Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
Catukka Nipāta
XIII: Bhaya Vagga

Sutta 125

Mettā Suttaɱ

Good Will (1)

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Proofed against and modified in accordance with the revised edition at dhammatalks.org
For free distribution only.

 


 

[1][pts][nymo] "Monks, there are these four types of individuals to be found existing in the world.

Which four?

"There is the case
where an individual
keeps pervading the first direction [the East]
— as well as the second direction,
the third,
and the fourth —
with an awareness imbued with goodwill.

Thus he keeps pervading above,
below,
and all around,
everywhere and in every respect
the all-encompassing cosmos
with an awareness imbued with goodwill:
abundant,
expansive,
immeasurable,
free from hostility,
free from ill will.

He savors that,
longs for that,
finds satisfaction through that.

Staying there
— fixed on that,
dwelling there often,
not falling away from that —
then when he dies
he reappears in conjunction with the Devas of Brahmā's Retinue.

The Devas of Brahmā's Retinue, monks,
have a life-span of an eon.

A run-of-the-mill person
having stayed there,
having used up all the life-span of those Devas,
goes to hell,
to the animal womb,
to the state of the hungry ghosts.

But a disciple of the Blessed One,
having stayed there,
having used up all the life-span of those Devas,
is unbound right in that state of being.

This, monks, is the difference,
this the distinction,
this the distinguishing factor,
between an educated disciple of the noble ones
and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person,
when there is a destination, a reappearing.

"And further, there is the case
where an individual keeps pervading the first direction
— as well as the second direction,
the third,
and the fourth —
with an awareness imbued with compassion.

Thus he keeps pervading above,
below, and all around,
everywhere and in every respect
the all-encompassing cosmos
with an awareness imbued with compassion:
abundant,
expansive,
immeasurable,
free from hostility,
free from ill will.

He savors that,
longs for that,
finds satisfaction through that.

Staying there
— fixed on that,
dwelling there often,
not falling away from that —
then when he dies
he reappears in conjunction with the Ābhassara [Radiant] Devas.[1]

The Ābhassara Devas, monks,
have a life-span of two eons.

A run-of-the-mill person
having stayed there,
having used up all the life-span of those Devas,
goes to hell,
to the animal womb,
to the state of the hungry ghosts.

But a disciple of the Blessed One,
having stayed there,
having used up all the life-span of those Devas,
is unbound right in that state of being.

This, monks, is the difference,
this the distinction,
this the distinguishing factor,
between an educated disciple of the noble ones
and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person,
when there is a destination, a reappearing.[2]

"And further, there is the case
where an individual keeps pervading the first direction
— as well as the second direction,
the third,
and the fourth —
with an awareness imbued with empathetic joy.

Thus he keeps pervading above,
below, and all around,
everywhere and in every respect
the all-encompassing cosmos
with an awareness imbued with empathetic joy:
abundant,
expansive,
immeasurable,
free from hostility,
free from ill will.

He savors that,
longs for that,
finds satisfaction through that.

Staying there
— fixed on that,
dwelling there often,
not falling away from that —
then when he dies
he reappears in conjunction with the Subhakiṇha [Beautiful Black] Devas.

The Subhakiṇha Devas, monks,
have a life-span of four eons.

A run-of-the-mill person
having stayed there,
having used up all the life-span of those Devas,
goes to hell,
to the animal womb,
to the state of the hungry ghosts.

But a disciple of the Blessed One,
having stayed there,
having used up all the life-span of those Devas,
is unbound right in that state of being.

This, monks, is the difference,
this the distinction,
this the distinguishing factor,
between an educated disciple of the noble ones
and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person,
when there is a destination, a reappearing.

"And further, there is the case
where an individual keeps pervading the first direction
— as well as the second direction,
the third, and the fourth —
with an awareness imbued with equanimity.

Thus he keeps pervading above,
below, and all around,
everywhere and in every respect
the all-encompassing cosmos
with an awareness imbued with equanimity:
abundant,
expansive,
immeasurable,
free from hostility,
free from ill will.

He savors that,
longs for that,
finds satisfaction through that.

Staying there
— fixed on that,
dwelling there often,
not falling away from that —
then when he dies
he reappears in conjunction with the Vehapphala [Sky-fruit] Devas.

The Vehapphala Devas, monks,
have a life-span of 500 eons.

A run-of-the-mill person
having stayed there,
having used up all the life-span of those Devas,
goes to hell,
to the animal womb,
to the state of the hungry ghosts.

But a disciple of the Blessed One,
having stayed there,
having used up all the life-span of those Devas,
is unbound right in that state of being.

This, monks, is the difference,
this the distinction,
this the distinguishing factor,
between an educated disciple of the noble ones
and an uneducated run-of-the-mill person,
when there is a destination, a reappearing.

"These are four types of individuals to be found existing in the world."

 


[1] Ābhassara, Subhakinha, and Vehapphala Devas are all Brahmās on the level of form.

[2] This sutta, read in conjunction with AN 4.123, has given rise to the belief that the development of goodwill as an immeasurable state can lead only to the first jhāna, and that the next two immeasurable states — compassion and empathetic joy — can lead, respectively, only to the second and third jhānas. However, as AN 8.63 shows, all four immeasurable states can lead all the way to the fourth jhāna. The difference between that discourse and this lies in how the person practicing these states relates to them. In that sutta, the person deliberately uses the state as a basis for developing all the jhānas. In this sutta, the person simply enjoys the state and remains in it.

 


 

Of Related Interest:

MN 97;
SN 46:54;
AN 4.126
AN 4:178

 


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