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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

This is called the metta bhavana


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to this we come to Brahmavihara, the fourfold meditation of metta (universal friendship), karu@na (universal pity), mudita (happiness in the prosperity and happiness of all) and upekkha (indifference to any kind of preferment of oneself, his friend, enemy or a third party). In order to habituate oneself to the meditation on universal friendship, one should start with thinking how he should himself like to root out all misery and become happy, how he should himself like to avoid death and live cheerfully, and then pass over to the idea that other beings would also have the same desires. He should thus habituate himself to think that his friends, his enemies, and all those with whom he is not

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[Footnote 1: _Visuddhimagga,_ VI.]

[Footnote 2: _Ibid._ pp. 239-266.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid._ pp. 266-292.]

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connected might all live and become happy. He should fix himself to such an extent in this meditation that he would not find any difference between the happiness or safety of himself and of others. He should never become angry with any person. Should he at any time feel himself offended on account of the injuries inflicted on him by his enemies, he should think of the futility of doubling his sadness by becoming

sorry or vexed on that account. He should think that if he should allow himself to be affected by anger, he would spoil all his sila which he was so carefully practising. If anyone has done a vile action by inflicting injury, should he himself also do the same by being angry at it? If he were finding fault with others for being angry, could he himself indulge in anger? Moreover he should think that all the dhammas are momentary (_kha@nikatta_); that there no longer existed the khandhas which had inflicted the injury, and moreover the infliction of any injury being only a joint product, the man who was injured was himself an indispensable element in the production of the infliction as much as the man who inflicted the injury, and there could not thus be any special reason for making him responsible and of being angry with him. If even after thinking in this way the anger does not subside, he should think that by indulging in anger he could only bring mischief on himself through his bad deeds, and he should further think that the other man by being angry was only producing mischief to himself but not to him. By thinking in these ways the sage would be able to free his mind from anger against his enemies and establish himself in an attitude of universal friendship [Footnote ref 1]. This is called the metta-bhavana. In the meditation of universal pity (_karu@na_) also one should sympathize with the sorrows of his friends and foes alike. The sage being more keen-sighted will feel pity for those who are apparently leading a happy life, but are neither acquiring merits nor endeavouring to proceed on the way to Nibbana, for they are to suffer innumerable lives of sorrow [Footnote ref 2].


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