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Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:08 am
by Prasadachitta
Thank you for that Dhammanando,

I wanted to express something similar but lacked the skill or knowledge to put it so well.

Metta

Gabriel

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:45 pm
by green
Dhammanando wrote:Hi Green,
green wrote:non-Buddhists can try to do metta all they want and go hug the hugging ma and other wierd things-- they won't be able to succeed in practicing real metta.
I don't think this opinion is supported in the Suttas.

In the Assalāyana Sutta (MN. 93) the Buddha has the following exchange with an unconverted brahmin:
  • “Although Master Gotama says this, still the brahmins think thus: ‘Brahmins are the highest caste, those of any other caste are inferior; brahmins are the fairest caste, those of any other caste are dark; only brahmins are purified, not non-brahmins; brahmins alone are the sons of Brahma, the offspring of Brahma, born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.’”

    “What do you think, Assalāyana? Is only a brahmin capable of developing a mind of loving-kindness towards a certain region, without hostility and without ill will, and not a noble, or a merchant, or a worker?”

    “No, Master Gotama. Whether it be a noble, or a brahmin, or a merchant, or a worker — those of all four castes are capable of developing a mind of loving-kindness towards a certain region, without hostility and without ill will.”

    “Then on the strength of what [argument] or with the support of what [authority] do the brahmins in this case say thus: ‘Brahmins are the highest caste, those of any other caste are inferior; brahmins are the fairest caste, those of any other caste are dark; only brahmins are purified, not non-brahmins; brahmins alone are the sons of Brahma, the offspring of Brahma, born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma’?”
Note that Assalāyana does not specify any religious affiliation for those who are capable of developing mettā and nor does the Buddha contradict him.


And in the Cullasīhanāda Sutta (MN. 11) the Buddha says concerning outside teachers:
  • “Bhikkhus, there are these four kinds of attachment. What four? Attachment to sensual pleasures, attachment to views, attachment to rules and observances, and attachment to a doctrine of self.

    “Though certain recluses and brahmins claim to propound the full comprehension of all kinds of attachment, they do not completely describe the full comprehension of all kinds of attachment.

    [...]

    “They describe the full comprehension of attachment to sensual pleasures, attachment to views, attachment to precepts and vowed observances, but without describing the full comprehension of attachment to a doctrine of self. Why is that? Those good recluses and brahmins do not understand this last instance of attachment as it really is. Therefore, though they claim to propound the full comprehension of all kinds of attachment, they describe only the full comprehension of attachment to sensual pleasures, attachment to views, and attachment to precepts and vowed observances, without describing the full comprehension of attachment to a doctrine of self.”

So, the Buddha concedes that outside teachers may describe the full comprehension of attachment to sensual pleasures. In other words, they may lead their disciples to a comprehension of the gratification and peril in sense-pleasures and the advantage of renouncing them. This is the only kind of paññā that is needed for success in samatha-bhāvanā, of which mettā-bhāvanā is one form.
Metta is radiation of good will through the Triple Gem,
Mettā is the wish for beings to be happy. It is merely a more exalted form of the wholesome mental factor of non-hate and has no necessary connection with the Triple Gem.
it is a love of all beings as no different from yourself.
Mettā can be devloped to that extent, after the stage called the "breaking of the barriers", but in its preliminary development its focus is only on the happiness of particular beings.
The Triple Gem makes one actualize the practice, without which one only pretends to practice metta -- only says the words, but does not know metta.
What actualizes the practice is not the Triple Gem, but rather, the repeated advertence to the proximate cause of mettā, namely, sattānaṃ manāpabhāva-dassana — the perception of what is lovable in living beings.
I remember trying to do metta without the Triple Gem -- it just didn't work.
Fair enough, but you over-generalize when you claim that your experience will be true for everyone.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
It is impossible that a deluded person can practice true metta-

Buddha clearly differentiates the SYSTEMATIC practice of Buddhist metta by a Noble Disciple (i.e. a Buddhist) who takes refuge in the Triple Gem from the metta of an ordinary person:


SN 42.8
Sankha Sutta
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"That disciple of the noble ones — thus devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful — keeps pervading the first direction with an awareness imbued with compassion... appreciation... equanimity, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with equanimity — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. Just as a strong conch-trumpet blower can notify the four directions without any difficulty, in the same way, when the awareness-release through equanimity is thus developed, thus pursued, any deed done to a limited extent no longer remains there, no longer stays there."

AN 4.125
Metta Sutta
Loving-kindness (1)

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"Now the gods of a High Divinity's retinue have a life-span of one aeon. An ordinary person [who has not attained the Noble Eightfold Path] stays there for his life-span; but after he has used up the whole life-span enjoyed by those gods, he leaves it all, and [according to what his past deeds may have been] he may go down even to hell, or to an animal womb, or to the ghost realm. But one who has given ear to the Perfect One stays there [in that heaven] for his life-span, and after he has used up the whole life-span enjoyed by those gods, he eventually attains complete extinction of lust, hate and delusion in that same kind of heavenly existence.

"It is this that distinguishes, that differentiates, the wise hearer who is ennobled [by attainment of the Noble Path] from the unwise ordinary man, when, that is to say, there is a destination for reappearance [after death, but an arahant has made an end of birth].

...

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 4:56 pm
by jcsuperstar
a tibetan monk was up here this week and i took one of the monks from my Wat to go see him talk, it was quite interesting for me because it turned out that his talk was all about "loving compassion" as he put it, but basicly metta, and metta as one's main practice. he didnt reference any sutta/sutras, but everything he taught was just buddhism, no talk of bodhisattvas etc, just letting go of self, of attachments and of metta. it was an odd experience as this sort of thing tends to always happen to me, if i'm interested in a given subject, it just seem to fly into my life. :popcorn:

he talked about how many people in the west are interested in meditation, but that metta was a more powerful practice , and i know many here will doubt that, or argue against that, but i know that from zens of zen practice, much of my meditation never really left the zafu, and i see this in most western zen /mahayana buddhists, and in fact it wasnt until i was practicing theravada on a regular basis that i could really take what happened on my butt and carry into out into the world. maybe western buddhism is somewhat out of whack , i dont know? but also to be fair most western buddhist i meet (in real life not online) seem to be more about being a buddhist than they are about practicing buddhism.

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:54 pm
by Snowmelt
Chris wrote:At other times, mostly really, I think of a cute little baby or a cat or dog for whom I have loving feelings. This usually arouses metta ... and then I continue with extending metta using a fairly formulaic method.
What a great way to start; it is so easy to love such creatures.

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 12:48 pm
by Dhammanando
Hi Green,
green wrote:It is impossible that a deluded person can practice true metta-

Buddha clearly differentiates the SYSTEMATIC practice of Buddhist metta by a Noble Disciple (i.e. a Buddhist) who takes refuge in the Triple Gem from the metta of an ordinary person:

If by "systematic practice" you mean the use of the brahmavihāra attainments as a basis for insight and liberation, then of course I would agree with you. This isn't to be found outside the Buddha's teaching, for the reason I mentioned in my last post: outside teachers cannot teach full comprehension of attachment to self doctrines (attavādupādāna).

But in your earlier post your claims that "[non-Buddhists] won't be able to succeed in practicing real metta" and that they "only pretend to practice metta -- only say the words, but do not know metta" seem rather more sweeping claim than your present one. There is nothing "unreal" about the mettā that a non-Buddhist might cultivate in meditation and practice in his dealings with others. It's just that it won't be adequate for the highest goal if it is unaccompanied by the development of right view. (But nor will the mettā cultivated by a Buddhist if s/he neglects right view development).

Regarding the two sutta passages that you quote, one should note that the vital distinction is between the practice of a noble disciple (i.e. stream-enterers, once-returners etc.) and that of a wordling. This is not the same as the distinction between the practice of one who has gone for refuge and one who has not. The class of those who have gone for refuge will include both noble disciples and worldlings.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sun Mar 08, 2009 2:34 pm
by Rui Sousa
mikenz66 wrote:
jcsuperstar wrote:i was going to add that, since metta is a feeling it could lead into insight much the same as the feeling of the breath coming in and out of the nose could.. maybe..
Not according to Classical Theravada thought, as far as I understand it. Metta is a sort of visualisation, a mind-created object. Insight objects have to be "real" (paramatta dhammas). I presume that in the technique that Bhante Vimalaramsi teaches the insights would arise from examining the hindrances, etc, that arise while attempting to focus on metta.

Metta
Mike
The way I see it is that Metta is a characteristic of a mind moment, and that through our will we can have mind moments that have this characteristic. As such, Metta is a Paramatta Dhamma, namely a Cetasika, that can be seen directly.

Also the mechanisms of Kamma become visible if we pay attention to the mind state before, during and after a session of Metta. We can see that mind states are conditioned, we can see how practice can condition mind states and how a difference can be made on a mind continuum in the right or wrong direction. Guarding the mind in the right direction is driver for practice.

It all cames together, Right Concentration, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right View...

:bow: :buddha1:

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 3:01 am
by green
Dhammanando wrote:Hi Green,
green wrote:It is impossible that a deluded person can practice true metta-

Buddha clearly differentiates the SYSTEMATIC practice of Buddhist metta by a Noble Disciple (i.e. a Buddhist) who takes refuge in the Triple Gem from the metta of an ordinary person:

If by "systematic practice" you mean the use of the brahmavihāra attainments as a basis for insight and liberation, then of course I would agree with you. This isn't to be found outside the Buddha's teaching, for the reason I mentioned in my last post: outside teachers cannot teach full comprehension of attachment to self doctrines (attavādupādāna).

But in your earlier post your claims that "[non-Buddhists] won't be able to succeed in practicing real metta" and that they "only pretend to practice metta -- only say the words, but do not know metta" seem rather more sweeping claim than your present one. There is nothing "unreal" about the mettā that a non-Buddhist might cultivate in meditation and practice in his dealings with others. It's just that it won't be adequate for the highest goal if it is unaccompanied by the development of right view. (But nor will the mettā cultivated by a Buddhist if s/he neglects right view development).

Regarding the two sutta passages that you quote, one should note that the vital distinction is between the practice of a noble disciple (i.e. stream-enterers, once-returners etc.) and that of a wordling. This is not the same as the distinction between the practice of one who has gone for refuge and one who has not. The class of those who have gone for refuge will include both noble disciples and worldlings.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
Greetings Bhante, :anjali:

By a systematic practice, I mean the taking of the Triple Gem in conviction and then practicing in accordance with the dhamma.

Buddha defines one who can claim to be a follower of the Dhamma:
Mahanama Sutta
To Mahanama (2)AN 11.13
"One who is aroused to practice is one of conviction, not without conviction. One aroused
to practice is one with persistence aroused, not lazy. One aroused to practice is one of established
mindfulness, not muddled mindfulness. One aroused to practice is centered in concentration, not
uncentered. One aroused to practice is discerning, not undiscerning.
Actually the sutta you cited quite agrees, one can get partial metta. But Buddha clearly states, that a non-Buddhist practicing metta would be as likely to go to hell after entering heaven...that's like saying that a person who says he REALLY loves someone can then want to kill that person in the next moment...split personality disorder or whatever psychological term you might want to use. Saint in one life, Pol Pot the next life...that is not real metta.

So does the Buddha say of any of the blind men, that their partial knowledge of the elephant is true knowledge? He says of the blind brahmins leading the blind, they all fall in the ditch. So how could partial metta be true metta?

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 4:58 am
by Dhammanando
Hi Green,
green wrote:So how could partial metta be true metta?
Sorry, but I think I'll have to bow out of this thread now. I don't see any way to make my point any clearer than I already have.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:16 am
by Ravana
Not sure if these have been already posted: Some talks on metta

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:31 am
by Ravana
But Buddha clearly states, that a non-Buddhist practicing metta would be as likely to go to hell after entering heaven
Not really interested in getting into a debate here, but isn't there a sutta where the Buddha tells a Brahmin that the four Brahmaviharas are a way to meet Brahma (i.e. to be reborn in the Brahma-realms through achieving jhana)?

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 12:54 am
by green
Ravana wrote:Not really interested in getting into a debate here, but isn't there a sutta where the Buddha tells a Brahmin that the four Brahmaviharas are a way to meet Brahma (i.e. to be reborn in the Brahma-realms through achieving jhana)?

Yes, but Buddha clearly states, BUDDHA KNOWS THE PATH TO BRAHMA. Through taking refuge in Buddha it becomes possible.

True metta can only come from a true heart. A true heart is what discerns Buddha Dhamma from other dhammas:

And I tell you, ignorance has its nutriment. It is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment for ignorance?
The five hindrances (sensual desire or kammachanda, ill will or Vyapada, sloth and
drowsiness or thina-middha, restless and worry or uddhacca-kukkucca and doubt or vicikiccha)
And what is the nutriment for the five hindrances?
The three forms of misconduct...
And what is the nutriment for the three forms of misconduct (bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, mental misconduct)?
Lack of restraint of the senses...
And what is the nutriment for lack of restraint of the senses?
Lack of mindfulness & alertness...
And what is the nutriment for lack of mindfulness & alertness?
Inappropriate attention...

And what is the nutriment for inappropriate attention?
Lack of faith...

And what is the nutriment for lack of faith (in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha)?
Not hearing the true Dhamma...

And what is the nutriment for not hearing the true Dhamma (Buddha Dhamma)?
Associating with people without integrity.AN 10 Yamakavaggo Avijja Suttam
So a person outside the Buddha dhamma, does not have integrity, without a true heart, one cannot practice real metta. By real metta (kindness), I mean metta is complete and comes from a heart that is true, from a person of integrity.

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 5:40 am
by nathan
green wrote:...So a person outside the Buddha dhamma, does not have integrity, without a true heart, one cannot practice real metta. By real metta (kindness), I mean metta is complete and comes from a heart that is true, from a person of integrity.
I think your suggestion lacks eyes and sense but if you are more comfortable with this view than simply seeing what is to be seen in the seen, be my guest. I am more comfortable with the numerous available and obvious observations at hand which do not conform to your thinking. I suggest you get out some and take a look around. Test your thinking about this against what is here to be found in the world you imply that you know so intimately well in this way.

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 6:41 am
by Ravana
green wrote:
Ravana wrote:Not really interested in getting into a debate here, but isn't there a sutta where the Buddha tells a Brahmin that the four Brahmaviharas are a way to meet Brahma (i.e. to be reborn in the Brahma-realms through achieving jhana)?

Yes, but Buddha clearly states, BUDDHA KNOWS THE PATH TO BRAHMA. Through taking refuge in Buddha it becomes possible.
I don't think the Buddha actually requests that the Brahmin must become a disciple of the Buddha, though it could be open to interpretation.

Nathan, you're misquoting posts again. :coffee:

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:39 am
by nathan
Ravana wrote:
green wrote:
Ravana wrote:Not really interested in getting into a debate here, but isn't there a sutta where the Buddha tells a Brahmin that the four Brahmaviharas are a way to meet Brahma (i.e. to be reborn in the Brahma-realms through achieving jhana)?

Yes, but Buddha clearly states, BUDDHA KNOWS THE PATH TO BRAHMA. Through taking refuge in Buddha it becomes possible.
I don't think the Buddha actually requests that the Brahmin must become a disciple of the Buddha, though it could be open to interpretation.

Nathan, you're misquoting posts again. :coffee:
Well, whoever said this:
Yes, but Buddha clearly states, BUDDHA KNOWS THE PATH TO BRAHMA. Through taking refuge in Buddha it becomes possible.
Has the wrong understanding of this. Ven. Dhammanando has already explained why.
So a person outside the Buddha dhamma, does not have integrity, without a true heart, one cannot practice real metta. By real metta (kindness), I mean metta is complete and comes from a heart that is true, from a person of integrity.
And this is simply absurd. Outside of Buddhadhamma there is no integrity? No compassion? Get real.

I will just continue to defend the sound doctrine we have which rightly represents the actual nature of this dynamic which is also ever present and available to those who hold these kinds of views should they also choose to examine these things directly. I consider these off beat interpretations a distortion of divine truths, mundane or otherwise, and so I would recommend a caution regarding this view but how you proceed is up to you.

Re: metta as my main practice

Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 9:26 am
by cooran
green wrote:
Ravana wrote:Not really interested in getting into a debate here, but isn't there a sutta where the Buddha tells a Brahmin that the four Brahmaviharas are a way to meet Brahma (i.e. to be reborn in the Brahma-realms through achieving jhana)?

And what is the nutriment for inappropriate attention?
Lack of faith...

And what is the nutriment for lack of faith (in Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha)?
Not hearing the true Dhamma...

And what is the nutriment for not hearing the true Dhamma (Buddha Dhamma)?
Associating with people without integrity.AN 10 Yamakavaggo Avijja Suttam
So a person outside the Buddha dhamma, does not have integrity, without a true heart, one cannot practice real metta. By real metta (kindness), I mean metta is complete and comes from a heart that is true, from a person of integrity.
Hello green,

It is not wise to depend only on one translation - one ought to read as many translations of the passage under investigation as possible. I find Bhikkhu Bodhi the most trustworthy.

His translation of Anguttara 61 and 62 includes the following passage:
'Lack of faith , too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of lack of faith? "Listening to wrong teachings" should be the answer.
Listening to wrong teachings, too, has its nutriment; it is not without nutriment. And what is the nutriment of listening to wrong teachings? "Association with bad people" should be the answer.
Hence, when association with bad people prevails, listening to wrong teachings will prevail. '

People are not 'bad' simply because they do not follow the BuddhaDhamma.

When the Buddha was speaking to the Kalamas (who were not his followers) 'he shows that whether or not there be another life after death, a life of moral restraint and of love and compassion for all beings brings its own intrinsic rewards here and now, a happiness and sense of inward security far superior to the fragile pleasures that can be won by violating moral principles and indulging the mind's desires. For those who are not concerned to look further, who are not prepared to adopt any convictions about a future life and worlds beyond the present one, such a teaching will ensure their present welfare and their safe passage to a pleasant rebirth — provided they do not fall into the wrong view of denying an afterlife and kammic causation.'
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metta
Chris