06 June 2008

Mettā Sutta translation

This is a new translation, not simply a paraphrase of an earlier translation. I have attempted to use contemporary idiom and reasonably sensible English syntax. The original is in verse, but I haven't tried to reproduce the meter. The Karaṇīya Mettā Sutta occurs in the Sutta Nipāta (Sn 1.8 = PTS: Sn 143-152).

I've speculated, in another post, that the sutta might once have stopped at verse nine, but an extra verse was added as a result of a lost metaphor.

The Karaṇīya Mettā Sutta.

If you know what is good for you, and what to do about it,
Having understood what true happiness is,
Then this is what you would do:

Be practical, straight forward, direct and honest
Be polite and accept advice graciously
Be tender hearted and not arrogant
Be contented, with moderate appetite, and needs easily met
Be easy going
And do not take on many responsibilities
Be grounded and in control of yourself
Be prudent and not reckless or impulsive
And don’t go chasing after status
Never do even the slightest thing that would result in a bad conscience,
Or give the Wise cause to reprove you.

May they have happiness and peace
May all beings be happy in themselves
Whatever living beings there are,
Those suffering and those released from suffering, leaving none out
All beings of whatever size or shape
Fine or coarse, refined or rustic
Seen or unseen
Beings in remote places, and those around you
Those already born, and those about to be born
May all beings be happy in themselves

Not humiliating, or despising, anyone anywhere
And never, though angry, or experiencing anger,
Never wish suffering for another
Just as a mother would give her life to protect her only child
Likewise include all beings everywhere in your heart and mind
With loving kindness for all the world
In all directions of space, unobstructed, peaceable and without enmity
The heart embraces all.

Whatever you are doing, in every activity
As far as is humanly possible sustain these reflections
To do so, it is said, is to dwell with god right here and now!

Hold your opinions lightly, and be virtuous and good
See things as they really are
And having given up addiction to sensuous pleasures
You will surely not have to suffer rebirth again.
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