mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

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Dhammarakkhito
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mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:43 pm

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf

“Monks, there are these five aspects of speech by which others may address you: timely or untimely, true or false, affectionate or harsh, beneficial or unbeneficial, with a mind of goodwill or with inner hate. Others may address you in a timely way or an untimely way. They may address you with what is true or what is false. They may address you in an affectionate way or a harsh way. They may address you in a beneficial way or an unbeneficial way. They may address you with a mind of goodwill or with inner hate. In any event, you should train yourselves: ‘Our minds will be unaffected and we will say no evil words. We will remain sympathetic to that person’s welfare, with a mind of goodwill, and with no inner hate. We will keep pervading him with an awareness imbued with goodwill and, beginning with him, we will keep pervading the all-encompassing world with an awareness imbued with goodwill—abundant, enlarged, immeasurable, free from hostility, free from ill will.’ That’s how you should train yourselves.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/MN/MN21.html
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"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Sam Vara
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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Sam Vara » Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:44 pm

I think it is possible to see Buddhaghosa's and other commentarial approaches to metta as merely a means of generating metta to start with, before it is applied universally as in the categories outlined in the metta sutta. Trying to generate metta from a "standing start" to someone who has wronged us is, for most people, a psychological impossibility. The advice later in the kakacupama sutta that one feels metta for people torturing one to death is a paradigm example of a counsel of perfection. For people teaching Westerners, in particular, it is often difficult to get would-be meditators to generate any metta at all, so deep-rooted are angry and depressive tendencies. Having said that, good luck to anyone who can manage to instantly respond with good will to someone who injures or even slights them. If they can "begin with him" (i.e. their transgressor) then they have my admiration and my attention.

It might be the case that - as per the article - the Buddha did not intend us to feel metta for oneself; at least during formal metta-bhavana practice. But the situations described in the kakacupama sutta are not about formal practice. They are about dealing with (sometimes literally!) bruising encounters in the world. To say that we should not have a positive regard for our own interests in such situations seems to sit oddly with advice like this:
Looking after oneself, one looks after others.
Looking after others, one looks after oneself.

And how does one look after others by looking after oneself?
By practicing (mindfulness), by developing (it), by doing (it) a lot.
And how does one look after oneself by looking after others?
By patience, by non-harming, by loving kindness, by caring (for others).
(Thus) looking after oneself, one looks after others;
and looking after others, one looks after oneself.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .olen.html

and
One should speak only that word by which one would not torment oneself nor harm others. That word is indeed well spoken.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... ml#poem-05

Because one's own welfare is so intimately bound up with how one treats others, I can't see how feeling goodwill for oneself is precluded, just because it is not mentioned in some suttas.

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 12:58 am

Indeed Sam Vara. I'm always a little puzzled by these arguments that "x is not explicitly in the suttas so it should not be done". If starting with metta for oneself, counting breaths, or chanting "Buddho" helps someone to develop the qualities or states described in the suttas, I'd say go for it! The suttas also don't explain how to do stretches to enable one to sit comfortably. Perhaos we should not do those either...

Mike

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JamesTheGiant
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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by JamesTheGiant » Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:40 am

I was also of the understanding that doing metta for yourself was just to get the ball rolling. Before moving on to the main event.
Then,
saturated with joy,
you will put an end to suffering and stress.
SN 9.11

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by DooDoot » Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:38 am

Attānaṃ ce piyaṃ jaññā rakkheyya naṃ surakkhitaṃ

If one holds oneself dear, one should diligently watch oneself.

Dhammapada 157
Tasmā hi attakāmena

Someone who loves themselves,
aspiring to transcendence,
should respect the true teaching,
remembering the Buddhas’ teaching

SN 6.2

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by robertk » Thu Mar 29, 2018 4:48 am

.
First of all it should be developed only towards oneself, doing it repeatedly
thus: “May I be happy and free from suffering” or “May I keep myself free from
enmity, affliction and anxiety and live happily.”
this is the section from VIS

However the Vis is well aware of the problem:
9. If that is so, does it not conflict with what is said in the texts? For there is no
mention of any development of it towards oneself in what is said in the Vibhaòga:

“And how does a bhikkhu dwell pervading one direction with his heart filled
with loving-kindness? Just as he would feel loving-kindness on seeing a dearly
loved person, so he pervades all beings with loving-kindness” (Vibh 272); and
in what is said in the Paþisambhidá: “In what five ways is the mind-deliverance
of loving-kindness [practiced] with unspecified pervasion? May all beings be
free from enmity, affliction and anxiety and live happily. May all breathing things
[297] … all who are born … all persons … all those who have a personality be
free from enmity, affliction and anxiety and live happily” (Paþis II 130); and in
what is said in the Mettá Sutta: “In joy and safety may all beings be joyful at
heart” (Sn 145). [Does it not conflict with those texts?]

293
10. It does not conflict. Why not? Because that refers to absorption. But this
[initial development towards oneself] refers to [making oneself] an example. For
even if he developed loving-kindness for a hundred or a thousand years in this
way, “I am happy” and so on, absorption would never arise. But if he develops it
in this way: “I am happy. Just as I want to be happy and dread pain, as I want to
live and not to die, so do other beings, too,” making himself the example, then
desire for other beings’ welfare and happiness arises in him. And this method is
indicated by the Blessed One’s saying:
I visited all quarters with my mind
Nor found I any dearer than myself;
Self is likewise to every other dear;
Who loves himself will never harm another (S I 75; Ud 47).
So really it about taking oneself as an example. We dont like pain, nor do others

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:06 am

:strawman: mikenz, the document by ven. ñāṇananda doesn't make an argument that x is wrong because its not in the suttas
the commentarial method is argued to be contradicting the buddha's instruction. (pp 12-16)
robertk, i searched and have not found
"the Blessed One’s saying:
I visited all quarters with my mind
Nor found I any dearer than myself;
Self is likewise to every other dear;
Who loves himself will never harm another (S I 75; Ud 47)" in an actual sutta
i have found
http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts ... s.htm#p8.1
and
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

Even as a mother protects with her life Her child, her only child, So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .amar.html
would a mother protect her own life with her own life? how does this make sense
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"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:33 am

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:06 am
:strawman: mikenz, the document by ven. ñāṇananda doesn't make an argument that x is wrong because its not in the suttas
the commentarial method is argued to be contradicting the buddha's instruction. (pp 12-16)
Ok, can you explain the srgument then? It is unclear to me what the objection is exactly. It seems to be reading an extra motive into the practice that I don't think realky applies.

Mike

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by perkele » Thu Mar 29, 2018 6:55 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:06 am
i searched and have not found
"the Blessed One’s saying:
I visited all quarters with my mind
Nor found I any dearer than myself;
Self is likewise to every other dear;
Who loves himself will never harm another (S I 75; Ud 47)" in an actual sutta
i have found
http://obo.genaud.net/dhamma-vinaya/pts ... s.htm#p8.1
and
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
The references (S I 75; Ud 47) point to the Samyutta Nikaya and the Udana, with the numbers probably referring to book and page number for the Pali Text Society's (PTS) print editions. S I here does not refer to the first Samyutta in the Samyutta Nikaya, but to the first volume of that particular print edition, which has no one-to-one book-to-samyutta correspondence, and 75 and 47 respectively then don't mean sutta numbers but page numbers in that edition.

The first reference is probably referring to SN 3.8: Mallika Sutta, and the second to Ud 5.01, which you already found. It's just a different translation.

I don't know much Pali, but I imagine, the verse parts may be more vague and open to interpretation than the prose, so translations may vary more here.

In the first of the mentioned link there's this footnote:
Attaa. Used in everyday speech this word most often simply means "myself, yourself," etc. with absolutely no "metaphysical" implications — a point frequently overlooked by those who wish at all costs to prove that Buddhism teaches the existence of some kind of "self." Here we have the Buddhist equivalent of "Do as you would be done by." Cf. Dhp 157.
So that might explain the "myself", "yourself", "self" variation in the verse translations.

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by binocular » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:34 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:06 am
Even as a mother protects with her life Her child, her only child, So with a boundless heart Should one cherish all living beings
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .amar.html
would a mother protect her own life with her own life? how does this make sense
Even as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child,
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings;

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .amar.html
while Ven. Thanissaro translates:
As a mother would risk her life
to protect her child, her only child,
even so should one cultivate the heart limitlessly
with regard to all beings.1
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/S ... note1.8.01
and notes:
1. The image here is sometimes misconstrued as saying that one should protect all beings as a mother would protect her only child. Actually, the parallel is not between the child and all living beings; it is between the child and one’s cultivation of the heart: One should protect one’s goodwill toward all beings in the same way that a mother would protect her only child. On this point, see MN 21.

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by binocular » Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:48 pm

The Buddha’s injunction is that one should take the axiom
‘one is dear to oneself’ as a self-evident illustration and develop
mettā towards others depending on that conviction.

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/wp-conte ... _Heart.pdf
An oddly similar understanding can be found in the Bible:
The second [commandment] is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'
Mk 12:31 NIV
But it's not clear how self-love is self-evident (or universally present) at all.

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:44 pm

i seriously disagree with bhikkhu thanissaro's interpretation. i will be providing another sutta to substantiate this disagreement

mike, im not sure how to explain what is well said, i will just share that part of the text again
mettā is self-abnegating, 'self-mettā' is self-sustaining
'get the ball rolling' says james, but you set the ball rolling down the hill into māra's realm. in my opinion

"In four ways, young householder, should one who is the same in happiness and sorrow be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

(i) he reveals his secrets,
(ii) he conceals one's own secrets,
(iii) in misfortune he does not forsake one,
(iv) his life even he sacrifices for one's sake.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ati/tip ... .nara.html

i havent studied the jātakas, but i will share this abstract:
"Although Buddhist traditions do not promote martyrdom, giving one's body as a gift is an ideal found in many Buddhist narratives. This article studies the gift of limbs and body of the bodhisatta in the Paññāsa Jātaka, a collection of 61 non‐canonical jātakas, in comparison with such gifts in the Jātaka‐aṭṭhakathā. Since these two collections of stories are immensely popular in Southeast Asia, with dozens of ‘complete’ and incomplete manuscript recensions found through out the region, we will see clearly that self‐sacrifice was not a rouge or esoteric practice, but a sign of virtue. In the Pāli canon, the gift of the body is not found in the suttas of the first four nikāyas where the discourse of meritorious gift giving is elaborated. Also, in the Vinaya it is discouraged by the Buddha. In the early commentaries like the Jātaka‐aṭṭhakathā, self‐sacrifice is found only in seven jātakas of 547 (1.28%), whereas in the Paññāsa Jātaka the self‐sacrifice is found in 14 stories from 61 jātakas (22.95%). The bodhisatta in the Paññāsa Jātaka sacrifices his body or parts of his body in order to save others’ lives and sacrifices it to Sakka who comes to test him like in the Jātaka‐aṭṭhakathā. However, some plotlines and details are found only in the Paññāsa Jātaka. This significant difference reveals a particular Southeast Asian value in the bodhisatta practice of self‐sacrifice and devotion to parents and the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the [Saṅgha]."
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/ful ... 08.00095.x
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"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:49 pm

the purpose of mettā cultivation is for the deliverance of the heart/mind, not to store up
in the same way you would draw water from a well to see its emptiness

Therefore, bhikkhus, through the complete destruction, fading away, cessation, giving up, and relinquishing of cravings, the Tathāgata has awakened to supreme full enlightenment, I say.”

Esukārīsutta (MN 96)

Let them be able and upright, straightforward and gentle in speech, humble and not conceited (mettā sutta)
conceiving oneself in mettā is counter to the buddha's instructions, plain as day
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Last edited by Dhammarakkhito on Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by binocular » Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:59 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:44 pm
i havent studied the jātakas, but i will share this abstract:
The Jatakas are about an unenlightened bodhisatta.

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by mikenz66 » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:03 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:44 pm
mike, im not sure how to explain what is well said, i will just share that part of the text again
mettā is self-abnegating, 'self-mettā' is self-sustaining
'get the ball rolling' says james, but you set the ball rolling down the hill into māra's realm. in my opinion
...
Fair enough. I've reread what Ven Nananda and you wrote, and I don't share your opinion, as I think that the approach, done well leads to exactly the sort of realisation that we are just "one peg". [Sorry, it's hard to quote pictures - it would be better to quote text, which is available at that web site.] In any case, the VM is very clear that this is just a preparatory excercise, like counting breaths is a preparatory exercise for ananapansati.

:heart:
Mike

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by binocular » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:08 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:44 pm
mettā is self-abnegating
Martyrdom is for the unenlightened.

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by binocular » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:13 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:49 pm
conceiving oneself in mettā is counter to the buddha's instructions, plain as day
So, just to be clear: When monastics chant "May I be happy" or "May I abide in wellbeing", they are acting counter to the Buddha's instructions?

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:18 pm

yes
"Just as the ocean has a single taste — that of salt — in the same way, this Dhamma-Vinaya has a single taste: that of release."
— Ud 5.5

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by binocular » Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:45 pm

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:18 pm
yes
Then you're a (proto)Mahayani.

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Virgo » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:47 am

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 10:18 pm
yes
Is metta unwholesome?

Kevin

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