I mentioned the Mettasahagata Sutta, SN 46.54 here previously -viewtopic.php?f=17&t=8602&view=unread#p133953
Some pretty interesting things emerge from that sutta. Firstly, the ascetics from the other orders too claimed to practise metta
in the same way as the Buddhists, ie the standard pericope of radiation of metta
to the 6 directions. The Buddha suggests that what makes the Buddhist development of metta
different from the other ascetics was how metta
is integrated into the Awakening Factors, and with some specific outcomes -
“And how, bhikkhus, is the liberation of the mind by lovingkindness developed? What is its destination, its culmination, its fruit, its final goal? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness accompanied by lovingkindness … the enlightenment factor of equanimity accompanied by lovingkindness, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in relinquishment. If he wishes: ‘May I dwell perceiving the repulsive in the unrepulsive,’ he dwells perceiving the repulsive therein. If he wishes: ‘May I dwell perceiving the unrepulsive in the repulsive,’ he dwells perceiving the unrepulsive therein. If he wishes: ‘May I dwell perceiving the repulsive in the unrepulsive and in the repulsive,’ he dwells perceiving the repulsive therein. If he wishes: ‘May I dwell perceiving the unrepulsive in the repulsive and in the unrepulsive,’ he dwells perceiving the unrepulsive therein. If he wishes: ‘Avoiding both the unrepulsive and the repulsive, may I dwell equanimously, mindful and clearly comprehending,’ then he dwells therein equanimously, mindful and clearly comprehending. Or else he enters and dwells in the deliverance of the beautiful. Bhikkhus, the liberation of mind by lovingkindness has the beautiful as its culmination, I say, for a wise bhikkhu here who has not penetrated to a superior liberation.
The outcomes in red
are part of the abilities of the "noble one with developed faculties" set out in MN 152. I suggest we do not aim that high, since the ariya
in this case appears to be referring to Arahants!
For those who are still plodding along, the outcome in blue
seems like a more realistic attainment.
Ven Analayo identifies the "deliverance of the beautiful" with the 3rd Vimokkha of "subhanteva adhimutto hoti, ayaṃ tatiyo vimokkho
" (Deliverance by Being Resolved on the Beautiful). Given how the other 3 brahmavihāras
appear to lead to the formless attainments in this sutta, the implication seems to be be that the "deliverance of the beautiful" refers to the 4 Jhanas.
I suspect this aspect of meditation is just putting kusala sankappa
(wholesome resolves) into how we meditate, rather than a specific "metta
" meditation. At this stage, does one stomp on the defilements, or does one relate to them with non-ill-will and non-cruelty?