The purpose of cultivating Metta?

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Meditation, e.g. meditation postures, developing a regular sitting practice, skillfully relating to difficulties and hindrances, etc.
danieLion
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:47 pm

Coyote wrote:I just want to thank everyone for the interesting dicussion that this question has generated and for the contributions that have been given by all.
In light of what has been written, would it be fair to say that the Theravada understanding is that while cultivating Metta can help supress the three poisons (as well as other practices targeting Attachment and Ignorance), only Panna, via Vipassana into the four noble truths, three characteristics ect. can elimate them entirley and so lead to Nibbana?

"The Theravada" is too broad. Plus, metta-bhavana involves all of the above, and as such can lead beyond mere suppression to total liberation. Think of metta-bhavana as an essential part of the "whole package." Have you ever heard of a mean-willed, non-compassionate, non-empathetic, non-equanimous awakened person?
May you grow fat with unbounded friendliness.
D :heart:

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Fri Dec 30, 2011 9:56 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
danieLion wrote:Like I told Aloka, I didn't call Ven. Sumedho horrible or full of nonsense.
I didn't dismiss Ven. Sumedho's thoughtful exposition (aren't all his exposition's thoughtful).
Do you really think the adjective "horrible" is inherently mean-hearted?
May you grow fat with unbounded friendliness.
D :heart:

Yes, but it certainly sounded very dismissive since it was the only thing you said about Aloka's post.

There are a variety of translations of Pali terms. Calling them "horrible" isn't conducive to positive conversation, as is obvious from Aloka's reaction.

May your heart be full of loving kindness, or whatever translation you prefer...

:heart:
:hug:
Mike

How does cyber-text sound? If were to be "dismissive," I would have ignored Aloka's post completely. Now I've "said" a lot about Aloka's post. Please clarify "positive conversation." How is helping someone become less mis-informed not a positive conversation? Perhaps the negativity isn't coming from me?

May you grow fat with unbounded friendliness.
D :heart:

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:41 am

danieLion wrote: If were to be "dismissive," I would have ignored Aloka's post completely.

Yes, you've moved on since then. Thanks.

:anjali:
Mike

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:37 am

Regarding "love", Ajahn Sumedho's close associate, Ajahn Amaro (starting at 7:15 to about 9:00), has these clarifying words in his talk on metta.
The word love in English is a loaded term.... There are many different attributes to it. And so when you see translations of the Buddha's teachings to English--say one of the categorical definitions of...the causes of suffering..., association with the unloved/disliked and separation from the loved/liked is suffering. So how can this be related [snickers a little]? If loving-kindness is exalted, abundant, immeasurable, how can it then be that separation for the loved is a cause for suffering?

So it can be helpful if we reflect on the different ways the heart loves things..., holds things...

[skipping to about 12:15]

The Buddha said when we have this kind of possessive love based on self and other, and a sense of ownership and clinging involved, than necessarily that's going to produce suffering....

source: http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/822.html

Regarding metta as good-will over metta as loving-kindness, see, Ven. Thanissaro's Metta Means Good-Will at:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... odwill.pdf

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby cooran » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:59 am

cooran wrote:
Metta - The Philosophy and Practice of Universal Love by Acharya Buddharakkhita

The Pali word metta is a multi-significant term meaning loving-kindness, friendliness, goodwill, benevolence, fellowship, amity, concord, inoffensiveness and non-violence. The Pali commentators define metta as the strong wish for the welfare and happiness of others (parahita-parasukha-kamana). Essentially metta is an altruistic attitude of love and friendliness as distinguished from mere amiability based on self-interest. Through metta one refuses to be offensive and renounces bitterness, resentment and animosity of every kind, developing instead a mind of friendliness, accommodativeness and benevolence which seeks the well-being and happiness of others. True metta is devoid of self-interest. It evokes within a warm-hearted feeling of fellowship, sympathy and love, which grows boundless with practice and overcomes all social, religious, racial, political and economic barriers. Metta is indeed a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love. [……………………………………]
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el365.html

Mettā: 'Lit: friendliness' or 'loving-kindness', is one of the 4 sublime abodes brahma-vihāra.
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... m.htm#mettā

Mettā
http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philol ... .3:10.pali


Hello all,

Some additional references:

Facets of Metta – Sharon Salzberg
http://www.budsas.org/ebud/ebdha073.htm

Loving-kindness (Metta Bhavana) - Six on-line .pdf’s
http://www.buddhistelibrary.org/en/thum ... ?album=103

What is Love – Ajahn Brahmavamso (Audio Talk)
http://buddhanet.net/audio-talks.htm

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---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 chownah » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:58 am

Isn't there a metta practice where you send metta to all six directions and pervade all six directions with metta.....and isn't this sort of like an entry into the sphere of the infinitude of space?
chownah

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby cooran » Sat Dec 31, 2011 4:06 am

Hello chownah, all,



AN 4.125 Metta Sutta: Loving-kindness (1) 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]. http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html

AN 4.126 Metta Sutta: Loving-kindness (2) translated from the Pali by Ñanamoli Thera
...
Here, bhikkhus, a certain person abides with his heart imbued with loving-kindness extending... over the all-encompassing world.
Now whatever therein (during that state of contemplation) exists classifiable as form, classifiable as a feeling (of pleasure, pain, or neutrality), classifiable as perception, classifiable as determinative acts, or classifiable as consciousness, such ideas he sees as impermanent, as liable to suffering, as a disease, as a cancer, as a barb, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as being worn away, as void, as not-self. On the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears (as a non-returner) in the retinue of the Gods of the Pure Abodes (where there are only those who have reached the Noble Path and where extinction of greed, hate and delusion is reached in less than seven lives without return to this world). And this kind of reappearance is not shared by ordinary men (who have not reached the Noble Eightfold Path).
...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
---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 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:00 pm

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


Been listening to Gil Fronsdal's Dharma Practice Series 2011-2012: The Brahma Viharas (http://www.audiodharma.org/series/1/talk/2710/).

I love Gil, & this series is dang sweet, even though he uses the term "loving-kindness" alot. ;)

In the Metta Day 2: Part 3 talk (http://www.audiodharma.org/talks/audio_player/2644.html, 2011-10-17) at 15:00-18:40 there's a discussion about the relationship of the brhmaviharas to Nibbana (awakening) and the noble eightfold path.
Daniel :heart:

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby reflection » Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:20 pm

Ok, there are all kinds of resources one can find externally, that's been shown now. :tongue:

But internally, for me metta (together with compassion) is not just kindness or goodwill, but also love. It is love without attachment. It feels like this and I think that's more important than words or sutta's.

Maye we should continue about the advantages of metta instead of arguing over it's meaning. Also, this is the meditation forum, so I suggest to let everyone have his/her own opinion based on his/her own meditation.

So ontopic, a little recap of my position:
Metta counters hatred, which is one of the three poisons. Because ill will is also one of the fetters and one of the hindrances in meditation, metta is extremely important. You can see its effect when you notice some anger in you and apply metta. It also brings a lot of joy and peace along with it; when done well I think it can even replace anapanasati.

:namaste:
Reflection

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby ground » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:34 am

reflection wrote:It is love without attachment. It feels like this ...

There are three types of feelings. Which one do you refer to? (No answer expected)

Kind regards

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:49 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

In Meditations 1, "Judicious vs. Judgmental," Ven. Thanissaro notes:
So this is why we meditate: to step back a bit, to watch things patiently so that we can see them for what they are and deal with them effectively. Our concentration practice gives us a comfortable center in our awareness where we can rest, where we feel less threatened by things. When we feel less threatened and less oppressed, we have the resilience to be more patient, to look into what's going on in the mind, and to develop the proper attitudes toward what is skillful and what isn't.

This is where the four sublime attitudes come in. Back in the 70's I read a book about Buddhism whose author tried to organize everything around the four noble truths but couldn't figure how the four sublime attitudes fit into the framework of the four truths. They just didn't seem to connect anyplace at all, so the author ended up treating them as an entirely separate topic. But actually the four sublime attitudes underlie the whole practice. They're the reason the Buddha focused his teaching on the four noble truths. You need a sense of goodwill to be even interested in the question of trying to understand suffering, because you want to find an effective way of dealing with it. You want to be rid of suffering, to experience wellbeing, precisely because you have goodwill for yourself and for others. So as meditators we try to use that attitude, that desire, as a way of developing the center we need in order to work toward that wellbeing from a position of strength. If you don't have that basic sense of goodwill, you'll have a hard time trying to stir up the energy needed to master the concentration, to keep with the breath, to keep coming back to the breath no matter how many times you wander off....

These steps are not just a mechanical process that you have to bulldoze your way through as quickly as possible. You have to pay attention to what you're doing even when things are not going well. Pay attention to how the mind slips off, pay attention to how you bring it back, and you'll learn an awful lot right there. Underlying all this has to be an attitude of good-natured goodwill. If there's a sense of frustration, remember that you're here because of goodwill, not for the sake of frustration, not for the sake of finding some new thing to beat yourself over the head about or to be judgmental about. You're here for the sake of goodwill, for the sake of giving the mind a place where it can settle in and be at ease.

Develop compassion for yourself. Think of all the suffering you could be causing yourself if you weren't meditating. Think of all the suffering you might be causing others if you weren't meditating. This helps to remind you that when things aren't going all that well in the meditation, it's still a lot better than most of the things that people do in their lives. It's a good, beneficial use of your time.

Then develop an attitude of sympathetic joy, appreciating the happiness you can develop through the practice, appreciating the happiness of others. Of all the four sublime attitudes, sympathetic joy gets the least press. It's often the hardest to develop. There seem to be voices in our heads that resent happiness — either the happiness of other people or, if other people have resented our happiness, we've picked up their voices someplace and can even be distrustful of our own happiness. So we have to counter those voices by realizing that there is nothing wrong with happiness. It comes through our actions. If the happiness that someone is experiencing right now doesn't seem to be deserved in terms of his or her present actions, there must be something in the past to account for it. At the same time, remind yourself that an attitude of resentment doesn't help you or anyone else at all. Sometimes it seems unfair that some people are happy and others are not. But for the time being, just put the question of fairness or unfairness aside. Wherever there's a sense of wellbeing in the mind, learn how to appreciate that sense of wellbeing. It has its uses.

Most people, when they experience happiness, get complacent, which is one of the reasons why the quest for happiness is often branded as selfish. People enjoying power or beauty or wealth tend to get complacent and as a result of their complacency start doing very unskillful things. But if you approach happiness from the attitude of someone who's practicing as the Buddha taught, there is a use for happiness. It's a quality in the mind that, if properly used, can bring about peace of mind. After all, the concentration we're looking for in our practice has to have some basis in wellbeing. Otherwise the mind wouldn't be able to stay here. So if you learn how to use that sense of wellbeing properly, without complacency, it has no drawbacks.

Source: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... #judicious
Daniel :heart:

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby reflection » Wed Jan 04, 2012 9:21 pm

TMingyur wrote:
reflection wrote:It is love without attachment. It feels like this ...

There are three types of feelings. Which one do you refer to? (No answer expected)

Kind regards

I'm sorry, I don't get it. :)

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:38 pm

Hi reflection,

TMingyur is taking your English word, "feels", and then using the fact that vedanā is often translated as "feeling" in English, and that there are three types of vedanā, pleasant, unpleasant, neither pleasant nor unpleasant.
See: vedanā http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedan%C4%8
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... edan%C4%81

However, I think it has little to do with the way you used the word...

:anjali:
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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby befriend » Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:44 am

Coyote wrote: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






Here. you start with sending kind thoughts to yourself, then to a friend, then to a neutral person, then to an enemy, then to all beings.
earth will become a deva loka or brahma loka or some heaven loka if you practice metta. communication is 70% body language or about that. ok.
so if your thinking warm thoughts every day for an hour your body language will change. your voice will be calm your shoulders will drop low, and your smile will be radiant
etc....
buddha first taught metta to monastics whom were meditating in the forest which was haunted by tree spirits who were scaring the monks. buddha said STAY in the forest and practice metta. the tree spirits felt the energy from the monks and the spirits became wholesome because they were radiating metta!!! wonderful.

metta leads to nibbana. metta after one of the jhanas will change. it will turn into compassion. after another jhana, it turns into mudita, after another jhana into equanimity after eqauanimity there is the deathless nibbana. practicing only samatha for your whole life is actually dangerous as one will become arrogant of super powers if you enter a jhana, and you supress the hindrances when they come back up, you will be incredibly unwholsome mind. NEED A TEACHER. for meditation. hope this helps. samatha must be practiced WITH vipassana.

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:57 pm

Among the negative motives, kāma is one those most frequently mentioned and also one of those most categorically condemned. The word occurs alone but also combined with upādāna and āsava. There is also a kāma-tanhā (A III 445) and a kāma-cchanda (M II 203).

The etymological meaning of the word is 'love' in its general, sensual signification, and 'love' seems to be the translation that still fits most of the contexts.... This translation will be resented by many who are used to 'love' as the equivalent to mettā. There are, however, several reasons for the proposed change: 1) Mettā means 'friendliness', an adequate word that should be kept, 2) 'Love' is, in all its meanings, a strong word, suggesting emotional involvement--this is not a Budddhist ideal. Even 'Christian love' is an emotional sentiment far removed from mettā. 3) 'Love' has recently been subjected to a semantic transformation in the sensual direction which makes it impossible as equivalent to mettā. So why accept two quite opposite meanings of the word 'love'?

Source: The Dynamic Psychology of Early Buddhism by Rune E. A. Johansson, pp. 105, 221. Curzon/Oxford: '79 (italics are Johansson's, all other emphases are mine).

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Re: The purpose of cultivating Metta?

Postby danieLion » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:10 am

Reverend Thanissaro wrote:And the word is goodwill. There’s another word in Pāli, pema, which means “love.” But the Buddha’s not talking about universal love, it’s universal goodwill; because love, as the pointed out is--unreliable. There are bound to be people you love and people you don’t love, and he often talks about how sometimes hatred can be based on love. In other words, when someone does something really bad to people you love, then it’s hard to love that person. Goodwill, however, is more of an attitude; less of an emotion and more of an attitude.

-Profound Goodwill: October 21, 2012 (2:11 to 2:31/-10:55 to -10:25)


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