Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part II by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw

(45) Manner of developing Metta so as to be free from unmerited misery

6. Na paro param nikubbetha,
natimannetha katthaci na kincl.
Vyarosana patighasanna,
nannamannassa dukkhamiccheyya.

6. Paro – one other person, param – against another, na nikubbetha – should not cheat or practise deception, nay, may escape from becoming a victim of fraud. In commercial or business affairs, fraudulent dealings or deception may take place. In religious affairs, deception is also practised. In the matter of making a business deal, criminal deception done is by way of deceiving the buyer by the seller in his transaction by the use of a false weight less than the correct weight by placing it on scales or weighing-machine, or, by using a measuring cup or vessel which holds less in quantity of goods or commodities in. relation to a standard container, vessel or receptacle. This kind of trick being fairly common is well-known to the majority of the people. Another thing is found in the sale of articles made of gold or silver, and gold or silver ingots, which are imitations or spurious, i.e. not genuine. This is also not uncommon. Sometimes, a cheat may pose himself as an honest man. At one time during the anniversary of a puja celebration held in this Meditation centre, it so happened that a cheat visited a group of Shan people and played a deception on them. It was disclosed that after the cheat had seen bundles of currency notes in the hands of those Shan people, he persuaded them that if those currency notes were exchanged, they would get more money. Believing his words, some of them who were rather greedy, entrusted the cheat with their currency notes. The cheat, after promising them that he would bring back more money than what was originally worth, took away the money.

Some deceived others into believing that they would turn the original weight of gold into a greater amount. Credulous persons with greed wishing to receive more gold, handed over the gold in trust to the cheat. Not long afterwards, this cheat had disappeared never to return to them again. This is another kind of deceit. Then also, some offered charms or rather, magic trinkets to be worn so as to supposedly bring good luck and fortune to the one who wears it. Such kinds of deception should make one reflect as to whether it is believable or not. There are quite a variety of deceptive practices in connection with business dealings.

In matters relating to religion, deceptive practices are in plenty. To preach false doctrines ostensibly as truth, would cause to bring disadvantages to others who have accepted such heresy. During the lifetime of Lord Buddha, an ascetic called Punna who was practising austerities like an ox and another by the name of Seniya who was practising like a dog, called on the Buddha and asked what advantages could be derived from indulgences of such practices. The Enlightened One prevented them twice from putting up this problematic question. On being asked for the third time, the Buddha gave the answer as below:

“A person who indulges in the practice like an ox or rather a bullock to the full, will become an ox after his demise. So also, a person who has fully practised like a dog, will be reborn a dog in the next existence. If the practices performed are incomplete and not fully accomplished, it would amount to practising deception under a false pretence, and the person who thus practises for having accepted the heretical views, would either descend to the Nether World (hell) or become an animal after his death.”

Having heard the Buddha’s reply, Punna and Seniya wept bitterly. They wept because after becoming victims of fraud, they had gone through such ignoble and false practices for a considerable length of time, believing their teacher’s deceitful words that by practising either as an ox or a dog, they would reach an existence in life hereafter where happy conditions prevail.

Another instance is that one Talaputa, an instructor by profession in the art of dancing, reverentially asked the Buddha, “My Lord! I have heard what other teachers in succession have said that a dancer being capable of giving delight and pleasure to the public, will, in his next existence, become a jovial or clownish Deva called “pahasa” in another planet. What then is your Lordship’s Teaching in regard to this matter?” Buddha twice rejected this question; but when the same question was raised for the third time, the Enlightened One gave a categorical reply as: “From the very outset, the dancer for having entertained with his performances to the delight of the audience who are as yet unliberated from the evils of greed (loba), anger (dosa) and delusion (moha) has caused to develop the ills of greed, anger and delusion. Hence, in the next existence after his demise, it is very likely that he would relegate to hell, called “pahasa” By firmly holding a false and bigoted view that if by performing the dances, he would become a Deva in his future existence, he will probably land either in hell or become an animal.”

Hearing this statement, Talaputa, the chief Dance Instructor began to cry because he had been deceived by his teachers all throughout a long period of time that “by staging dancing performances before an ‘ audience to make them happy and pleasurable, one will become a ‘pahasa’ Deva “

Moreover, there are similar instances of this kind of deception. At the present time, a number of preachings are being done, which run counter to the noble wish of the Enlightened One, on an erroneous assumption of the Buddha’s Dhamma. Although Buddha has precisely preached without any ambiguity that “all akusala – demeritorious acts – should be avoided, all kusala – virtuous deeds should be performed, practical exercise should be made for the achievement of sila, samadhi and panna. Samatha and Vipassana meditation should invariably be practised, the Eight-fold maggangas should be developed”, preaching contrary to the Buddha’s Noble Teachings are being delivered. Such false preachings made are in the manner described below.

‘Akusala-kilesa means impermanence (anicca). As such, for not being permanently present, no rejection is required to be done. To make effort for the purpose of killing is more difficult than to refrain from killing others. It is suffering according to the desana which says sabbe sankhara dukkha if meritorious deeds are performed or if sila, samadhi and panna practices are exercised; and if bhavana, practical meditation is resorted to. Preachings are also done that it would amount, to practising asceticism and that all forms of severe exercises causing physical hardship are miserable. They go on preaching further that simply by retiring or remaining in seclusion at peace without putting in any effort in the practice of meditation, happiness is gained, etc.” Such kind of nonsensical talks are obviously contrary to the Buddha’s Teachings. Such being the case, it is quite certain that those who have accepted this wrong faith with a false belief in those perversities which are diametrically opposite to the Noble Teachings of the Buddha, will have been developing akusala – unwholesome acts – without gaining merits. Eventually, without anything to be relied upon, these people. are likely to become unhappy through their own personal experience when confronted with misery and suffering, at one time or the other, since evil kamma or akusala will predominate over kusala which has ceased to function, for being subjected to fraud.

As stated in the foregoing, a person who has been deceived will suffer badly either from the point of view of his business deal or of religion. It will however be more disastrous if he is defrauded in religious matters. Therefore, Buddha has instructed to develop metta as: “May be free from deception” either in dealing with business or religious affairs. Let us recite according to that instruction.

“May one be able to refrain himself from cheating the other person and also escape from becoming a victim of fraud.” (Repeat three times)

The next phrase is: “katthaci” – at any place or anywhere whether in a town or a village or in a public place, kinci – any one person, nam – as against another person, na atimannetha – may not disregard or slight, nay, may be free from becoming discourteous to or ignoring the other. If the other person is slighted or ignored by one with egoism, it would be sinful to the person who slights or ignores. This kind of attitude will have an adverse effect on him at one time or the other. A person who is slighted will feel bad and very much depressed. , Some of the senior officers may ignore or slight an outsider or even a junior ‘ officer if that person calls on him on duty. Some of the Maha Theras are likely to neglect or ignore the junior monks. Those who are thus slighted or neglected may feel extremely unhappy. There is hardly any doubt that the person who slights the other has no loving-kindness towards the other for having failed to put himself in another’s shoes. That is probably the reason why Buddha has given instructions to develop metta whereby the occurrence of miserable feelings in both parties will be prevented. If cordial relationship were established. between the two parties without slighting one another, the whole world would be a very congenial place for everybody to live in. Please follow the recitation in developing metta according to the given instructions.

“May not one fail in courtesy or respect to any other person.”
“May one be free from thoughts to slight the other and be friendly towards others.”

The next expression is: Vyarosana-vyarosanaya – by causing bodily harm, and by threatening the other verbally and by ill-treating, patighasanna-patighasannaya – and with a feeling of anger, annamannassa – mutually towards each other, dukkham – misery, na iceheyya – may not occur and be desirable, nay, may not be longed for.

If one person physically assaults the other or, abuses or incites the other to do harm and cause injury, or is plotting to cruelly ill-treat the other, such a person will have committed a vice. In future, when circumstances become unfavourable, he will meet with various kinds of suffering for that akusala, bad deeds, he has committed. The person who is subjected to ill-treatment, of course, presently suffers. It has, therefore, been instructed to develop metta towards others to be free from such miseries by avoidance of the said misdeeds. To develop metta according to that instruction, let us recite as follows:

“May one be free from ill-will to cause misery to the other by making an assault physically.”
“May one be free from ill-will to cause misery to the other by word of mouth.”
“May one be free from ill-will to cause misery to the other by evil thoughts.”
“May one be free from ill-will to cause misery to the other by his physical action, speech and thoughts.”

When developing metta in the above manner, it is not just to recite perfunctorily. One must be really sincere and have profound loving-kindness towards the other wishing him or her happiness at the same time. This is illustrated in the following example.