Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.

Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Mojo » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:02 am

I've been doing the Metta meditation as instructdd in Bhante G's book, Mindfulness in Plain English, but I'm at a point where it seems too chatty for my taste. I've looked at Sharon Salzburg's Metta instructions and though on the more visual side, they still seem too chatty. I'm wondering if there might be any other common set instructions that might dispense with the chattiness all together in lieu possibly for more stringent visualization practice...possibly in the neighborhood of Tonglen practice, but with a more Theravadin sheen to it.

FWIW, here's Bhante G's version. I couldn't find a link to share Sharon Salzburg's instructions with. www.urbandharma.org/udharma4/mpe9.html

Mindfulness in Plain English wrote:1. May I be well, happy and peaceful. May no harm come to me. May no difficulties come to me. May no problems come to me. May I always meet with success. May I also have patience, courage, understanding, and determination to meet and overcome inevitable difficulties, problems, and failures in life.

2. May my parents " "

3. May my teachers " "

4. May my relatives " "

5. May my friends " "

6. May all indifferent persons " "

7. May my enemies " "

8. May all living beings " "
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby daverupa » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:08 am

"He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'"

How about this?
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby bodom » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:14 am

daverupa wrote:"He trains himself, 'I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out satisfying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out steadying the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.'"

How about this?


How does this passage from the anapanasati sutta relate to the OP dave?

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Mojo » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:26 am

Thank you. Its not exactly what I'm looking for, but I suppose it would work if I subtituted the word heart for mind, though I'm not sure how to best extend it to others.
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Goofaholix » Thu Feb 23, 2012 3:42 am

I know how you feel, I find the phrases just get in the way.

A technique I was taught that isn't chatty was to repeat the word "lovingkindness" or something similar in the mind in time with your breath, this is not the primary object.

To also bring to mind the people you'd normally bring to mind, just the image or feeling of them, this is not the primary object.

The idea is to generate a feeling of lovingkindness, this is your primary object, just focus on the feeling and use that feeling to create more of a sense of lovingkindness.

Repeating the word "lovingkindness" in time with your breath is just there continuously to support your concentration, it may seem a bit like a mantra and it is, however as the feeling of lovingkindness strengthens and flows the mantra becomes less important.

Something like that.
"Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment." - Ajahn Chah
"When we see beyond self, we no longer cling to happiness. When we stop clinging, we can begin to be happy." - Ajahn Chah
"Know and watch your heart. It’s pure but emotions come to colour it." — Ajahn Chah
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby bodom » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:03 am

Goofaholix wrote:The idea is to generate a feeling of lovingkindness, this is your primary object, just focus on the feeling and use that feeling to create more of a sense of lovingkindness.


Thanks goof. This is how I learned mettabhavana as well.

Mojon,

You should checkout Bhante G's new book Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English in which he gives more detailed instruction on how to practice lovingkindness meditation. In short, he says that once the warm feeling of lovingkindness is experienced (usually felt in the heart/chest area) during meditation, one is to drop the words, phrases and images and focus directly on the warm physical sensation that has arisen.

I highly recommend checking this book out for more info:

Beyond Mindfulness in Plain English
http://www.wisdompubs.org/Pages/display ... n=&image=1

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Mojo » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:35 am

:thanks: :namaste:
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Cal » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:11 am

I certainly find long phrases distracting, and keep it to something like :-

May they be well, may they be happy, may they be free from suffering


repeated while focusing on the relevant person(s) for a period.

In the past, I found instructions from the FWBO (sorry 'triratna') helpful. See this page on words :-
http://www.wildmind.org/metta/methods_one/methods_three
and the sidebar for links on other aspects.

Best wishes
Cal
Right Speech: It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will. [AN 5.198]

Personally, I seem to gain the most insight when I am under the most pressure, when life is at its most unpleasant. There is something in me on those occasions which feels that there is nothing left but to be aware of 'this'. Ajahn Sumedho - Don't Take Your Life Personally, p288
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:15 am

The simplest thing to do is write your own practice.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Aloka » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:40 am

Hi Mojon

These resources might be helpful:

A guided Metta meditation from Ajahn Sucitto:

http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/9/talk/4730/

An article 'Universal Loving Kindness' from Ajahn Sumedho:

http://www.abhayagiri.org/index.php/main/article/215/

...and a 5 minute Metta meditation instruction from Ajahn Jayasaro:






with kind wishes,

Aloka
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Aloka » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:42 am

Sorry, not sure why the video didn't appear in the above post.
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby tiltbillings » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:45 am

Aloka wrote:Sorry, not sure why the video didn't appear in the above post.

Fixed.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:46 am

Goofaholix wrote:The idea is to generate a feeling of lovingkindness, this is your primary object, just focus on the feeling and use that feeling to create more of a sense of lovingkindness.

tiltbillings wrote:The simplest thing to do is write your own practice.

I agree. The Suttas say what the result is:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .amar.html
So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings; Radiating kindness over the entire world: Spreading upwards to the skies, And downwards to the depths; Outwards and unbounded,

It's up to the practitioner to figure out how to cultivate that boundless heart radiating kindness. The point is the boundless heart. Whether this is better developed by initially expressing loving kindness towards yourself , then moving to others (as in the commentaries) or visualising a kitten (as recommended by some modern teachers) to bring up the feeling is a matter of experimentation. As Goof says, in the end it's the feeling one generates that is important, not some particular wording, which, in my experience, can be dropped once one brings up the feeling.

I once attended a coupe of sessions with Bhante Aggacitta http://www.bodhikusuma.com/metta/bhante_aggacitta.html who guided us through several of the popular approaches, then asked us all to comment on what we found most helpful. It was fascinating to hear how different participants found different approaches more helpful.

:anjali:
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:34 am

Greetings,

mikenz66 wrote:
So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings; Radiating kindness over the entire world: Spreading upwards to the skies, And downwards to the depths; Outwards and unbounded,

It's up to the practitioner to figure out how to cultivate that boundless heart radiating kindness.

Unsurprisingly I guess, my method is as the Buddha described... no elaborate phrases and sequences, nor freshly blow-dried mammals for me.

I wonder what Mojon will make of the Buddha's instruction.

As Goof says, in the end it's the feeling one generates that is important

:thumbsup:

Spot on... and what works one day may not work tomorrow, which is why I'm not altogether keen on formulaic "chatty" metta processes. Often, it won't even be a case of deliberately sitting down to "do" metta - it will be a wholesome response to something observed and experienced in the non-cushion life - on a train, in the supermarket, caring for a sick child etc.. With a nimble mind and sincerity you can see what's working, see what's appropriate and heart-felt in the given situation, see the extent of the metta cultivated, and adjust and refine as you go.

Smile, and send all your words with metta.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Mojo » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:39 am

I was actually thinking of writing my own meditation. I want to make sure it touches all four immeasurables. It will probably be mostly visualization with perhaps a word to be thought on the in or out breath.
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby daverupa » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:29 pm

Mojon wrote:Thank you. Its not exactly what I'm looking for, but I suppose it would work if I subtituted the word heart for mind, though I'm not sure how to best extend it to others.


The Pali word is citta, which covers much of the connotative territory of both English 'mind' as well as 'heart'.
---

MN 127 wrote:"Householder, what is the limitless release of mind? Here, the bhikkhu pervades one direction with thoughts of loving kindness. Also the second, the third, the fourth, above, below and across, in all circumstances, for all purposes, pervades the whole world with thoughts of loving kindness, extensive, grown great and measureless without ill will and anger. The bhikkhu pervades one direction with thoughts of compassion ... re ... intrinsic joy ... re ... equanimity. Also the second, the third, the fourth, above, below, and across, in all circumstances, for all purposes, pervades the whole world with equanimity, extensive, grown great and measureless without ill will and anger. Householder, this is the limitless release of mind."


In the first tetrad of anapanasati, the culminating instruction is "calming bodily fabrication", bodily fabrication being the breath. In the second tetrad, the culminating instruction is "calming mental fabrication", mental fabrication being feeling and perception.

So, the culminating instruction for the third tetrad is "He trains himself, 'I will breathe in releasing the mind.' He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind,'" which strikes me as referring to the limitless release of mind, as above.

This is directly related to eradicating the hindrance of ill-will in the following way:

MN 107 wrote:As soon, brahman, as he is possessed of mindfulness and clear consciousness, the Tathagata disciplines him further, saying: 'Come you, monk, choose a remote lodging in a forest, at the root of a tree, on a mountain slope, in a glen, a hill cave, a cemetery, a woodland grove, in the open, or on a heap of straw.' On returning from alms-gathering after the meal, the monk sits down crosslegged, holding the back erect, having made mindfulness rise up in front of him. He, getting rid of covetousness for the world, dwells with a mind devoid of covetousness, he cleanses the mind of covetousness. Getting rid of the taint of ill-will, he dwells benevolent in mind; compassionate and merciful towards all creatures and beings, he cleanses the mind of ill-will. Getting rid of sloth and torpor, he dwells without sloth or torpor; perceiving the light, mindful and clearly conscious he cleanses the mind of sloth and torpor. Getting rid of restlessness and worry, he dwells calmly; the mind inward tranquil, he cleanses the mind of restlessness and worry. Getting rid of doubt, he dwells doubt-crossed; unperplexed as to the states that are skilled, he cleanses his mind of doubt.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Cittasanto » Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:09 pm

this is one of the tools I personally use for each of the Brahma viharas

Suffusion with the Divine Abidings - MN7 wrote:[Handa mayaṃ caturappamaññā obhasanaṃ karomase]
[Now let us make the Four Boundless Qualities shine forth.]

[Mettā-sahagatena] cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati Tathā dutiyaṃ tathā tatiyaṃ tathā catutthaṃ Iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya Sabbavantaṃ lokaṃ mettā-sahagatena cetasā Vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā vihāratī
[I will abide] pervading one quarter with a heart imbued with loving-kindness; likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above and below, around and everywhere; and to all as to myself. I will abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a heart imbued with loving-kindness; abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill-will.

Karuṇā-sahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati Tathā dutiyaṃ tathā tatiyaṃ tathā catutthaṃ Iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya Sabbavantaṃ lokaṃ karuṇā-sahagatena cetasā Vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā vihāratī
I will abide pervading one quarter with a heart imbued with compassion; likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above and below, around and everywhere; and to all as to myself. I will abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a heart imbued with compassion; abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill-will.

Muditā-sahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati Tathā dutiyaṃ tathā tatiyaṃ tathā catutthaṃ Iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya Sabbavantaṃ lokaṃ muditā-sahagatena cetasā Vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā vihāratī
I will abide pervading one quarter with a heart imbued with gladness; likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above and below, around and everywhere; and to all as to myself. I will abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a heart imbued with gladness; abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill-will.

Upekkhā-sahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati Tathā dutiyaṃ tathā tatiyaṃ tathā catutthaṃ Iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbattatāya Sabbavantaṃ lokaṃ upekkhā-sahagatena cetasā Vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena abyāpajjhena pharitvā vihāratī’ti
I will abide pervading one quarter with a heart imbued with equanimity; likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above and below, around and everywhere; and to all as to myself. I will abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a heart imbued with equanimity; abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility, and without ill-will.


The Six Quaters or directions can be found in DN 31 - Sigalovada Sutta: The Discourse to Sigala - The Layperson's Code of Discipline parts in brackets added by me
"And how, young householder, does a noble disciple cover the six quarters?

"The following should be looked upon as the six quarters. The (1)parents should be looked upon as the East, (2)teachers as the South, (3)wife and children as the West, (4)friends and associates as the North, (5)servants and employees as the Nadir(below), (6)ascetics and brahmans as the Zenith(above).


mikenz66 wrote:http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .amar.html
So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings; Radiating kindness over the entire world: Spreading upwards to the skies, And downwards to the depths; Outwards and unbounded,

hi Mike,
careful with that translation, it is one of the lines which causes friction (for lack of better word) no where in the pali is cherish found, and the context is out of sync with the simile before it.

not that I disagree with what you say, but I have particular aversion toward that line in that translation, and have had a few small discussions about it FWIW.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
With Metta
Upāsaka Cittasanto
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:52 pm

Greetings,

Cittasanto wrote:careful with that translation, it is one of the lines which causes friction (for lack of better word) no where in the pali is cherish found, and the context is out of sync with the simile before it.

Agreed.

Cherish also has overtones of attachment, clinging and passion, which aren't to be cultivated.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:56 pm

retrofuturist wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:
So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings; Radiating kindness over the entire world: Spreading upwards to the skies, And downwards to the depths; Outwards and unbounded,

It's up to the practitioner to figure out how to cultivate that boundless heart radiating kindness.

Unsurprisingly I guess, my method is as the Buddha described... no elaborate phrases and sequences, nor freshly blow-dried mammals for me.

Of course. My understanding of applying the suttas is that you could generate that boundless heart with any approach you find works, including what I take to be your method of simply deciding "Now I'll generate a boundless heart". :meditate:

:anjali:
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:59 pm

Greetings Mike,

Without the "Now I'll", yes.

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
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