Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part I, by Ven, Mahasi Sayadaw

(6) Weighing up the Pros and Cons

After taking up the cross-legged posture, the faults of anger or malice and the advantages of patience should be imagined and reflected upon. If these have been already reflected upon earlier, it would be quite sufficient. This has been accordingly instructed in as much as benefits will be accrued by reflection. It is not extremely important though. If meditated with intense faith and enthusiasm, beneficial results would be derived. Nonetheless, if one is going to undertake any kind of work or business, there may be things which are to be reflected upon or fulfilled. Rejection can be made only when one sees the fault. For example, take the case of a person sweeping and cleaning a room in a house or a monastery, with a broomstick. He would pick up and throw away scraps of paper, cloth or broken pieces of stick if they are considered by him as mere trash or worthless stuff to be discarded. If such trash or waste matter are kept or put aside in this or that place inside the room, the room cannot possibly be free from rubbish. In the same way, if the fault of anger is not perceived, one is likely to accept that ‘anger’ without rejecting it. There is every possibility that such a state of affairs or condition would prevail.

For instance, nowadays people who bear grudge against someone or have grievance against others for having done something wrong to their detriment, may be said to have been harbouring the anger or malice. An aggrieved person who has so become angry, may feel bad or sour even if others would appease his anger by comforting him with nice words. And then, he might even consider it pleasurable to entertain this blooming anger, or even become infuriated or flared up when someone tries to sober him down. Moreover, it is likely that he would even blame others for bossing him. This resembles a person who keeps a venomous viper in his pouch tucked up at his waist accepting the anger not realising the disastrous consequence or the fault of it. Hence, to be able to reject the anger, one should reflect upon the faulty nature of this anger or the spiteful feeling. The manner of reflection to be done according to the texts of Dhamma, has been shown as follows: At one time, on being asked by a wandering ascetic, Paribbajako, by the name of Channa, as: “For what kind of fault that is inherent or apparent in raga, dosa and moha, has it been preached and prescribed for rejection, or rather, to get rid of them?”, the Venerable Ashin Ananda Thera gave the reply as stated hereinafter.