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Development of Divine States

07/07/202010:43(Xem: 3093)
Development of Divine States

Duc The Ton 23


(An Essay)

Ven. Balangoda Anandamaitreya


I have prepared this essay explaining how to develop divine states within one’s heart, at the request of some friends who have devoted themselves to the practice of meditation (bhavana). There are many methods of practice of Bhavana suiting different temperaments of beings. Out of them the development of the four divine states of loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), gladness and sympathetic joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha) is very important and most useful both to those who have renounced the world as well as to those who live a family life in the world.

Some 67 years ago, during the time of the first world war, there was one Sri Lankan staying in Calcutta devoting himself to Buddhist propaganda. At the same time a struggle arose in Sri Lanka between Sinhalese and Muslims. Consequently many Sinhalese leaders of the day were arrested by the government. Though the Buddhist propagandist staying in Calcutta had nothing to do with that struggle, as a result of false accusation and suspicion, the Police Inspector General of Sri Lanka sent a cable to the Police Inspector General of Calcutta to arrest the sad Sri Lankan propagandist and send him back to Sri Lanka. The Police Inspector General of Calcutta immediately phoned the Sri Lankan and said he had gotten a message from Sri Lanka requesting to send the Sri Lankan back home, and that he would come to meet him the following morning.

The Sri Lankan became hesitant because it was the time when martial law had been declared all over Sri Lanka and even some of his relatives and friends had been arrested. He thought of a way to get out of this predicament. Suddenly it occurred to him that the only way to save himself from this danger was to extend loving kindness. So he immediately got a photograph of the Police Inspector General of Calcutta, supplied by one of his servants. He started his practice at about 9pm. He placed the picture on a table in front of him, concentrated his mind on it, imagined the form of the other man and began to extend his feelings of loving-kindness towards him with the words, “Mr. So and So, may you be happy, may you be happy.” That whole night until morning, he practised this concentration incessantly. Early in the morning the Police Inspector General came, planning to arrest the Sri Lankan. But as soon as he saw the propagandist’s face, he changed.

The Police Inspector General said, “Mr. So and so, I feel amazed at the change that has overcome me. I came to arrest you and deport you to Sri Lanka. But when I see you, I feel like you are my father. I cannot send you to Sri Lanka. Listen to me: I’ll do one thing for your sake. I’ll keep you under house arrest, and I will assume responsibility for you.”

So saying, he left the place and sent a cable to the Sri Lankan Police Inspector General to say that he would keep the man under house arrest and would be totally responsible for him.

This person was a friend of mine and told me the whole incident after he returned to Sri Lanka some seven years later.

If any person is not on good terms with another, and if the latter extends his loving-kindness towards the former in the afore-mentioned manner, at regular hours every day for at least a month, and with a pure heart, assuredly I can say, the other person will be friendly with him, as incredible as it may seem.

This is the amazing result of extending loving-kindness towards a single person. If one practises this universally with an unselfish heart, there is no question about its great results. If all people in all countries honestly practised the development of the four divine states, according to the instructions given in this booklet, no weapons would be necessary to save mankind from the disaster of a future world war, and peace would reign over the whole earth, with the real heavenly kingdom manifested here on earth.

In this essay, I will first set forth general advice of the Lord Buddha to all disciples, then the nature of anger, as the Lord Buddha has expounded it, next the value of expelling it, fourthly the obstacles to such a practice, and finally how one, overcoming all obstacles, should develop the four divine states step by step until one attains to the consummation of the practice.

The description given here is based on the method expounded in Pali texts, commentaries, the Visuddhimagga and its translation (Path of Purification) by the late Venerable Nyanamoli Maha Thera.



A person who expects to be successful in his practice of meditation (bhavana) should follow the instruction as given by the Lord Buddha, for He says:

You must train thus for yourselves:

“Others may be harmful, but we should be harmless.
Others may be killers, but we should abstain from killing.
Others may be thieves and robbers, but we should abstain from stealth and robbery.
Others may be unchaste, but we should be chaste.
Others may be liars, but we should be truthful.
Others may be harsh speech, but we should abstain from harsh speech.
Others may be slanderers, but we should abstain from slandering.
Others may be idle gossip, but we should abstain from idle gossip.
Others may be covetous, but we should be non-covetous.
Others may be corrupt in heart, but we should be incorrupt in heart.
Others may be of wrong views, but we should be of right views.
Others may be of wrong thought, but we should be of right thought.
Others may be of wrong speech, but we should be of right speech.
Others may be of wrong activity, but we should be of right activity.
Others may be of wrong livelihood, but we should be of right livelihood.
Others may be of wrong endeavour, but we should be of right endeavour.
Others may be of wrong watchfulness, but we should be of right watchfulness (right mindfulness).
Others may be of wrong concentration, but we should be of right concentration.
Others may be of pseudo-freedom, but we should be of real freedom.
Others may be encompassed with sloth and torpor, but we should be free of sloth and torpor.
Others may be puffed up with pride, but we should not be puffed up.
Others may be of doubting nature, but we should remove our doubts.
Others may be wrathful, but we should be free of wrath.
Others may be rancorous, but we should be free of rancour.
Others may be harsh in nature, but we should be gentle.
Others may be spiteful, but we should be without spite.
Others may be jealous, but we should be free of jealousy.
Others may be grudging, but we should be free of grudge.
Others may be treacherous, but we should be free of treachery.
Others may be dishonest, but we should be straightforward.
Others may be stubborn, but we should be docile.
Others may be proud, but we should be humble.
Others may be difficult to speak to, but we should be easy to speak to.
Others may associate with bad friends, but we should have good associations.
Others may be indolent, but we should be diligent.
Others may be lacking in self-confidence, but we should possess self-confidence.
Others may be shameless (to do bad deeds), but we should be shameful.
Others may be reckless, but we should be cautious.
Others may be illiterate, but we should be literate.
Others may be lazy, but we should be of dauntless energy.
Others may be unmindful, but we should be mindful.
Others may be poor in wisdom, but we should be rich in wisdom.
Others may be of bias, and find it difficult to give up their prejudices, but we should be free of bias and easy to welcome truth.”

“I tell you further, that even the intention of doing good is very helpful and invites good results, let alone the practice of good speech and good deeds. If there is an uneven road, I tell you, there should be an even road for treading: if there is an uneven ford, there should be an even ford.”



Anger that arises in man’s heart manifests itself in diverse phases as ill will, hatred, wrath, rancour, enmity, etc. To purify one’s heart of these unwholesome characteristics, one should understand how harmful they are and how they stand in the way of one’s spiritual progress.

Thus spoke the Lord Buddha on this matter:

“The person possessed of anger turns discoloured;
He doesn’t have a good sound sleep;
Coming upon a beneficial thing
He mistakes it for a mischance.

Then doing some harm to another
By speech and deed (and being fined),
He will have to suffer loss of his property.

Crazed by wrath does he behave in a way
That invites him ill repute;
His relatives and friends
Shun him as he is hot-tempered.

Anger fathers misfortune;
Anger maddens one’s brain.
It is the danger born within
Though the man realizes it no.

The angry one knows not what is right,
Nor does he see what really is,
All round him is darkened for him,
Whom does the anger subjugate.

Captivated by anger does he hurt another,
As a hard thing easily done by him.
But when his anger is gone,
Repenteth he as one burnt by fire.

Maddened by anger, he (she) kills his (her) father;
Maddened by anger, he (she) slays his (her) own mother;
Maddened by anger, he (she) kills a holy person;
Maddened by anger, slayeth he (she) any poor worldling.

All beings seek their own good,
None dearer to them than themselves.
Yet crazed by anger and maddened by some reason,
They kill themselves; some commit suicide with a sword.
Some swallow poison,
Still another hangs himself by a rope,
Or flings himself over a precipice or a crevice.

Doing destruction of life,
The angry one sees no harm done to himself (herself),
Due to ignorance,
By such ways


The person who is angry with another wishes for him (her): “Let him (her) be ugly.” Why is that? Because the angry person doesn’t like to see the other in a beautiful light. Even though the other is well bathed, well dressed, the anger person sees in him (her) an ugliness.

The angry person doesn’t like to see the other person lying in comfort, because he wishes the latter to lie always in discomfort.

The angry person doesn’t like to see the other one in prosperity, because he always expects the latter to be in depression.

The angry person doesn’t like to see the other one wealthy because he always expects to see the other in poverty.

The angry person cannot bear the other one’s fame, because he always wishes the latter to be under ill repute.

The angry person doesn’t like the other one to have friends and companions, because he always expects the latter to be deserted by them all.

The angry person doesn’t like the other one to be destined to a happy rebirth after death, because he always wishes the latter to be in a miserable state after death.

A person who is wrathful, who cherishes hatred for another, who is wicked and dishonest, who holds erroneous views, who is roguish – let one know a person of this type as one of the lowest grade among humans.

The person crazed by anger, subjugated by anger, with his heart captivated by anger, ponders over his own disaster of others, disaster of them both.

A log, o monks, taken away from a funeral pyre, which is ablaze on both the ends and fouled in the middle with excrement, serves for timber neither in a city nor in a village. Similar is the person who is wrathful and works neither for his own good nor for the good of others.”


Removal of Anger

He abused me, he maltreated me,
He defeated me, or he robbed me.
Harbouring such thoughts keeps hatred alive.

He abused me, he maltreated me,
He defeated me, he robbed me.
Releasing such thoughts banishes hatred for all time.

Repay not the angry with anger,
And you’ll win the battle hard to win.

He who, knowing the other in anger,
Maintains peace mindfully,
Works for the well being of both of them,
Well being his own, and that of others.


Brethren, suppose some bandits come to you with a double-handled saw and sever your body limb from limb, yet even on that occasion, if any one of you would hurt his feelings against them, for that reason he is not a follower of my teaching. Even o that occasion, you should train yourselves to guard yourselves from ill will thus: “May our hearts be not perverted, may we not utter any harsh word against them, but may we dwell kindly and compassionate, with tender heart of good will, void of anger.


Everybody loves himself (herself),
To everybody his (her) life is dear.
Considering this fact, one should abstain
From harming another.

Force of patience is the most powerful army.

I visited all quarters with my mind,
And didn’t see anybody dearer to him than himself.
Self is the dearest of all things to everyone.
One who considers this fact and loves oneself
Would never harm another being.

Enmity is never appeased by returning enmity.
Enmity is appeased only by amity.
This is an eternal Truth.


None of the good deeds done by one for acquiring merit is worth a fraction of the value of the practice of the meditation of loving-kindness.

Conquer enmity with amity,
Conquer evil with good,
Conquer stinginess with generosity,
Conquer falsehood with truthfulness.

Truly we dwell in happiness,
As we don’t hate while other hate.
Amid those who hate
Free of hate do we live.

Brethren, eleven advantages are to be expected from the freedom of heart (from ill will) through the cultivation of loving-kindness, development of good will, by constant increase of loving thoughts, by taking it for one’s vehicle, by making it as if treasured, by living in conformity with it, by translating kindness into actions, and by establishing oneself in loving-kindness.

What are the eleven? He (she) sleeps in comfort, he (she) wakes in comfort, he (she) doesn’t have bad dreams, he (she) becomes loved by humans, he (she) becomes dear to non-humans, gods would protect him (her), fire or poison or weapons cannot affect him (her), his (her) mind is quickly concentrated on the object (of meditation), his (her) complexion quickly turns attractive, he (she) passes away (at the moment of death) in calm. If he (she) fails to attain Perfection in this life, he (she) will be reborn into the abode of Sublime (Brahma) gods.

If a monk cultivates loving-kindness even as long as a fingersnap, it is said that he lives not destitute of jhana (ecstasy), one who follows the Master’s instruction, one who keeps to the advice of the Master, and it is not in vain that he accepts the food offered by the people. So what a greatly valuable thing would it be if one would make much of it!

Comparing others with oneself, and seeing that all seek happiness, one should extend loving-kindness to all beings as follows:

“May I be happy and free of worries;

May my friends and relatives, those who are indifferent to me, and also those who hate me – may all these be happy;

May all beings in limitless world systems be happy.

May, in the same way, all women, all men, all holy beings, all worldling, all deities, all those in unhappy realms, in all the directions, be happy.”



Discourse on Loving-kindness

“One skilled in one’s own good, who seeks highest good
Should follow the way as given below:
One should be active, upright, perfectly upright, docile, gentle and humble.

One should be contented, easily supported,
Having few wants, simple in living.

With senses composed, discreet,
Not arrogant, void of greedy attachment
To supporting families.

One should not do any mean deed,
A target of the reproof of the wise.
One should extend loving thoughts
To all others thus:

May all beings be happy and safe,
May all beings be happy-hearted,

May all beings, both weak and strong,
With no exception whatever,
Whether long or stout,
Middling or short, minute or gross,

Seen or unseen, living afar or living near,
Already born or seeking birth,
May all these beings be happy-hearted.

May no one deceive another
Nor scorn in any way, wherever he (she) may be,
Nor in anger or ill will,
May one not desire another’s mishap.

Just as a mother protects her child,
Her only child (with so deep a love)
Even as to risk her own life for its sake,
Even so towards all living beings,
May one cultivate boundless loving thought.

One should cultivate a heart of good will,
Towards the whole world, free of hate and enmity.
Up above, down below, and across unhindered.

Standing, walking, sitting or lying down,
So long as one keeps awake,
Should one devote oneself
To the practice of this meditation.

The virtuous one, with no falling into error,
Endowed with Perfect View,
Should dispel greed for pleasures.
For, never will such a one return to a mother’s womb.”
                                            (Sutta Nipata, Metta Sutta)

There are nine bases of quarrelling: quarrelling is stirred up at the thought “he has done me an injury,” or thus “he is doing me an injury”, or “he will do me an injury”, or “he has done, is doing, will do an injury to one I love”, or “he has bestowed a benefit, is bestowing, will bestow a benefit on one I dislike.”


Expulsion of Anger

There are five ways whereby resentment arisen in a monk can be dispelled. What are the five?

When resentment arises in one’s heart against another, good will is to be extended towards that person. Thus the resentment for that person is to be dispelled.

Or compassion is to be extended towards that person;
or sympathetic Joy is to be extended towards that person;
or equanimity is to be extended towards that person;
or that person is to be entirely forgotten, is not to be thought of;
or the law of kamma as one’s own property is to be attributed to him, as “this gentleman has his own kamma for his property, kamma as his heritage, kamma for him producer, kamma for his relative, and kamma for his refuge, he will have to accept for his heritage whatever kamma he does here.

Thus the resentment for another is to be dispelled.


Obstacles to Practice

When one practises any of these four meditations (bhavanas) there may arise obstacles that hinder further development. Sometimes one may remember some harm done to oneself by another person. On such occasions he should remember the instructions given by the Lord Buddha and other saints. The examples they have shown from their lives are to be followed on such occasions. Read the instructions and advice given in the foregoing introduction. He (she) should even advise himself (herself) thus:

“Being angry what are you doing to him? Is this kamma rooted in your anger not conducive to your own disaster? Your kamma is your own property, you are the heir of you own kamma. You kamma is your own parent, you own in, and your own refuge. Whatever you do, you yourself will be its heir. Is this not so? This kamma you are going to do is not conducive to your achievement of Perfect Buddhahood, Silent Buddhahood, or Arahantship, isn’t that so? It will not bring you overlordship either in the highest heaven or lower heaven or in this world of humans. Nor any happiness will it bring. Isn’t it so? But the evil kamma of yours rooted in anger will lead you after death to misery in unhappy states. By doing this you become like a man who with a view to hit another picks up burning ember or excrement in his hand and thus first burns himself or makes himself stink. Is this not so?” In this way he has to advise himself.

If he still feels displeased with the other person, he should reflect how our Lord Buddha behaved towards his enemies even in his previous births. Let him reflect on the life on the ascetic Khantivadi.

When he was an ascetic known as Khantivadi, long ago, once he visited the city of Benares and was staying in a grove. The king of Benares, a cruel person who had no regard for the practice of virtues, a man of materialistic views, met Khantivadi one day in the grove and asked, “What kind of doctrine do you teach,  monk?” “I teach the value of patience,” said the ascetic. The king, wanting to prove it impossible to practise patience, had him flogged with scourges of thorns but could not make the ascetic angry. Then he had his hands and feet cut off. Even at this the ascetic felt not the slightest anger.

In another previous life, the Lord Buddha had been born as a son to an arrogant king named Pratapa. The child was a prodigy. One day the king got angry with the queen who was fondling the babe and could not get up from the seat before him. He grew rough and ordered his servant to lop off hands, feet and head of the infant. But the child didn’t get angry either with his father or with the man who cut his limbs off, but he was impartial to all, towards his father, the man who cut off his limbs, towards his lamenting mother and towards himself.

When the meditator (aspirant) thinks thus of the Bodhi-satta’s (Future Buddha’s) former conduct, his resentment might subside. If he still can not dispel his anger towards the other person, now he should meditate on the teaching of the Buddha. He has said, “Brethren, it is not easy to find a being wo has not formerly been your mother… father… your brother… your sister… your son… your daughter in a previous life of this incalculably long cycle of lives.”

Reviewing this fact, the meditator should think of another one: “This person, when he (she) was my mother in a previous birth,  carried me in her womb nearly ten months, and when I was a baby, she removed my urine, excrement, spittle, snot, all without any disgust. She played with me on her lap, nourished me, carrying me about in her arms. Thus she nourished me with such deep love. When this person was my father in a previous life, he risked his life for me in pursuing the trade of merchant, or of famer, and did business hard with a view to earning wealth for my sake. And when he was born as my brother, sister, son or daughter, too, he (she) treated me with loving care and gave me every possible kind of help for my well-being. So it is unjust for me to harbour anger for him merely because of some disagreeable thing done to me in this life.”

If the meditator still feels dislike for that person, he should remember the words of the Buddha with which he expounded the eleven merits of the development of loving-kindness.

But if he still fells displeased with the other person, he should think of the other person as a collection of impurities, as, hair, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, etc., and should advise himself, saying “Are you angry with his hair? Or with his nails? Or his teeth? Or with his flesh?, and so on. His body is a collection of elements according to the ultimate point of view. Are you angry with these elements? Thus he should question and advise himself.

If he still feels displeased, he should look at the person from the ultimate point of view as a collection of elements or as a collection of the five aggregates of existence (khandhas). Then he (she) should advise himself (herself) with these words: “Do you feel angry with the elements or with the aggregate of matter, the aggregate of feelings, the aggregate of perceptions, the aggregate of mental formations, or the aggregate of consciousness?”

Reflecting this way he (she) will be able to remove his (her) anger.

If the other person is a hostile one, the meditator should treat him with generosity, and then both of them will be able to be friendly and forget all enmities.

If he still feels angry, he should try to understand who is the real enemy in what the so-called hostile person has done. Suppose the so-called enemy has annoyed him (her) with his (her) hands. So should he (she) avenge the hitting by punishing the so-called enemy’s hands or any other limb of his (her) body? The other person hit the latter under the order of his mind. His bodily parts, as a car under a driver, worked under the mind’s order. If a car strikes a man, it is not the car but the driver that is to be punished. So, for hitting done to the latter, the other’s mind must be responsible, not his body. But his mind is not any “one thing”, but rather a flow of states momentarily arising and vanishing. Therefore all the mind-units of this flow are not responsible for that hitting. It should be the only mind-unit in which anger arose and crazed it to use the body to hit the latter that is to be held responsible. But that mind-unit arose, utilized the body to hit, and vanished, and is no more living now. Apart from this, unless the anger arose in it, it wouldn’t use the body for that cruel action. Thus it is anger that is to be responsible for the cruelty. So it is anger that is to be punished. Now the real enemy has been discovered, that is, anger.

If you intend to hit the other’s body, again the hidden enemy, anger, might arise in him. You are then nourishing and supporting the enemy to arise, it is by no means the punishment to the real enemy. Instead of killing the enemy (anger), you are nourishing it, making it rise stronger. But, remembering the instructions of the Lord Buddha that “only by amity enmity is appeased”, “Conquer anger by loving-kindness”, if you extend your good will to the so-called hostile person, his anger, his enmity, will come to its cessation. Thus the real enemy is killed, the real way of avenging has been performed.

In this way the meditator should advise himself (herself). Thus he  (she) can easily extend his (her) good will towards the other.





The development of the four divine states of loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), sympathetic joy (mudita) and equanimity (upekkha) is what is meant by the expression “Development of divine states”.


Development of Loving-Kindness


First of all, the meditator should repeat the refuge formula:

“I will take refuge in the Lord Buddha, I take refuge in the Holy Dhamma, I take refuge in the community of the saintly disciples of the Lord Buddha.” This formula should be said three times while reflecting on the meaning of the formula.

Then he should repeat precept formula, if he or she is a lay practitioner, that is, the determination to abstain from taking life, taking what is not given, engaging in wrong sexual relations, using false speech, and consuming intoxicants.

Then he should consider the evil and disadvantages of anger. He should read the foregoing description of anger and its release. After this, he may begin his actual practice by extending love or good will towards himself. Let him generally aspire for his own well-being as follows:

“May I be free from all enmity, may I be free from all afflictions, may I be free from all anxiety, may I live in happiness.”

To practise good will in detail, one can give auto-suggestion limb from limb throughout one’s whole body, feeling that every such limb is healthy, thus:

“My head is healthy inside and outside. It is free from all ailments”.

After this practice for a short time, one should feel one’s head fully healthy. Then one should concentrate on one’s neck and give the suggestion “My neck is in good health, my neck is free from ailments, may my neck be healthy”. For a short while one should practise this auto-suggestion until one feels one’s neck fully healthy.

Then one should think of both one’s shoulders and hands and give the suggestion “Both my shoulders and hands are healthy and strong and free from all ailments”.

After one feels them healthy, one should mentally come to one’s breast and give auto-suggestion for a short time: “My breast inside and outside is perfectly healthy, free from all ailments.”

Next to this, one should give auto-suggestion to the remaining parts of one’s trunk: “My whole belly inside and outside is in perfect health and free from all ailments.”

When one feels all those parts are in perfect health, one should give auto-suggestion to one’s thighs, knees, legs and feet “May my thighs, knees, legs and feet be strong and in perfect health, free of all ailments.”

Then several times one should give these auto-suggestions both in regular and reverse order, from head to toe and from toe to head.

Then one should give general auto-suggestion “may I be healthy, may I be free from enmity, may I be free from all afflictions, may I be free from anxiety, may I live in happiness.”

Mere wording or mere thinking is not sufficient. While giving these auto-suggestions one should feel what one suggests to oneself. Next to this the meditator should think of a person of the same sex whom, he (she) honours, a living person, either his (her) parent, teacher or preceptor, and should extend his (her) good will (loving-kindness) and suggest: “May he (she), like myself, be free of enmity, may he (she) be free of all afflictions, may he (she) be free of anxiety, may he (she) live happily.”

Until one feels thoroughly that one has suffused the other person with loving-kindness, one should extend good will towards him (her).

Next, one should think of the dearest friend and spread loving-kindness towards him (her): “May my friend, like myself, be free from enmity, may he (she) be free from anxiety, may he (she) have a happy life.”

Until the meditator feels that he (she) is wishing profusely for the welfare of the other, he (she) should go on practising the same repeatedly.

Following the friend, the meditator should think of any person neutral or common (neither friendly nor unfriendly), and should extend loving-kindness towards him (her) and wish him (her) all well-being, as before: “May so-and-so, like myself, be free from enmity, may he (she) be free from afflictions, may he (she) be free from anxiety, may he (she) live happily.”

Lastly the meditator should think of his (her) enemy, if there is any, or anybody who dislikes him (her) and should will and wish him (her) well-being in the very same foregoing way.

When the meditator sees and feels no difference whatever between himself (herself) and others, he (she) should understand that he (she) has extended loving-kindness towards himself (herself) and others alike, with no distinction whatsoever.

Now the meditator should understand that he (she) has come to success so far in this preliminary practice.

Then the meditator should think of all others with no distinction as to sex, and willing and wishing their welfare, he (she) should extend good will and loving-kindness towards all of them thus: “May all these beings, like myself, be free of enmity, may they be free of all afflictions, may they be free of all anxiety, and may they all live in happiness.”

When the meditator breaks down all limitations in this way and perceives no difference between himself (herself) and others, his (her) mind becomes fixed on the same object (that all beings are in a happy mood), and he (she) will attain to the access (upacara) ecstasy.

Now the meditator should spread this same good will (loving-kindness) towards all humans, deities (gods and angels), animals and all other beings, all beings in all galaxies or world systems in the whole universe. While doing this he (she) will attain to the first state of ecstasy (First Jhana). All mental hindrances (nivaranas), that is, sensuality, ill will, uncertainty, confusion and worry, and sloth and torpor, will subside and be inhibited. At this moment the consciousness that arises within the meditator is accompanied by five mental factors as “applied thought, sustained thought, rapture, ease, and one pointedness” (vitakka-vicara-piti-sukha-ekaggata-sahitam). This is the first ecstatic state (pathama-jhana). The meditator may enter this ecstatic state over and over again and enjoy the bliss and peace of heart as long as he likes.

The person who has attained to ecstatic state through the extension of loving-kindness will achieve eleven advantages:

He falls asleep in ease.
He awakens from sleep in ease.
He doesn’t have bad dreams.
He is loved by humans.
He is loved by non-humans (gods, angels, ghosts) and animals.
He is protected by deities (gods and angels).
Fire, poison, and weapons do not affect him.
His mind is easily concentrated on the object of meditation.
He has a beautiful complexion.
At the last moment of his life he will pass away calmly with no pain.
If he hasn’t developed his mind further by the practice of insight (vipassana), he will be born into the realm of brahmas (higher gods).


At the attainment of the first ecstatic state (appana jhana), the ecstatic consciousness will be accompanied by five factors, namely initial application of thought (vitakka, sustained application of thought (vicara), rapture (piti), zest (sukha), and one-pointedness of mind (ekaggata); while five hindrances, sloth and torpor (thina-middha), uncertainty (vicikkiccha), ill will (vyapada), restlessness and worry (uddhacca-kukkucca) and sensuality (kamcchanda) are inhibited, and he begins to experience a peace beyond words.

Now he (she) should master this first Jhana in five ways:

He (she) should train the mind to turn it towards the Jhana at any place and at any time. This is the first mastery.

He (she) should train the mind to enter the Jhana at any place and at any time. This is the second mastery.

He (she) should train the mind to remain in the Jhana as long as he (she) likes. This is the third mastery.

He (she) should train the mind to emerge from the Jhana at any place and at any time. This is the fourth mastery.

He (she) should train the mind to remember and examine the nature of the Jhana after emerging from it.

The person who has attained to the first jhana may spread his loving-kindness towards all beings in many ways. He (she) may use one mode of the wordings in his (her) practice, thus: “May all be free from enmity,” or “May all be free form conflict,” or “May all be free from anxieties,” or “May all live in happiness.”



Two forms of extension of loving-kindness

The extension of loving-kindness is twofold, namely, specified extension and unspecified extension.

The specified extension which is seven-fold is as follows:

May all women be free from enmity.
May all men be free from enmity.
May all holy persons be free from enmity.
May all worldly beings be free from enmity.
May all deities (gods, angels) be free from enmity.
May all humans be free from enmity.
May all beings of lower grades be free from enmity.

Instead of the phrase “free from enmity”, one may use any of the rest of three “free from afflictions”, “free from anxiety”, and “live long happily”.

If one extends loving-kindness towards all living beings regardless of any specification as to women, men, etc., it is called unspecified extension.

This other method is the extension of loving-kindness with regards to the beings in different directions, thus:

May all beings in the eastern direction be free from enmity (affliction etc.)…
May all beings in the north-eastern direction be free from enmity…
May all beings in the northern direction be free from enmity…
May all beings in the north-western direction be free from enmity…
May all beings in the western direction be free from enmity…
May all beings in the south-western direction be free from enmity…
May all beings in the southern direction be free from enmity…
May all beings in the south-eastern direction be free from enmity…
May all beings in the downward direction be free from enmity…
May all beings in the upward direction be free from enmity…

The person who has developed ecstatic absorption (appana-jhana) in any of these ways will achieve eleven advantages as mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya in Book xi.



After the meditator has achieved mastery over the First Ecstatic Trance in the afore-mentioned five ways, and enters and emerges from it thousands of times, he (she) will easily be able to enter the second stage of the trance, in which the Jhana-consciousness will be accompanied by three factos, that is, rapture, zest and one-pointedness of mind. The second Jhana accompanied by these three factors is also to be mastered in the five ways as described in the practice of the First Jhana.

After mastering the second Jhana in those five ways, he will easily attain to the third Jhana. Third Jhana consciousness will be accompanied by two factors, zest and one-pointedness. The meditator should have mastery over the third Jhana too in the said five ways.




The meditator who expects to practise the meditation of compassion should first consider the disadvantage and evils of cruelty and the greatness, value, advantages, and merits of the development of compassion, He may not be successful if he tries to spread compassion towards his friends or neutral ones (or those of the opposite sex at first); thus, as in the practice of loving-kindness, one should begin with people of the same sex.

Compassion is sympathy for those who undergo suffering, sorrow, or misfortune. It arouses a person to help the sufferers. Therefore the object of the meditation of compassion should be a living being who is undergoing some trouble or misfortune.

In the practice of this meditation the meditator at first should spread his compassion towards any being of the same sex that suffers from some sort of trouble. Next he should extend the same compassion towards others.

Even a man living amid luxuries will die some day. Taking this fact or a point, the meditator should extend his compassion even towards the rich and those who live amid luxury.

As all beings that are born are subject to decay, death and various kinds of troubles, so depending on these facts the meditator can extend his compassion towards all living beings.

The order of spreading compassions is as follows:
First, compassion is to be extended towards one who is already suffering from some misfortune. Next, towards dear one (friends, etc.). Thirdly, towards the neutral persons; after them, towards enemies’ and finally towards oneself. This is the order of practice according to some teachers.

According to some others, as mentioned in the commentary to the Anguttara Nikaya, first of all one should extend compassions towards the enemy, next towards the depressed, after that towards dear ones, and finally towards oneself.

From all these descriptions it is clear that one should start this practice by extending compassion towards one who is under some misfortune at the present moment, and then towards others who are destined to suffer from various troubles to come, generally regarding all living beings that are subject to decay, death and other sorts of troubles. The rest is the same as what is said about the meditation of loving-kindness.

One who has developed this meditation is able to attain to the first ecstatic trance (pathama-jhana), the second ecstatic trance (dutiya-jhana), and the third ecstatic trance (tatiya-jhana), and all the advantages mentioned in the foregoing description with reference to the development of loving-kindness apply here equally.




The meditator of sympathetic joy should practise it taking the dearest person of the same sex for the first object. Contemplating over the past prosperity of one’s dearest friend, his present prosperity, of the future prosperity awaiting him (her), the meditator should appreciate all that at first.

Next he (she) should appreciate the prosperity past, present or future of the enemy, if he (she) has any.

If he (she) feels dislike of the enemy, he (she) should follow the instructions given in the meditation of loving-kindness, and remove his (her) dislike and then continue the practice. Following the enemy he (she) should develop approval of his own prosperity.

When he (she) feels no difference and sees and approves of prosperity of all beings alike, he (she) will be able to attain to the first, second and third Jhana gradually, according to the instruction given in the description of the development of loving-kindness.

Sympathetic joy is the direct opposite of envy and jealousy.




The development of equanimity (upekkha) can be successfully carried out by one who has practised any one of the three previous meditations. After entering the third ecstatic state (tatiya-jhana) by means of any of the foregoing three meditations, the meditator should extend the feeling of equanimity towards a neutral person of the same sex at first, and next he (she) should enter the first, second and third Jhanas in order. Then he (she) should extend equanimity towards his dearest companion, towards the enemy, and last of all towards himself (herself). When he (she) can see them all from the angle of equanimity, he (she) will attain to the fourth ecstatic state (catuttha-jhana), accompanied by equanimity and one-pointedness of mind.

The person who has developed this meditation is destined to achieve the same advantages as those who practise the meditation of loving-kindness. But this Jhana is deeper than that of the three previous states. If he (she) does not go further by turning the channel to the practice of insight (vipassana), the meditator will after death be reborn to the still higher realm of higher gods (Brahmas).




The person who is not treacherous, who is honest in his friendliness, wherever he (she) may go, will be welcomed with great hospitality. For many he (she) will be their resort.

The person who is not treacherous and keeps honest friendliness is honoured wherever he (she) may go, in every country, every village, or city.

Thieves or robbers will not annoy a person who is not treacherous and keeps honest friendliness. High official of the government will not look down upon him (her). He (she) will be victorious amid his enemies.

The person who is not treacherous and keeps honest friendliness, returns to his (her) home with a happy feeling in public meetings he (she) is highly respected and becomes the leader among his (her) relatives and companions.

The person who is not treacherous and keeps honest friendliness, as he (she) is hospitable to others, wins the hospitality of others in return. Honouring others he (she) will be honoured by others. He (she) earns both name and fame.

The person who is not treacherous and keeps friendliness honestly, as he (she) is generous, will be treated by others too with generosity. Respecting others he (she) will be respected. He (she) will be prosperous and illustrious.

The person who is not treacherous and keeps friendliness honestly, will shine among people like a burning fire. He (she) appears to glow like a deity. He (she) will never fall away from prosperity.

The person who is not treacherous and keeps friendliness honestly will be a possessor of many breeding cattle, and what is sown in his (her) field will grow richly. He (she) will enjoy the crop of what is sown.

The person who is not treacherous and keeps honest friendliness, even though he (she) should fall from a precipice or a mountain or a tree, will not suffer injury. He (she) will be protected by the powers of nature.

The person who is not treacherous and keeps honest friendliness cannot be removed from his (her) place by enemies just as a deep-rooted banyan tree cannot be overthrown by a storm.

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Nguyện đem công đức này, trang nghiêm Phật Tịnh Độ, trên đền bốn ơn nặng, dưới cứu khổ ba đường,
nếu có người thấy nghe, đều phát lòng Bồ Đề, hết một báo thân này, sinh qua cõi Cực Lạc.

May the Merit and virtue,accrued from this work, adorn the Buddhas pureland,
Repay the four great kindnesses above, andrelieve the suffering of those on the three paths below,
may those who see or hear of these efforts generates Bodhi Mind, spend their lives devoted to the Buddha Dharma,
the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

Quang Duc Buddhist Welfare Association of Victoria
Tu Viện Quảng Đức | Quang Duc Monastery
Senior Venerable Thich Tam Phuong | Senior Venerable Thich Nguyen Tang
Address: Quang Duc Monastery, 105 Lynch Road, Fawkner, Vic.3060 Australia
Tel: 61.03.9357 3544 ; Fax: 61.03.9357 3600
Website: http://www.quangduc.com ; http://www.tuvienquangduc.com.au (old)
Xin gửi Xin gửi bài mới và ý kiến đóng góp đến Ban Biên Tập qua địa chỉ:
quangduc@quangduc.com , tvquangduc@bigpond.com