The purpose of cultivating Metta?

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The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby Coyote » Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:32 am

Hi,

A while back I posted a few questions in this forum, but since abadoned my Dhamma practice for various reasons - I would now like to get back to it and have come back with a few questions about Metta.
The thing is, I don't understand the purpose or motivation behind cultivating an attitude of Metta. How does it lead to Nibbana and how does it fit into the noble eightfold path?
With regards to meditation practice, is it best to always meditate/focus on Metta for all beings, or for individuals or groups with which I as an individual have a problem with?
Is it possible for other beings to be changed by our own practice of Metta? I am thinking of the Ahi Sutta here.

Thanks,

Coyote
"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."
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby cooran » Sun Dec 25, 2011 9:38 am

Hello coyote,

Have a read of these two links. I'd be interested in any comments you care to make after that:

Metta - The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love by Acharya Buddharakkhita
Contents:
• 1. Introduction
• 1. The Karaniya Metta Sutta
• 2. The Background to the Metta Sutta
• 3. Three Aspects of Metta
• 4. The Ethics of Metta
• 5. The Psychology of Metta
• 6. Meditation on Metta
• 7. The Blessings of Metta
• 8. The Power of Metta
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el365.html

The Power of Metta
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1643

with metta
Chris
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:20 am

Hi Coyote:

Try this.

"Metta as a Path to Awakening." by John Peacock

http://www.audiodharma.org/series/207/talk/2603/

May you grow fat with friendliness.
Daniel :heart:
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby Coyote » Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:05 pm

My thanks to both of you. Once I have had the chance to read and listen to the links you have both offered I will get back to you.

Coyote.
"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."
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby reflection » Sun Dec 25, 2011 12:29 pm

Metta directly targets one of the "three fires", namely hatred. It is also one of the hindrances in meditation.

Therefore it is very useful to cultivate metta.
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby Coyote » Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:45 pm

danieLion wrote:"Metta as a Path to Awakening." by John Peacock

http://www.audiodharma.org/series/207/talk/2603/

May you grow fat with friendliness.
Daniel :heart:


Thanks Daniel, these have been very helpful. I notice that the speaker recognises that Metta can lead directly to liberation rather than just to a better birth; is he being unorthodox here or is this something that is taught within the Theravada?

reflection wrote:Metta directly targets one of the "three fires", namely hatred. It is also one of the hindrances in meditation.

Therefore it is very useful to cultivate metta.


Here is where my understanding stops - I think it is because I have not had a sufficient grounding in basics such as these - are these "three fires", hatred, ignorance and attachment, the primary chains keeping us in Samasra, and does the threefold division of the noble eightfold path correspond to these "three fires"? Thank you for your explanation, I am having trouble piecing together these concepts in my mind.

Thanks,

Coyote
"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."
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby nobody12345 » Mon Dec 26, 2011 8:23 pm

Metta not only works for the benefit of others'.
When you persist with Metta, it generates super strong basis for your meditation advancement as well.
I am not a great meditator but when my Metta meditation is on target (not all the time), the other portion of meditation session (my daily meditation practice for myself) also really gets deeper.
At that point, I can definitely tell that Metta plays very positive role onto my meditation.
It's very difficult to express but when you persist, you will get it.
The same goes for Sila and other training rules/guidelines of the Buddha.
The Buddha did not draw the map to make our life miserable.
All the guidelines are working as the foundation and the reason why he laid them down was because he had compassion for our wellbeing, he wanted us to gain liberation as soon as possible.
The key is persistence.
Also Metta meditation brings opportunities to beat down one's Kilesa head-on.
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby ground » Tue Dec 27, 2011 2:47 am

Coyote wrote:How does it lead to Nibbana and how does it fit into the noble eightfold path?

It does not lead to nibbana but it is an optional preparative on the path to nibbana in that it counters (neutralizes) hatred/aversion which are hindrances and it may be applied as a conditioned mental abiding if deemed convenient.

Kind regards
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby cooran » Tue Dec 27, 2011 6:39 am

Hello coyote,

This link below provides access to these suttas and articles on Metta:

Metta (goodwill, loving-kindness).
Karaniya Metta Sutta (Discourse on Loving-kindness): Sn 1.8 and Khp 9
As a protection against harm: Cv 5.6, SN 20.5, AN 4.67
As a factor leading to liberation: AN 6.13
Systematic practice of ~: SN 42.8
Eleven benefits of ~: AN 11.16
Even more fruitful than giving: SN 20.4
Course of rebirths to be expected from those who cultivate ~: AN 4.125
Maintain thoughts of ~ no matter how others address you: MN 21
No one is dearer to one than oneself: Ud 5.1
The radiant brightness of ~: Iti 27
As a basis for the development of jhana: AN 8.63
Practicing ~ as a way to deal with annoying people: AN 5.161

Articles:
Metta: The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love (Buddharakkhita)
"Head & Heart Together: Bringing Wisdom to the Brahma-viharas" (Thanissaro)
The Heart Awakened (Siriwardhana)
Nothing Higher to Live For (Nyanasobhano)
The Power of Good Will (Lee)
Metta Means Goodwill (Thanissaro)
The Practice of Loving-kindness (metta) (Ñanamoli Thera)
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-subject.html#metta

with metta
Chris
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---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:15 am

TMingyur wrote:
Coyote wrote:How does it lead to Nibbana and how does it fit into the noble eightfold path?

It does not lead to nibbana but it is an optional preparative on the path to nibbana in that it counters (neutralizes) hatred/aversion which are hindrances and it may be applied as a conditioned mental abiding if deemed convenient.

Kind regards

Hi Timingyur, Coyote.

It's unorthodox of you consider the Abhidhamma, the commentaries and Buddhagosa orthodox. Otherwise, Peacock's claim is that for the Buddha dwelling with the brahmas is synonymous with awakening. He contrasts this to Buddhagosa's misunderstanding of the brahmaviharas as just a better place in samsara.

Daniel :heart:
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:20 am

TMingyur wrote:
Coyote wrote:How does it lead to Nibbana and how does it fit into the noble eightfold path?

It does not lead to nibbana but it is an optional preparative on the path to nibbana in that it counters (neutralizes) hatred/aversion which are hindrances and it may be applied as a conditioned mental abiding if deemed convenient.

Kind regards

Hi TMingyur,
The entire Path is optional. I think you've created a false dichotomy between "lead to" and "preparative."
D :heart:
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby ground » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:33 am

danieLion wrote:
TMingyur wrote:
Coyote wrote:How does it lead to Nibbana and how does it fit into the noble eightfold path?

It does not lead to nibbana but it is an optional preparative on the path to nibbana in that it counters (neutralizes) hatred/aversion which are hindrances and it may be applied as a conditioned mental abiding if deemed convenient.

Kind regards

Hi TMingyur,
The entire Path is optional.

Then you take my "optional" as one in the sphere of "optional".

danieLion wrote:I think you've created a false dichotomy between "lead to" and "preparative."
D :heart:

No, not false. You are misunderstanding my words.
"preparative" is called "preparative" in that it only temporarily reduces or removes or suppresses what has to be eliminated permanently. "preparative" means that there is recurrence of what has been reduced or removed or suppressed temporarily.
However "lead to nibbana" stands for eliminating permanently what has to be eliminated permanently.


Kind regards
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:56 am

danieLion wrote:I think you've created a false dichotomy between "lead to" and "preparative."
D :heart:

Tmingyur wrote:No, not false. You are misunderstanding my words.
"preparative" is called "preparative" in that it only temporarily reduces or removes or suppresses what has to be eliminated permanently. "preparative" means that there is recurrence of what has been reduced or removed or suppressed temporarily.
However "lead to nibbana" stands for eliminating permanently what has to be eliminated permanently.


Kind regards

Hi TMingyur,
I like your posts. ;)
But, Peacock's contention is that dwelling with the brahmas is just another descriptor for nibbana and that Theravada screwed this up.
D :heart:
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby ground » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:05 am

danieLion wrote:But, Peacock's contention is that dwelling with the brahmas is just another descriptor for nibbana and that Theravada screwed this up.

What Peacock contends is up to Peacock. :smile:

Kind regards
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:10 am

TMingyur wrote:
danieLion wrote:But, Peacock's contention is that dwelling with the brahmas is just another descriptor for nibbana and that Theravada screwed this up.

What Peacock contends is up to Peacock. :smile:

Kind regards

I know, I know. He's just a bird.
D :heart:
:anjali:
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Dec 28, 2011 4:40 am

Richard Gombrich (e.g. in What the Buddha Thought) also argues that the Theravada misinterpreted the Tevijja Sutta (DN 13) www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh057.pdf and that when he says "I know, Vāsettha, and the world of Brahmā, and the path which leads unto it" he is actually recasting the Brahminical term to mean Nibbana.

However, it seems strange to blame Buddhaghosa (1000 years after the Buddha) for a "mistake" (if it is a mistake) that appears to be standard in most (all?) Buddhist schools.

:anjali:
Mike
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby Otsom » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:23 pm

.
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby Otsom » Wed Dec 28, 2011 1:50 pm

.
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:28 pm

reflection wrote:Metta directly targets one of the "three fires", namely hatred.



Good point, I hadn't thought about it like this before.

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby Aloka » Wed Dec 28, 2011 2:42 pm

Hi Coyote,

There's a nice little article 'Universal Loving Kindness' by Ajahn Sumedho here:

http://www.abhayagiri.org/main/article_print/215/


and I like this 5 minute video from Ajahn Jayasaro on metta practice



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