Brahmavihara Dhamma

Part VII by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw

(91) Proximity of Upekkha

In describing the close proximity of the said upekkha satta – beings, kammassaka – have only kamma (cause and effect of their own actions) as their sole property. Te – These beings having their own individual kamma, kassa – by whose, ruciya – expressed wish or desire, sukhita va”- will happiness, bhavissanti – be derived? (Although metta – loving-kindness, may be developed and radiated towards a person as “May be happy”, there is no likelihood of that other person becoming happy as desired by the person who radiates metta. It means that a man’s fate is ineluctable according to his own kamma.) Dukkhato va – How could he escape from misery and suffering? (It is not likely that misery and suffering will be removed or wiped off as desired by a person who develops karuna That is to say, things will happen according to his own kamma.) Pattasampattito vii – How could his wealth that has been acquired, na pariharissanti – remain undiminished? (There is no likelihood of the wealth that has. been derived remaining intact without being diminished. This means that kamma is his own property and he will invariably be subjected to his own kamma.) Iti – For these reasons, pavattakammassa kata dassana – the result of (please connect it with ‘seeing’) kamma which is seen as actually his own property is the cause of close proximity, as expounded in the Visuddhimagga (p. 311-2).

This statement in brief conveys the meaning that knowledge which realises with satisfaction that only kamma is one’s own property or possessions, is the nearest or proximate cause for the development of upekkha-bhavana. In this regards, there is one thing which calls for consideration. This is in developing metta, karuna and mudita – is it not true that one has to develop with a feeling of metta (loving-kindness) to cause happiness to others, or, with a feeling of karuna (compassion) to cause one to be liberated from misery, or with a feeling of mudita (rejoicing) to cause one to retain his wealth which have come into his possession without being diminished? However, in describing the manner of realising and knowing by the expression “kammassakata”, it is stated that things will not happen according to the wish of a person who is developing metta, etc., and that it happens according to one’s own kamma. If so, there is room to think and a question may arise as to whether it would amount to saying that there is no beneficial result by letting metta to be developed or rather, by developing metta etc.

There is an answer to it, and that is, if there is no really serious akusala-kamma – immoral actions and their effects, benefits can be derived in commensurate with the strength of metta, etc., which is developed and radiated. In any case, much as one may wish to have the full accomplishment of his desire, It cannot be completely fulfilled. An example may be cited on how it happens. Parents wishing their children to be well and happy, always look after them and instil in the young minds both spiritual values and moral virtues, providing them with everything they need. Despite their efforts to see to their safety, health and comfort, some children who are inclined to do what is improper, will not grow up in the way their parents might wish them to be since they are subjected to their own kamma which happens under different circumstances. As things would happen under unavoidable circumstances, it will be unwise to say that there is no need for the parents to bring up their children in the way they would consider proper. Be it as it may, parental care and attention must be given to their children who are still immature. Generally speaking, it would bring beneficial results.

In achieving advantages by developing metta, though beneficial results which may be derived, fall short of the advantages received by the children from their parents, it would be advisable to develop metta bhavana. Persons who received loving-kindness showered upon them might not have benefited as much as the person developing metta would have expected. However, merits will be gained in any case, for having developed metta through meditation. On the other hand in causing to develop upekkha, only when feeling of indifference or equanimity can be borne as: “Only kamma is one’s own property in possession and things have happened and would happen according to one’s own individual kamma which automatically produces an effect,” the quality of upekkha – would be accomplished. Such being the case, it is of paramount importance to make use of the knowledge of kammassakata – the cause in the close proximity of upekkha, as a basic factor. Because of this significance, it has been mentioned to bear in mind that “nothing happens according to the wish of the meditator, and that beings are subjected to their own kamma. Accordingly, in order to be able to develop kammassakata knowledge, Culakammavibhanga Sutta will be extracted from Uparipannasa Pali Text, and narrated as follows.