In the practice of metta it is important to understand the emotions which nullify metta either by being similar or being dissimilar. The Visuddhimagga calls them "the two enemies — the near and the remote." Greed, lust, worldly affection, sensuality — all these are said to be the "near enemies" because they are similar in tendencies. The lustful also sees the "good side" or "beauty," and therefore gets involved. Love should be protected from it lest the masquerades of these emotions deceive the meditator.
Nibbida wrote:Thank you friends. So far, it seems the Visuddhimagga is the earliest documented reference to this formulation.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:Nibbida wrote:Thank you friends. So far, it seems the Visuddhimagga is the earliest documented reference to this formulation.
I would not jump to any such conclusion until I had a thorough knowledge of the Suttas and Commentaries.
Finding a reference to show that something is in the Canon is relatively easy, proving that it is not is an entirely different matter. If you find something in the Visuddhimagga or Milindapañha, or in the works of well-respected contemporary authors like Venerable Ledi Sayādaw or Mahāsī Sayādaw, it is best to withhold judgement.
Questions and Answers
waterchan wrote:Do we now have a better idea of the earliest origins of these concepts?
An educated guess might be that the near and far enemies of the Brahmaviharas are commentarial and not used in the suttas. That does not diminish their importance; this is easily one of the most useful commentarial concepts I've encountered.
Nibbida wrote:I looked in the suttas and couldn't find any obvious mention of near and far enemies of the Brahma-viharas. Are they expressed in different terms or are they from some later writing, like the Visuddhimagga?
Vism IX.98 wrote:And ill will, which is dissimilar to the similar greed, is its far enemy like a foe ensconced in a rock wilderness. So loving-kindness must be practiced free from fear of that; for it is not possible to practice loving-kindness and feel anger simultaneously
http://suttacentral.net/en/dn33 wrote:If you develop the emancipation of the heart through loving-kindness, ill-will has no chance to envelop your heart. This emancipation through loving-kindness is the cure for ill-will.
Vism IX.99 wrote:Compassion has grief based on the home life as its near enemy, since both share in seeing failure.
MN 137 wrote:When one regards as a non-gain the non-gain of forms cognizable by the eye that are wished for, desired, agreeable, gratifying, and associated with worldliness—or when one recalls what was formerly not obtained that has passed, ceased, and changed—grief arises. Such grief as this is called grief based on the household life.
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