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Viṡuddhimagga Instructions on Metṭā - Dhamma Wheel

Viṡuddhimagga Instructions on Metṭā

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
rohana
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Viṡuddhimagga Instructions on Metṭā

Postby rohana » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:27 am

"Delighting in existence, O monks, are gods and men; they are attached to existence, they revel in existence. When the Dhamma for the cessation of existence is being preached to them, their minds do not leap towards it, do not get pleased with it, do not get settled in it, do not find confidence in it. That is how, monks, some lag behind."
- It. p 43

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retrofuturist
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Re: Viṡuddhimagga Instructions on Metṭā

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Dec 18, 2012 2:45 am

Greetings Rohana,

The backstory presented in the text sounds a little curious since, since it infers "connection", as you point out.

Two practical reasons for not selecting the dead may be that:

1. By virtue of being dead, there is no more experience for them as that dead person... thus, the dead person cannot be subject to dukkha and cannot be receptive to metta. Thus, one would know on some level that metta towards the deceased is misaligned - for how can one wish for them to be happy? (Respect on the other hand, or wishing a favourable rebirth etc. would not be out of line.)

2. Recalling them to mind may bring grief, which is counter-productive to mental tranquility.

In the context of the backstory, if you were under the impression that the recipient was alive, that would seem sufficient as far as I can tell, though obviously not for the text. Taking a sutta perspective, mind creates all mental states (Dhp1-2) including metta... thus the actual object seems a pragmatic concern at best.

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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Ben
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Re: Viṡuddhimagga Instructions on Metṭā

Postby Ben » Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:01 am

My own practice is to extend metta to myself first and then to all beings throughout the universe and then to dedicate my merits to particular individuals and groups (living and departed). I practice metta for a few minutes at the end of an hour+ session of vipassana. I did benefit from using the formula in the metta sutta and the Vism when I first commenced my meditation practice. These days, my metta practice is fairly fluid/free form.
kind regards,

Ben
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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mynameisadahn
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Re: Viṡuddhimagga Instructions on Metṭā

Postby mynameisadahn » Thu Dec 20, 2012 11:50 pm

I believe Mahasi Sayadaw answers this question briefly, in his manual on Metta. (which is a book that can be found on the access to insight webpage, I believe). He is fairly brief, as I recall, and it is something like you cannot really wish good will towards someone who has passed on and is reincarnated, etc.

Sorry I do not recall the justification more specifically. But I would recommend this manual anyways, since it is another great source.


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