[Buddha-l] Re: Frightened bhikkhus (Shantavira)

zelders.YH zelders.yh at wxs.nl
Thu May 19 06:01:20 MDT 2005

Shantavira asked :
>Is anyone familiar with a sutta in which some bhikkhus cannot meditate
>because they are afraid in the forest, whereupon the Buddha teaches them the
>metta bhavana? It's a story our author says she remembers hearing, but the
>closest I can find is at S.i.219f (Sakkasamyutta 3) in which the frightened
>bhikkhus are advised to recollect the Three Jewels.

That story can be found in the commentary to the well-known Karaniya Mettaa 
Sutta. Here's the story in Piyadassi's words, from the 'Access to Insight' 
site :

"While the Buddha was staying at Savatthi, a band of monks, having received 
subjects of meditation from the master, proceeded to a forest to spend the 
rainy season (vassana). The tree deities inhabiting this forest were 
worried by their arrival, as they had to descend from tree abodes and dwell 
on the ground. They hoped, however, the monks would leave soon; but finding 
that the monks would stay the vassana period of three months, harassed them 
in diverse ways, during the night with the intention of scaring them away.
Living under such conditions being impossible, the monks went to the Master 
and informed him of their difficulties. Thereon the Buddha instructed them 
in the Metta sutta and advised their return equipped with this sutta for 
their protection.
The monks went back to the forest, and practicing the instruction conveyed, 
permeated the whole atmosphere with their radiant thoughts of metta or 
loving-kindness. The deities so affected by this power of love, henceforth 
allowed them to meditate in peace."
See also : http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/sutta/khuddaka/khp/khp-b.html#9

Herman Zelders
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