Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part II by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw

(35) Preliminary Gatha (Verse) of the Metta Sutta


          Yassa nubhavato yakkha,

          neva dassanti bhisanam.

          Yamhi cevanuyunjanto,

          rattindiva matandito.


          Sukham supati sutto ca,

          papam kinci na passati.


          parittam tam bhanama he.

(a) He – Oh, noble personages, yassa – In regard to this Metta Sutta Paritta, anubhavato – because of its supernatural powers or efficacy, yakkha – the guardian angels of the trees (will refrain from displaying), bhisanam – the dreadful or horrible sensations, (and) neva dassanti, i.e. will not make them manifested. Ca – Besides, yahmi eva – if this Metta Sutta (were recited), rattindivam – both day and night, atandito – without laziness or indolence, anuyunjanto -one who is devoting oneself to the recitation of this Sutta.

(b) Sukham – will have a happy or comfortable, supati -sleep. Sutta ca – while sleeping too, kinci papam – not a single bad or hideous dream, passati – will come into his sleeping vision. Evamadigunupetam – (being) accomplished or endowed with such advantages and noble attributes, tam parittam this Metta Sutta Paritta or hymn (be recited), mayam by us, bhanama – (and) we shall now begin ‘ to recite. In other words, “tam bhanama he” i.e. Therefore, we shall recite this Metta Sutta.

These two stanzas or verses are the preliminary hymns of praise composed by the Sayadaws – teachers of the ancient times, and are handed down to us by tradition. These are expressed in verses to be uttered or recited in the form of a universal benediction with a rhythm simultaneously, by those individuals who will do the recitation.

The prologue to this Sutta also contains words of praise eulogising its noble attributes. Moreover, this eulogy serves as an introduction to the Sutta indicating that by virtue of the attributes of this noble Sutta, the guardian Devas of the trees will neither make a display of horrible sensational scenes nor strike terror into the hearts of the people. How it had once happened may be explained as follows: