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How to Meet Buddha Metteyya
Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahatto Sammasambuddhassa
The Dasabodhisatta-uddesa and Anagatavamsa both give instructions on what people must do if they are to meet Buddha Metteyya. This is very important for all those who do not attain at least the first stage of Awakening during this Buddha Dispensation, for, as we have seen, Buddha Metteyya will be the last Buddha to arise in this world cycle. If a person does not attain Awakening in this world cycle, it will be extremely difficult to get another opportunity.
In the Dasabodhisatta-uddesa, Buddha Gotama says to Ven. Sariputta, "Not all men will see my physical body. If they encounter my Teachings (sasana), give gifts (dana), observe morality (sila), and cultivate development of the mind (bhavana), through the fruit of that, they will be reborn in the time of Buddha Ariya Metteyya."
These three actions are the basis of meritorious action (punna). Through these actions a person can be assured of rebirth in the higher planes of existence. Developing the mind leads to the temporary purity attained through the Jhana states. But it can also lead to insight (Vipassana) and true liberation.
The Anagatavamsa gives more details. In order to meet Buddha Metteyya, people should put forth effort (viriya) and be firm (dalha), with agitated mind (ubbigga-manasa). We can surmise that "agitated mind" means the profound stirring of the mind or sense of urgency (samvega) that comes from realizing the urgent need to work for liberation. All those who do good deeds and who are vigilant - whether they are bhikkhus, bhikkhunis, laymen, or laywomen - will be able to encounter the next Buddha. All those who pay great honour to the Buddha will see the auspicious assembly of Buddha Metteyya. The holy life (brahma-cariya) should be practised. Gifts (dana) should be given. The Observance days (Uposatha) should be kept. Loving kindness (metta) should be carefully developed. By delighting in vigilance and meritorious actions, it will be possible to eventually make an end to misery (dukkha).
Ven. Ledi Sayadaw points out that it is necessary to make balanced effort in terms of good conduct (carana) and right knowledge (vijja) if one is to meet the next Buddha.
Right conduct means developing morality (sila) and concentration (samadhi). Knowledge means developing wisdom (panna). Right conduct can be compared to having sound limbs. Right knowledge can be compared to being able to see. If one or the other is missing, a person will be unsuccessful. A person may be generous and keep the permanent moral rules of the five precepts and the eight precepts on Observance days, but if the seeds of knowledge are not planted, that person may meet Buddha Metteyya but not be able to be Awakened. If only knowledge is developed, wrong conduct will mean that the chances of encountering the next Buddha will be slight, due to the intervening period (antara-kappa) between this Buddha Dispensation and the next one.
Examples of wrong conduct mentioned by Ven. Ledi Sayadaw are: not being generous, being poorly guarded in physical actions, being unrestrained in speech, and unclean in thought. Such conduct will mean rebirth in the lower realms, either in the next life or in a future life. If people who act in this way do manage to be reborn in a higher world, their lack of generosity will mean they will encounter hardships, trials, and tribulations in making a living. Through not keeping the precepts, they are likely to meet with disputes, quarrels, anger, and hatred; and they will be susceptible to diseases and ailments. This will make it even harder to avoid actions leading to the lower worlds.
It may be possible, however, that a person today has already prepared in the past for attaining Awakening. If the right effort is made in this life, that person can reach at least the first stage of Awakening and become a Sotapanna. Then, it will be impossible to do any action that results in rebirth in the lower realms. This will not necessarily mean that such a person will miss the opportunity to see the next Buddha. Eventually, as a Non-returner, he or she can be reborn in the Suddhavasa Brahma worlds, and life in these worlds can span the careers of several Buddhas.
If a person who has enough perfections (parami) to reach Awakening in this lifetime does not make the necessary effort, it may be possible to become a Sotapanna in the next life in the Deva worlds. If such a person does not practise the factors leading to Awakening, he or she will miss out entirely during this Buddha's Dispensation and will only be able to attain release during the next Buddha's Dispensation.
Ven. Ledi Sayadaw's instructions concerning the necessary work to be done in this life include what should be done by a person who practises bare insight meditation. One should fulfil the first eleven of the fifteen good actions (carana-dhamma), that is to say, all except the Jhana states. The first four actions are: (1) being moral, (2) guarding the sense doors, (3) being moderate in eating, and (4) wakefulness.
The next seven qualities are the seven good states (saddhamma) which the Buddha compared to the various protections for the citizens of a royal border town:
All seven of these good states enable a person to abandon wrong actions and cultivate good actions, to abandon what is blameworthy and develop blamelessness. Thus he develops purity.
We need not worry about whether we will be able to attain the goal of Nibbana in this life or whether we will only be able to do so under Buddha Ari Metteyya. If we make the best effort we can, such questions will take care of themselves. We must grow as much as possible in sila, samadhi, and panna, confident that in this way we will be able to come to the end of all suffering.
Truth Will Triumph!
Published by the
Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, IMC-UK, Splatts House, Heddington,
Calne, Wiltshire SN11 0PE, England,
publication is one of several marking the tenth anniversary of Mother
Sayamagyi and Sayagyi U Chit Tin's
The gift of the Dhamma surpasses all other gifts.
Dedicated to our
much revered teacher the late Sayagyi U Ba Khin (Thray Sitthu)
Source: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, IMC-UK, http://ubakhin.com/
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