Preliminaries to 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.

Preliminaries to Metta Meditation

Postby mentary » Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:27 pm

Hello, I am new to this forum, and somewhat new to meditation. I've practiced different types, but I'm wondering whether metta requires or benefits from preliminary training especially focused attention (anapanasati) meditation. Does anyone know whether this type of training facilitates metta, or if it is necessary to its cultivation?
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Re: Preliminaries to Metta Meditation

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:22 pm

Welcome Mentry,

Here are some discussions that may answer some of your questions:
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=13759
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=187
viewtopic.php?f=41&t=16963
viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9118

Metta
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Re: Preliminaries to Metta Meditation

Postby mentary » Wed May 01, 2013 1:00 pm

Thank you very much for the reply :)

I was just wondering though, does concentration meditation really help for metta, or does practicing metta straight from the start remain effective? I haven't seen an answer to that particular question in the posts. Perhaps there isn't enough evidence to establish a definite answer as well.

The reason why I am asking this is because while I practice metta it seems to me that I have a difficulty generating a -sensation- of goodwill. I can generate the intention and the wish that all beings be free of suffering, but I don't feel it at an emotional level, or in my heart in a sense. Is the intention enough, given enough perseverance?

Thanks!
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Re: Preliminaries to Metta Meditation

Postby Spiny Norman » Wed May 01, 2013 1:57 pm

mentary wrote:The reason why I am asking this is because while I practice metta it seems to me that I have a difficulty generating a -sensation- of goodwill. I can generate the intention and the wish that all beings be free of suffering, but I don't feel it at an emotional level, or in my heart in a sense. Is the intention enough, given enough perseverance?


The version of metta I was taught is progressive and it begins by wishing yourself well - have you tried that approach? A feeling of kind acceptance is a worthwhile starting point, the rest will follow naturally.
Well, oi dunno...
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Re: Preliminaries to Metta Meditation

Postby daverupa » Wed May 01, 2013 3:30 pm

mentary wrote:I was just wondering though, does concentration meditation really help for metta, or does practicing metta straight from the start remain effective?... The reason why I am asking this is because while I practice metta it seems to me that I have a difficulty generating a -sensation- of goodwill. I can generate the intention and the wish that all beings be free of suffering, but I don't feel it at an emotional level, or in my heart in a sense.


It's to be done associated with joy since that is one of the seven awakening factors; this joy follows mindfulness, dhamma-investigation, & energy.

So the preliminaries to radiating metta with joy, and tranquility, and so on, is to ensure that the approach is mindful, contemplative, and encouragingly wholesome.

In my experience, radiating metta happens on the back of the third tetrad of satipatthana. Mindfully the mind is known as with or without metta, the causes and conditions of this are known as is whether the radiation is limited in some way or limitless, and practice proceeds according to knowledge and experience with ones own state of affairs, mental inclinations, and so forth. Various methods can be employed, but the skillful method in ones own case is a matter of careful attention.

:heart:
    "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: Preliminaries to Metta Meditation

Postby reflection » Wed May 01, 2013 3:43 pm

Starting with some anapanasati can help to recognize the feelings that should arise from metta practice earlier on, when it is still small. But as suggested, you can also start with a different object and spread out the feeling slowly. Perhaps a pet animal, I find those the easiest objects. :D
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