How effective is Metta Meditation ?

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

How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby Kamran » Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:25 pm

I have just begun to incorporate some metta meditation into my practice, and am interested in hearing experiences of people who have used metta long term. My goal is to reduce anger, and also to sleep well at night. Anger and worry about my job at times prevent me from sleeping and I have read that Metta is good for insomnia.

Thanks.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby befriend » Wed Aug 29, 2012 12:01 am

not only has metta made me go to sleep fast, wake up non drowsy i apperently get a deeper sleep and have pleasant dreams, what helps my anger is practicing letting go of craving and aversion when they arise. what fuels anger? what chipped away my anger is practicing renunciation, when liking comes up, let it go, when i want mind comes up let it go. in terms of metta i find it a very pleasant abiding after the first 30 minutes, it is a brahma vihara. my face shines after a somewhat lengthy sessions, but you want to do this in tandem with vipassana if you plan on doing a lot of metta, the vipassana will make it so the defilment wont get suppressed then pop up bigger. so i recommend renunciation for anger, and vipassana to keep the metta from being to suppressive. dont skip yourself though because thats where the empathy comes in to play very important to not skip sending metta to yourself. these are just my thoughts i am no teacher i could be wrong about the empathy thing im just talking from experience.
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Re: How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby FatDaddy » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:46 pm

Kamran wrote:I have just begun to incorporate some metta meditation into my practice, and am interested in hearing experiences of people who have used metta long term. My goal is to reduce anger, and also to sleep well at night. Anger and worry about my job at times prevent me from sleeping and I have read that Metta is good for insomnia.

Thanks.


Very effective in my experience.

"And how, monks, does a monk cultivate the heart's release by loving-kindness?[1] What is its goal, its excellence, its fruit and its outcome?

"In this case, monks, a monk cultivates the enlightenment-factor of mindfulness accompanied by loving-kindness and similarly the enlightenment-factors of investigation-of-states, energy, rapture, tranquillity, concentration, equanimity, accompanied by loving-kindness which is based on detachment, dispassion, leading to maturity of surrender. If he wishes to dwell perceiving the repulsive in what is not repulsive, he dwells thus perceiving the repulsive. If he wishes to dwell perceiving the unrepulsive in what is repulsive, he dwells thus perceiving the unrepulsive. If he wishes to dwell perceiving the repulsive both in what is repulsive and what is not repulsive, if he wishes to dwell perceiving the unrepulsive in both..., he dwells thus. If he wishes, avoiding both the repulsive and unrepulsive, to dwell equanimous,[2] mindful and clearly aware,[3] he dwells thus, equanimous, mindful and clearly aware, or, attaining the heart's release called 'beautiful'[4] he abides there. I declare that the heart's release by loving-kindness has the beautiful for its excellence. This is the attainment of a wise monk who penetrates to no higher release.[5]

"And how, monks, does a monk cultivate release by compassion? What is its goal, its excellence, its fruit and its outcome?

"In this, monks, a monk cultivates the enlightenment-factors of mindfulness... equanimity accompanied by compassion... [as above]... he dwells thus, equanimous, mindful, clearly aware or, by passing utterly beyond all perception of objects, by the going-down of perceptions of sensory reactions,[6] by disregarding perceptions of diversity, thinking 'space is infinite,' he attains and dwells in the sphere of infinite space.[7] I declare that the heart's release by compassion has the sphere of infinite space for its excellence. This is the attainment of a wise monk who penetrates to no higher release.

"And how, monks, does a monk cultivate the heart's release by sympathetic joy? What is its goal, its excellence, its fruit and its outcome?

"In this, monks, a monk cultivates the enlightenment-factors of mindfulness... equanimity accompanied by sympathetic joy... [as above]... he dwells thus, equanimous, mindful, clearly aware or, by passing utterly beyond the sphere of infinite space, thinking 'consciousness is infinite,' he attains and dwells in the sphere of infinite consciousness.[8] I declare that the heart's release by sympathetic joy has the sphere of infinite consciousness for its excellence. This is the attainment of a wise monk who penetrates to no higher release.

"And how, monks, does a monk cultivate the heart's release by equanimity? What is its goal, its excellence, its fruit and its outcome?

"In this case, monks, a monk cultivates the enlightenment-factors of mindfulness, investigation-of-states, energy, rapture, tranquillity, concentration, equanimity accompanied by equanimity[9] which is based on detachment, dispassion, leading to maturity of surrender. If he wishes to dwell... [as above]... he dwells thus, equanimous, mindful and clearly aware. Or by passing utterly beyond the sphere of infinite consciousness, thinking 'there is nothing,' he attains and dwells in the sphere of nothingness.[10] I declare that the heart's release by equanimity had the sphere of nothingness for its excellence. This is the attainment of a wise monk who penetrates to no higher release."


SN 46.54
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8
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Re: How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby FatDaddy » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:53 pm

I love Thanissaro Bikkhu's Brahama Vihara instructions here:

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... heart.html
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8
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Re: How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby manas » Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:11 am

Hi kamran,

metta meditation is great, but in my experience practically doing things for other living beings, whether human or animal, is more effective for some persons. In my case, I only really began to understand what love is about when I had to sacrifice things (such as sleep) in the course of caring for another (when my first child was born). You love this cute little being so much that you don't mind losing a bit of sleep; you are happy to sacrifice a few things, out of love for them. And when those cute little babies grow into teens and become capable of causing you more pain in one day than they used to in an entire year, and, rather than jumping on a plane to Timbuctoo and disappearing, never to be seen or heard from again, you deal with it, and sort it out - because you care about them, then you really know what love is about (I hope this doesn't put you off having kids - despite all the difficulties it is also very rewarding!).

Anyway, you could also try caring for a pet, helping out at an animal shelter, volunteering to assist people in your local community...there are endless activities that can help us to get some practical, hands-on metta cultivation. I think that *just* sitting and wishing others well is appropriate for monks, but as laypersons, we can do more in the practical sphere, as well.

with metta.
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Re: How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby Kamran » Thu Aug 30, 2012 3:45 am

Thanks for the helpful info.
When this concentration is thus developed, thus well developed by you, then wherever you go, you will go in comfort. Wherever you stand, you will stand in comfort. Wherever you sit, you will sit in comfort. Wherever you lie down, you will lie down in comfort.
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Re: How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby FatDaddy » Thu Aug 30, 2012 8:07 pm

manas wrote:Hi kamran,

In my case, I only really began to understand what love is about when I had to sacrifice things (such as sleep) in the course of caring for another (when my first child was born). You love this cute little being so much that you don't mind losing a bit of sleep; you are happy to sacrifice a few things, out of love for them.


Parental love is the template, but it has a limited focus. Metta is radiated out to all beings in the cosmos.
Happy, at rest,
may all beings be happy at heart.
Whatever beings there may be,
weak or strong, without exception,
long, large,
middling, short,
subtle, blatant,
seen & unseen,
near & far, born & seeking birth: May all beings be happy at heart.

Let no one deceive another
or despise anyone anywhere,
or through anger or irritation
wish for another to suffer.
— Sn 1.8
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Re: How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby Maarten » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:11 pm

In my experience it is highly effective!
I feel it may be undervalued because it is often presented as a secondary practice to support breath meditation or Vipassana while it is actually a valid method all by itself.
I have been doing it everyday for only 4 months now and I am getting more results than I got from about a year of breath meditation. The changes I notice are that I am generally happier with a smile on my face, and the world feels more beautiful and friendly than before. I concentrate more easily, and I often get some beautiful feelings in my meditation.
With metta you cultivate both concentration, reduce your ill will, and practice generosity so you tackle greed too! This seems better that a meditation where you only focus on concentration.

So I highly recommend it, but maybe its usefulness varies for each individual.
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Re: How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:08 am

It might be sometimes so "effective" that people even continue to act in their usuall habits. I would not recommend it before being a little seriouse trained in Silas.
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby Maarten » Sat Sep 08, 2012 10:41 am

Hanzze wrote:It might be sometimes so "effective" that people even continue to act in their usuall habits. I would not recommend it before being a little seriouse trained in Silas.


Hi Hanzze,

Could you give some examples of people continuing their ussual habbits?
What kind of meditation do you practice yourself?

Metta! :)
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Re: How effective is Metta Meditation ?

Postby Hanzze » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:16 am

Dear Maarten,

usually the "steps" of practice for layman are Dana (Charity) to learn to let go of possession and to reduce greed and Sila to train mindfulnes while putting compassion with this observing into action. Metta is very powerful as all kinds of visualisations can be, but it easily runs around the first steps and misdevelopes something that is nothing but a different selfillusion.
As far as I had seen, there are no real good hints that Buddha introduced laypeople (or better people who can not real be called contemplatives) to practice metta meditation, which is on one hand very logical. It would be very hypocratic to come from the metta meditation and jump into the car (or go for some nice food) ... or very self-conceived... I remember even a monk, telling me (after remembering about the 1 precept) that, if they "need" to do such things, they would pray for the beings they hurt.
So as far as I see the things, metta meditation makes maybe some sence to develope first small roots of right intention for a while, but are more a tool of protection for somebody who really has taken some good degrees of virtue.
Metta meditation is also very popular, as mostly there is with it a development of a kind of warm, or better pleasant feeling, which is nothing but the result of the idea of being such a good person, being for the welfare of many. It's often be used as a perfect compensation of not so well livelihood and therfore experiansed as pleasant.

How every, Metta meditation or better wishing others/all being to attain the highes blessings is, if right done, very effectivly. You can dry it in usally dangerous situations or sourounding.

That all does not mean that developing metta has no benefit for layman, but it should be done with the right intention and next to work on putting the own habits into a form, where such wishes are not just wishes but understood and respected desires of all other beings.

Metta (Mettanisamsa) Sutta: Good Will

"Monks, for one whose awareness-release through good will is cultivated, developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken, eleven benefits can be expected. Which eleven?

"One sleeps easily, wakes easily, dreams no evil dreams. One is dear to human beings, dear to non-human beings. The devas protect one. Neither fire, poison, nor weapons can touch one. One's mind gains concentration quickly. One's complexion is bright. One dies unconfused and — if penetrating no higher — is headed for the Brahma worlds.

"These are the eleven benefits that can be expected for one whose awareness-release through good will is cultivated, developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, and well-undertaken."
Just that! *smile*
...We Buddhists must find the courage to leave our temples and enter the temples of human experience, temples that are filled with suffering. If we listen to Buddha, Christ, or Gandhi, we can do nothing else. The refugee camps, the prisons, the ghettos, and the battlefields will become our temples. We have so much work to do. ... Peace is Possible! Step by Step. - Samtach Preah Maha Ghosananda "Step by Step" http://www.ghosananda.org/bio_book.html

BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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