Making Metta My Main Practice

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Making Metta My Main Practice

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:35 pm

Hello All,

For the last few years my main practice has been anapanasati. I have had some great results (especially during a 7 day silent residential retreat) but find anapanasati to be incredibly difficult within the confines of the home life. I run a small business in NYC and have a wife and toddler to look after so what time I do have (about 45 minutes in the early morning and 45 minutes late night) is not very conducive to the theme--in other, words I'm often too tired or drowsy to get good results. I've added walking meditation which does help a great deal but I'm now confronting the very real fact that I need to deal with a great deal of anger/aversion in my life. So, apologies for the circuitous route, I'm considering changing my main practice to metta bhavana (I intend to use a variety of approaches) and I would like to hear if anyone has had any experience with metta practice in this way. Initially I intend to commit myself to 3 months with the option of extending my commitment at the end of this period to another 3 month stretch. Thank you.

Metta,

Mike (Khalil) :anjali:
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Re: Making Metta My Main Practice

Postby PeterB » Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:37 pm

Well you kindly shared with me your experience of " Buddho" Khalil Bodhi.... :smile:
Some years ago I went through a period of not being able to do anapanasati in any meaningful or sustained way. At the time I was a Vajrayana student and I remember asking one of my teachers if he thought that this was a result of negative Kamma. He said he thought that it was most unlikely and suggested Metta Bhavana and a variant on Kasina meditation.In my case the result was that after a few months I rediscovered both an appetite for anapanasati and a renewed aptitude for it. It may be that sometimes a "change is as good as a rest ". I dont think we should make such changes lightly or too frequently, but sometimes needs must, and it may be that your present circumstances would be best served by that kind of change. Certainly during that period of my life I was conscious of an openess to people and a softness of eyes.
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Re: Making Metta My Main Practice

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:46 pm

PeterB,

Thank you for your reply. What you've said is really encouraging and I'm definitely going to give it a go. Thank you again. :anjali:

P.S.

If you wouldn't mind sharing the techniques you used/use in your metta practice I'd be most grateful. Be well!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

Uposatha Observance Club:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=148031379279&v=info
Kiva-Theravada Buddhists:http://www.kiva.org/team/theravada_buddhists
Dana on the Interwebs:
http://greatergood.com
http://freerice.com
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Re: Making Metta My Main Practice

Postby PeterB » Tue Oct 27, 2009 4:08 pm

I followed the "classical" form that I was taught for the most part Khalil Bodhi
First send metta to yourself, wishing yourself freedom from harm, peacefulness and complete Awakening'
Then you hold in your mind a real living person that you are fond of, some teachers suggest that it should be a person of the same sex, or if gay, a person of the opposite sex, its a question I think of not conflating things here,and sending them metta, freedom from harm peace etc.
Then hold in your mind a person to whom you have neutral feelings , and send them the same metta etc.
Then you do the same while holding thoughts of someone you have negative feelings about, you send them metta etc.
Then your family and household.
Then your neighbourhood.
Then your nation.
Then your continent.
Then the whole world.
Then all sentient beings in all universes. Wishing them all joy and peace, freedom from fear and complete unexcelled Awakening.

Another practice I was taught that is more informal and less canonical is when in the car or train or in any situation see that same situation through the eyes of the other people around you. See yourself as they see you. Send them metta and yourself metta through them.
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Re: Making Metta My Main Practice

Postby Nibbida » Wed Nov 04, 2009 4:25 am

I do metta on most days of the week, every day if possible. I have had wonderful results from it. The warmth and happiness that results increases motivation to meditate. Sometimes I'll do metta for 30-60 minutes as a warm-up for doing another form (e.g. anapanasati or vipassana). When I do metta daily for a few weeks at a stretch, the warmth can arise spontaneously throughout the day, sometimes triggered by the slightest event.

At the very least, a 3 month experiment with metta is worth the effort. There really is little to lose when weighing costs & benefits. Good luck. And please share your results here. :-)
"Dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body, acquire strength by exercise." --Thomas Jefferson

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