How to practice metta according to the Buddha’s teaching?

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How to practice metta according to the Buddha’s teaching?

Postby starter » Sun Oct 27, 2013 4:49 pm

A. What is metta?

The Pali word metta means loving-kindness, friendliness, and goodwill; it is a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love.

B. Why practice metta?

The practice of metta is for liberating the heart from ill-will, anger, hostility, and hatred:
"For this is the escape from ill-will, friends, that is to say, the freedom of mind wrought by universal love" (Digha Nikaya, III. 234).

Metta practice is also the highest mundane way of generating merits as I understand:

Iti 1.27 [http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/iti/iti.1.024-027.irel.html#iti-027]

For one who mindfully develops
Boundless loving-kindness
Seeing the destruction of clinging,
The fetters are worn away.

If with an uncorrupted mind
He pervades just one being
With loving kindly thoughts,
He makes some merit thereby.

But a noble one produces
An abundance of merit
By having a compassionate mind
Towards all living beings.
...
One who does not kill
Nor cause others to kill,
Who does not conquer
Nor cause others to conquer,
Kindly towards all beings —
He has enmity for none.

C. How to practice metta according to the Buddha’s teaching?

1. Recite and meditate upon the Karaniya sutta

Here is a translation of the sutta based on Bhante Ānandajoti's word to word breakdown translation: ttp://www.ancient-buddhist-texts.net/Te ... alysis.htm (with minor changes):

What should be done by one skillful in good,
who has comprehended the state of peace:
he ought to be able, straight, and upright,
easy to speak to, meek (quiet/gentle/submissive), not conceited,
content, easy to support,
with few duties, and living lightly,
with peaceful faculties, prudent, modest,
and no greed for supporters.

Do not do the slightest thing
that the wise would later censure.

(May all beings) be happy and secure, may all beings be happy in heart!
Whatever breathing beings there are
- weak, strong, or any other,
whether they be long or great, of middle size, short, tiny, or of compact (body),
those who are seen, and those who are unseen,
those who live far away, those who are near,
those who are born, and those who still seek birth
- may all beings in their hearts be happy!

No one should cheat another,
nor should he despise anyone anywhere,
he should not long for suffering for another
because of anger or resentment.

In the same way as a mother would protect her child,
her only child, with her life,
so toward all beings
he should develop the measureless thought (of friendliness).
[One should practice, sustain, and protect the thought of metta and a boundless, all embracing loving heart as a mother would risk her life to protect her only child.]

Towards the whole world
he should develop the measureless thought of friendliness,
above, below, and all around,
without barriers, hate, or enemy.

Standing, walking, sitting, lying,
for as long as he is without torpor,
he should be resolved on this mindfulness,
for this, they say here, is the Brahmam abiding.

Without grasping views, virtuous,
and endowed with insight,
having removed greed for sense pleasures,
he will never come to lie in a womb again.

The background of this protective sutta:

"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.

The discourse gets divided into two parts. The first detailing the standard of moral conduct required by one who wishes to attain Purity and Peace, and the second the method of practice of metta."

[My personal opinion:
This sutta contains three parts: sila, how to practice metta, and vimutti.]

[http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/piyadassi/protection.html#s3]

2. One should practice sila, and have the five hindrances suppressed before practicing metta:

"That disciple of the noble ones, headman — thus devoid of greed/covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered [not puzzled/confused/perplexed], clearly comprehending, mindful — keeps pervading the first direction [the east] with a heart imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with a heart imbued with love and goodwill — abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. Just as a strong conch-trumpet blower can notify the four directions without any difficulty, in the same way, when the liberation of heart through good will is thus developed, thus pursued, any deed done to a limited extent no longer remains there, no longer stays there [my personal understanding: anger, ill will, and hatred, which are defilements restricting/limiting the heart, no longer remains there] [SN 42.8]

"That disciple of the noble ones — thus devoid of greed/covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful — keeps pervading the first direction[the east] with a heart imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with a heart imbued with goodwill — abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. He discerns, 'Before, this heart of mine was limited & undeveloped. But now this heart of mine is immeasurable & well developed. And whatever action that was done in a measurable way does not remain there, does not linger there.' [ AN 10.208]

As they were sitting there, the wanderers of other sects said to them, "Friends, Gotama the contemplative teaches the Dhamma to his disciples in this way: 'Come, monks — abandoning the five hindrances, the corruptions of heart that weaken wisdom — keep pervading the first direction [the east] with a heart imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, keep pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with a heart imbued with good will — abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. [SN 46.54 Metta Sutta: Good Will]

3. Radiate metta to oneself and all others:

“Here, bhikkhus, a certain person abides with his heart imbued with loving-kindness extending over one quarter, likewise the second quarter, likewise the third quarter, likewise the fourth quarter, and so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself; he abides with his heart abundant, exalted, measureless in loving-kindness, without hostility or ill-will, extending over the all-encompassing world.

He finds gratification in that, finds it desirable and looks to it for his well-being; steady and resolute thereon, he abides much in it, and if he dies without losing it, he reappears among the gods of a High Divinity's retinue. [AN 4.125]

4. Radiate metta to a particular person and all others:

“"In the same way, monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or unbeneficial, with a heart of good-will or with inner hate. Others may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They may address you with a heart of good-will or with inner hate. In any event, you should train yourselves: 'Our hearts will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain compassionate, with a heart of loving kindness and good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with thoughts imbued with loving kindness and good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with thoughts imbued with loving kindness and good will — abundant (like the great earth), exalted (like empty space), immeasurable (like the river Ganges), free from hostility and free from ill will (like the catskin bag).' This is how you should train yourselves."

"Monks, even if bandits were to carve you up savagely, limb by limb, with a two-handled saw, he who let his heart harbor hate toward them would not be carrying out my teaching. Even then you should train yourselves: 'Our hearts will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain compassionate, with a heart of loving kindness and good will, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading these people with thoughts imbued with loving kindness and good will and, beginning with them, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with thoughts imbued with loving kindness and good will — abundant (like the great earth), exalted (like empty space), immeasurable (like the river Ganges), free from hostility and free from ill will (like the catskin bag).' This is how you should train yourselves."[MN 21]

5. Practicing metta for developing Samadhi:

AN 5.27:
"Wise & mindful, you should develop immeasurable concentration [i.e., concentration based on immeasurable good will, compassion, empathetic joy, or equanimity]. When, wise & mindful, one has developed immeasurable concentration, five realizations arise right within oneself. Which five?
"The realization arises right within oneself that 'This concentration is blissful in the present and will result in bliss in the future.'
"The realization arises right within oneself that 'This concentration is noble & not connected with the baits of the flesh.'
"The realization arises right within oneself that 'This concentration is not obtained by base people.'
"The realization arises right within oneself that 'This concentration is peaceful, exquisite, the acquiring of serenity, the attainment of unity, not kept in place by the fabrications of forceful restraint.'
"The realization arises right within oneself that 'I enter into this concentration mindfully, and mindfully I emerge from it.'

6. Practicing metta then vipassana for total liberation:

"Then again, a monk keeps pervading the first direction with a heart imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with a heart imbued with good will — abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. He reflects on this and discerns, 'This heart-release through metta is fabricated & intended. Now whatever is fabricated & intended is inconstant & subject to cessation.' Staying right there, he reaches the ending of the mental defilements. Or, if not, then — due to the passion and delight to this very Dhamma (heart-release through metta), and having totally wasted away the first five Fetters — he is due to be reborn [in the Pure Abodes], there to be totally unbound, never again to return from that world. [MN 52]

May our hearts be full of metta, and metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha’s teaching on metta

Postby Mkoll » Fri Nov 08, 2013 7:47 am

May you fare well.

May all beings fare well.

:hug:
Peace,
James
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Re: The Buddha’s teaching on metta

Postby Aloka » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:50 am

starter wrote:May our hearts be full of metta, and metta to all!



Thank you, starter. What was it that you wanted to discuss in connection with metta?

With kind regards,

Aloka
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Re: The Buddha’s teaching on metta

Postby Sanjay PS » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:24 am

Without metta , Vipassana is liking have a good bath , but not having toweled oneself fresh . Something will always be amiss .

With the culmination of metta to every sitting , no matter the sitting be long or short , the whole process of cleaning of ones mind becomes complete and wholesome , leading onto a freshness born of content and good will .

Thank you very much Starter, for starting the topic of a very wonderful by product of cleaning ones mind :smile:

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Re: The Buddha’s teaching on metta

Postby starter » Sat Nov 09, 2013 2:21 am

Aloka wrote: Thank you, starter. What was it that you wanted to discuss in connection with metta?


How to practice metta in the right way according to the Buddha's teaching. He apparently didn't teach us to practice metta by saving the world, to my understanding. Please share the other important teachings of the Buddha on metta that I might have missed, and your understanding of his teaching.

Thanks for all your good wishes and encouragement. It's nice to be with the friends here.

Metta to all!

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Re: The Buddha’s teaching on metta

Postby Aloka » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:53 pm

starter wrote:
Aloka wrote: Thank you, starter. What was it that you wanted to discuss in connection with metta?


How to practice metta in the right way according to the Buddha's teaching. He apparently didn't teach us to practice metta by saving the world, to my understanding. Please share the other important teachings of the Buddha on metta that I might have missed, and your understanding of his teaching.



Hi Starter,

I think that when we practice metta it helps us to accept the world as it is and to develop a non-judgemental attitude of goodwill towards others.

I take my inspiration from the Buddha's teachings and from the Theravada Thai Forest tradition. The Buddha's words about loving-kindness in the Karaniya Metta Sutta are included on p.35 of 'Recollections and Reflections' in the Amaravati Monastery Chanting Book.

http://www.amaravati.org/documents/ABM_Chanting_Book_2006.pdf

and an audio of the chanting :

http://www.amaravati.org/teachings/audio_compilation/1959


Additionally, this is a 5 minute Metta instruction from Ajahn Jayasaro which I think is good for anyone who is new to the practice:



With kind regards,

Aloka :anjali:
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Re: The Buddha’s teaching on metta

Postby FatDaddy » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:16 pm

2. One should practice sila, and have the five hindrances suppressed before practicing metta:

"That disciple of the noble ones, headman — thus devoid of greed/covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered [not puzzled/confused/perplexed], clearly comprehending, mindful — keeps pervading the first direction [the east] with a heart imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with a heart imbued with love and goodwill — abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. Just as a strong conch-trumpet blower can notify the four directions without any difficulty, in the same way, when the liberation of heart through good will is thus developed, thus pursued, any deed done to a limited extent no longer remains there, no longer stays there [my personal understanding: anger, ill will, and hatred, which are defilements restricting/limiting the heart, no longer remains there] [SN 42.8]

"
This is an interesting passage. It recomends practicing metta only after the mind is already concentrated (hindrances are suppressed). It is not usually presented this way in modern vipassana. Would this be considered another object of concentration to be used before going to vipassaana?
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8
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Re: The Buddha’s teaching on metta

Postby starter » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:59 pm

FatDaddy wrote:
2. One should practice sila, and have the five hindrances suppressed before practicing metta:

"That disciple of the noble ones, headman — thus devoid of greed/covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered [not puzzled/confused/perplexed], clearly comprehending, mindful — keeps pervading the first direction [the east] with a heart imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with a heart imbued with love and goodwill — abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. Just as a strong conch-trumpet blower can notify the four directions without any difficulty, in the same way, when the liberation of heart through good will is thus developed, thus pursued, any deed done to a limited extent no longer remains there, no longer stays there [my personal understanding: anger, ill will, and hatred, which are defilements restricting/limiting the heart, no longer remains there] [SN 42.8]

"
This is an interesting passage. It recomends practicing metta only after the mind is already concentrated (hindrances are suppressed). It is not usually presented this way in modern vipassana. Would this be considered another object of concentration to be used before going to vipassaana?


-- Sure. See the first post: 5. Practicing metta for developing Samadhi and 6.Practicing metta for vipassana and total liberation.

We'd better follow the Buddha's teaching. Metta to all,

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