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Dhamma Wheel • View topic - Karaniya Metta Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Karaniya Metta Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Karaniya Metta Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sun Apr 03, 2011 12:33 pm

Happy uposatha everyone! I have been listening to a brief Dhamma talk by Thanissaro Bhikkhu on the subject of metta and encountered an interpretation that I have never heard before. This is all the more surprising to me as I often chant the Karaniya Metta Sutta and have read several commentaries and line-by-line analyses of it. Anywaway the talk in question may be found at the following and the comment occurs at approximately 3:54: http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/110309%20Metta%20Means%20Goodwill.mp3

The verses in question are the following (taken from Ven. Thanissaro's translation):

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.


In short, Ven. Thanissaro claims that the passage that makes the analogy of a mother risking her life to protect that of her child is really referring to the way in which we should protect and cultivate our own attitude of metta not (as I have always assumed) the attitude to be taken towards all beings. Anyway, I would be interested to hear if anyone has encountered this reading anywhere else and general thoughts on the matter. Metta.

Mike
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Karaniya Metta Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby dhammapal » Mon Apr 04, 2011 11:22 am

Hi Mike,

On the topic of metta as goodwill not lovingkindness see the first 15 minutes of:
June 26 Early PM Lecture Q & A
http://www.dhammatalks.org/Archive/Retr ... Audio.html
From: Audio Downloads & Resources for Thanissaro Bhikkhu's June 2010 Saskatchewan Retreat on "The Ten Perfections"

I love his humor on being in the forest and talking to the snakes (also see the Ahina Sutta (“May the beings depart!”))

He says that the Karaniya Metta Sutta means to protect all beings from our unskillful actions like a mother would protect with her life her only child, not to cherish all beings as the Amaravati translation says (see 17 translations side-by-side).

Thanissaro Bhikkhu reads aloud in normal speaking voice his translation of the Karaniya Metta Sutta here:
http://www.suttareadings.net/audio/index.html#khp.9

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: Karaniya Metta Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Mon Apr 04, 2011 5:00 pm

Dhammapal,

Thanks for the reply. I use the Abhayagiri translation in my daily practice and am now considering swtiching to Thanissaro's version precisely due to the difference between the two.I , too, love Tan Geoff's wry sense of humor, he's one of my favorite monks. Anyway, take care and thanks! Mettaya.

Mike
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
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Re: Karaniya Metta Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby altar » Fri Apr 08, 2011 12:06 pm

Mike,
With due respect to Thanissaro Bhikkhu, I don't think that's possible. It can only mean that one has the feelings or affinity a mother has towards its child, towards all.
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Re: Karaniya Metta Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Fri Apr 08, 2011 7:08 pm

Zach,

Hey man, it's been awhile. I'm glad you replied because this one has been causing me some consternation. It'd be nice to have Chula's Paali opinion on the matter as well but no matter. How did you arrive at your interpretation of the verses? Is it by studying the translations, by your own reasoning or from another bhikkhu? Anyway, I hoep to see you at Ajahn Sucitto at NYIMC soon. Be well. Ciao ciao.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
Dana on the Interwebs:
http://greatergood.com
http://freerice.com
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Re: Karaniya Metta Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Postby altar » Fri Apr 08, 2011 8:20 pm

hey mike,
it seems very natural and intuitive to me, the only possible interpretation of this verse.
It would be a coincidence, and a hugely misleading poor choice of words, if the Buddha were to refer to a mother's closeness to her child, in connection to boundless love, however in reference to the manner in which one guarded one's love, rather than in reference to the love itself. I've looked at it from both sides now but prefer not to elaborate because it seems very natural this way. It refers to devotion, the nearness and dearness of the relationship, and then "radiating" or letting this go towards others. There are many synonyms for this kind of relation but here it refers to the affinity I think, and a word that captures specifically the protection aspect is "concern." Notable is that this meditation is supposed to protect oneself as well. It seems I am extrapolating anyway, so, my take is that it seems antithetical to metta, to guard it for oneself.
I hope to see you at the Sucitto talk, too, and I have just spent 6 days in Texas where I spent 4 at Subhuti's hermitage. The was an emphasis on mudita and I had a lot of fun there I got to learn a lot, some about the discipline, and relax and I think he enjoyed teaching us quite a lot, too. One might even say it was joyful.
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