Some 500 monks who went into the jungle to practice meditation were disturbed and frightened by certain spirits. Where upon they returned and reported the matter to the Buddha.
The Buddha then advised the monks to go back to the same place but armed with the sword of Metta (loving-kindness) for their protection. The Buddha then delivered this Sutta to teach them how to practice loving-kindness.
The monks returned to the jungle and radiated their loving kindness to those spirits and thereafter they continued with their meditation without any hindrance. These same spirits who had earlier created disturbances, later repented and paid their respects to the monks.
This is, therefore, an important Sutta for the devotees to recite to radiate their loving-kindness to every living being. By doing so they can overcome any disturbances, find peace and happiness for themselves and help others to live peacefully by practising this great virtue.
Karanīya mattha kusalena
Yantam santam padam abhisamecca
Sakko ujū ca sūjū ca
Suvaco cassa mudu anatimāni
Santussako ca subharo ca
Appakicco ca sallahukavutti
Santindriyo ca nipako ca
Apagabbho kulesu ananugiddho
Naca khuddham samācare kiñci
Yena viññū pare upavadeyyum
Sukhino vā khemino hontu
Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhi-tattā
Ye keci pāna bhūtatthi
Tasāvā thāvarā vā anavasesā
Dighā vā ye mahantā vā
He who is skilled in good, and who wishes to attain that state of calm (Nibbana), should act thus: He should be able, upright, perfectly upright, obedient, gentle and humble.
Contented, easy looked after, with few duties, simple in livelihood, controlled in senses, discreet, prudent; and not greedily attached to families.
He should not commit any slight wrong, that other wise men might find fault with him. May all beings be happy and safe, may their hearts be happy.
Whatsoever living beings there are; weak or strong, without exception, long or short, large, medium, or small, subtle or gross;
Ditthā vā yeva aditthā
Ye ca dūre vasanti avidūre
Bhūtā vā sambhavesī vā
Sabbe sattā bhavantu sukhi-tattā
Na paro param nikubbetha
Nāti-maññetha katthaci nam kañci
Nāñña-maññassa dukkha miccheyya
Mātā yathā niyam puttam
Evampi sabba bhūtesu
Mettañ ca sabba lōkasmim
Mānasam bhāvaye aparimānam
Uddham adho ca tiriyañ ca
Asambādham averam asapattam
Tittham caram nisinno vā
Sayāno vā yāvat’assa vigatamiddho
Etam satim adhittheyya
Brahma metam vihāram idha-māhu
Ditthiñ ca anupagamma sīlavā
Kāmesu vineyya gedham
Nahi jātu gabbhaseyyam punaretī ti
Those seen or unseen, those dwelling near or far, and those born and to be born; May all beings, without exception, be happy.
Let not one deceive another nor despise any person whatsoever anywhere. Either in anger or ill-will, let him not wish each other harm.
Just as a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her own life, even so towards all beings, let him cultivate boundless thoughts of loving kindness.
Let thoughts of boundless love pervade the whole world; above, below and across without any obstruction, without any hatred, without any enmity.
Whether he stands, walks, sits or lies down, as long as he is awake, he should develop this mindfulness. This, they say, is the divine abiding here.
Not falling into wrong views, virtuous and endowed with insights, he discards attachment to sensual desires. Truly, he does not come again to be conceived in a womb.