Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part III by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw

(56) U Ba Htu’s Metta

A man by the name of U Ba Htu was a lover of animals and had a deep compassion for them. Particularly, his sympathy went more for dogs. He used to look after the dogs and feed them well. On certain days which he had fixed earlier, he visited the dogs in the precincts of Kyaikkasan Pagoda, cooked the meals and fed them. Whenever he came over to that place, the dogs were said to have greeted him warmly.

At one time, U Ba Htu and his companions went on a pilgrimage to worship Kaylasa and Myathabeik Pagodas situated near a place called Taungzun in Kyaiktho Township. I had also been to these places and had spent about three nights there. I also went round for alms in the villages at the foot of the famous Kaylatha Hill. Dogs in these villages were noted for their ferocity, they use to attack and bite the strangers as a pack. If a person is going to visit a shrine up on the hill, he has to pass through a village at the foot of the hill. When a party of pilgrims led by U Ba Htu passed through the village, a pack of dogs came running towards U Ba Htu. The villagers who were then watching them with anxiety took it for granted that the dogs would attack U Ba Htu. To their great astonishment, however, these dogs approached U Ba Htu and greeted him by putting their forefeet up with love and affection as if U Ba Htu was their beloved master. It is therefore to be surmised that this had so happened because of love and compassion that was bestowed upon dogs.

(5) Devas also give their love, (6) 1 have spoken about protection given by the Devas, (7) Relating to the incidents of invulnerability from fire, poison and lethal weapons, etc., mention has been made about the miraculous escape from injury which could have been brought about by the burning butter-oil. Immunity from poison as described in the story of Culasiva Thera has been only mentioned in brief. Invulnerability against weapons like a sword in the case of Samkicca Samanera has been cited in passing and a brief story of a cow unharmed by the stroke of a spear has been stated as shown in the Commentaries. I would therefore like to add here other stories such as Samavati Vatthu, etc., as had been illustrated in other Commentaries.