benefit of metta As we discussed in previous articles, purifying one’s mind through Metta has unique and invaluable benefits that one can experience during this lifetime as well as beyond. The Buddha has taught eleven (11) remarkable benefits in one full Sutta (discourse) called Mettanisansa Sutta (Anguttara Nikaya). When the mind gets gradually purified by Metta, defilements such as anger and hatred would be replaced by kindness and sympathy towards all living beings without barriers.
The positive effects of one’s Metta would influence how he or she is perceived by others and would result in improved relationships with the visible as well as invisible world.
Let us look at the eleven benefits (as per Mettanisansa Sutta) one by one, in order to understand the importance of Metta for our lives
(1) Sukham Supathi-sleeps well/easily
Many people complain of not being able to sleep well due to various external factors such as noise, while some suffer from sleep disorders or insomnia. Instances where one could not fall asleep when so desired are not rare in our lives. Similarly there are occasions when one did not feel refreshed at all even after sleeping continuously for hours.
One may also recall how difficult itis to sleep when he or she is badly hurt by action or words of someone, or when one plans to hurt someone, seek revenge and such a like. Such difficulties in sleeping are the outcomes of the mind not being free of defilements such as anger, hatred, ill-will and jealousy.
A pleasant and comfortable sleep is necessary to manage one’s day-to-day work successfully and it would refresh and energize both the mind & body with a positive feeling. This cannot be expected when a mind is full of anger or accordingly, it is the state of mind that leads to a good night’s sleep, rather than external physical comforts. If loving-kindness is practiced well and as a habit, a person would be able to sleep well and comfortably.
(2) Sukham Patibujjhati – wakes up well/easily
Not only falling asleep well, waking up fresh is also a must for an active and productive day. After waking up from sleep, one sometimes may either spends a longtime in bed or falls asleep again for a shorter period, due to an unexplainable confused state of mind.
This does happen regardless of the duration slept or how comfortable the surrounding was. But if one practices Metta well and as a habit, he or she will wake up easily, fresh and mindfully. Upon waking up with a clear mind, one can easily plan for the day ahead.
(3) Na Papakam Supinam Passati – will not see unpleasant dreams
Not seeing fearful or unpleasant dreams is also necessary for comfortable and refreshing sleep. If one’s mind is not being purified and protected by Metta, the chances are there for it to be full of depressing feelings like – fear, anxiety and disappointments.
This arouses the Vingnganaya-conscious-(magician) to generate baseless, unexplainable and non-understandable incidents which may confuse one upon waking up. Metta will result in us not seeing any such disturbing and confusing dreams, a benefit which also leads to comfortable sleep/rest similar to the two benefits discussed above.
(4) Manussanam Piyo Hoti – liked/admired by humans
Think of the appearance of a person who easily gets angry or is in an angry mood most of the time – would you prefer to see him often or seek his comp any, unless you have no other option? On the contrary, most of us would enjoy the presence of a person who is kind – flexible- ready to listen and is understanding.
These are a few qualities that a person practicing Metta, who wishes from the deep of heart the well-being and happiness of all living beings, would possess. Such a person, due to his actions and words which originate in his mind purified by Mena, is attracted by all humans regardless of his/her race- religion- physical appearance, etc. The selfless nature of a person full of Metta, would be a benefit to everybody around him and to the society at large.
(5) Amanussanam Piyo Hoti – liked/admired by non-huma
Similar to humans, there are non-humans, who are disciples (Shrawaka) of the Buddha and practice Metta. Such non-human Shrawakas along with other non-humans like Yakkha, Naga, Kumbhanda, Gandharwa and Petha also prefer the presence of persons with Metta in their vicinity.
The rays of Metta of such persons heal the hearts of non-humans, at least temporarily, who are filled with unrest and intolerance. Further, a person’s Metta is also felt by animals and nature alike.
(6) Devata Rakkhanti – blessed and protected by Devas
Practicing Metta properly should gradually reflect in a person’s actions (whether in public or private). So, it is not hard for Devas (divine spirits) to identify whether someone really has been radiating Metta, as our lives are open at all times for them.
The Devas sympathetically look after the persons with Metta, similar to the way children are blessed and protected by parents. This can result in us being protected from unexpected disasters and from instances where we can get in to trouble. It’s like having an invisible friend who sees our future and guides us in the correct path.
(7) Nassa Aggia Wa Visam Wa Saththam Wa Kamati – would not be harmed by fire, poison or weapons
We are open to harm/injuries that can occur from fire, poison or weapons, either accidentally or caused by an action of another person. But, one would be protected from such incidents if he practices Metta in life. The Buddha, in one of his sermons, has indicated that if one attempts to harma person, who practices Metta, such attempts will revert back and he himself (the wrong doer) would be harmed-like a person attempting to grasp the blade of a sword (with sharp edges on both side) in his hands. Hence, practicing Metta is like having a set of commandos around – at no cost indeed!
(8) Thuwatam Chittam Samadhiyati -mind becomes serene and concentrated easily
Metta makes the mind free of anger (vyapada) – which is one of powerful hindrances that prevent the mind becoming concentrated; there by helping them in to become serene. One can easily concentrate the mind, which has achieved serenity through Metta, on any of the meditation objects taught by the Buddha.
(9) Mukhawanno Vippasidati -complexion of face becomes fair
This indeed is bad news for the producers of fairness creams! Metta meditation purifies the blood and the resultant relaxed and happy mood eases the blood circulation throughout the body. As a result the complexion of one’s face becomes ‘fair’ and ‘lovely: This happens regardless of the color of the face and is something that can be experienced by a Metta meditator in the short-term. Such a natural complexion would be clearly identifiable when compared with the artificial facial expressions of the persons who pretend to be kind.
(10) Asammulho Kalam Karoti – can remain conscious and mindful at death
Death is an element of Dukkha that every one of us has to face at any moment and if cleverly utilized, can be made the most precious moment of a Buddhist’s life by realizing the Dhamma. But, not many get the chance to face death mindfully and in a conscious state in order to convert it to such a precious moment. It is sorrowful to see people struggling at death mainly due to the fear of death, pain and the inability to let go of possessions.
This confused state of mind at death may even cause one to be born in Sathara Apaya (four worlds of suffering). But a person, who radiates Metta towards all living beings, would get the rare opportunity to face death peacefully and consciously. He would have the privilege of making use of his last moment to be one with everything he experiences in the Dhamma, and to let go of this life easily and even of all future lives.
(11) Uttarim Appativijjanto Brahmalokupago Hoti –will be borne in Brahma Loka
if doesn’t reach the holiness of Arihat If an Arya Shrawaka (noble disciple of the Buddha) who purifies his mind by practicing Metta does not reach the ultimate state of Arihant during this lifetime, he is sure to be born in the Brahma Loka in the following birth where he will end his journey in samsara. Other than this, all the above-mentioned benefits above can be experienced in this life itself (Sand hittika).
However, as per Mettanisamsa Sutta, the benefits discussed above can only be realized if the radiation of loving-kindness is mastered; developed as a habit; pursued; and consolidated.
So if one would like to gain the above benefits, he or she has to be determined and diligent in the purification of mind by gradually developing Metta. As you can see, Metta is not just a set of words – it is a package of solutions for most of the issues being encountered by us in our day-to-day life.
If one’s mind is full of Metta and Compassion towards the whole world, there is no way that it can have any room for thoughts of hurting anyone at least by way of a gesture. Such a person would also rarely get hurt as he or she perceives the cruel actions or speech by others with sympathy.
If one can tolerate abusive and insulting words and refrain from retaliating, realizing that the other person is angry, he is the one who conquers the real and hard battle as the Buddha has taught. May all of us have the rare chance of winning that hardest battle with the help of Metta. We will discuss further about practicing Metta in a future issue of Mahamegha.https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/meditation/in-depth/meditation/art-20045858