metta as my main practice

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: metta as my main practice

Postby green » Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:54 am

Ravana wrote:Not really interested in getting into a debate here, but isn't there a sutta where the Buddha tells a Brahmin that the four Brahmaviharas are a way to meet Brahma (i.e. to be reborn in the Brahma-realms through achieving jhana)?



Yes, but Buddha clearly states, BUDDHA KNOWS THE PATH TO BRAHMA. Through taking refuge in Buddha it becomes possible.

True metta can only come from a true heart. A true heart is what discerns Buddha Dhamma from other dhammas:


And I tell you, ignorance has its nutriment. It is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for ignorance?
The five hindrances (sensual desire or kammachanda, ill will or Vyapada, sloth and
drowsiness or thina-middha, restless and worry or uddhacca-kukkucca and doubt or vicikiccha)
And what is the nutriment for the five hindrances?
The three forms of misconduct...
And what is the nutriment for the three forms of misconduct (bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct)?
Lack of restraint of the senses...
And what is the nutriment for lack of restraint of the senses?
Lack of mindfulness & alertness...
And what is the nutriment for lack of mindfulness & alertness?
Inappropriate attention...

And what is the nutriment for inappropriate attention?
Lack of faith...

And what is the nutriment for lack of faith (in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha)?
Not hearing the true Dhamma...

And what is the nutriment for not hearing the true Dhamma (Buddha Dhamma)?
Associating with people without integrity.AN 10 Yamakavaggo Avijja Suttam


So a person outside the Buddha dhamma, does not have integrity, without a true heart, one cannot practice real metta. By real metta (kindness), I mean metta is complete and comes from a heart that is true, from a person of integrity.
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby nathan » Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:40 am

green wrote:...So a person outside the Buddha dhamma, does not have integrity, without a true heart, one cannot practice real metta. By real metta (kindness), I mean metta is complete and comes from a heart that is true, from a person of integrity.
I think your suggestion lacks eyes and sense but if you are more comfortable with this view than simply seeing what is to be seen in the seen, be my guest. I am more comfortable with the numerous available and obvious observations at hand which do not conform to your thinking. I suggest you get out some and take a look around. Test your thinking about this against what is here to be found in the world you imply that you know so intimately well in this way.
Last edited by retrofuturist on Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Corrected attribution of quotation
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby Ravana » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:41 am

green wrote:
Ravana wrote:Not really interested in getting into a debate here, but isn't there a sutta where the Buddha tells a Brahmin that the four Brahmaviharas are a way to meet Brahma (i.e. to be reborn in the Brahma-realms through achieving jhana)?



Yes, but Buddha clearly states, BUDDHA KNOWS THE PATH TO BRAHMA. Through taking refuge in Buddha it becomes possible.

I don't think the Buddha actually requests that the Brahmin must become a disciple of the Buddha, though it could be open to interpretation.

Nathan, you're misquoting posts again. :coffee:
“The incomparable Wheel of Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One in the deer sanctuary at Isipatana, and no seeker, brahmin, celestial being, demon, god, or any other being in the world can stop it.”
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby nathan » Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:39 am

Ravana wrote:
green wrote:
Ravana wrote:Not really interested in getting into a debate here, but isn't there a sutta where the Buddha tells a Brahmin that the four Brahmaviharas are a way to meet Brahma (i.e. to be reborn in the Brahma-realms through achieving jhana)?



Yes, but Buddha clearly states, BUDDHA KNOWS THE PATH TO BRAHMA. Through taking refuge in Buddha it becomes possible.

I don't think the Buddha actually requests that the Brahmin must become a disciple of the Buddha, though it could be open to interpretation.

Nathan, you're misquoting posts again. :coffee:
Well, whoever said this:
Yes, but Buddha clearly states, BUDDHA KNOWS THE PATH TO BRAHMA. Through taking refuge in Buddha it becomes possible.
Has the wrong understanding of this. Ven. Dhammanando has already explained why.
So a person outside the Buddha dhamma, does not have integrity, without a true heart, one cannot practice real metta. By real metta (kindness), I mean metta is complete and comes from a heart that is true, from a person of integrity.

And this is simply absurd. Outside of Buddhadhamma there is no integrity? No compassion? Get real.

I will just continue to defend the sound doctrine we have which rightly represents the actual nature of this dynamic which is also ever present and available to those who hold these kinds of views should they also choose to examine these things directly. I consider these off beat interpretations a distortion of divine truths, mundane or otherwise, and so I would recommend a caution regarding this view but how you proceed is up to you.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby cooran » Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:26 am

green wrote:
Ravana wrote:Not really interested in getting into a debate here, but isn't there a sutta where the Buddha tells a Brahmin that the four Brahmaviharas are a way to meet Brahma (i.e. to be reborn in the Brahma-realms through achieving jhana)?



And what is the nutriment for inappropriate attention?
Lack of faith...

And what is the nutriment for lack of faith (in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha)?
Not hearing the true Dhamma...

And what is the nutriment for not hearing the true Dhamma (Buddha Dhamma)?
Associating with people without integrity.AN 10 Yamakavaggo Avijja Suttam


So a person outside the Buddha dhamma, does not have integrity, without a true heart, one cannot practice real metta. By real metta (kindness), I mean metta is complete and comes from a heart that is true, from a person of integrity.

Hello green,

It is not wise to depend only on one translation - one ought to read as many translations of the passage under investigation as possible. I find Bhikkhu Bodhi the most trustworthy.

His translation of Anguttara 61 and 62 includes the following passage:
'Lack of faith , too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of lack of faith? "Listening to wrong teachings" should be the answer.
Listening to wrong teachings, too, has its nutriment; it is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment of listening to wrong teachings? "Association with bad people" should be the answer.
Hence, when association with bad people prevails, listening to wrong teachings will prevail. '

People are not 'bad' simply because they do not follow the BuddhaDhamma.

When the Buddha was speaking to the Kalamas (who were not his followers) 'he shows that whether or not there be another life after death, a life of moral restraint and of love and compassion for all beings brings its own intrinsic rewards here and now, a happiness and sense of inward security far superior to the fragile pleasures that can be won by violating moral principles and indulging the mind's desires. For those who are not concerned to look further, who are not prepared to adopt any convictions about a future life and worlds beyond the present one, such a teaching will ensure their present welfare and their safe passage to a pleasant rebirth — provided they do not fall into the wrong view of denying an afterlife and kammic causation.'
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_09.html

metta
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby Ravana » Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:09 am

I really don't see any reason as to why - say, a Hindu yogi, could practice metta, achieve jhana and be reborn in a Brahma realm after death. However, if you take the goal as nibbana rather than jhana (in that case I think it would ultimately be some form of Vipassana that is practiced - not the usual metta meditation) - then one would be a disciple of the Buddha. So may be this is just a confusion of what the end goal of developing metta is.
“The incomparable Wheel of Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One in the deer sanctuary at Isipatana, and no seeker, brahmin, celestial being, demon, god, or any other being in the world can stop it.”
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby green » Sat Mar 14, 2009 1:03 pm

This is what Ven. Dhammaanando posted:


“What do you think, Assalāyana? Is only a brahmin capable of developing a mind of loving-kindness towards a certain region, without hostility and without ill will, and not a noble, or a merchant, or a worker?”


Here Buddha clearly states that a person of any caste is CAPABLE of developing a mind of loving kindness.


Is there integrity in a person who can study the Buddha dhamma and does not become a disciple? No, as the passage clearly indicates. Chris's example of the Kalamas is a bad example, since the Kalamas did take refuge upon hearing the true dhamma that makes Kalamas people with integrity.

The practice of Metta can lead to heaven for a non-Buddhist, which is better than nothing, but all the merit they generated with meta will be exhausted eventually. For a Buddhist, metta itself can lead to knowledge and release as the sutta I posted showed.


AN 4.125
Metta Sutta
Loving-kindness (1)
(excerpt)
Translated from the Pali by
Ñanamoli Thera
...

"Here, bhikkhus, a certain person abides with his heart imbued with loving-kindness extending over one quarter, likewise the second quarter, likewise the third quarter, likewise the fourth quarter, and so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself; he abides with his heart abundant, exalted, measureless in loving-kindness, without hostility or ill-will, extending over the all-encompassing world.

"He finds gratification in that, finds it desirable and looks to it for his well-being; steady and resolute thereon, he abides much in it, and if he dies without losing it, he reappears among the gods of a High Divinity's retinue.

"Now the gods of a High Divinity's retinue have a life-span of one aeon. An ordinary person [who has not attained the Noble Eightfold Path] stays there for his life-span; but after he has used up the whole life-span enjoyed by those gods, he leaves it all, and [according to what his past deeds may have been] he may go down even to hell, or to an animal womb, or to the ghost realm. But one who has given ear to the Perfect One stays there [in that heaven] for his life-span, and after he has used up the whole life-span enjoyed by those gods, he eventually attains complete extinction of lust, hate and delusion in that same kind of heavenly existence.

"It is this that distinguishes, that differentiates, the wise hearer who is ennobled [by attainment of the Noble Path] from the unwise ordinary man, when, that is to say, there is a destination for reappearance [after death, but an arahant has made an end of birth].
Last edited by green on Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby nathan » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:17 pm

green wrote:Nathan's example of the Kalamas is a bad example, since the Kalamas did take refuge upon hearing the true dhamma that makes Kalamas people with integrity.

The practice of Metta can lead to heaven for a non-Buddhist, which is better than nothing, but all the merit they generated with meta will be exhausted eventually. For a Buddhist, metta itself can lead to knowledge and release as the sutta I posted showed.
"Nathan's example of the Kalamas"? What? What example of the Kalamas? You've lost me. I don't think I've quoted the Kalama sutta for many years. Want to quote me? In my observations buddhists generally suck at generating metta compared to many of those of many, many other faiths. And. Why are they not the world's leaders in displays of metta if buddhists are so expert. What are they doing in Sudan? In Mozambique? In Afganistan? What are buddhist's, what are you doing out of a pure hearted love for God's wayward children? Aside from bearing false witness about their visible prowess? Go see, christians and jews and moslems all do many mighty acts of compassion and kindness. Like, it would seem, some buddhists also in this case, they overlook the commonality of what is agreeable in favor of promoting differences that are disagreeable. I think this is following them in the wrong things and parting with them in the right things. As I said, suit yourself.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby nathan » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:30 pm

A couple of decades ago I was working on a degree in christian theology. The director at our school was fond of saying that Pali is the language of heaven. I would rather go back there and ask him how he knows this than go seek out any buddhists who say that there are no heavens. :cookoo:
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby green » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:45 pm

nathan wrote:
green wrote:Nathan's example of the Kalamas is a bad example, since the Kalamas did take refuge upon hearing the true dhamma that makes Kalamas people with integrity.

The practice of Metta can lead to heaven for a non-Buddhist, which is better than nothing, but all the merit they generated with meta will be exhausted eventually. For a Buddhist, metta itself can lead to knowledge and release as the sutta I posted showed.
"Nathan's example of the Kalamas"? What? What example of the Kalamas? You've lost me. I don't think I've quoted the Kalama sutta for many years. Want to quote me? In my observations buddhists generally suck at generating metta compared to many of those of many, many other faiths. And. Why are they not the world's leaders in displays of metta if buddhists are so expert. What are they doing in Sudan? In Mozambique? In Afganistan? What are buddhist's, what are you doing out of a pure hearted love for God's wayward children? Aside from bearing false witness about their visible prowess? Go see, christians and jews and moslems all do many mighty acts of compassion and kindness. Like, it would seem, some buddhists also in this case, they overlook the commonality of what is agreeable in favor of promoting differences that are disagreeable. I think this is following them in the wrong things and parting with them in the right things. As I said, suit yourself.


it should say "Chris" mentions the Kalamas...I shall edit it. :smile:

Buddhism display of metta is good and Buddhists started this massive charity, first free hospitals and educational institutions, and Buddhists continue to do so.

However, the meditative experience of metta is even greater, and for a Buddhist this meditative experience exceeds the meditative experience of those in other spiritual traditions because the admission of truth distinguishes them from the rest.
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby green » Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:54 pm

nathan wrote:A couple of decades ago I was working on a degree in christian theology. The director at our school was fond of saying that Pali is the language of heaven. I would rather go back there and ask him how he knows this than go seek out any buddhists who say that there are no heavens. :cookoo:



Buddha defines each level of heaven, where is heaven found in the Bible in as much detail as the Tipitika?

No where in the New Testament or Bible is there this precise knowledge of heavens or hells.

I've even read the Hindu Puranas, although they discuss various heavens and hells it is not defined in terms which diety presides over each.

Koran, forget it. Their paradise is simply the Buddhist paradise of nandana grove.

I became a Buddhist not out of cultural affinity, it was after reading these world religions and found them to be severely lacking in the "all comprehensive" knowledge that they were claiming to possess and Buddha dhamma possessed it.

Now if someone will deny an obvious fact that a comprehensive understanding of heaven is not found in the Bible or koran but is found in the Tipitika after having studied them all...that is called lacking in integrity.
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Mar 14, 2009 7:46 pm

Hi Green,

I agree with Nathan, and with Bhikkhu Bodhi, in his essay "Tolerance and Diversity".
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_24.html
Buddhist tolerance springs from the recognition that the dispositions and spiritual needs of human beings are too vastly diverse to be encompassed by any single teaching, and thus that these needs will naturally find expression in a wide variety of religious forms. The non-Buddhist systems will not be able to lead their adherents to the final goal of the Buddha's Dhamma, but that they never proposed to do in the first place. For Buddhism, acceptance of the idea of the beginningless round of rebirths implies that it would be utterly unrealistic to expect more than a small number of people to be drawn toward a spiritual path aimed at complete liberation. The overwhelming majority, even of those who seek deliverance from earthly woes, will aim at securing a favorable mode of existence within the round, even while misconceiving this to be the ultimate goal of the religious quest.

To the extent that a religion proposes sound ethical principles and can promote to some degree the development of wholesome qualities such as love, generosity, detachment and compassion, it will merit in this respect the approbation of Buddhists. These principles advocated by outside religious systems will also conduce to rebirth in the realms of bliss — the heavens and the divine abodes. Buddhism by no means claims to have unique access to these realms, but holds that the paths that lead to them have been articulated, with varying degrees of clarity, in many of the great spiritual traditions of humanity. While the Buddhist will disagree with the belief structures of other religions to the extent that they deviate from the Buddha's Dhamma, he will respect them to the extent that they enjoin virtues and standards of conduct that promote spiritual development and the harmonious integration of human beings with each other and with the world.

Metta
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby nathan » Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:00 am

green wrote:
nathan wrote:A couple of decades ago I was working on a degree in christian theology. The director at our school was fond of saying that Pali is the language of heaven. I would rather go back there and ask him how he knows this than go seek out any buddhists who say that there are no heavens. :cookoo:


Buddha defines each level of heaven, where is heaven found in the Bible in as much detail as the Tipitika?

It is not the intent of the Old and New Testament Cannons to provide a comprehensive and detailed presentation of anything in particular. It offers a a meandering chronicle of various historical and experiential human/divine interrelationships drawn from a wide variety of sources. The "christian bible" does have a lot to say about Metta. I could prepare extensive tutorials with exegesis and commentaries sufficient to bring you up to speed and somewhat up to date on these cosmologies. It will take about a year. PM me regarding the kind of salary you are offering.

No where in the New Testament or Bible is there this precise knowledge of heavens or hells.

I don't think the 'heavens' could be 'mapped' in any way that would be particularly meaningful to christians. How would you describe these realms, personally? It doesn't seem to me that the Tipitaka is the be all and end all of everything that could meaningfully be said about these realms either. Some have commented that the earth couldn't hold the books that a description such as you seem to think 'necessary' would require. You will also need to arrange for a spare room to hold a reasonable cross representation of the literature on the subject from the many traditions who rely in whole or in part on these sumerian, chaldean, aramaic, egyptian, greek, latin, etc. texts. Additional canonical texts and commentaries will also need to be added or subtracted to be representative of a number of traditions. A one size fits all description of traditions and practitioners never represents anything but a pervasive ignorance of social structures. Who's thinking do you conform with here 100%?

My point was that you can find integrity and compassion in someone who wears Hell's Angels colors if you look for it or you can just pick a fight with him if you think that wiser.

I've even read the Hindu Puranas, although they discuss various heavens and hells it is not defined in terms which diety presides over each.

Koran, forget it. Their paradise is simply the Buddhist paradise of nandana grove.

I became a Buddhist not out of cultural affinity, it was after reading these world religions and found them to be severely lacking in the "all comprehensive" knowledge that they were claiming to possess and Buddha dhamma possessed it.

That is not even a lame attempt at any real doctrinal comparisons, that is just expressing a demeaning attitude. Apparently because you found a book you like better than the one the next guy is reading. Good to know where you stand.

Now if someone will deny an obvious fact that a comprehensive understanding of heaven is not found in the Bible or koran but is found in the Tipitika after having studied them all...that is called lacking in integrity.

So where is the detailed and comprehensive abhidhamma for Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream? I can't find a single flavor listed or any of the ingredients.

Sigh. When you buy a bag of potato chips do you eat them all or only the perfectly formed ones? I remember his exact words now, "Pali is the language we will speak in heaven." It's unfortunate that you can't appreciate his limited and mundane sentiments.
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby nathan » Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:31 pm

OT addendum

metta and agape

I would classify the bible as one of many of our latter day chronicles of the growing gulf between the human and divine realms that has only deepened with time and not to the benefit of human beings. Also not a sign of evolution but rather a further sign of a very long term devolution. We are fallen away and falling faster. What lies below yet? How much nearer is it?

When someone is prepared to welcome you into heaven in your native tongue, I ask myself if I am prepared to do the same for them.

agape and metta
But whoever walking, standing, sitting, or lying down overcomes thought, delighting in the stilling of thought: he's capable, a monk like this, of touching superlative self-awakening. § 110. {Iti 4.11; Iti 115}
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Re: metta as my main practice

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:20 pm

:focus:

maybe we all need a little more metta in this thread :group:
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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