Are metta jhanas mentioned in the suttas?

Discussion of Samatha bhavana and Jhana bhavana.

Are metta jhanas mentioned in the suttas?

Postby Maarten » Sat Sep 08, 2012 11:05 am

I am practicing metta and am thinking about making this my main type of meditation. I read in some books about metta jhanas. I think that if you can get into Jhana with it, you can get enlightened with it. So is there any mention about metta Jhana in the suttas or is this a later addition?

With metta! ;)
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Re: Are metta jhanas mentioned in the suttas?

Postby bodom » Sat Sep 08, 2012 1:45 pm

Samadhi Sutta: (Immeasurable) Concentration
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

Sankhitta Sutta: In Brief
(Good Will, Mindfulness, & Concentration)

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html

The two suttas above show that metta meditation can lead to concentration and the jhanas.

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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: Are metta jhanas mentioned in the suttas?

Postby amtross » Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:31 pm

Thanks for those links Bodom. Here is another Sutta that talks about metta in realation to Jhana's and as a vehicle leading all the way to full liberation.

Metta Sutta:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn46/sn46.054.than.html
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Re: Are metta jhanas mentioned in the suttas?

Postby daverupa » Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:49 pm

The Samyutta Nikaya connects the four brahmaviharas as well as anapanasati with the seven factors of awakening. Altogether, the seven factors almost seem like a way of summing up Samadhi:

Mindfulness (sati)
Keen investigation of the dhamma (dhammavicaya)
Energy (viriya)
Rapture or happiness (piti)
Calm (passaddhi)
Concentration (samadhi)
Equanimity (upekkha)

Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration all seem to be included; the only trick is that we have discourses showcasing how anapanasati fulfills satipatthana, but I'm not aware of there being an explicit connection like that between the brahmaviharas and satipatthana, although karuna is closely allied with efforts to suppress the hindrance of ill-will.
    "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: Are metta jhanas mentioned in the suttas?

Postby Maarten » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:25 pm

Thank you everyone! This is enough for me to study for a while. :)
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Re: Are metta jhanas mentioned in the suttas?

Postby Hanzze » Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:03 am

bodom wrote:The two suttas above show that metta meditation can lead to concentration and the jhanas.


Maybe it is good to add that metta as a kasina (object of meditation) is also used as vehicle for concentration. If we say that metta can lead to concentration, it could be wrong understood.
Additional:

Absorption in the first three jhanas can be realized by contemplating the first three brahma-viharas (metta, karuna, mudita). However, these meditations cannot aid in attaining the fourth jhana due to the pleasant feelings associated with them. Conversely, once the fourth jhana is induced, the fourth brahma-vihara (equanimity) arises.

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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: Are metta jhanas mentioned in the suttas?

Postby fig tree » Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:43 am

Maarten wrote:I am practicing metta and am thinking about making this my main type of meditation. I read in some books about metta jhanas. I think that if you can get into Jhana with it, you can get enlightened with it.


In the Sankhitta sutta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.063.than.html) the monk is advised to contemplate eight objects, eventually "with equanimity", and four of them are the brahmaviharas, metta and the other three. The monk is also described as succeeding with this.

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Re: Are metta jhanas mentioned in the suttas?

Postby Sylvester » Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:39 am

I mentioned the Mettasahagata Sutta, SN 46.54 here previously -

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=8602&view=unread#p133953

Some pretty interesting things emerge from that sutta. Firstly, the ascetics from the other orders too claimed to practise metta in the same way as the Buddhists, ie the standard pericope of radiation of metta to the 6 directions. The Buddha suggests that what makes the Buddhist development of metta different from the other ascetics was how metta is integrated into the Awakening Factors, and with some specific outcomes -

“And how, bhikkhus, is the liberation of the mind by lovingkindness developed? What is its destination, its culmination, its fruit, its final goal? Here, bhikkhus, a bhikkhu develops the enlightenment factor of mindfulness accompanied by lovingkindness … the enlightenment factor of equanimity accompanied by lovingkindness, based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in relinquishment. If he wishes: ‘May I dwell perceiving the repulsive in the unrepulsive,’ he dwells perceiving the repulsive therein. If he wishes: ‘May I dwell perceiving the unrepulsive in the repulsive,’ he dwells perceiving the unrepulsive therein. If he wishes: ‘May I dwell perceiving the repulsive in the unrepulsive and in the repulsive,’ he dwells perceiving the repulsive therein. If he wishes: ‘May I dwell perceiving the unrepulsive in the repulsive and in the unrepulsive,’ he dwells perceiving the unrepulsive therein. If he wishes: ‘Avoiding both the unrepulsive and the repulsive, may I dwell equanimously, mindful and clearly comprehending,’ then he dwells therein equanimously, mindful and clearly comprehending. Or else he enters and dwells in the deliverance of the beautiful. Bhikkhus, the liberation of mind by lovingkindness has the beautiful as its culmination, I say, for a wise bhikkhu here who has not penetrated to a superior liberation.


The outcomes in red are part of the abilities of the "noble one with developed faculties" set out in MN 152. I suggest we do not aim that high, since the ariya in this case appears to be referring to Arahants!

For those who are still plodding along, the outcome in blue seems like a more realistic attainment.

Ven Analayo identifies the "deliverance of the beautiful" with the 3rd Vimokkha of "subhanteva adhimutto hoti, ayaṃ tatiyo vimokkho" (Deliverance by Being Resolved on the Beautiful). Given how the other 3 brahmavihāras appear to lead to the formless attainments in this sutta, the implication seems to be be that the "deliverance of the beautiful" refers to the 4 Jhanas.

I suspect this aspect of meditation is just putting kusala sankappa (wholesome resolves) into how we meditate, rather than a specific "metta" meditation. At this stage, does one stomp on the defilements, or does one relate to them with non-ill-will and non-cruelty?
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