Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part II by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw

(32) How Simasambheda (an equal spread of metta) occurs

As stated in the foregoing, if anger which has arisen against an enemy, or rather, a hostile person, has subsided or been suppressed, feeling of metta or loving-kindness will also constantly occur in such a hostile person just as the feeling of metta occurs in respect of (1) an affectionate person worthy of respect and love, (2) a beloved person or a person on whom deep love is bestowed, (3) a neutral person who is neither dear nor hateful. At the same time while developing metta repeatedly, this loving-kindness shall be transmitted to all four kinds of persons, viz: his own self, the one whom he dearly loves, the neutral person, and the hostile person with his equally balanced mind put on each and every one of them by inculcating a spirit of goodwill, wishing them happiness. By so doing, it would amount to avoiding discrimination between different kinds of persons to whom goodwill is to be imparted equally wishing them happiness. This is called “Simasambheda” In other words, the line of demarcation drawn, or, the boundary marked out between different individuals should be erased.

The manner of cancelling out or nullifying the limit of differentiation between individuals is:

Let us say that a person who is developing metta together with the person who deserves love, i.e. one who is dear to him, the neutral person, and the enemy (a hostile person), all four of them, are living in the same place; and let’s assume that while living together as stated, a number of villains and thieves came over and asked the person developing metta with an ultimatum to hand over to them any one of the four, so as to enable them to offer him as a sacrifice to propitiate a god in the performance of a ritual. When demanded as such, if a wavering thought arises imagining as to which of the four persons should be offered, it will not yet amount to achievement of the quality of simasambheda. It is simply because it would be tantamount to discrimination or denying the interests of the person (victim), who is chosen to be taken away.

In reality, only if a feeling of loving-kindness occurs, spreading out metta equally on all four persons including himself, wishing each and every one to be happy, without wishing to hand over anyone of the four, then, it is said to have amounted to simasambheda. It means that no distinction has been made between himself and others. There will only be one sphere of activity which is confined solely to bringing about happiness, and this means that there is no such distinguishing limit (known as Sima), which is, in fact, cancelled out.