. °ṁ loathsomeness, impurity -saññā (āhāre) the consciousness of the impurity of material food. Paṭikulyatā (f.) [fr. paṭikūla, perhaps better to write patikkulyatā] reluctance, loathsomeness. Note: I find using the words ‘repulsive’ and ‘unrepulsive’ to remain exactly within the Buddha’s skillful play on words in Pāḷi here, create problems in present cultural context, and to contemporary minds. Therefore, I choose another road which leaves behind the word play but, in my understanding, remains more truthful to the idea behind the words.

[16] Not welcoming the attractive. This can also be interpreted as being unattracted to the attractive: the attractive here may be meant as sensory gratification (Kāma) and unattraction as letting go or detachment (Viveka), which equates to another way of explaining the first jhāna.

[17] So sace ākaṅkhati ‘appaṭikūle paṭikūlasaññī vihareyyan’ti, paṭikūlasaññī tattha viharati.

[18] Welcoming the unattractive. This can also be interpreted as accepting disturbances and distractions (Vivicceva akusalehi dhammehi) which could equate to another way of describing the second aspect of the first jhāna. Leaning towards the calm steadiness of mind of the second, third and fourth jhānas. 

[19] ‘paṭikūle appaṭikūlasaññī vihareyyan’ti, appaṭikūlasaññī tattha viharati.

[20] ‘appaṭikūle ca paṭikūle ca paṭikūlasaññī vihareyyan’ti, paṭikūlasaññī tattha viharati.

[21] ‘paṭikūle ca appaṭikūle ca appaṭikūlasaññī vihareyyan’ti, appaṭikūlasaññī tattha viharati.

[22] ‘Appaṭikūlañca paṭikūlañca tadubhayaṃ abhinivajjetvā upekkhako vihareyyaṃ sato sampajāno’ti, upekkhako ca tattha viharati sato sampajāno. Here the Buddha interestingly explains a four-steps process (Another outlook on the four jhānas?) on cultivating detachment from the pleasant and accepting the unpleasant which seems to build a similar equanimity, in phrasing and meaning, to the third and fourth jhānas. One might wonder why joy is not particularly mentioned here in this process, and emphasis is strong on cultivating mental steadiness. To understand this, we need to remember that Love, compassion and joy, are very uplifted, happy states. They naturally come with a special kind of wholesome joy within them. Though, practicing the brahmaviharas, if meditators leave the ‘universal’ aspect of the Love, compassion or joy, they might find themselves creating attachments around them, that is very likely the reason why the Buddha here puts emphasis on remaing balanced in might, unaffected by external experiences while practicing the Divine Abidings.

[23] Subhaṃ vā kho pana vimokkhaṃ upasampajja viharati. Subha (adj.) [Vedic śubhas fr. subh; cp. sobhati] shining, bright, beautiful; auspicious, lucky, pleasant; good (nt.) welfare, good, pleasantness, cleanliness, beauty, pleasure. Subhaṃ: “The Beautiful” Sometimes is used by the Buddha to denote an equivalent state to the 4th jhāna. Most translators have been using the ‘attractive’ term ‘The Beautiful’ but this has also given rise to much questioning. Subha does not exclusively mean ‘beautiful’. It can also mean ‘The pleasant’ which is then very close to the definition of the ‘steady awareness’ described by the Ariyas as a ‘pleasant abiding’ of the third jhāna and beyond. (Yaṃ taṃ ariyā ācikkhanti: ‘upekkhako satimā sukhavihārī’ti) The Beautiful is this ‘pleasant abiding of the Ariyas’. See SN II 14.11 Sattadhātu Sutta – Seven Elements https://www.heartdhamma.love/connected-discourses/ MN 137, AN VIII 66 Vimokkha Sutta, DN 16 Mahānidāna Sutta.

[24] Subhaparamāhaṃ, bhikkhave, mettācetovimuttiṃ vadāmi, idhapaññassa bhikkhuno uttarivimuttiṃ appaṭivijjhato.

[25] Ākāsānañcāyatanaparamāhaṃ, bhikkhave, karuṇācetovimuttiṃ vadāmi,

[26] Viññāṇañcāyatanaparamāhaṃ, bhikkhave, muditācetovimuttiṃ vadāmi,

[27] Kiñcana (adj. – nt.) [kiṁ+cana, equal to kiṁ+ci, indef. pron.] only in neg. sentences: something, anything. 

[28] Ākiñcaññāyatanaparamāhaṃ, bhikkhave, upekkhācetovimuttiṃ vadāmi,

 

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