Saturday, 29 January 2011

An Analytical Study of Metta in Theravada Tradition (5)

Does mettæ protect oneself against any dangers?
One of the Buddhist texts said that one who cultivates mettæ can expect eleven benefits: sleeping conveniently, waking comfortably, dreaming no nightmare, being loved by human beings, being loved by deities, being guarded by deities, not being endangered by flame, weapon, poison, etc, attaining concentration quickly, being clear complexion, dying unconfused and being headed for the Brahma realms even if unable to attain Arahatship (A³guttara nikæya, p-542).
According to it, it seems that mettæ is able to bestow full security to those concerned. However, the issue might appear why Suva¼¼asæma, a future Buddha of Gotama, who was radiating mettæ, was shot with an arrow by the king, Pø¹iyakkha in jætaka stories. He was nursing his blind parents and radiating mettæ towards all beings all the time. One day he was shot when he lift up the water pot from the ground to his shoulder in order to carry it to his parents. There is considerable evidence in Minlindpaññæ, which said that Suva¼¼asæma got shot at the moment when his attention is merely towards the water pot. It means he missed to radiate the mettæ due to carful attention upon the pot at that time. The text fully defends that mettæ can always protect oneself against any dangers.

Loving-kindness and vegetarian
The definition of mettæ might vary between meat eater and vegetarian. A meat eater probably thinks that killing animals and eating their meat are not basically concerned each other, while perhaps a vegetarian  persists that there happens many slaughters due to a large number of meat eaters. Their views cannot be made a precise decision. In Theravæda countries such as Burma, Thailand, Sri lanka, etc, however, vegetarianism is generally admired by the people though the Theravæda Buddhism is not vegetarianism (An introduction to Buddhist ethics, p-161). In the Buddha’s life time, Devaddatta requested the Buddha to prescribe only vegetable eating for the monks, but the Buddha denied saying “those who desire eating only vegetables can practise it, and those who wish to eat meat can also eat it” (Pæræjika pæ¹i, p-263).The Buddha also listed ten kinds of meat not to be eaten: they include human flesh, dog, horse, elephant, leopard, tiger, lion, bear, hyena and snake. (Ka³khævitara¼ø a¥¥hakathæ, p-100). Furthermore, if a monk saw or heard or suspected that any animal whether allowable or not had been killed especially to offer monks, he should not also accept and eat it. Moreover, the Buddha seriously restricted not to kill human being [if a monk does, he loses his monkhood], animals and not to drink the water mixed with insets [if a monk does, he is sinful of expiation]. (Pæræjika pæ¹i, p-90: Pæcittiya pæ¹i, pp-63-65).
In Burma, there was a famous monk who encouraged the people to be vegetarian. He stayed at temple in the small village. Owing to his popularity a huge crowd of people [thousands of people a day] visited there every day.  He served them with rice and pure vegetables. Previously Ledi sayaw and Mahæsi sayaw (An introduction to Buddhist ethics, p-161) also had encouraged the local people not to eat beef as the cows are the great benefactors of famers. The Buddhist people also highly admire the monks who eat vegetable only. It is clear that all of the above mentioned are to show mettæ towards any sentient beings. 


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