The Buddha: Metta Sutta
[Translated from the Pali by Daw Mya Tin,MA]
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (40) of this book, with reference to five hundred bhikkhus.
Five hundred bhikkhus from Savatthi, after obtaining a subject of meditation from the Buddha, travelled for a distance of one hundred yojanas* away from Savatthi and came to a large forest grove, a suitable place for meditation practice. The guardian spirits of the trees dwelling in that forest thought that if those bhikkhus were staying in the forest, it would not be proper for them to live with their families in the trees. So they descended from the trees, thinking that the bhikkhus would stop there only for one night. But the bhikkhus were still there at the end of a fortnight; then it occurred to them that the bhikkhus might be staying there till the end of the vassa. In that case, they and their families would have to be living on the ground for a long time. So, they decided to frighten away the bhikkhus, by making ghostly sounds and frightful apparitions. They showed up with bodies without heads, and with heads without bodies, etc. The bhikkhus were very upset and left the place and returned to the Buddha, to whom they related everything. On hearing their account, the Buddha told them that this had happened because previously they went without any weapon and that they should go back there armed with a suitable weapon. So saying, the Buddha taught them the entire Metta Sutta (discourse on Loving-Kindness) beginning with the following stanza:
Yanta santam padam abhisamecca
Sakko uju ca suhuju ca
Suvaco c'assa mudu anatimani.
[The above stanza may be translated as: "He who is skilled in (acquiring) what is good and beneficial, (mundane as well as supra-mundane), aspiring to attain Perfect Peace (Nibbana) should act (thus): He should be efficient, upright, perfectly upright, compliant, gentle and free from conceit."]
The bhikkhus were instructed to recite the sutta from the time they came to the outskirts of the forest grove and to enter the monastery reciting the same. The bhikkhus returned to the forest grove and did as they were told. The guardian spirits of the trees receiving loving-kindness from the bhikkhus reciprocated by readily welcoming and not harming them. There were no more ghostly sounds and ungainly sights. Thus left in peace, the bhikkhus meditated on the body and came to realize its fragile and impermanent nature.
From the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha, by his supernormal power, learned about the progress of the bhikkhus and sent forth his radiance making them feel his presence. To them he said, "Bhikkhus just as you have realized, the body is, indeed, impermanent."
Metta Song : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_w0dOUyjKU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 40: Knowing that this body is (fragile) like an earthern jar, making one's mind secure like a fortified town, one should fight Mara with the weapon of Knowledge. (After defeating Mara) one should still continue to guard one's mind, and feel no attachment to that which has been gained (i.e., jhana ecstasy and serenity gained through meditation).
At the end of the discourse, the five hundred bhikkhus attained arahatship.
* yozana: a measure of length about twelve miles.
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