Hell from doing metta?

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befriend
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Hell from doing metta?

Post by befriend » Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:53 pm

Can anyone comment on the sutta called from the divine realms to the infernal? Hopefully venerable pesala or venerable dhammanando whom are good at clearing up doubts. My past teacher said doing metta will not make you go to heaven and then to hell. She said what this sutta is emphasizing is that even though one had attained deva status one can still be reborn in a woeful state after there kamma is exhausted in heaven.
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2600htz
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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by 2600htz » Sat Jun 30, 2018 1:29 am

Hello:

Lol that is not true.
Probably you mean about this sutta.
“Mendicants, these four people are found in the world. What four? Firstly, a person meditates spreading a heart full of love to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, they spread a heart full of love to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will. They enjoy this and like it and find it satisfying. If they abide in that, are committed to it, and meditate on it often without losing it, when they die they’re reborn in the company of the gods of Brahmā’s Group. The lifespan of the gods of Brahma’s Group is one eon. An ordinary person stays there until the lifespan of those gods is over, then they go to hell or the animal realm or the ghost realm. But a disciple of the Buddha stays there until the lifespan of those gods is over, then they’re extinguished in that very life. This is the difference between an educated noble disciple and an uneducated ordinary person, that is, when there is a place of rebirth.
Regards.

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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:18 am

befriend wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 10:53 pm
My past teacher said doing metta will not make you go to heaven and then to hell.
The Paṭhamamettāsutta does at first blush appear to imply that any successful brahmavihāra meditator who is still a worldling at death can expect first a long sojourn in the Brahmā realms and then a descent to one of the Apāya realms.
Paṭhamamettāsutta (AN. ii. 129-30)

“Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of persons found existing in the world. What four?

“Here, bhikkhus, some person dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, vast, exalted, measureless, without enmity, without ill will. He relishes it, desires it, and finds satisfaction in it. If he is firm in it, focused on it, often dwells in it, and has not lost it when he dies, he is reborn in companionship with the devas of Brahmā’s company. The life span of the devas of Brahmā’s company is an eon. The worldling remains there all his life, and when he has completed the entire life span of those devas, he goes to hell, to the animal realm, or to the sphere of afflicted spirits. But the Blessed One’s disciple remains there all his life, and when he has completed the entire life span of those devas, he attains final nibbāna in that very same state of existence. This is the distinction, the disparity, the difference between the instructed noble disciple and the uninstructed worldling, that is, when there is future destination and rebirth.

[Repeat for the other three brahmavihāras]

“These, bhikkhus, are the four kinds of persons found existing in the world.”

In other discourses (e.g., the Anenjā and Nānākaraṇa Suttas) the same thing is said of those reborn in the Brahmā realms or Formless realms as a result of any kind of jhānic meditation: safe if you're an instructed noble disciple, but risky if you're a worldling who isn't working at vipassanā bhāvanā too.

However, what your teacher told you does seem to be in line with how the commentators understood the matter. To quote from two of Bhikkhu Bodhi's endnotes:
According to the Theravāda Abhidhamma, on passing away from the formless realm, a worldling may be reborn on the same formless plane, on a higher formless plane, or in the sense sphere with a three-rooted rebirth consciousness. This means that they will be reborn either as an intelligent human being or as a deva. Rebirth into the lower planes can occur in later rebirths, but not in the rebirth immediately following the fall from the formless realm. See CMA 226–27.
.
[Anguttara Commentary:]“But what determines [rebirth] for those who gain the eight meditative attainments? The jhāna in which they are proficient does, for they are reborn in accordance with whatever they are proficient in. If they are proficient in all, what determines [their rebirth]? The attainment of the base of neither-perceptionnor-non-perception, for they are definitely reborn in the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. For noble disciples reborn among the nine brahma worlds, rebirth may occur there [in the same plane] or in a higher one, but not in a lower one. But worldlings may be reborn in the same plane, in a higher one, or in a lower one. Noble disciples in the five pure abodes and the four formless planes may be reborn in the same plane or in a higher one. A non-returner reborn in the plane of the first jhāna purifies the nine brahma worlds and attains final nibbāna while dwelling at the peak. Three deva worlds are called the ‘best states of existence’: the plane of great fruit (vehapphala), Akaniṭṭha, and the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. Non-returners reborn in these three states do not go higher, nor lower, but attain final nibbāna right there.”

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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by befriend » Sat Jun 30, 2018 10:13 am

That seems odd the suttas say that. What if I practice metta and vipassana but I'm still not a stream winner when I die?
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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by seeker242 » Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:37 am

Hell from doing metta?
How could doing a good action lead to bad consequences?

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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by budo » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:50 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:37 am
Hell from doing metta?
How could doing a good action lead to bad consequences?
There are people who do good actions, get good consequences, and then later on lose their memories or something different happens and then they do bad actions which lead to bad consequences. This means they never permanently destroyed their ignorance or other fetters. One can suppress the hinderances, and one can also destroy the fetters.

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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by befriend » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:27 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:37 am
Hell from doing metta?
How could doing a good action lead to bad consequences?
I have no idea.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

dharmacorps
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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by dharmacorps » Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:48 pm

My understanding is that this is about the practice of the brahmavihara's alone, not in conjunction with other practices. The 8 fold path is the way to liberation.

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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by perkele » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:54 pm

befriend wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:27 pm
seeker242 wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 11:37 am
Hell from doing metta?
How could doing a good action lead to bad consequences?
I have no idea.
I also think that makes no sense and is probably a misinterpretation. It seems to contradict this categorical statement about kamma and vipaka:
AN 4.235: Ariyamagga Sutta wrote:"Monks, these four types of kamma have been directly realized, verified, & made known by me. Which four? There is kamma that is dark with dark result. There is kamma that is bright with bright result. There is kamma that is dark & bright with dark & bright result. There is kamma that is neither dark nor bright with neither dark nor bright result, leading to the ending of kamma.
I would have thought that Brahmā-Vihāra cultivation would be completely in the "bright" category, with no ill consequences to be expected.

Although the formulation in the English translation of the Paṭhamamettāsutta sounds as if this is what's definitely to be expected for a worldling or noble disciple, respectively, who are reborn in the Brahmā heavens, I believe at least the case of the worldling being reborn in the Apāya realms after his lifespan in the Brahmā heaven is exhausted is only meant as a possibility, as opposed to the noble disciple for whom this possibility does not exist.
Likewise, the case of the noble disciple "attaining final nibbāna in that very same state of existence" seems to be only a possibility, (again: as opposed to the worldling for whom this possibility does not exist, ) because why should he not be reborn another time, for example in yet a higher Brahmā heaven, after passing away from there? From what I've learnt, I thought the only Brahmā heavens where "final nibbāna in that very same state of existence" is guaranteed are the Ābhassara heavens, where non-returners take their last existence.
Dhammanando wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:18 am
Bhante, could you confirm or refute my understanding as outlined above? Is it not the case that the Ābhassara heavens, where all non-returners take their final existence are the only Brahmā heavens where attainment of final nibbāna (in that very existence) is guaranteed? And since the Paṭhamamettāsutta seems to be speaking about Brahmā heavens in general, where both worldlings or noble disciples could be reborn, is it not justified to conclude that the case of a "attaining final nibbāna in that very same state of existence" would be only a possibility for a noble disciple who happened to be reborn there, and thus the rebirth of a worldling in Apāya realms would also likely point to only a possibility?
Or maybe it is not possible for a noble disciple to be reborn in any other Brahmā heaven apart from than the Ābhassara heavens? Is something to that extent stated somewhere in the canon?

:anjali:

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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by befriend » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:19 pm

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el238.html I'm reading the sutta in the anguttara nikaya 8:36 called three bases of merit. This link shows what happens to a human by practicing moral discipline to a high degree and giving to a high degree, but not meditation.
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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by befriend » Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:24 pm

I don't know why someone who is very virtuous, very giving can become a human in a favorable condition or a deva. Id rather do this than do metta and end up in hell.
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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by perkele » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:36 am

befriend wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:24 pm
I don't know why someone who is very virtuous, very giving can become a human in a favorable condition or a deva. Id rather do this than do metta and end up in hell.
Well, it seems quite obvious to me that "metta cultivation leads to hell" (jhana-cultivation to any degree) is a non-sensical statement. A wholesome action of body, speech or mind cannot lead to unpleasent consequences according to [url=https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html]AN 4.235: Ariyamagga Sutta[/quote]. As I explained, the most plausible interpretation for me is that the Buddha just gave these two illustrative and disparate examples of what could potentially happen after exhaustion of the lifespan in a Brahmā heaven, to a noble disciple and a worldling, respectively, not what will happen. There is no rebirth anywhere without cause. If a worldling, passing away from a Brahmā heaven, goes directly to Apāya realms, this has nothing to do with the causes that brought him to the Brahmā heaven, but only with the fact that he has not eliminated the causes for rebirth in Apāya. If he is born in Apāya, that is due to other old unwholesome kamma, not the wholesome kamma that brought him to heaven.

Therefore, an interpretation like this
Dhammanando wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:18 am
safe if you're an instructed noble disciple, but risky if you're a worldling who isn't working at vipassanā bhāvanā too.
does not really make sense to me.
Of course, in order to cultivate jhanas (based on brahma-viharas or other bases of concentration), one first has to keep some stable virtue.

And how would you stay virtuous or generous without metta? How would one even be able to compartmentalize and separate these aspects so sharply from each other?
befriend wrote:
Sat Jun 30, 2018 9:19 pm
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... el238.html I'm reading the sutta in the anguttara nikaya 8:36 called three bases of merit. This link shows what happens to a human by practicing moral discipline to a high degree and giving to a high degree, but not meditation.
So according to this, the expected result of the "three bases of merit" in terms of rebirth is rebirth in favourable conditions within the sensual realms.

The only reason I could see why rebirth in Brahmā heavens might be more "risky" somehow would be that perhaps one would forget about the causes and foundations of this blissful state, and the hardships and difficulties one had to bring them about while being locked into the grind of more unpleasent states of being, getting out of touch with harsher realities and clear illustrations of the first noble truth. I think that's the standard explanation that I've heard sometimes.

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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:53 am

I agree with the people above me, doing metta doesn't lead to hell per se. That is an incorrect interpretation. The Buddha was likely emphasizing that such a path does not lead to the end of suffering and you "could" end up in hell later. In fact, anyone who is not a noble one or a bodhisatta who has received a prophecy from a Buddha is to an extent at risk of falling to hell at some point in the future no matter how much merit they accumulate or how many jhanas they attain. The idea is to that the Buddha's path leads to the permanent end of suffering.

On the flip side, someone destined to hell could also be reborn in heaven later, but not because of his/her actions that led them to hell in the first place. King Ajatashatru did much to support Buddhism in his later life and thus accumulated great merit. However he was doomed to Avici hell for killing his father in that life. So after his death he was reborn in hell, but after that karma is used up it wouldnt surprise me if he was reborn in some level of heaven due to his support and patronage of Buddhism. I think this is the same concept as the doing metta and falling to hell after your time in the brahma realm.
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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by befriend » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:21 am

Thanks guys that puts my mind at ease.
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Re: Hell from doing metta?

Post by robertk » Mon Jul 02, 2018 1:17 am

The point the Commentary makes is that any type of kusala, no matter how wonderful, still doesnt lead out of samsara- with its hell and animal planes.
only the development of vipassana( the real kind, not the imitation) leads to nibbana.

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