Thursday, July 6, 2017

METTA: Loving-Kindness (sutra)

Chaki (comment); Dhr. Seven, Amber Larson (trans.), Ashley Wells (ed.), Wisdom Quarterly
The Buddha's Words on Loving-Kindness
Modern English Wisdom Quarterly translation
Thoughts of loving-kindness radiate out to beings throughout the entire universe.

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness
And who knows the path of peace:

Let one be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and unconceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in one's ways.
Peaceful and calm, wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let one not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: "In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease."

Whatever living beings there may be --
Whether weak or strong, omitting none,
The great, the mighty, medium, short, or small,
The seen and unseen,
Those living near and far,
Those born and to-be-born --
May all beings be at ease.

Let none deceive another,
Nor despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only son,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings --
Radiating kindness through the entire world:
Spreading upwards to the skies,
Downwards to the depths;
Outwards unbounded,
Free of hatred and ill-will.
Whether standing or walking,
seated or lying down
Free from drowsiness,
One should sustain this recollection.
This is said to be the divine abiding.
By not holding to wrong views,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense cravings,
Is not born again into this world.
What does this sutra really mean?

That's right, Eat Pray Love!
Wisdom Quarterly reader Chaki comments: This is a beautiful translation. The Buddha spoke Pali. Sinhalese (the dominant language of Sri Lanka, the majority-Buddhist island off the tip of India) is fully based and rooted in Pali. The meaning of all sutras, or discourses, can be understood in two ways.

There is a mundane concern: They develop morality, merit, [the future source of] good future, a good present life, good rebirths, fortune in this life and future lives.

There is a supermundane concern, the Way of the Nobles (aryas): Aryas, aryans, or "nobles" are those who are developing the four stages of enlightenment in this very life. So the Karaniya Metta Sutra lists the qualities one needs to have in order to become a "noble one." Aryas are those disciples who have actually directly penetrated the Four Noble Truths.

In other words, they have realized the Three Characteristics of Existence:
  1. anicca
  2. dukkha
  3. anatta.
One has directly seen that all that can be regarded as "self" is radically: (1) impermanent, (2) unsatisfactory, and (3) impersonal.

The mind/heart has experienced these universal characteristics or marks first hand. Actually, this is the establishing of Right View (samma ditthi)stream. Once one establishes right view correctly and comprehensively, one is an stream-enterer (sowan or sotapanna).

Aryas are, in other words, those who have attained any of the four stages of enlightenment:
  1. stream winner
  2. once returner
  3. non-returner
  4. fully enlightened arhat.
This group of males and females is also termed the Noble Sangha, the true disciples of the Awakened One, the Teacher of the Dharma, the community of enlightened individuals (as distinct from the ordained Monastic Sangha).
So some translations have taken the worldly meanings of the words in Karaniya Metta Sutra but missed the more important aspect. For hidden among that worldly meaning is the actual noble or spiritual meaning.

Those who aspire for enlightenment in this life should understand the more philosophical concerns so that they can see the Path, the Noble Way (Arya Marga) that leads to enlightenment described in this beautiful discourse. May all attain happiness and the supreme joy of nirvana.

CHANT: Karaniya Metta Sutta
The Pali language is a cognate of Sanskrit, Prakrit, and Magadhi, which were spoken by common people and the Buddha. (Elite Brahmin priests reciting the Vedas utilized Sanskrit as their exclusive lithurgical tongue). This chant is used to cure certain illnesses. It is effective with the help of an expert Buddhist monastic trained in its use.
Karaniya mattha kusalena,
Yan tam santam padam abhi-samecca;
Sakko uju ca suhuju ca,
Suvaco cassa mudu anatimani.

Santussako ca subharo ca,
Appakicco ca sallahukavutti;
Santindriyo ca nipako ca,
Appagabbho kulesu ananu giddho.

Na ca khuddam samacare kinci,
Yena vinnu pare upavadeyyum;
Sukhino va khemino hontu,
Sabbe satta bhavantu sukhitatta:
Ye keci panabhut'atthi,
Tasa va thavara va anavasesa;
Digha va ye mahanta va,
Majjima rassaka anukathula
Dittha va ye ca adittha,
Ye ca dure vasanti avidure;
Bhuta va sambhavesi va,
Sabbe satta bhavantu sukitatta.
Na paro pararam nikubbetha,
Natimannetha katthaci nam kinci;
Byarosana patighasanna,
Nannamannassa dukkhamiccheyya.

Mata yatha niyam puttam
Ayusa ekaputtamanurakkhe;
Evampi sabbabhutesu
Manasambhavaye aparimanam.
Mettanca sabbalokasmim
Mansambhavaye aparimanam;
Uddham adho ca tiriyanca,
Asambham averam asapattam.

Titthancaram nisinno va,
Sayano va yavatassa vigatamiddho;
Etam satim adhittheyya,
Brahmam etam viharam idha-mahu.
Ditthinca anupagamma,
Silava dassanena sampanno;
Kamesu vineyya gedham,
Na hi jatu gabbhaseyyam puna-reti ti.

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