Sending metta?

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Sending metta?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Aug 26, 2009 12:45 am

In Theravada, if a loved one dies (a person or an animal), is there anything you can do on their behalf? Like sending metta?
My best buddy for the last 13 years, Dixie, passed away Sunday night. Any metta dedications would be very appreciated. But I don't know if that's a common thing to do in Theravada.

:anjali:


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Re: Sending metta?

Postby Guy » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:16 am

Hi Ngawang Drolma,

I don't know if it's a common thing to do either, but I don't think it really matters. I'll send some Metta to Dixie anyway. :heart:

With Metta,

Guy
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1) Giving; expecting nothing back in return
2) Throwing things away
3) Contentment; wanting to be here, not wanting to be anywhere else
4) "Teflon Mind"; having a mind which doesn't accumulate things

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Re: Sending metta?

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:22 am

Greetings Laura,

There is the concept of dedication of merit to the deceased, but it is debatable whether these are actually "received" by anyone, or whether it's simply a better, more productive way to respond to death than to wallow and grieve.

Strictly speaking, the deceased are not appropriate subjects of metta. I remember Ben speaking about this recently... and hopefully he can point us in the direction of an appropriate resource.

And finally, something for you...

Snp 3.8 - Salla Sutta: The Arrow
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .irel.html

All the best.

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Re: Sending metta?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:33 am

"In this manner the world is afflicted by death and decay. But the wise do not grieve, having realized the nature of the world. You do not know the path by which they came or departed. Not seeing either end you lament in vain. If any benefit is gained by lamenting, the wise would do it. Only a fool would harm himself. Yet through weeping and sorrowing the mind does not become calm, but still more suffering is produced, the body is harmed and one becomes lean and pale, one merely hurts oneself. One cannot protect a departed one (peta) by that means. To grieve is in vain.


Thank you both :anjali:
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Re: Sending metta?

Postby zavk » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:13 am

Sorry to hear about Dixie.
With metta,
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Re: Sending metta?

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:21 am

Sorry to hear of the loss. I have had several cats (not all at the same time) and whenever they were dying I always sent metta and did some chanting and had them listen to CD's with chanting on it. Metta and chanting is good for the living and certainly cannot hurt for the dead and dying. Dedication of merits I am pretty sure is for only those in the peta (hungry ghost) realm, but it is always good to do metta for all living beings and if one of our loved ones has recently died, there is a very good chance they will still be in samsara somewhere, so using this logic (which I do), metta will go to that loved one.
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Re: Sending metta?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:23 am

You know, normal life span for an English Bulldog is 7-9 years. She hung in there for 13 years! I honestly believe that in part, it's because she was loved so very much. I never even had to train her, she just did what I asked. She was so cool. I know her merits must be so great, I feel so sure that she's taking a good rebirth.

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Re: Sending metta?

Postby Aloka » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:52 pm

Hi Drolma,

This is for you and departed Dixie, and all beings everywhere http://www.mma-video.com/lovingkindness/Metta.htm

With love,

Dazz


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Re: Sending metta?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:26 am

Thank you Dazz and TheDhamma :anjali:
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Re: Sending metta?

Postby kc2dpt » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:01 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:In Theravada, if a loved one dies (a person or an animal), is there anything you can do on their behalf? Like sending metta?

The practice I am familiar with is to dedicate merit. Do something meritorious and then say "If my loved one is in a position to rejoice in these merits may they do so, may they be reborn into favorable circumstances, and may they attain Nibbana." The theory is if a loved one was born into the ghost realm, they might be hanging around their loved ones. Rejoicing in another's meritorious act is itself meritorious and might help them take birth in a better realm than ghost. So you are essentially calling the ghost's attention to the act, giving them a chance to rejoice in it and make merit of their own.

Couldn't hurt.

Sorry about your loss.
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Re: Sending metta?

Postby Ben » Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:59 am

Hi Drolma
I'm sorry for your loss of your beloved pet Dixie.
We lost Blaze, one of our greyhounds, in March. It was a significant blow to all of us.
At the time I contacted Ajahn to ask his advice as it was becoming increasingly clear that the only way we could alleviate his immediate pain was through euthanasia. Ajahn recommended that I extend metta to the dying animal. And since Blaze's departure, there hasn't been a day that I don't include him in my metta bhavana. I would also recommend that you also include yourself and your family members as objects of metta at this time.
Kind regards

Ben
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Re: Sending metta?

Postby mikenz66 » Thu Aug 27, 2009 6:09 am

Peter wrote:The practice I am familiar with is to dedicate merit. Do something meritorious and then say "If my loved one is in a position to rejoice in these merits may they do so, may they be reborn into favorable circumstances, and may they attain Nibbana." The theory is if a loved one was born into the ghost realm, they might be hanging around their loved ones. Rejoicing in another's meritorious act is itself meritorious and might help them take birth in a better realm than ghost. So you are essentially calling the ghost's attention to the act, giving them a chance to rejoice in it and make merit of their own.

That's one of the best summaries of the Theravada view on transfer of merit that I've heard. As far as I am aware there's no Theravada teaching that metta meditation directly affects the "object" of metta. (Of course, there are many indirect benefits when you are less angry with a person because you've been focussing metta on them, or less aggrieved about a loss.)

Metta
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Re: Sending metta?

Postby fig tree » Thu Aug 27, 2009 7:02 am

Ngawang Drolma wrote:In Theravada, if a loved one dies (a person or an animal), is there anything you can do on their behalf?


Gifts, possibly:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an10/an10.177.than.html
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/pv/pv.1.05.than.html

Let's hope she went somewhere better.

The Visuddhimagga advises you to practice metta on the living only. It tells a story of a monk who was having trouble attaining jhana with metta meditation (which he usually could do), and found the object of his metta had died. Once he switched to someone living it worked. ;)

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Re: Sending metta?

Postby Ngawang Drolma. » Thu Aug 27, 2009 4:40 pm

Many, many thanks to Peter, Ben, Mike, and Fig Tree :anjali:
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