Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part IV

by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw

(64) Continuation of the Second Metta Sutta

“So – A person who contemplates Metta-jhana as anicca, etc., or rather, a person who has become an Anagami by contemplating metta-jhana, etc., as anicca and so on, kayassa bheda – from the time of the destruction of the material body, marana – from the time of death, param – subsequently, suddhavasanam devanam – (became) one of the inhabitants of the Abode of Suddhavasa Celestial Brahma, sahabyatam – having the same status or life existence of a Brahma, upapajjati – and accordingly will have his rebirth. The Buddha continued to say: “0, Bhikkhus ayam upapatti – to be reborn, or to reach this Abode of Suddhavasa, puthujjanehi – unlike the majority of worldlings, asadharana – is a peculiar and unrivalled attainment.”

In this regard, since it has been stated as reaching the Abode of Suddhavasa, it is also necessary to attain the Fourth jhana. By developing metta bhavana, only the Third jhana can be attained. As such, a question may arise as to how it could reach Suddhavasa Abode. It may be answered that after becoming an Anagami by contemplating metta-jhana, the Fourth jhana is achieved through upekkha bhavana. To achieve as such is not difficult for an Anagami. It is quite easy. Even a person, who has become an Anagami through Vipassana contemplation without the attainment of any jhana can easily achieve up to the Fourth jhana and reach the Abode of Suddhavasa. Hence, it should be understood that Suddhavasa Abode has been reached after attainment of the Fourth jhana through the exercise of upekkha bhavana.

In so far as an ordinary worldling is concerned, although he has attained metta-jhana and upekkha-jhana, he cannot possibly reach the Abode of Suddhavasa. That is why the existence or rebirth in Suddhavasa Abode is not connected with, or rather, beyond the reach of ordinary worldlings (Puthujjanas). Is it not true that Sotapannas and Sakadagamis cannot also be reborn in Suddhavasa Abode? Then the question may arise as to why it is not mentioned: that it does not concern Sotapannas and Sakadagamis. It is true that Sotapannas and Sakadagamis cannot be reborn in Suddhavasa. However, they can easily achieve Anagamiship and then, reach Suddhavasa. As such, it may be understood that it has been mentioned as, not connected with only ordinary worldlings who have no chance of becoming in Suddhavasa.

What has now been taught relates to the Second Metta Sutta as contained in Anguttara Nikaya, Fourth Nipata. In the First Metta Sutta, however, it is stated that if death takes place as an ordinary worldling after attainment of metta-Jhana, he will, by virtue of his achievement of jhana, be reborn in the abodes of First jhana, of Second jhana, of Third jhana and vehapphalo (the tenth Abode of Brahmaloka), and then, on expiry of the life-span in these abodes, he will be reverted to kamasugati after his death; and also there is every possibility of his descending to the Four Nether Worlds. However, in the case of a person who has become an Ariya he will become an Arahat in that Brahmaloka from where he will enter into Parinibbana. To be able to revere it, further elucidation will be made by reciting the meaning of the Pali phrase based on the method of Nissaya.