Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Tex
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Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby Tex » Sat Sep 26, 2009 2:52 am

"To reach beyond fear and danger we must sharpen and widen our vision. We have to pierce through the deceptions that lull us into a comfortable complacency, to take a straight look down into the depths of our existence, without turning away uneasily or running after distractions." -- Bhikkhu Bodhi

"No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man." -- Heraclitus

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retrofuturist
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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby retrofuturist » Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:02 am

Greetings Tex,

See also...

The power of metta (Classical Theravada version)
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=1643

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby Prasadachitta » Sat Sep 26, 2009 3:02 pm

Hi Tex,

I dont tend to differentiate much between physical and metaphysical. Not to say that I view things in strictly physical terms. When an attitude of Metta is cultivated and becomes prominent in the mind stream how can it not effect other mind streams? I mean to say there are no real boundaries as the effects of a particular event radiate through time. In meditation we can make an effort to remain aware of the vast potential that cultivation has. We are not separate even if the current moment might feel that way. We can also have a sense or an attitude that the current moment and successive moments dont really have separate existences. I find an attitude like this to be supremely fertile for the the cultivation of metta regardless of the actualities that may or may not be.


Metta

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby Hoja » Sat Sep 26, 2009 10:38 pm


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clw_uk
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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby clw_uk » Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:35 am

In my opinion it only impacts others in terms of effecting your own well being which in turn effects the way you treat others and so effects their own well being, i dont think it sends out waves etc since this idea seems to fall into a kind of Idealism/solipsism
Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken

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retrofuturist
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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby retrofuturist » Sun Sep 27, 2009 3:42 am

"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead" - Thomas Paine

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby Prasadachitta » Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:09 am

"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Rui Sousa
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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby Rui Sousa » Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:04 pm

I my understanding we can develop metta in our minds, but not in others minds.

I also believe that if others are paying proper attention they will sense Metta in our minds, either by mundane observation of our body, or by the ability to 'read minds'. But I do not believe Metta is some sort of energy that travels through space to induce others when they are not paying attention to our mind, or our expression.
With Metta

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby Zack » Sun Sep 27, 2009 7:36 pm

I tend to agree with clw_uk's view but try to keep an open mind.
If I practice metta with equanimity does it matter?
I am of nature to decay, I have not gone beyond decay.
I am of the nature to be diseased, I have not gone beyond disease.
I am of the nature to die, I have not done beyond death.
All that is mine, dear and delightful, will change and vanish.
I am the owner of my kamma, heir to my kamma, born of my kamma, related to
my kamma, abide supported by my kamma. Whatever kamma I shall do,
whether good or evil, of that I shall be the heir.
Thus we should frequently recollect.
- Upajjhatthana Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya v.57

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby BlackBird » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:27 pm

"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby pink_trike » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:28 pm

We can intentionally move mind.heart energy within this body and we can change the temperature/color of this mind.heart stream with intentional thought...why not outside this body and mind.heart stream? Some of my teachers have moved my heart and untied internal knots of energy with just a smile or a word that reflected the temperature/color of their mind.heart stream. We share the temperature/color of our mind.heart stream via sound and light waves all the time throughout the course of this life. We project our internal energy with our very appearance, sound, and via the light in our eyes.

We're so caught in our sense of materiality and our mistaken sense that the body/mind.heart stream is separate from what we sense to be "external" that we forget that materiality is merely dense energy and the mind-stream is less dense energy...two relative ends of the density spectrum. Metta cultivates a light-nesss of energy within the mind.heart stream and interacts with the denser energy of the material body that we call "ours"...why would it remain trapped within and only benefit others by the effects it has on our body and mind.heart stream when we know that the body/mind.heart-stream is receptive to every other kind of non-physical energy in the world, including sound waves, radiation, countless forms of light, smell, etc... The Sun's radiation passes right through the body - the outer layer of the body doesn't serve as a shield nor do buildings shield the interior of the body from the sun's radiation. Heat and cold are energies that effect body and mind.heart stream. Even words are energy, as we've seen in this electronic space many times. The energy of my thoughts here on your screen is inseparable from the electronic energy that carried it into your eyes on a beam of light.

So, if the quality of the mind.heart-stream energy can be shared from one person to another in close proximity or through energy mediums such as sound and light, why not via intention which is also a very powerful energy? Some will likely argue that sound and light involve eye and ear receptivity on the part of the recipient, but there are ways of knowing and streams of receptivity that don't depend on our gross physical senses...likely most here have had at least some limited experience with other kinds of receptivity that didn't depend on sight, sound, smell, touch, or physical presence. We're all appearing inseparable in this sphere of phenomenality...any opinion we have on the limits of mind.heart energy is an opinion limited by the extent of our awareness of the Whole. Perhaps the combination of intention and thoughts/feelings of metta can be conducted through time/space via directed awareness, yet another kind of energy. There are some very interesting scientific research results that are causing us to rethink the effects of intention on material and distance. Perhaps there is some other energetic medium surrounding us that we're unaware of that serves as a conductor for intention with focused attention. Are we really so sure that we've discovered all means of conductive energy within the last several hundred years? :tongue:

I'm generally not a fan of "faith" but in the practice of metta I have provisional faith based on what I know about the nature of energy. Like everyone else, I don't know anything...but our premodern ancestors from all over the globe all spoke of the ability to communicate over distances through the mind.heart-stream. Since we're living in a thick, carnal time that makes awareness of less dense forms of energy difficult, I'll take their world that energetic communication is possible. Better to err on the beneficial side, imo.
Last edited by pink_trike on Sun Sep 27, 2009 10:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Vision is Mind
Mind is Empty
Emptiness is Clear Light
Clear Light is Union
Union is Great Bliss

- Dawa Gyaltsen

---

Disclaimer: I'm a non-religious practitioner of Theravada, Mahayana/Vajrayana, and Tibetan Bon Dzogchen mind-training.

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:56 pm


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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby BlackBird » Sun Sep 27, 2009 10:16 pm

"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Sep 27, 2009 10:52 pm


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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby BlackBird » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:27 am

"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." -

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:00 pm

HI all,

I feel it must be noted that if our well wishing does have an immediate effect others then all the negative and malicious attitudes must as well. Given this melee of effects and counter effects it seems there is not much we can hope for in terms of our influence on this mass of suffering which is society and the world. Not to say that we should not make an effort. There can be joy in hopeless effort.

Take care

Gabe
"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:31 pm

The story of is also well known.

I think one needs to have strong concentration for it to have much effect. Clearly, just smiling does have some affect on others, so what if one could attain to the highest stage of metta jhāna like the Buddha?
• • • • (Upasampadā: 24th June, 1979)

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:09 pm

The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

Bhikku Bodhi.

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby Prasadachitta » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:16 pm

"Beautifully taught is the Lord's Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself." Anguttara Nikaya V.332

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Re: Does metta-bhavana literally impact others?

Postby fivebells » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:47 pm

Last edited by fivebells on Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:05 am, edited 1 time in total.


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