AN 10.208 Brahmavihara Sutta

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Brahmavihara Sutta: The Sublime Attitudes

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"Monks, I don't speak of the wiping out of intentional acts that have been done & accumulated without [their results] having been experienced, either in the here & now or in a further state hereafter. Nor do I speak of the act of putting an end to suffering and stress without having experienced [the results of] intentional acts that have been done & accumulated.[1]

"That disciple of the noble ones thus devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful keeps pervading the first direction[2] with an awareness imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. He discerns, 'Before, this mind of mine was limited & undeveloped. But now this mind of mine is immeasurable & well developed. And whatever action that was done in a measurable way does not remain there, does not linger there.'

"What do you think, monks: If that youth, from childhood, were to develop the awareness-release through good will, would he do any evil action?"

"No, lord."

"Not doing any evil action, would he touch suffering?"

"No, lord, for when one does no evil action, from where would he touch suffering?"

"This awareness-release through good will should be developed whether one is a woman or a man. Neither a woman nor a man can go taking this body along. Death, monks, is but a gap of a thought away. One [who practices this awareness-release] discerns, 'Whatever evil action has been done by this body born of action, that will all be experienced here [in this life]. It will not come to be hereafter.' Thus developed, the awareness-release through good will leads to non-returning for the monk who has gained gnosis here and has penetrated to no higher release.

"That disciple of the noble ones thus devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful keeps pervading the first direction with an awareness imbued with compassion...

"That disciple of the noble ones thus devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful keeps pervading the first direction with an awareness imbued with appreciation...

"That disciple of the noble ones thus devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful keeps pervading the first direction with an awareness imbued with equanimity, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with equanimity abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. He discerns, 'Before, this mind of mine was limited & undeveloped. But now this mind of mine is immeasurable & well developed. And whatever action that was done in a measurable way does not remain there, does not linger there.'

"What do you think, monks: If that youth, from childhood, were to develop the awareness-release through equanimity, would he do any evil action?"

"No, lord."

"Not doing any evil action, would he touch suffering?"

"No, lord, for when one does no evil action, from where would he touch suffering?"

"This awareness-release through equanimity should be developed whether one is a woman or a man. Neither a woman nor a man can go taking this body along. Death, monks, is but a gap of a thought away. One [who practices this awareness-release] discerns, 'Whatever evil action has been done by this body born of action, that will all be experienced here [in this life]. It will not come to be hereafter.' Thus developed, the awareness-release through equanimity leads to non-returning for the monk who has gained gnosis here and has penetrated to no higher release."

Notes

1. F. L. Woodward; the PTS translator of the Anguttara Tens and Elevens notes that this sutta seems patched together from various sources. As proof, he cites the abrupt breaks between this paragraph and the next, and between the next and the one following it.

2. The east.