Anatta takes out metta

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Anatta takes out metta

Postby barcsimalsi » Fri Jun 21, 2013 12:01 pm

Recently i notice my compassion is becoming lesser which i suspect is a result from contemplating anatta. I'm not easily touch by the news of death and misery like before. Although i felt more equanimous and happy this way, i had some sense of uneasiness that this stone cold hearted attitude is turning me into a more inconsiderate person which will affect my compassionate actions to those who were close to me.

I tried contemplating metta but it doesn't work as the not-self view will interfere which goes like this:
"every beings is made up of 5 aggregates and they are all not-self so why must i waste my time cultivating metta towards those impermanent aggregates."

Appreciate any opinion and advice.
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby santa100 » Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:30 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:I tried contemplating metta but it doesn't work as the not-self view will interfere which goes like this:
"every beings is made up of 5 aggregates and they are all not-self so why must i waste my time cultivating metta towards those impermanent aggregates."


Maybe because there's still some sense of "self" left there? Boundless metta goes hand in hand with a complete elimination of "I", "mine", and "myself". There's no "self" but there's still "suffering" out there. And it's a noble goal to put an end to suffering or at least reduce the tremendous pains this mass of Five Aggregates and other masses of Five Aggregates are experiencing.. :anjali:
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby kirk5a » Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:45 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:"every beings is made up of 5 aggregates

That is true about you as well, obviously.
and they are all not-self so why must i waste my time cultivating metta towards those impermanent aggregates."

What do you think with regard to yourself? Is it a waste of time for anyone else to cultivate metta towards your aggregates?
"When one thing is practiced & pursued, ignorance is abandoned, clear knowing arises, the conceit 'I am' is abandoned, latent tendencies are uprooted, fetters are abandoned. Which one thing? Mindfulness immersed in the body." -AN 1.230
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby Aloka » Fri Jun 21, 2013 1:52 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:Recently i notice my compassion is becoming lesser ....


Hi barcimalsi,

You might find this PDF helpful - "Broad View, Boundless Heart" by Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro.

https://www.abhayagiri.org/books/broad-view-boundless-heart

With kind wishes,

Aloka
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby fivebells » Fri Jun 21, 2013 3:44 pm

Cultivate metta for the aggregates themselves, not to enhance them, but to enhance your own meditative state of mind. That's the primary purpose of metta. See the Snake Charm sutta for an example. Also, Thanissaro's talks Unsentimental Good Will and Good Will For the Whole Committee are highly relevant to your questions.
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby binocular » Fri Jun 21, 2013 6:06 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:Recently i notice my compassion is becoming lesser which i suspect is a result from contemplating anatta.

To me, this seems like a logically necessary and predictable consequence.

One cannot really have goodwill for entities that one believes do not exist in any substantial way.
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby reflection » Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:13 pm

It sounds to me you have an analytical idea of anatta. If you have it like that, I can imagine it could stand in the way. Because when you take anatta like that, it is very easy to fall into some sort of nihilism, or become very robotic about it. But anatta is not meant as an analytical idea. Not something you create and put as a sort of sticker onto the world. It is meant to be experienced, to be tasted. The more you taste it, the more easy it actually becomes to generate metta. It won't stand in the way. So for the moment perhaps consider dropping your notions of anatta, at least while you are doing metta meditation. It is not so important if your metta object is an existing thing or not, as long as it works for you to become peaceful and let go of ill will.
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby barcsimalsi » Sat Jun 22, 2013 3:58 am

kirk5a wrote:
barcsimalsi wrote:"every beings is made up of 5 aggregates

That is true about you as well, obviously.
and they are all not-self so why must i waste my time cultivating metta towards those impermanent aggregates."

What do you think with regard to yourself? Is it a waste of time for anyone else to cultivate metta towards your aggregates?

Your question is where i'm stuck, by thinking "i" need to be love by others is contributing to the self-view.
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby barcsimalsi » Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:03 am

santa100 wrote:Maybe because there's still some sense of "self" left there? Boundless metta goes hand in hand with a complete elimination of "I", "mine", and "myself". There's no "self" but there's still "suffering" out there. And it's a noble goal to put an end to suffering or at least reduce the tremendous pains this mass of Five Aggregates and other masses of Five Aggregates are experiencing.. :anjali:

Thanks, that helps.
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby lyndon taylor » Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:21 am

If you realize that you're not made up of the 5 aggregates, why would every other being be made up of the 5 aggregates, but not you?? Aren't they more like you than different.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby barcsimalsi » Sat Jun 22, 2013 4:51 am

lyndon taylor wrote: Aren't they more like you than different.

Yes we are the same. The difficulty actually started when i considered my feeling and other people's feeling to be not-self and tend to discredit them altogether.

Thanks to everyone for the helpful replies.
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby lyndon taylor » Sat Jun 22, 2013 5:33 am

I'm really not an expert on this at all, but I think non self is less a feeling, and more of a belief or awareness about what self is and is not, but our beliefs or awareness often makes us what we are, and influence what we do, so its very important. For instance I'm quite fat, that relates to form, but it has nothing to do with what I am. I have very long hair for a guy, which relates to sight and form, but that has very little to do with what I am, I'm not a hippy, for instance. Friends of mine can be very good looking or ugly, but that has nothing to do with who they are, so I try to treat them all with respect and not judge by appearances. That's my primitive understanding of applying non self to my life. May someone more expert than me give a clearer explanation.
18 years ago I made one of the most important decisions of my life and entered a local Cambodian Buddhist Temple as a temple boy and, for only 3 weeks, an actual Therevada Buddhist monk. I am not a scholar, great meditator, or authority on Buddhism, but Buddhism is something I love from the Bottom of my heart. It has taught me sobriety, morality, peace, and very importantly that my suffering is optional, and doesn't have to run my life. I hope to give back what little I can to the Buddhist community that has so generously given me so much, sincerely former monk John
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby Sylvester » Sun Jun 23, 2013 4:47 am

barcsimalsi wrote:Recently i notice my compassion is becoming lesser which i suspect is a result from contemplating anatta. I'm not easily touch by the news of death and misery like before. Although i felt more equanimous and happy this way, i had some sense of uneasiness that this stone cold hearted attitude is turning me into a more inconsiderate person which will affect my compassionate actions to those who were close to me.

I tried contemplating metta but it doesn't work as the not-self view will interfere which goes like this:
"every beings is made up of 5 aggregates and they are all not-self so why must i waste my time cultivating metta towards those impermanent aggregates."

Appreciate any opinion and advice.



Here's an antidote - http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html. One remembers that there is a "bearer" of the Aggregates, described in very recognisable terms. We need not descend into the philosophical conundrums identified by Ven T in the footnote; just remember that there is a "person" taking up the Aggregates, described in these terms also in MN 44 -

"Is it the case, lady, that clinging is the same thing as the five clinging-aggregates or is it something separate?"

"Friend Visakha, neither is clinging the same thing as the five clinging-aggregates, nor is it something separate. Whatever desire & passion there is with regard to the five clinging-aggregates, that is the clinging there."

"But, lady, how does self-identification (sakkāyadiṭṭhi) come about?"

"There is the case, friend Visakha, where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person — who has no regard for noble ones, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma; who has no regard for men of integrity, is not well-versed or disciplined in their Dhamma — assumes (samanupassati) form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

"He assumes feeling to be the self...

"He assumes perception to be the self...

"He assumes (mental) fabrications to be the self...

"He assumes consciousness to be the self, or the self as possessing consciousness, or consciousness as in the self, or the self as in consciousness. This is how self-identification comes about."


If you look at the suttas in AN 5.161 -162, the instruction is to develop loving-kindness to the person (puggala). I think the goodwill meditations based on the 5 Aggregates should be practiced to deal with more subtle defilements, ie the Hindrances in a formal sitting. I usually only start applying goodwill to the Aggregates when I am dealing with my reactions to what I experience in a satipaṭṭhāna sitting. Perhaps for now, you could try to reserve the 5 Aggregates frame of reference to a formal sitting? Personally, I find sammāsaṅkappa towards the Aggregates easier to practice, if I remind myself of their anattā quality.

Good luck!
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby barcsimalsi » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:00 pm

Sylvester wrote: I usually only start applying goodwill to the Aggregates when I am dealing with my reactions to what I experience in a satipaṭṭhāna sitting. Perhaps for now, you could try to reserve the 5 Aggregates frame of reference to a formal sitting? Personally, I find sammāsaṅkappa towards the Aggregates easier to practice, if I remind myself of their anattā quality.

Good luck!

Thanks Sylvester. Can you explain more how to apply goodwill to the Aggregates alongside the anatta quality. What method for example.

By wishing metta to others, which is the appropriate point to aim? The unseen "bearer" or their aggregates?
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby Sylvester » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:31 am

Hi

Check out SN 47.10. What arises through contact are the Aggregates. What typically follows, almost in an autonomous fashion, are the latent tendencies that drive our response to the initial contact (MN 44). Goodwill, for example, is the specified antidote to illwill, which is invariably a manifestation of the latent tendency to aversion. By deliberately cultivating goodwill, you actually veto the latent tendency to aversion and do not give it a toehold to generate a negative emotional response to pain.

I don't think the suttas actually give a very systematic exposition on this. You'll notice that Right Resolve is lumped together with Right View under the Wisdom Aggregate (MN 44). While Right Effort has received a lot of attention in the suttas, the adventurous part about meditation is discovering for yourself what type of Right Resolve needs to be marshalled to deal with a particular defilement, as well as potential defilements. I suppose that's why Right Resolve is part of the Wisdom Aggregate, something that could be taught but I think it's something that is better discovered against the backdrop of Dependant Origination.

Does this help?
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby SarathW » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:42 am

I think, Santa and Reflection gave a very good answer except I do not support the idea that you should drop the Anatta idea for even for a moment.
I had a similar problem like yours when I first learned about Anatta. Through practice and investigation I overcame this problem.
Now I have compassion for beings with five aggregate, as I understand that the five aggregate is the result of their past Kamma.
:)
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby barcsimalsi » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:59 am

The problem i'm facing is not illwill, i can easily be at peace by contemplating anatta alone. But the anatta view is somehow blocking my compassionate response to other beings. For example when i red the news about muslim got slaughtered in Burma or buddhist got killed in Bangla, the sympathy generated isn't as strong as before but it is not that i had illwill to the victims.

When considering suffering is simply a condition of vedana which is conditioned and not-self, the mind tend to pay very little attention to its content. It is not hard to make a simple wish like "may every beings be happy", but the deep sympathy and sincerity seems lost or weaken with anatta in mind.

Yet, if i gonna follow reflection's advice of dropping the anatta notion, it is likely my mind will easily be disturbed by other people's problem and even my own problem.

Perhaps i was getting the wrong idea about anatta so the whole thing is up for more revision.
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby SarathW » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:30 am

When I read the news about muslim got slaughtered in Burma or buddhist got killed in Bangladesh, I have sympathy for both Buddhist and Muslims.
This news (in fact any news) does not bother me because I can’t do anything about this.
This sort of problems was their even in Buddha’s time.
However if my close friend who is a Buddhist try to slaughter a Muslim, I would try to stop it with the compassion for my friend and the victim.
Anatta does not mean to say that there is no five aggregate. But the five aggregate is subject to Anicca,Dukkha and Aanatta. :juggling: :)

PS: You have to juggle three balls but don't drop any!
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby pegembara » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:48 am

barcsimalsi wrote:Recently i notice my compassion is becoming lesser which i suspect is a result from contemplating anatta. I'm not easily touch by the news of death and misery like before. Although i felt more equanimous and happy this way, i had some sense of uneasiness that this stone cold hearted attitude is turning me into a more inconsiderate person which will affect my compassionate actions to those who were close to me.

I tried contemplating metta but it doesn't work as the not-self view will interfere which goes like this:
"every beings is made up of 5 aggregates and they are all not-self so why must i waste my time cultivating metta towards those impermanent aggregates."


Appreciate any opinion and advice.


"every beings is made up of 5 aggregates and they are all not-self so why must i waste my time cultivating metta towards those impermanent aggregates." is just another view!

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech,
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied,
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove,
Wishing: In gladness and in safety,
May all beings be at ease....


By not holding to fixed vews,
The pure-hearted one, having clarity of vision,
Being freed from all sense-desires,
Is not born again into this world.

Karaniya Metta Sutta
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.
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Re: Anatta takes out metta

Postby barcsimalsi » Mon Jun 24, 2013 4:50 am

SarathW wrote:When I read the news about muslim got slaughtered in Burma or buddhist got killed in Bangladesh, I have sympathy for both Buddhist and Muslims.
This news (in fact any news) does not bother me because I can’t do anything about this.

So it is like pity, make a good wish then let go of the whole thing in fast forward. But without bothered by it, how could you possibly feel their suffering and cultivate enough metta?
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