Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part III by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw

(47) How to develop Metta broadly, without limit

8. Mettanca sabbalokasamim,
manasam bhavaye aparimanam.
Uddham adho ca tiriyanca,
asambhadham averamasapattam.

To elaborate the manner of developing metta in an unlimited scope, uddham – in places higher-up or above, adho – in the lower region or places down below, tiriyam -in the opposite eight regions round about the Earth, [it is the meaning rendered in conformity with the expressions in the Pali Text as “Ekam disam pharitva iti uddhathadho tiriyam “, and in accordance with the exposition made in the Commentaries; and with the expression of the three words, the direction of the ten regions across the length and breadth of the universe, are pointed out. In the introductory portion of the Commentary of this Metta Sutta, the word ‘”uddham” indicates the arupabhava (formless existence); the word “adho ” indicates the kamabhava (sensual existence); and the word “tiriyam” indicates rupabhava (existence that has form)]. Sabbalokasamim – in all the Universe – in the whole world, aparimanam – unlimited or boundless, mettam Manama – feeling of metta – loving-kindness, bhavaye – be developed, etc.

The gist of it is to develop unlimited loving-kindness (metta) towards all beings in all ten regions as mentioned earlier, wishing all of them happiness. In developing and radiating metta as such, there is no limit in regard to the place or region and to the kind of beings present in all those places. It covers a very wide range. Next, there being no angry feeling against all living beings, one is free from internal dangers, and also, having no animosity or grudge against any kind of beings as an enemy, one is also free from external dangers. Let us again develop metta according to the desana. Please follow the recitation, and while reciting be mindful and contemplate and note the rupas and namas.

“May all those beings in the region higher-up be happy.” (Repeat three times)
“May all those beings in the lower region be happy.” (Repeat three times)
“May all those beings in the surrounding eight regions be happy.” (Repeat three times)

Uddham yava bhavagga ca,
adho yava avicito.
Samanta cakkavalesu,
ye satta pathavicara.
Avyapajjha nivera ca,
niddhukkha ca nupaddava.

This Pali verse which conveys metta, appears to have been composed based on the phrase – “‘Uddham adho ca tiriyanca”, as contained in the Metta Sutta. The meaning of it is:

Uddhdam – in the region above or higher up, yava bhavagga ca – up to the abode of nevasanna-nasannayatana (the Abode where there is neither consciousness nor unconsciousness called “bhavagga”, the highest of the Arupa Worlds), adho – in the lower region, yava avicito – down to Avici Hell, (the terms ‘highest bhavagga’ and the lowest ‘Avici’ are probably used on the presumption that the earth is a flat surface). [Since the present day scientists have held the view that the Earth, the World we live in, is round in shape and is revolving and that it rotates round the axis, the highest point and the lowest point which would coincide with the position where the two terminal points are, at the time metta is being developed, may be targeted.] Samanta cakkavalesu ca – in the surrounding universes including heavenly abodes and all that exist, pathavicara – those who live and wander on the surface of the earth, (according to the other verse, udakecara – those who live in water; and. then again, according to another verse – Akasecara – those who live and travel through the air in the open air space or sky; vesatta such beings – santi, do exist ). Te satta – these beings, avyapajjha – having a tendency to give trouble, be free from mental suffering called grief, nivera ca – be free from danger, niddhukkha ca – be free from bodily suffering, anupaddava ca – be free from (upaddayo) accident or misfortune which can bring about injury, hontu – may all be rid of these sufferings and dangers.

In the Pali verse stated above and in its definition, the term: “upaddava-upaddavo” means all kinds of accidents, mishap and dangers that may befall or happen unexpectedly. These are, of course, the unexpected dangers which may be caused by wicked persons, bandit, villains, or by carnivorous types, of animals and by serious illness or diseases.