A fingersnap of metta

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phil
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A fingersnap of metta

Post by phil » Sat Oct 07, 2017 11:43 pm

A fingersnap of metta is taught by the Buddha to be very valuable, isn't it? More valuable than x or y, I forget what they are.

When I first discovered the Buddha's teaching I was drawn to the brahma-viharas, joined a group devoted to them. I feel these days I would like to regenerate that interest, mostly, to be honest, as a way of gladdening the mind, to brighten the content of thinking.

I wonder why a fingersnap of metta is taught to be so valuable?
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

SarathW
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Re: A fingersnap of metta

Post by SarathW » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:05 am

I wonder why a fingersnap of metta is taught to be so valuable?
Only I can think is the death moment.
If you practice Metta in the last breath that may assure a good rebirth.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el007.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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ryanM
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Re: A fingersnap of metta

Post by ryanM » Sun Oct 08, 2017 1:39 am

Hi Phil,

The encouragement it can give you to carry on with the practice is one reason, for me, that a finger snap worth of metta is a valbule thing. It being a catalyst to more wholesome actions. This may or may not be what the Buddha actually meant, though. I also believe the Buddha said the same thing about mindfulness. Anyways, here's a quote from Ajahn Brahmali in response to a question, "Is metta "meditation" mentioned in the suttas?"...
Ajahn Brahmali wrote:I suspect some people might think your question is strange, but actually it is both interesting and valid.

The usual way mettā is described in the suttas - "one abides, having suffused with a mind of loving-kindness one direction of the world, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth, and so above, below, around and everywhere, and to all as to oneself; one abides suffusing the entire universe with loving-kindness, with a mind grown great, lofty, boundless and free from enmity and ill will" - it is actually a very lofty state. You will find that mettā (as well as the other three brahmavihāras) is almost always mentioned after jhāna in the suttas. In other words, it seems that true mettā is a further development based on jhāna. It is fairly obvious that these sorts of lofty states are out of reach for the vast majority of people who do "mettā meditation".

So does this mean that most people are not doing mettā meditation, even if they think they are? It all depends on what one means by meditation. If all one means - and I think this is the common understanding of the word - is that one is developing the mind in the direction of loving kindness then, yes, one is doing mettā meditation. According to such suttas as MN48 we should have mettā for each other through body, speech, and mind. In contexts such as these it is not the lofty states of mettā for the whole world that are meant. Rather, here the meaning is simply kindness for others. And, of course, we can all train in thinking of others with kindness, love even. It is this training of perception and thought that I would describe as mettā meditation as it is ordinarily understood.
Pretty fascinating, I think.

With care,

Ryan
sabbe dhammā nālaṃ abhinivesāya

"nothing whatsoever should be clung to"

2600htz
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Re: A fingersnap of metta

Post by 2600htz » Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:03 am

Hello:

To answer your question: the brahma-viharas (metta) are mind development, thats why u will be generating more merit than just doing a good normal deed.

If a run of the mill person performs a good deed, like giving some food to someone, or donating some money, they might do it for external reasons, they might do it with a mind deluded, or not. While if someone does the brahma viharas, they are making the conscious effort of putting some wholesome state in their mind, and that is of higher value.

Regards.

chownah
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Re: A fingersnap of metta

Post by chownah » Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:04 am

2600htz wrote:
Sun Oct 08, 2017 3:03 am
Hello:

To answer your question: the brahma-viharas (metta) are mind development, thats why u will be generating more merit than just doing a good normal deed.

If a run of the mill person performs a good deed, like giving some food to someone, or donating some money, they might do it for external reasons, they might do it with a mind deluded, or not. While if someone does the brahma viharas, they are making the conscious effort of putting some wholesome state in their mind, and that is of higher value.

Regards.
:goodpost:
chownah

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polarbear101
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Re: A fingersnap of metta

Post by polarbear101 » Sun Oct 08, 2017 5:37 am

I believe you are thinking of the sutta below. There, it's a whiff of metta (goodwill), the fingersnap is for impermanence:
"If one were to develop even just one whiff of a heart of good will, that would be more fruitful than... if one with a confident mind were to undertake the training rules...

"If one were to develop even for just a finger-snap the perception of inconstancy, that would be more fruitful than the gift, the great gift, that Velāma the brahman gave, and [in addition to that] if one were to feed one person... 100 people consummate in view, and were to feed one once-returner... 100 once-returners, and were to feed one non-returner... 100 non-returners, and were to feed one arahant... 100 arahants, and were to feed one Private Buddha... 100 Private Buddhas, and were to feed a Tathagata — a worthy one, rightly self-awakened — and were to feed a community of monks headed by the Buddha, and were to have a dwelling built and dedicated to the Community of the four directions, and with a confident mind were to go to the Buddha, Dhamma, & Sangha for refuge, and with a confident mind were to undertake the training rules — refraining from taking life, refraining from taking what is not given, refraining from illicit sex, refraining from lying, refraining from distilled & fermented drinks that cause heedlessness — and were to develop even just one whiff of a heart of good will."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
:anjali:
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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phil
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Re: A fingersnap of metta

Post by phil » Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:45 am

Thanks for your feedback all.

The finger snap or whiff of metta makes sense in that technically speaking that is all there can be. The idea of metta as an energy radiating outwards duesn't make sense for those of us who appreciate Abhidhamma.( not everyone's cup of javana, I know.) There can only be discrete moments of metta.

If there is ongoing understanding that people are all looking for happiness but are all prone to behavior that takes them in the opposite direction of happiness how can there be anything but countless finger snaps (whiffs?) of metta? But of course that understanding comes and goes as defilements arise and fall away again.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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cjmacie
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Re: A fingersnap of metta

Post by cjmacie » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:25 am

phil wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:45 am
Thanks for your feedback all.

The finger snap or whiff of metta makes sense in that technically speaking that is all there can be. The idea of metta as an energy radiating outwards duesn't make sense for those of us who appreciate Abhidhamma.( not everyone's cup of javana, I know.) There can only be discrete moments of metta.

If there is ongoing understanding that people are all looking for happiness but are all prone to behavior that takes them in the opposite direction of happiness how can there be anything but countless finger snaps (whiffs?) of metta? But of course that understanding comes and goes as defilements arise and fall away again.
From the perspective that metta is a samadhi practice -- the mind entering, abiding in an unbounded attitude, ceto-vimutti -- hence entering absorption of jhana. And in abhidhamma terms, the mind-moment (cognitive series / process) sub phase javanna of absorption itself is, yes, a discreet moment, but one that can endure a long time, i.e. the duration of the absorption. That's called the "change-of-lineage" javanna, if I recall, which, incidentally, occurs in only two contexts: (1) jhana absorption, and (2) nibbana-contact magga-phala moments. Hence the s/t voiced notion that jhana is a (perhaps small and transient) preview, foretaste of final release.

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phil
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Re: A fingersnap of metta

Post by phil » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:00 am

cjmacie wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:25 am
phil wrote:
Tue Oct 10, 2017 7:45 am
Thanks for your feedback all.

The finger snap or whiff of metta makes sense in that technically speaking that is all there can be. The idea of metta as an energy radiating outwards duesn't make sense for those of us who appreciate Abhidhamma.( not everyone's cup of javana, I know.) There can only be discrete moments of metta.

If there is ongoing understanding that people are all looking for happiness but are all prone to behavior that takes them in the opposite direction of happiness how can there be anything but countless finger snaps (whiffs?) of metta? But of course that understanding comes and goes as defilements arise and fall away again.
From the perspective that metta is a samadhi practice -- the mind entering, abiding in an unbounded attitude, ceto-vimutti -- hence entering absorption of jhana. And in abhidhamma terms, the mind-moment (cognitive series / process) sub phase javanna of absorption itself is, yes, a discreet moment, but one that can endure a long time, i.e. the duration of the absorption. That's called the "change-of-lineage" javanna, if I recall, which, incidentally, occurs in only two contexts: (1) jhana absorption, and (2) nibbana-contact magga-phala moments. Hence the s/t voiced notion that jhana is a (perhaps small and transient) preview, foretaste of final release.
Very interesting, thanks.
Kammalakkhano , bhikkhave, bālo, kammalakkhano pandito, apadānasobhanī paññāti
(The fool is characterized by his/her actions/the wise one is characterized by his/her actions/Wisdom shines forth in behaviour.)
(AN 3.2 Lakkhana Sutta)

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