Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part II by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw

(40) Ordinary way of developing Metta

 Sabbe satta – May all kinds of being, sukhino va – be happy, and (the usage of the word “ca” instead of “va’, would be more appropriate, and hence, it is construed as “ca” instead of “va”). Khemino va – may be free from danger, hontu – as they may wish to become. Sukhitatta – both physical and mental happiness, bhavantu – may take place.

In this regard, the word “sukhino” should be interpreted in a grammatical sense. Hence, it is to develop metta either mentally or verbally by reciting as: “May all beings be happy and free from danger.” In the expression “sukhitatta”, the word “sukhita” means: “to have happiness”, according to the rule of grammar. “Atta” conveys the meaning of either “mind” or “body”. If it is said to be “body”, it can be taken to mean both material rupa and nama. Grammatically, it means: “To have both body and mind accomplished with happiness.” It would therefore mean: “being happy both physically and mentally”. As such, according to the said ‘ expression, metta can be developed by reciting: “May all beings be happy both in body and mind, or rather, physically and mentally. Let us then develop metta by recitation. Let’s recite:

“May all beings be happy, be free from danger and be happy both in body and mind.”

(Repeat three times)

When developing metta by reciting as stated, every time recitation is made, the mind which is inclined to recite, occurs afresh repeatedly, and then dissolves. The thought which is to be borne in mind as “May be happy” with a feeling of loving-kindness, also vanishes repeatedly. The physical behaviour and the voice which utters also occur afresh again and again. This rupa and nama that dissolve repeatedly and immediately after occurrence, should be contemplated every time recitation is made and at every moment thought arises. This manner of contemplation is Vipassana Khayato vayato sammasitva, i.e. it can be achieved up to the stage of Arahatta-phala after observing and contemplating that it has ceased and disappeared. This is clearly stated in the Commentaries. Such being the case, immediately after recitation has been done, both the thought which is borne in mind, or rather, the mind that is conceived and the utterance or recitation made, should be contemplated together. Let us contemplate while reciting.

“May all being be happy, etc., etc.”

(Repeat three times)

Iinstructions have been given by the two verses (gatha) as to how metta should be developed by distinguishing the beings into two or three categories.