mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

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cappuccino
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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by cappuccino » Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:12 am

why exclude the primary person from metta?

a person you must deal with daily

the relationship that matters most
Don't wait, the time will never be just right

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robertk
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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by robertk » Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:50 am

binocular wrote:
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?
Is that chant a translation taken from a pali sutta or commentary?

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:01 am

Visuddhimagga Chapter IX wrote: 8. 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.”
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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:05 am

Here's some more, relevant to the criticisms given in the OP:
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?]

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).

11. So he should first, as example, pervade himself with loving-kindness. Next
after that, in order to proceed easily, he can recollect such gifts, 2 kind words, etc.,
as inspire love and endearment, such virtue, learning, etc., as inspire respect
and reverence met with in a teacher or his equivalent or a preceptor or his
equivalent, developing loving-kindness towards him in the way beginning, “May
this good man be happy and free from suffering.” With such a person, of course,
he attains absorption.

12. But if this bhikkhu does not rest content with just that much and wants to
break down the barriers,
he should next, after that, develop loving-kindness
towards a very dearly loved friend, then towards a neutral person as a very
dearly loved friend, then towards a hostile person as neutral. And while he does
so, he should make his mind malleable and wieldy in each instance before
passing on to the next.
...
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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 4:08 am

But I see Robert already posted most of the above...

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:37 am

robert and mike, i just have not seen the verse 'i visited all quarters...' translated like that, i find it suspicious. note that in the simile of the bamboo acrobat, shared earlier, one looks after others by mettā but looks after oneself by satipaṭṭhāna

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

the verse would have to say looking after oneself by looking after oneself if one were called to cultivate 'self-mettā', which is fairly nonsensical
"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 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:51 am

“Having explored every quarter with the mind,
one finds no-one dearer than oneself.
Likewise for others, each holds themselves dear.
So one who loves themselves would not harm others.”
https://suttacentral.net/sn3.8/en/sujato
Searching all directions
with your awareness,
you find no one dearer
than yourself.
In the same way, others
are thickly dear to themselves.
So you shouldn’t hurt others
if you love yourself.
https://www.dhammatalks.org/suttas/KN/Ud/ud5_1.html
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
[Nanamoli's Visuddhimagga translation, above.]
The last line of each translation is consistent.

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:53 am

Dhammarakkhito wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:37 am
the verse would have to say looking after oneself by looking after oneself if one were called to cultivate 'self-mettā', which is fairly nonsensical
I don't follow the logic here. Just because in one sutta there is an encouragement to do some particular thing, doesn't mean that doing some other thing is wrong. In fact, different suttas often recommend different actions, presumably tailored to the audience.

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:34 am

"Therefore, Ananda, be islands unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as your island, the Dhamma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

"And how, Ananda, is a bhikkhu an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; with the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge?

"When he dwells contemplating the body in the body, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world; when he dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, the mind in the mind, and mental objects in mental objects, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world, then, truly, he is an island unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; having the Dhamma as his island, the Dhamma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... tml#island

the buddha simply doesn't teach self-mettā, and while that alone doesn't preclude the practice, it should be vigorously scrutinized
"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

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:38 am

Well, as I said, different suttas say apparently different things:
“Not so, Ānanda! Not so, Ānanda! This is the entire holy life, Ānanda, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship. When a bhikkhu has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path.
https://suttacentral.net/sn45.2
So should you be an Island, or cultivate good friedship?

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by mikenz66 » Fri Mar 30, 2018 7:43 am

The Path doesn't have to be un-joyful...
“What, bhikkhus, is the way of undertaking things that is pleasant now and ripens in the future as pleasure? Here, bhikkhus, someone in pleasure and joy abstains from killing living beings, and he experiences pleasure and joy that have abstention from killing living beings as condition. In pleasure and joy he abstains from taking what is not given…he holds right view, and he experiences pleasure and joy that have right view as condition. On the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world. This is called the way of undertaking things that is pleasant now and ripens in the future as pleasure.
https://suttacentral.net/mn46/en/bodhi#sc20
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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Dhammarakkhito » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:36 am

be an island and cultivate good friendship. no dilemma there
"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

https://www.facebook.com/noblebuddhadha ... 34/?type=3

http://seeingthroughthenet.net/
https://sites.google.com/site/santipada ... allytaught

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by robertk » Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:46 am

Dhammarakkhito
I also cant see how metta can be developed to oneself - except by using self as an example, as I said.

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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by Mr Man » Fri Mar 30, 2018 11:10 am

Hi Dhammarakkhito
How do you see metta as a meditation practice? Would you see it as a contemplation or as a generating/attuning to a feeling or as one leading to the other/a combination of the two? Or something else altogether?
:)

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binocular
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Re: mettā in commentarial tradition (refutation)

Post by binocular » Fri Mar 30, 2018 12:33 pm

robertk wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 3:50 am
binocular wrote:
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?
Is that chant a translation taken from a pali sutta or commentary?
I don't know; I couldn't find out right now. But it's certainly part of the Theravada tradition. And if we want to discard tradition, then I think we need some very solid grounds for doing that. Not just a cursory overview of some potential problems.
robertk wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 8:46 am
I also cant see how metta can be developed to oneself - except by using self as an example, as I said.
As noted earlier,
binocular wrote:
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.
Many of us grew up in societies where we are taught to despise ourselves, not to have love for ourselves. It's simply not a given that people by default love themselves, and so self-love cannot be taken as a basis for the practice, as such self-love simply isn't automatically there

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