Do not be afraid of merit
Apr 05, 2016
Namo Buddhaya! Dear Devotees, we are going to learn a discourse of the Supreme Buddha. The name of this discourse is “Mā Puñña Bhāyī Sutta” (“do not fear merit”). Like today, it is clear from the title of this discourse that there were people who were afraid of merit at that time. You may have heard some people saying that they don’t need merits. They think that accumulating more merits would result in expanding their journey in the Samsara. Some say that they don’t do any bad Karmas, so they don’t need to cultivate merits specifically. Others say that there is nothing called merit and it’s just a concept of some people. Therefore, it is crucial for us to understand about what merit is and how we can cultivate it. First, let us see what the Supreme Buddha meant by merit in this discourse: Mā Puñña Bhāyī Sutta. Here, it says, “Mā Bhikkavē Puññānan Bhāyitta”: “Monks do not afraid of merits”. “Sukas sētan Bhikkavē adivacanan yadinan puññan”: “Monks, if there’s a word to describe pleasure, I say it is merit”. So another name to pleasure is merit. Thus, the pleasure is another word for merit and one should not be afraid of it. The Supreme Buddha next preached about what He got in His past lives as a result of merits He accumulated. “Dear Monks, I remember that I performed ‘Maitri Bhāvana‘ (loving-kindness meditation) for seven straight years in a past life (mettan cittan bhāvēti).” As result of that merit, I was born in divine worlds for seven Sanvatta-vivatta kalpas continuously, without coming back to human world (Sanvatta-vivatta kappē naiman lōkan punarā magamāsi).” He didn’t have to be born in human world for such a long time because He performed loving-kindness meditation just for seven years. (The Supreme Buddha included the loving-kindness meditation as a merit.) The merit He got by performing concentration based on the loving-kindness meditation was so powerful and resulted in getting divine births for many long years without having to be born as a human again. Sanvatta kalpa means the time that takes the world to be destroyed after countless years. Vivatta kalpa means, time of the beginning of the world. Thus, He didn’t get births in human world for seven of these countless number of years that take for the world to be destroyed and begun, as a result of performing concentration based on the loving-kindness meditation for seven years as a human. The Supreme Buddha preached that when it was the time of the world’s destruction, He was born in the Ābassara divine world. And when it was the time of the beginning of the world, He was born in a beings-free Brahma abode as a Brahma divine being. The Supreme Buddha also preached that He was born as the Mahā Brahma in the Brahma realm for seven times and as the Sakkra who is the head of all deities in Cātum Māhārājika and Thāvatinsa divine worlds for thirty six times, as a result of that merit. The Buddha also preached that the number of times He became the King Cakkravarti due to the same merit He accumulated was countless. Thus the Supreme Buddha showed us how He got many pleasures in the Samsara; He preached that merit is a name given to pleasure. After explaining the importance of having merits, the Supreme Buddha preached, “Dear Monks, one who likes to make his own good must respect the Dhamma by remembering the advices of the Supreme Buddha (Tasmāhi atta kāmēna mahatta mabi kankatā, Saddhammō garukā tabbō saran Buddhāna Sāsanan).” You need to especially remember that there are two things as the Dhamma and asaddhamma (things that are not the Dhamma) in this world. You get to listen to the Dhamma by a good person in Dhamma (Satpurusha) and things that are opposite to the Dhamma by a bad/sinful person (Asatpurusha) who doesn’t respect the Dhamma. Advices that will help eradicating desire, hatred, and ignorance belong to the Dhamma. If some advice helps strengthening these bad qualities in one’s mind, then it is not the Dhamma. One must clearly understand the difference between the Dhamma and asaddhamma (the things that don’t belong to the Dhamma). The Dhamma helps eradicating desire, hatred, and ignorance. Other wrong concepts help increasing desire, hatred, and ignorance. So, the Supreme Buddha preached that one must respect the Dhamma by remembering the advices of the Supreme Buddha. That is, if a Dhamma helps eradicating desire, hatred, and ignorance, one must respect that Dhamma. Maitri (Loving-kindness) is something that belongs to this Dhamma. By Maitri, the Supreme Buddha meant one’s wish in others’ comfort. We should understand the loving-kindness well, without any complications. In the time of the Gautama Supreme Buddha, there were other teachers like Ajita Kēsakambīla, Nighanta Nāthaputta, Sanjaya bellatti Putta, Makkali Gōsala, Pakuda Kaccāyana, and so on, with various types of views/concepts. Among these, Nighanta Nāthaputta tried hard to pretend to be a person of deep compassion towards every being. At the same time, he tried hard to degrade the well-known name of the Gautama Supreme Buddha. But his every attempt on that was unsuccessful. Once there was a famine in the City Nālanda. Peoples’ fields went barren, and they lived from the government support. The Supreme Buddha also had to stay in Nālanda with a large number of monks when they were passing by the city. Nighanta Nāthaputta directed his followers to make a false story about the Supreme Buddha and tried to make Him uncomfortable by asking Him following questions: “Devotee you go now to the Buddha and ask him, ‘do you have compassion toward these people? Are you kind enough to these people?’ Then the Buddha will answer you saying that He is compassionate and kind toward the people. Then, you should ask Him, ‘what kind of kindness you have for them when you come with a large number of monks and collect all their food for your usage, while they are suffering with not having enough food for them?’ The Buddha will become silent when He cannot answer that question. This will make you famous as the one who defeated the Buddha.” So, you can see how Nighanta Nāthaputta, who introduced himself to the world as a kind and compassionate one toward others, treated the Buddha. This incident is reported in the discourse called ‘Kula Sutta’ in the ‘Sanyukta Nikāya’. Like this manner, Nighanta Nāthaputta manipulated others like Upāli Gruhapati, Sīha Sēnāpati, and so on. So, that person went to the Supreme Buddha. (Like an animal can be sent out for something by making it drunk, some humans can also be sent out for wrong deeds by manipulating them with false-views.) There are people who sometimes try to find something wrong and blame me to defame my name as well. Like this, some people are full of malice. Nighanta Nāthaputta was also a similar kind of person. So, that person who was sent by Nighanta Nāthaputta went to the Supreme Buddha and asked, “Dear Sir, don’t you kind, friendly, and compassionate to human beings?” The Supreme Buddha answered, “Dear devotee, The Supreme Buddha is indeed kind, friendly, and compassionate to every being.” That person then asked, “If that is the case, why are you collecting food from the people when they don’t even have enough for their own use right now?” Then the Supreme Buddha gave him a wonderful answer. “Dear devotee, I am looking at 92 Kalpas (a long time) to the past right now. In all that time, no one had to face any destruction of their families as a result of offering their food.” The Supreme Buddha then preached eight things that could result in the destruction of ones’ family. What we can learn from such incidents is that spreading loving-kindness is not something one just show by irrelevant actions. For example, Nighanta Nāthaputta did many useless things. He didn’t bathe. He swept the floor with a feather before sitting to indicate that he is kind even to the smallest animal. But his heart was filled with jealousy and malice. He had a huge jealousy toward the Buddha and compelled others to do the same. Therefore, we need to first clearly understand what the loving-kindness (Maitriya) means. Maitriya means, one doesn’t do any harm to another from his mind, body, and words. He also helps others to do the same. Dear devotees, we can build Maitriya in us. One must first understand the value of this human life. The Supreme Buddha once told Bhikkhu Ananda, “Dear Ananda, if you have kindness, love, and compassion toward the human beings, you should make their minds be pleased about the Supreme Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha.” This is the basic thing that one needs for loving-kindness. Also, if someone has Maitriya, he cannot be compelled to harm others and debase good names of others. For example, Nighanta Nāthaputta ate only vegetables and didn’t wear cloths to show his passionlessness. But all those things were just complete wastes. But most people get deceived by these things. Therefore, we need to understand the true meaning of loving-kindness. We have to be compassionate, loving, and kind toward others’ well-being. The harm for the well-being is hatred. The Supreme Buddha has taught us about hatred clearly as follows: “Akkocchiman avadhiman, ajiniman ahāsimē” (If one thinks that, “He/she scolded and disgraced me. I was defeated, and my stuff was stolen.”) “Yēca tan upanaihanti, vēran tēsan na sammati” (If it is being thought repeatedly, their hatred will not be quenched.) Thus, if one keeps thinking that ‘he/she scolded and disgraced me. I was defeated and my stuff was stolen,’ then hatred will be formed in him. When hatred is formed in some people, they are unable to get rid of it. The reason why they can’t free from hatred is that, ‘it is like a poisonous root with a pleasant end (top)’. This means that, ‘it begins with hatred and ends/joys with revenge.’ The Supreme Buddha preached qualities of Maitri as follows: “Imē sattā avērā hontu (May these beings be free of enmity), abyāpajjā hontu (May they be free from mental suffering), anīgā hontu (May they be free from physical suffering), sukī attānan pariharantu (May they live happily).” The ability to think in this manner is called ‘Maitri’ (loving-kindness), which is described in the Dhamma in more detail. One can first spread loving-kindness to oneself as follows: Ahan avērō hōmi (May I be free from enmity), abyāpajjā hōmi (May I be free from mental suffering), anīgō hōmi (May I be free from physical suffering), sukī attānan pariharāmi (May I live happily) Then it can be expanded to others: Ahan ve maihan, āccari upādāyā, mātā pitarō, hita sattā, majjatta sattā, verī sattā, (like me, my teachers, parents, friendly beings, normal beings with no special connections to me, and ones who hate me), avērā hontu (May they be free from enmity), abyāpajjā hontu (May they be free from mental suffering), anīgā hontu (May they be free from physical suffering), sukī attānan pariharantu (May they live happily). Yatā ladda sampattitō mā vigaccantu (May one not lose one’s pleasure). See how beneficial this loving-kindness is. The Supreme Buddha teaches, “Yatā ladda sampattatō mā vigaccantu (May the person get his/her pleasure; may he/she not lose (deprive of) his/her pleasure).” “Kammassakā (everyone’s lives are based on their own Karma)”. This also belongs to Maitri. If the beings live on their own Karma, how beneficial it is if he/she can use this knowledge in spreading loving-kindness…? Even though one says that he practices loving-kindness, preaches Dhamma and writes books in a loving-kindness thought, it doesn’t complete the spreading of loving-kindness properly – loving-kindness is a practical thing. If we can live without humiliating others when they disgrace us, if we can live without insulting others when they insult us, and if we can live without dishonoring others when they dishonor us, then isn’t that a loving-kindness? If one could behave like that, it is indeed a Maitri. If one could live like that, the Supreme Buddha says that he is doing what the Buddha preached him to do. Loving-kindness is needed for all of us, at all the time. Deities, humans, and all other beings need loving-kindness. You all might know about the Karanīya Metta Sutta. It is about loving-kindness. Karanīya Metta means ‘the way to practice loving-kindness.’ This Sutta has a background story: In the time of the Supreme Buddha, a group of sixty Bhikkhus learned meditation and went to a forest to practice it. There were deities living in trees in that forest. At that time, the dispensation of the Buddha was not spread much among deities/humans. These deities who lived in those trees fell down from their dwellings as the sixty monks came to that forest. It happened because of the power of virtue of the monks. Because of the virtue of those monks, the deities could not stay on top of the monks (in trees), and they were taken down. The deities discussed that they had come down from their trees since the arrival of the monks. The Bhikkhus meditated the first day, and it was a good place for them to cultivate their meditation. Therefore, they decided to stay there all three months of that rainy-season. They sent a message to their devotees about their decision. Devotees came to the forest and made the Bhikkhus small huts to live in the forest. The deities were upset about what was happening since they cannot live in the trees any longer. They thought what to do in the next three months. Since they didn’t know about the Dhamma at that time, some of them decided to frighten the monks and make them leave the forest. When the Bhikkhus started to meditate, they are now hearing various scary sounds, smells of dead bodies even though no such bodies could be seen. They got scared when they meditate. They got frightened in sleep. Sometimes, someone drags them from their body, but no one was to be seen. Minds of all the Bhikkhus got startled. In this way, they spent that three months in exhaustion. After three months, they left the forest and went straight to see the Gautama Supreme Buddha in the city of Sāvatti. They told the Buddha that their effort was a complete waste, and they could not do their meditation. They told the Buddha how they were scared, how they were dragged by their feet in their sleep, and how they started to hear dangerous sounds, and smell dead bodies and that their minds got scattered. Then the Supreme Buddha preached them that there were some deities in that forest. These deities could not stay in trees and fell down as the monks’ arrival, and that was why they tried to scare you and make you leave the forest. The Buddha further taught them the loving-kindness meditation (the Karanīya Metta Sutta) for the benefit of all and sent them back to the same forest. In that loving-kindness meditation, it says, “Karanhīmatthakusalēna, yan tan santan padan abhisamecca (If a person who is talented to see the good has an aim of realizing a placid Nibbāna), Sakkō ujū cha (he needs to be talented), sūjū cha (he needs to be straight/honest), Suvacō chassa mudu anatimānī (he needs to be a person who listens what he is told, he needs to be gentle, he needs to be free of arrogance). Santussakō cha (he needs to be a person who is happy about what he gets; moderate), subharō cha (he needs to be a person who can be maintained easily), appakiccō cha (he needs to be of less work) sallahukavuttī (he needs to be of light lifestyle), santindriyō cha (he needs to have calmed faculties: eyes, ears, etc.) nipakō cha (he needs to have a wisdom that is suitable to the occasion), appagabbō (he needs to have a character free of retaliation) kulēsu ananugiddhō (he needs to be free of any attachments to devotees, relatives, and so on). Na cha khuddan samācarē kiñci (he needs to live without searching for others’ wrong doings), yēna viññū pare upavadeyyun (he must not do/or get trapped in wrong doings that are condemned by wise people), sukhinō vā kēminō hontu (may all be of pleasure and be free of fear), sabbē sattā bhavantu sukitattā (may all beings live well and happy; and have pleasurable minds). In this way, the Supreme Buddha described the loving-kindness meditation further: Small beings, large beings, beings with large bodies, long bodies, beings with legs, beings with no legs, beings with four feet, beings that can be seen by eyes, unseen by eyes, beings that are far away and ones that are near. At the end, the Supreme Buddha preached, “Mātā yatā niyan puttan, Āāyusā ēkaputtamanurakkhē, ēvampi sabbabūtēsū, mānasan bhāvayē aparimānhan (a mother who has just one child loves that child more than her life, in a similar manner one spreads/cultivates loving-kindness to all beings without any limit). Thus dear devotees, we also can cultivate (mind of) loving-kindness without any limit. Titthan charan nisinnō vā, sayānō vā yāvatassa vigatamiddhō (if one can cultivate loving-kindness even when he is standing, walking, sitting, and sleeping), Uddhan adhō cha tiriyañcha, asambādhan avēran asapattan (up/sky, down/earth, and crosswise/all 8 other directions)… Let’s say someone spreads loving-kindness to all these ten directions without making a boundary. That is, let’s say up to this village or town or country or the world, and it means, there is a limit. Here, what it means is that spreading of the loving-kindness to all beings in, say north direction without any limit. Thus, all beings without any limit, Avērā hontu (May they be free of enmity) abbyāpajjā hontu (May they free of anger), anīgā hontu (May they free of sufferings/harm), sukhī attānan pariharantu (May they live well and happy), yatā ladda sampattitō mā vigaccantu (May one not lose his pleasure/wealth). If someone is capable of thinking in this manner and cultivates the loving-kindness meditation, then he accumulates a special kind of merit to his life. I believe you remember the name of the discourse I am teaching you; it is called Mā Puñña Bhāyī Sutta, which means ‘do not fear merit.’ So the Supreme Buddha described loving-kindness as the merit here. In normal world, people don’t describe merit as loving-kindness. Some say that they are not fortunate enough to have money to accumulate merits. They think that they need money to perform meritorious deeds. If that is the case, how can someone who doesn’t have money perform such meritorious activities? Let’s say someone became a monk. Then, he doesn’t have a job and money. He lives only by collecting alms. How can such a person cultivate merits? He can practice donation by protecting his precepts. That is he donates life and pleasure to others. He is also virtuous. Then, he also cultivates loving-kindness meditation. That is also a merit that he accumulates. Let’s say there is a poor person. He cannot donate something using money. But he still needs practice donation. It is said in the Buddha’s teachings that one must give when he has something and also when he hasn’t something. There are some moments that people have donated something when they didn’t have anything. I have heard of a past story: (I think it is of Sīvalì Thero) He was a Bhikkhu at that time. He ate his meal at a place under a tree. By the time he finished eating his meal, a hungry dog who didn’t have anything to eat in few days after giving birth to its puppies came to him. Thero then put his finger in his throat and made him vomit. That dog then ate that vomit/food and quenched its hunger. It is said that this is why Thero also did not have any scarceness in food in all his lives that he was born to. This means that even if the amount you give is small it still brings good fortune. There are stories of divine beings in the Vimāna Vattu that indicates accumulating large amounts of merits just by donating small things/amounts. Likewise, donation is a merit that one accumulates. If one doesn’t have much to give, he can still donate in small amounts and cultivate mind with loving-kindness and spread it. In this way, he will be someone who accumulates merits all the time. When describing the loving-kindness, the following example is taught in the teachings of the Supreme Buddha: there is a person who wants to make an offering for hundred people. He needs to work hard to make that offering. Let’s say it is the morning meal he needs to donate. He will then need to find rice, vegetables, spices, firewood, containers, helpers, and so on. So, he worked hard and make that offering for hundred people. He thinks to make that offering at daytime. He does that too. He thinks to do it at night as well. This means he donated three hundred meals per a day (100 breakfasts, 100 lunches, and 100 dinners). The Buddha preached, it was a tiresome thing to offer such 300 meals. But if he cultivates loving-kindness meditation for a small amount of time (time needed to milk a cow; ~15 to 30 min) without any tiredness, he can gain more merits than the merits he accumulated by offering 300 meals. Thus the Supreme Buddha has shown us the importance of cultivating loving-kindness meditation using such marvelous examples. He also preached that, “Dear monks, faithful devotees treat us with food, cloths, places to live, and medicines. If you (monks) cultivate loving-kindness meditation for at least a second, then you will not owe them.” Thus see how magnificent the outcomes of this loving-kindness meditation are. You should remember this in the following manner: “Loving-kindness is one of the foremost meritorious deed among other meritorious deeds.” It is foremost because it is a rare thing in this world. The Supreme Buddha teaches that there are greediness, hatred, and ignorance in one’s mind. The mind can also have benevolence, sympathy, and wisdom. Let’s say someone gets a chance to speak about someone. If he has greediness in his mind, he will compliment that person. One compliments another hoping to get something from that second person in return. Thus, he does it based on greediness. When he compliments that other person, he starts to think that this person is admiring me very well, so I should donate him something. In this way, a person who also doesn’t give thinks to give to get such admiration. This is a speech based on greediness. Another one could become hateful toward someone. When he has a hate in his mind, he starts to strike against that other person. The Supreme Buddha preached that hatred forms in a mind as a result of a cause. That is Patigha nimitta (an objective to hate) and Ayōnisōmanasikāra (thinking according hate). Let’s say one meets an objective (Patigha nimitta) that he hates. That objective arouses his hate. Then, he starts to think according to that hate. He thinks in a way so that his hate is arisen; this way of his thinking is called Ayōnisōmanasikāra. He thinks in hate by grasping his hateful objective. Once someone asked to make a speech about that person who he hates, he does his speech based on that hate; he started to scold. So, what he did was taking out his hatred on that other person. In another person, ignorance can be aroused. When that happens, he brings it out thinking in different ways. Then the people who listens to him also grasp those ideas and they also become ignorant. Therefore, a person who is loving and kind doesn’t do these things. A person who cultivates loving-kindness has this thought, Imē sattā avērā hontu (may these beings free of hatred), abbyā pajjā hontu (may these beings be free of ill-will), anīgā hontu (may they be free of suffering), sukīattānan pariharantu (may they live well and happy), yatāladda sampattitō mā vigaccantu (may they not lose their wealth). This is the proper way of loving-kindness. If someone has such Maitri, then he will not talk about another person in hateful manner. Hatred is not for the well-being of another. If you listen to something and your hate was aroused, then what you have listened was not the Dhamma. If your hate aroused when you associate someone, then that association is evil. In the teachings of the Supreme Buddha, it says that hatred is hugely vicious. It means that hatred is very dangerous like a huge forest fire that burns everything. Hatred is powerful and it can come in many ways. Therefore devotees, you should practice to cultivate loving-kindness mind. One must think of oneself always as ‘may I be free of hatred, anger, jealousy, suffering, and may I live well and happy.’ In the meantime, if hatred starts to arise in your heart, then think who has won by means of hatred? You can also find many facts about how people took wrong paths, how they got destroyed, and things that they lost because of hatred. Also, how people lost everything including pleasure, wealth, fortune, and finally got births in hell. Some even kill their parents because of this hatred. They kill Arahants, destroy union of the Sangha, spills blood of the Buddha with an evil intention because of hatred. The teachings of the Supreme Buddha says, Nahi vērē navērānī sammantīja kudācanan (a hatred cannot be won by hatred ever in the world). Avērē nacha sammanti ēsa dhammō sanantanō (hatred can be won/allayed by sympathy/not hating and it is a universal truth). So, Maitri is a universal Dhamma, and it is taught in the teachings of the Supreme Buddha in great deal. It teaches about the Maitri saying not to retaliate, not to envy, not to hate, and etc. Thus if Maitri is in one’s life, it is a great advantage to that person. That is, we shall try to gain that benefit into our lives. For some people, being hate is very easy because of they have practiced it in the Samsara. Therefore, they become hateful very quickly, and it becomes very difficult for them to get rid of it. Such a person needs to try hard to let go of such hate by understanding the danger one faces because of that hate and free from it. These things are well taught in the Supreme Buddha’s Dhamma, no other examples need to be searched to describe these. The Supreme Buddha once preached in Kakacūpama Sutta, “Dear Monks, if a person does not get angry or form a hateful mind even when he is dragged, placed upside down, moved his legs to sides, and cut with a saw, he is indeed a disciple who recalls my advice.” Thus the Supreme Buddha always preached and praised about living free of hatred. He preached that there is one circumstance in which a person cannot realize the Dhamma; that is when the Sangha is not peaceful. If the Sangha is not peaceful or someone acts to break their unity/peace, then one cannot practice the Dhamma since they blame each other. They blame one another saying that each person is wrong. In such situation, they cannot recall the Dhamma and instead they accumulate bad karma. These unwholesome deeds bring great misfortune. So remember that a hatred is formed in a person when he is either in an office, a house, a temple, or in any other place, it is not for the good of any person at all. It is a universal truth. It is because hatred never ends any quarrel. It is ended by not being hateful. It is a universal Dhamma. This Dhamma of the Supreme Buddha is a universal truth. What is this Dhamma? It is the spreading of loving-kindness. Ending hatred by not being hateful (a universal truth). The Supreme Buddha’s Dhamma is no longer exists in India where the Buddha’s Dhamma was born. What is the reason for the Dhamma to disappear from India? It is the hatred that formed in that time. As a result of hatred that formed in the people at that time, they argued and disgraced and insulted on each other. They further used governmental power for that. This resulted in hatred. Hatred is the reason for the Gautama Supreme Buddha’s Dhamma to vanish from India. Therefore, we should not practice to hate for one another. We shall spread our loving-kindness to all beings in all ten directions. One first spread loving-kindness to oneself and not give into being hateful. He dislikes to be angry or hateful and get rid of it quickly. He frees himself from hateful mind and practices the loving-kindness mind. After start practicing loving-kindness mind, he starts to spread it toward other beings: Ime satta avera hontu all beings in east direction be free of hatred, free of anger, free of jealousy, free of suffering and sorrow, may they live well and happy. In this manner, he spreads loving-kindness to all beings in all ten directions. If one keep practicing/spreading loving-kindness in this manner, his mind will be consoled because of that Maitri. One might question that is it a bad karma to spread loving-kindness to others and is this only help to get rid of the hatred formed only within oneself. Or if there is no good results from spreading loving-kindness to the outside world. There is a good example answer for this question. One day the Supreme Buddha went to Udēni City, and lots of people were there to welcome the Buddha. There was also a friend of Venerable Ananda Thero. Ananda Thero told that friend, “It is good that you are also here. Did you come to see the Supreme Buddha with an admiration born toward Him?” He answered, “Oh, no. I don’t have any such admiration toward the Supreme Buddha. I didn’t come here because I was pleased about you or the Supreme Buddha.” Ananda Thero asked, “Then why did you come?” He answered, “There is a command from the King that if one does not attend to welcome the Supreme Buddha, he will be fined hundred gold coins. I came because otherwise I’d have to pay that fine.” The King wanted to show a huge crowd for that occasion. So he commanded his citizens to gather and welcome the Supreme Buddha or he will fine hundred gold coins from the people who do not obey him. Therefore, most of the people in that crowd went there to free from King’s fine. When Ven. Ananda Thero got to know about this, he went to the Supreme Buddha and said, “Dear Sir, I got to know a very sad incident today. The King has ordered the people to attend to this welcome event or he will otherwise fine the people hundred gold coins. Dear Sir, a friend of mine is also here. He doesn’t have any admiration toward the Supreme Buddha but if he pleased about you, it will be for his wellbeing.” The Supreme Buddha said, “Ananda, let it be as you wish.” Then the Supreme Buddha went inside His room and spread His loving-kindness thoughts toward Ananda Thero’s friend. Then that person completely changed from within him. He started to look for the Supreme Buddha saying, “Where is the Most Fortunate One? Where is the Supreme Buddha? Where is He…?” Like a calf who lost its mother runs bellowing and looking for its mother, this person also started to run looking for the Supreme Buddha asking where the Supreme Buddha is. Then Bhikkhus directed him to the room in which the Supreme Buddha resided. He went to the door and knocked on it. When the Supreme Buddha opened the door, that person knelt down before the Supreme Buddha’s feet, touched with affection, and kissed saying, “It is a great pleasure for me to see the Most Fortunate One. It is a great pleasure…” The Supreme Buddha calmed him down, let him sit, and preached the Dhamma so that the person could attain path-fruition on that same place where he was sitting. (He became a stream-winner.) See how that person could come to the Dhamma even though he didn’t realize it at first. That person did not have an admiration about the Supreme Buddha, but he was fortunate to realize the Dhamma. Thus a person who could realize the Dhamma was somewhere else, and as a result of the Supreme Buddha’s loving-kindness, he changed and his mind was opened to realize the Dhamma. There is another such incident. An Arahant Thero named Chittagutta lived in a cave. Thero lived spreading loving-kindness completely. At the end of the rainy season, on one night Thero got ready to leave that cave in the following morning. At that moment, Thero could hear someone crying. Thero asked who is that crying. Then a sound came from a divine female who lived in a nearby tree, “Dear Thero, we lived peacefully in the last three months of time that you stayed in this cave. All the demons, ghosts, and etc. in this forest used to kill and fight each other. But as you spread loving-kindness all those fights disappeared and they lived peacefully as a result of your loving-kindness mind/thoughts. They all live happily now. I am crying thinking that old situation might come back after you leave this location. Therefore dear Thero, please don’t go away. Please stay in this cave.” Thero compassionately accepted her invitation and stayed in that same cave. When the Thero tried to leave the cave after the second rainy season, that divine female asked the Thero stay again like the first time. In this manner, the Thero lived in that same place, until he passed-away (Parinibbāna), for the wellbeing of all the beings lived in that forest. It is therefore clear to us that when we spread loving-kindness to all beings in north, northeast, and so on, something that is good is passed on to the outside world. If nothing passed on to the outside, such changes as described above cannot be occurred. There is another incident. One day in a divine world, a being with a beautiful figure like a divine being came and sat on the Sakkradeva’s throne. Then the deities started to scold at him, “Who are you to sit on the Sakkradeva’s throne?” They keep scolding at him with rough words, and that being’s beauty started to keep growing as he was scolded. The Sakkradeva came and saw what was happening. The deities informed the Sakkradeva how that being keep growing in beauty when they were scolding at him. The wise Sakkradeva went and talked to that being with a respectful voice, “Dear Sir, I am the Sakkradeva of the two divine worlds. Dear Sir, I am the Sakkradeva of the two divine worlds.” The Sakkradeva told that being who he is with Metta. Then that figure started to shrink into a tiny dot and disappeared from that place. The Sakkradeva then asked the rest of the deities if they knew who that being was. The deities replied that they didn’t know who that was. The Sakkradeva said, “It was a demon who feeds on anger. His food is anger.” You can imagine how many demons, unearthly beings would be around the people in this world. If one acts in anger, speaks in anger, and thinks in anger, how can divine beings join them? Yes, they will be joined by demons. There are demons who feed on anger. Also, there are beings who become well and happy when loving-kindness is spread. When loving-kindness is spread to all beings in direction-wise without any limit, it is called “Appāmana chētō vimukti”. If you are in a room, you can spread loving-kindness starting for all beings in the room. “May all beings in this room be free of hatred, free of anger, free of jealousy, free of suffering and sorrow, and may they live well and happy.” Then you can spread loving-kindness further to all beings in the land of you are staying. Then to all beings in the village, area/province, and so on… This type of Maitriya meditation is called “Mahaggata chētō vimukti”. When you spread loving-kindness in this manner and if there are beings who don’t like you will start to like you because of the Maitriya you pass on to them. In the Buddha’s teachings it says that a person who spreads loving-kindness is agreeable to humans (Manussānan piyō hōti), agreeable to unearthly beings (Amanussānan piyō hōti), protected by divine beings (Dēvatā rakkanti), cannot be killed by fire, poison, or weapons (Nāssa agginvā visanvā kamati), mental stress will be declined and will be able to concentrate well (Tuwatan chittan samādiyati), face becomes pleasant (Mukavannō vippasīdati) because of his Maitri. Therefore, you should practice loving-kindness. This is a beautiful lesson, a beautiful practical activity, and a beautiful proposal we can find in the dispensation of the Supreme Buddha. Therefore, try to cultivate these qualities, the loving-kindness mind, and practice it well in your life and attain a well and happy mind. Don’t be afraid to cultivate loving-kindness… Today we learned Dhamma using a discourse called ‘do not be afraid of merit (Mā Puñña Bhāyī Sutta)’. The Supreme Buddha preached, “Saddhammō garukā tabbō saran Buddhanusāsanan: one who recollects the Supreme Buddha’s advice shall honor the Dhamma.” Use your wisdom and understand the fact that these Dhamma advices you listened will be for your wellbeing. We wish you be able to cultivate your loving-kindness well and acquire merits in your life! Sadu Sadu Sadu…!!! By Most Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnanananda Thero

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