This is a part of a series going line by line from the Metta Sutta. It starts here.
Or despise any being in any state
Remember, any being in any state could mean the poor pathetic wino by the side of the road. But it could mean a tycoon or even an angel. After all, in Buddhism they are all suffering creatures caught in Samsara with the rest of us. Here’s another rip roaring tale from the Visuddhimagga on this very topic and how it relates to metta.
Visakha was a very rich landlord from Pataliputra. He had heard that Sri Lanka was the heartland of Buddhism, that the Dhamma was strong there. He decided to go there and ordain as a monk. He gave all of his money to his wife and children and left for Sri Lanka with a single gold coin. His first stop was Tamrlalipi. While he was waiting for a ship to take him to Sri Lanka, he did some business deals and ended up making 1000 gold coins. Quite the businessman!
When he reached Sri Lanka, he went to the famous monastery of Mahavihara and asked permission to ordain. Since monks can’t touch gold, he opened his purse and gave out gold to everyone who attended his ordination.
After five years of study at the monastery, he went to the Cittalapabbata Forest Monastery to meditate. It was famous for both it’s great meditation monks and for being haunted. He stayed at the monastery peacefully doing metta meditating in his hut for four months. After that time, he started thinking of going back to Mahavihara. Just at that moment, he heard someone in the woods crying.
“Who is it?” cried out Visakha.
“I am Maniliya, the Spirit of the Manila Tree.”
“Why are you crying.”
“Because you are thinking of leaving us. Since you have come here, all of the spirits treat each other with kindness. You are so kind and peaceful, that we too live in peace. If you go, I’m afraid we will start fighting and quarrelling again.”
So out of compassion, he stayed for another four months. When four months passed, another spirit cried and begged him to stay on. Finally Visakha decided to stay there permanently. Finally, he achieved Nibbana there. This is the power of metta!