As a mother protects with her life her child - Thanissaro

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As a mother protects with her life her child - Thanissaro

Postby Coyote » Sat May 11, 2013 4:08 pm

In a dhamma talk by Ven Thanissaro, "Qualities of Metta" (I think) he mentioned that the phrase mentioned above refers not to the quality of the metta, but to the care and protection put into cultivating the metta itself.
Is there anywhere in Ven. Thanissaro's corpus where this is addressed in detail?
What do those here knowledgeable about Pali say? I was going to put this thread in the Pali forum but thought it might generate a wider discussion here.

Metta (as a mother protects with her life her only child)
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
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Re: As a mother protects with her life her child - Thanissar

Postby binocular » Sat May 11, 2013 6:23 pm

/.../
The Karaniya Metta Sutta goes on to say that when you’re developing this attitude, you want to protect it in the same way that a mother would protect her only child. 

As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.

Some people misread this passage—in fact, many translators have mistranslated it—thinking that the Buddha is telling us to cherish all living beings the same way a mother would cherish her only child. But that’s not what he’s actually saying. To begin with, he doesn’t mention the word “cherish” at all. And instead of drawing a parallel between protecting your only child and protecting other beings, he draws the parallel between protecting the child and protecting your goodwill. This fits in with his other teachings in the Canon.
/.../

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... odwill.pdf
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Re: As a mother protects with her life her child - Thanissar

Postby Coyote » Sat May 11, 2013 6:34 pm

Thanks Binocular, that's the one.

Metta
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26
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Re: As a mother protects with her life her child - Thanissar

Postby dhammapal » Tue May 14, 2013 10:35 am

binocular wrote:/.../
The Karaniya Metta Sutta goes on to say that when you’re developing this attitude, you want to protect it in the same way that a mother would protect her only child. 

As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate a limitless heart
with regard to all beings.

Some people misread this passage—in fact, many translators have mistranslated it—thinking that the Buddha is telling us to cherish all living beings the same way a mother would cherish her only child. But that’s not what he’s actually saying. To begin with, he doesn’t mention the word “cherish” at all. And instead of drawing a parallel between protecting your only child and protecting other beings, he draws the parallel between protecting the child and protecting your goodwill. This fits in with his other teachings in the Canon.
/.../
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... odwill.pdf

Thanissaro Bhikkhu (continued) wrote:Nowhere does he tell people to throw down their lives to prevent every cruelty and injustice in the world, but he does praise his followers for being willing to throw down their lives for their precepts:
Just as the ocean is stable and does not overstep its tideline, in the same way my disciples do not — even for the sake of their lives — overstep the training rules I have formulated for them.
— Ud 5.5
The verses here carry a similar sentiment: You should be devoted to cultivating and protecting your goodwill to make sure that your virtuous intentions don't waver. This is because you don't want to harm anyone. Harm can happen most easily when there's a lapse in your goodwill, so you do whatever you can to protect this attitude at all times. This is why, as the Buddha says toward the end of the sutta, you should stay determined to practice this form of mindfulness: the mindfulness of keeping in mind your wish that all beings be happy, to make sure that it always informs the motivation for everything you do.
From: Metta Means Goodwill by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

With metta / dhammapal.
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