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.

Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby sattva » Thu Feb 23, 2012 11:30 pm

I've kmown a few people who love these Ayya Khema metta meditations, probably because they are visual instead of chatty. Hope you like them. Scroll down to the guided medtiation part on the page and click one :)

http://www.leighb.com/metta.htm
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease.
---from the Metta Sutta
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:41 am

I just do metta as in "met-" on the in breath and "-ta" on the out breath. With the body I watch the chest area. With the mind I use visualizations to remind me of people. Mom might either be bringing up her face or thinking of raviolis or anything else that brings up to mind that person and goodwill. If I'm feeling chatty or having a hard time visualizing my long version is "May <person> be safe, happy, and healthy."

I'm no metta expert but since you wanted something less chatty I thought I'd add my two bits.
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Mojo » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:40 am

I've been reading up more today about Tonglen, the Tibetan practice if giving and receiving. In it, you visualize yourself breathing in a person's bad karma or sorrow or pain... and then breathing out to them a good quality they can use for healing. I asked my library tonight to see if they can find me a few books on the topic by Chodron and Trungpa. I know the library system they are in doesn't have anything from either, but hopefully they can get me something through interlibrary loan. They got me a really nice book on Chan this way once. It was kind of funny when I went to pick it up. The librarian looked at the cover and seemed to be puzzled by it. It had one of the ox hearding pictures on it. There was a young teenager who was trying to get another librarian to try to find her a book on Witchcraft. The librarian told her to be careful and that this was not something to play with. Ahhhhh, small town life in the midwest. :soap:

:namaste:
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:49 am

Mojon wrote:I've been reading up more today about Tonglen, the Tibetan practice if giving and receiving. In it, you visualize yourself breathing in a person's bad karma or sorrow or pain... and then breathing out to them a good quality they can use for healing.
That is a rather shamanistic practice, but that is not to say that it cannot be of value. If it speaks to you, try it.

Of course Youtube is worth a check:

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_q ... 28l3-1l1l0

I meant Pema Chodron shortly after her first ordination. She is very good.

As for Trungpa, he is worth reading, but if you are not careful you might end up {{{gasp!!!}}} a Mahayanist.
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 amtross » Fri Feb 24, 2012 8:05 am

I love the idea of Metta but my mind just seems to revolt at the idea of chanting those mantras over and over. I spent about a year with it being my primary form of practice but it never felt comfortable.

Something that really works for me, especially in walking meditaion (these steps are additive, layer them on top of each other until the heart opens up):
1. Start by being in touch with the movement and the sensations of walking. Noticing the changes.
2. Focus on the impermanence of those changes.
3. Then notice that these sensations arise and change on thier own, not mine
4. Then think about how everything arises due to conditions and how everything in the universe is arising every moment, conditioned by everything else. There is no self, no central point of control. Everything is impermenent and interconnected in the present moment.
5. As the heart starts to open, make a single wish "may we all be happy"

If the heart has opened up go back to just focusing on the changes in the sensations of your walking and how they arise on their own and are not yours.
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Aloka » Fri Feb 24, 2012 10:38 am

Mojon wrote:I've been reading up more today about Tonglen, the Tibetan practice if giving and receiving. In it, you visualize yourself breathing in a person's bad karma or sorrow or pain... and then breathing out to them a good quality they can use for healing.


I wouldn't recommend this practice for anyone with mental health problems of any description. In the past I have known of people who've already been having difficulties with anxiety and depression, who've found the Tonglen instructions on the internet and then started practising them, only to start panicking and becoming overwhelmed, because they have strongly felt that they were literally taking in all the suffering of others.

As a former offline practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism myself, I'd recommend that its best to do this practice with the guidance of an offline teacher.

with kind wishes

Aloka
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Feb 24, 2012 1:27 pm

Aloka wrote:
Mojon wrote:I've been reading up more today about Tonglen, the Tibetan practice if giving and receiving. In it, you visualize yourself breathing in a person's bad karma or sorrow or pain... and then breathing out to them a good quality they can use for healing.


I wouldn't recommend this practice for anyone with mental health problems of any description. In the past I have known of people who've already been having difficulties with anxiety and depression, who've found the Tonglen instructions on the internet and then started practising them, only to start panicking and becoming overwhelmed, because they have strongly felt that they were literally taking in all the suffering of others.

As a former offline practitioner of Tibetan Buddhism myself, I'd recommend that its best to do this practice with the guidance of an offline teacher.

with kind wishes

Aloka
Good advice. Best to try to take it slowly, paying attention to one's reactions to the practice. Having a teacher is always a good thing. Way too easy to try to do it alone and end up down one garden path or another.
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 ancientbuddhism » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:20 pm

Aloka wrote:I wouldn't recommend this practice for anyone with mental health problems of any description. In the past I have known of people who've already been having difficulties with anxiety and depression, who've found the Tonglen instructions on the internet and then started practising them, only to start panicking and becoming overwhelmed, because they have strongly felt that they were literally taking in all the suffering of others.


Delusion can turn anything into its own likeness. I still encourage people with these so-called issues to practice.
Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Mojo » Fri Feb 24, 2012 2:26 pm

Well, I have had a few bouts of anxiety and depression in the past. And I believe that I've made lifestyle adjustments to help prevent future occurrences. I see this tonglen practice as being completely symbolic. In fact, I almost see it as a symbolic act of breathing in the negativity, healing it, and then breathing it back - again, all symbolic.

It did cross my mind however that just the symbolic act of breathing in a person's suffering could become overwhelming after a while, even if I didn't hold on to it. But on the flip side, how is this different than being there with a shoulder for that person to cry on? You are still, at least mentally, taking on that person's problems and returning loving kindness.

I'm thinking though, that I could borrow the visualization oj just breathing out portion of the tonglen practice and use it to help me make my own metta practice.
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Cittasanto » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:28 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:
Aloka wrote:I wouldn't recommend this practice for anyone with mental health problems of any description. In the past I have known of people who've already been having difficulties with anxiety and depression, who've found the Tonglen instructions on the internet and then started practising them, only to start panicking and becoming overwhelmed, because they have strongly felt that they were literally taking in all the suffering of others.


Delusion can turn anything into its own likeness. I still encourage people with these so-called issues to practice.

really, so any practice would do?

what was described is a particular issue with a particular practice, FYA
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 Cittasanto » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:33 pm

Mojon wrote:Well, I have had a few bouts of anxiety and depression in the past. And I believe that I've made lifestyle adjustments to help prevent future occurrences. I see this tonglen practice as being completely symbolic. In fact, I almost see it as a symbolic act of breathing in the negativity, healing it, and then breathing it back - again, all symbolic.

It did cross my mind however that just the symbolic act of breathing in a person's suffering could become overwhelming after a while, even if I didn't hold on to it. But on the flip side, how is this different than being there with a shoulder for that person to cry on? You are still, at least mentally, taking on that person's problems and returning loving kindness.

I'm thinking though, that I could borrow the visualization oj just breathing out portion of the tonglen practice and use it to help me make my own metta practice.

why not, instead of a persons suffering, the suffering of a situation? one which you were in?
this would also be in relative keeping to the Buddha's advise to Rahula to reflect before during and after each act, reflect on how you could of acted differently to improve the situation.

I normally come up with 'keep my big mouth shut, 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 Aloka » Fri Feb 24, 2012 3:47 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:
Aloka wrote:I wouldn't recommend this practice for anyone with mental health problems of any description. In the past I have known of people who've already been having difficulties with anxiety and depression, who've found the Tonglen instructions on the internet and then started practising them, only to start panicking and becoming overwhelmed, because they have strongly felt that they were literally taking in all the suffering of others.


Delusion can turn anything into its own likeness. I still encourage people with these so-called issues to practice.



Hi ancientbuddhism,

I have had a lot of offline experience in a professional capacity both as a counsellor and teacher for young people with emotional and behavioral difficulties and as a complementary therapist, so I have had plenty of one -to -one contact with people who sometimes have quite serious mental health issues, which have also been clinically diagnosed as such.

Some people who have done this practice have actually felt quite ill and afraid after doing it, so personally I think to encourage them to continue to do it alone without any guidance and feedback from a teacher is a grave mistake.

Why encourage someone to end up suffering even more than they were before they attempted a practice they've had no actual instruction for? An offline Tibetan Buddhist teacher is not only able to give the correct instruction which is tailored to the practitioner's needs but can also determine whether its a good idea for that person to attempt this practice in the first place.

Generally, I would always recommend Metta practice as much safer and extremely effective.

with kind wishes


Aloka
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:28 pm

Aloka wrote:Hi ancientbuddhism,

I have had a lot of offline experience in a professional capacity both as a counsellor and teacher for young people with emotional and behavioral difficulties and as a complementary therapist, so I have had plenty of one -to -one contact with people who sometimes have quite serious mental health issues, which have also been clinically diagnosed as such.

Some people who have done this practice have actually felt quite ill and afraid after doing it, so personally I think to encourage them to continue to do it alone without any guidance and feedback from a teacher is a grave mistake. ...


Sorry, I guess I was thinking of the garden variety metta bhāvana mentioned in the OP and didn't consider Tibetan Buddhism with it's warning labels for the faint of heart.
Katamo ca bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo: samatho ca vipassanā ca. Ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave asaṅkhatagāmī maggo.

“And what, bhikkhus, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Calm and insight. This, bhikkhus, is called the path leading to the unconditioned.” SN. 43.2 – Samathavipassanāsuttaṃ

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Spiny O'Norman » Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:56 pm

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


I agree, I think it's good to be creative and find something that works for us personally - though trying the various approaches described here and elsewhere is obviously useful preparation.

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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Lazy_eye » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:00 pm

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.

Bodom wrote: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.

mikenz66 wrote:It's up to the practitioner to figure out how to cultivate that boundless heart radiating kindness.


This is what I'm having trouble with. It seems that in order to cultivate metta, one must already have the thing one is trying to cultivate. Otherwise it can easily just become a rote formality, similar to the handshaking that goes on in the pews after an Episcopalian Mass.

In breath meditation, there is obviously something there that can become the focus of attention. By contrast, metta is not necessarily there to begin with, so what do we focus on? Its absence?

The Visuddhimagga provides a few suggestions: contemplate your own desire for happiness and consider that others also desire this; contemplate a person's good qualities or (in the case of a person who has wronged you) consider their suffering. I'm curious to know what has been effective for others here.

Maybe I'm just too mean of heart for this practice...!
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby befriend » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:42 pm

just put your hand over your heart. or hold the image of a loved one in your mind. if you go to dharmaseed.org, and go to Chas Dicapua and find 3 ways of doing metta. this will help have a less chatty metta bhavana.
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby befriend » Thu Mar 29, 2012 7:44 pm

isnt there someone you love, or someone who has helped you?
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Buckwheat » Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:50 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:This is what I'm having trouble with. It seems that in order to cultivate metta, one must already have the thing one is trying to cultivate. Otherwise it can easily just become a rote formality, similar to the handshaking that goes on in the pews after an Episcopalian Mass.

In breath meditation, there is obviously something there that can become the focus of attention. By contrast, metta is not necessarily there to begin with, so what do we focus on? Its absence?


Fake it till you know it. I found the rote ritual was necessary for me to begin with because I have a cold black heart. After a while, the ritual stirred up some things, and I was able to build on those until I had some metta to work with. I still suck at metta, but at least I got off the ground floor. Have faith, you probably aren't that evil. :tongue:

:anjali:
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:25 pm

Buckwheat wrote: Fake it till you know it. I found the rote ritual was necessary for me to begin with because I have a cold black heart. After a while, the ritual stirred up some things, and I was able to build on those until I had some metta to work with. I still suck at metta, but at least I got off the ground floor. Have faith, you probably aren't that evil.


I'll give it a try. :)

I heard a talk once by a Vietnamese teacher (not TNH, but one of his students) who said something similar -- basically, even though such practices may feel forced at first, over time they become more natural and arise spontaneously.

befriend wrote:just put your hand over your heart. or hold the image of a loved one in your mind. if you go to dharmaseed.org, and go to Chas Dicapua and find 3 ways of doing metta. this will help have a less chatty metta bhavana.


Thanks -- I listened to it yesterday after seeing your recommendation. I like his approach.

I've found that contemplating the good qualities of a particular individual sometimes awakens loving kindness. Particularly if it's someone who I'm annoyed with for some reason, or who I habitually think of with something other than admiration.
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Re: Less Chatty Metta Bhavana?

Postby Ferox » Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:28 am

Mayhap you can practice the two types of metta taught by the buddha? exalted and immeasurable metta. Immeasurable metta is sending metta out to all beings in the 6 directions(you do each direction one at a time), exalted is metta radiating from you and spreading out into the universe( state, country, planet, galaxy, universe.. I add metaverse and all planes as well)... don't even need to use words in those and both involve all beings.
-just one more being treading the ancient path of Dhamma-
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