Metta vs. Breath

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Mr Man
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by Mr Man » Wed Jul 15, 2015 6:55 am

tsurezuregusa wrote:
Mr Man wrote:
tsurezuregusa wrote:
Additionally, Metta practice is recommended to overcome hatred. I would say that most people lean more towards sense desires than to hatred. Therefore some asubha bhavana might be a better way to go.

Kind regards,
Florian
Hi Florian
Is asubha bhavana a suitable practice for lay people? Many people suffer from self loathing as well as sense desires, would this make asubha bhavana inappropriate? My personal view is that asubha bhavana may not be appropriate without some hands on guidance and within the right setting, unless one has a very strong grounding in Dhamma.
Sometimes asubha meditation is limited to contemplation about the different types of decaying corpses. But it also includes the contemplation of the 32 body parts. And that is something most people I guess are familiar with from their high school biology classes. So that shouldn't cause any problems and I consider it a definitive suitable practice for lay people.

I am not sure about self-loathing, is that a "normal state" like sensual desires or more like a psychological disorder?

Kind regards,
Florian
Hi Florian

Learning about human biology at school and contemplation of the 32 parts of the body as a meditation object are quite different.

Self loathing is a manifestation of hatred and is not something out of the ordinary.

I think by and large it is best to practice meditation as guided by someone of experience or to stick to the more mainstream methods.

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tsurezuregusa
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by tsurezuregusa » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:06 am

Mr Man wrote:I think by and large it is best to practice meditation as guided by someone of experience or to stick to the more mainstream methods.
I consider asubha meditation a mainstream method. Why do you consider it not to be mainstream?

Kind regards,
Florian

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Mr Man
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by Mr Man » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:19 am

tsurezuregusa wrote:
Mr Man wrote:I think by and large it is best to practice meditation as guided by someone of experience or to stick to the more mainstream methods.
I consider asubha meditation a mainstream method. Why do you consider it not to be mainstream?

Kind regards,
Florian
I will tell you what I do consider to be mainstream meditation for lay people: Breath meditation, metta and various sorts of open awareness. I think these are the most suitable in general.

I also think we may be taking the thread away from it's subject now though, so if you wish to discuss this further perhaps we will need a new thread.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:20 am

tsurezuregusa wrote:
Mr Man wrote:I think by and large it is best to practice meditation as guided by someone of experience or to stick to the more mainstream methods.
I consider asubha meditation a mainstream method. Why do you consider it not to be mainstream?

Kind regards,
Florian
It is a potentially very dangerous practice, which is an idea that finds support in the suttas: SN LIV, 9; PTS: S v 320; CDB ii 1773. It is best done with guidance of an experienced teacher, in my opinion.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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badscooter
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by badscooter » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:50 am

mirco wrote:
badscooter wrote:When trying [Vimalaramsi's] method it was almost the exact same method I had done with a Tibetan Rinpoche many years ago. Nothing new...

although one didn't just stick with metta only. meditation objects could and would change, sometimes in the same sitting (much like some vipassana schools) however they called the practice more calm abiding rather than insight. Usually though one would use any object that was available. There was sound meditation, breath meditation, meditation on the physical body sensations, metta meditation, tonglen meditation, objectless meditation (relaxing in present moment), meditation on form, meditation on smell, meditation on thoughts and meditating on feelings.
Dear Scooter,

as far as I am acquainted with the Ven. Vimalaramsis method,
switching the meditation object to "any object that [is] available"
is one thing he stresses one should not do.

Best Wishes :)
Yes I understand that, and when doing metta it was pretty much the same sitting mediatation as vim teaches.

Kind regards
"whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon will be the inclination of one's mind"

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srivijaya
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by srivijaya » Wed Jul 15, 2015 3:12 pm

dhammarelax wrote:Hi, I found this here, it mentions that while the breath meditation is discussed 8 times in the Suttas, Metta is discussed more than one hundred times, is this an indication of a preference towards one of the methods?

smile all the time
dhammarelax
I have found the breath to be a more direct object because it is just 'there', without me having to fabricate feelings and radiate them out into the universe. With the breath, there is no need to expect or create an outcome, there is just release.

:namaste:

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Alex123
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by Alex123 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:27 pm

dhammarelax wrote:Hi, I found this here, it mentions that while the breath meditation is discussed 8 times in the Suttas, Metta is discussed more than one hundred times, is this an indication of a preference towards one of the methods?

smile all the time
dhammarelax
quantity does not equal quality, and one may have to use multiple meditation methods on ad hoc basis.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:35 pm

Alex123 wrote:
dhammarelax wrote:Hi, I found this here, it mentions that while the breath meditation is discussed 8 times in the Suttas, Metta is discussed more than one hundred times, is this an indication of a preference towards one of the methods?

smile all the time
dhammarelax
quantity does not equal quality, and one may have to use multiple meditation methods on ad hoc basis.
I guess that is the bottom line, does repetition in the Pali cannon mean anything? After all I believe that the breath is the most detailed meditation in the cannon.

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

Coyote
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by Coyote » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:42 pm

dhammarelax wrote: I guess that is the bottom line, does repetition in the Pali cannon mean anything? After all I believe that the breath is the most detailed meditation in the cannon.
Ven. Sujato points out in "A Swift Pair of Messengers" pg.112 that the six recollections and the brahmaviharas are most often recommended to lay people in the suttas. But perhaps that is more to do with their non-nibbanic goals? After all, the brahmaviharas are said to be the way to rebirth in heaven.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

dhammarelax
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:48 pm

Coyote wrote:
dhammarelax wrote: I guess that is the bottom line, does repetition in the Pali cannon mean anything? After all I believe that the breath is the most detailed meditation in the cannon.
Ven. Sujato points out in "A Swift Pair of Messengers" pg.112 that the six recollections and the brahmaviharas are most often recommended to lay people in the suttas. But perhaps that is more to do with their non-nibbanic goals? After all, the brahmaviharas are said to be the way to rebirth in heaven.
Don't forget:

4 Brahamaviharas plus 7 factors of awakening = Base of Nothingness Jhana

It comes to my mind when the Buddha says I teach suffering and the end of suffering, heaven is not the end of suffering so I wonder if he would actually teach something just to gain a rebirth in paradise, I remember reading that Ajahn Brahms stated that rebirth in heaven is a desirable thing but I am not sure about this.

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

Coyote
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by Coyote » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:01 pm

dhammarelax wrote:
Don't forget:

4 Brahamaviharas plus 7 factors of awakening = Base of Nothingness Jhana

It comes to my mind when the Buddha says I teach suffering and the end of suffering, heaven is not the end of suffering so I wonder if he would actually teach something just to gain a rebirth in paradise, I remember reading that Ajahn Brahms stated that rebirth in heaven is a desirable thing but I am not sure about this.

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Yes, I'm pretty sure that the Buddha taught the way to favorable births such as heaven, and perhaps more importantly the way to avoid unfavorable ones. There are good reasons for these kind of teachings. Firstly, it is difficult to practice under certain unfavorable circumstances. Secondly, it is not so different from liberation. It is, after all, wholesome kamma. Thirdly, some people might not have the right circumstances to practice very intently in this life.

I'm wondering whether it is a difference in goals that is the cause for these kind of distinctions (lay metta vs ordained anapanasati) that we find in the suttas. After all, I think right view is far more important for attaining nibbana than a specific meditation practice.

Also, where to do get this idea "4 Brahamaviharas plus 7 factors of awakening = Base of Nothingness Jhana"? I'm pretty sure that, if we are talking suttas here, that such high attainments are pretty much off limits for a non-anagami layperson.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
Iti 26

dhammarelax
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:23 pm

Coyote wrote:
dhammarelax wrote:
Don't forget:

4 Brahamaviharas plus 7 factors of awakening = Base of Nothingness Jhana

It comes to my mind when the Buddha says I teach suffering and the end of suffering, heaven is not the end of suffering so I wonder if he would actually teach something just to gain a rebirth in paradise, I remember reading that Ajahn Brahms stated that rebirth in heaven is a desirable thing but I am not sure about this.

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Yes, I'm pretty sure that the Buddha taught the way to favorable births such as heaven, and perhaps more importantly the way to avoid unfavorable ones. There are good reasons for these kind of teachings. Firstly, it is difficult to practice under certain unfavorable circumstances. Secondly, it is not so different from liberation. It is, after all, wholesome kamma. Thirdly, some people might not have the right circumstances to practice very intently in this life.

I'm wondering whether it is a difference in goals that is the cause for these kind of distinctions (lay metta vs ordained anapanasati) that we find in the suttas. After all, I think right view is far more important for attaining nibbana than a specific meditation practice.

Also, where to do get this idea "4 Brahamaviharas plus 7 factors of awakening = Base of Nothingness Jhana"? I'm pretty sure that, if we are talking suttas here, that such high attainments are pretty much off limits for a non-anagami layperson.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

"And how is awareness-release through equanimity developed, what is its destination, what is its excellence, its fruit, & its consummation?

"There is the case where a monk develops mindfulness as a factor for awakening accompanied by equanimity, dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in letting go. He develops analysis of qualities as a factor for awakening... persistence as a factor for awakening... rapture as a factor for awakening... serenity as a factor for awakening... concentration as a factor for awakening... equanimity as a factor for awakening accompanied by equanimity, dependent on seclusion, dependent on dispassion, dependent on cessation, resulting in letting go. If he wants, he remains percipient of loathsomeness in the presence of what is not loathsome. If he wants, he remains percipient of unloathsomeness in the presence of what is loathsome. If he wants, he remains percipient of loathsomeness in the presence of what is not loathsome & what is. If he wants, he remains percipient of unloathsomeness in the presence of what is loathsome & what is not. If he wants — in the presence of what is loathsome & what is not — cutting himself off from both, he remains equanimous, alert, & mindful. Or, with the complete transcending of the sphere of the infinitude of consciousness, (perceiving,) 'There is nothing,' he enters & remains in the sphere of nothingness. I tell you, monks, awareness-release through equanimity has the sphere of nothingness as its excellence — in the case of one who has penetrated to no higher release."
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

dhammarelax
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:37 pm

Coyote wrote:
dhammarelax wrote:
Don't forget:

4 Brahamaviharas plus 7 factors of awakening = Base of Nothingness Jhana

It comes to my mind when the Buddha says I teach suffering and the end of suffering, heaven is not the end of suffering so I wonder if he would actually teach something just to gain a rebirth in paradise, I remember reading that Ajahn Brahms stated that rebirth in heaven is a desirable thing but I am not sure about this.

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Yes, I'm pretty sure that the Buddha taught the way to favorable births such as heaven, and perhaps more importantly the way to avoid unfavorable ones. There are good reasons for these kind of teachings. Firstly, it is difficult to practice under certain unfavorable circumstances. Secondly, it is not so different from liberation. It is, after all, wholesome kamma. Thirdly, some people might not have the right circumstances to practice very intently in this life.

I'm wondering whether it is a difference in goals that is the cause for these kind of distinctions (lay metta vs ordained anapanasati) that we find in the suttas. After all, I think right view is far more important for attaining nibbana than a specific meditation practice.

Also, where to do get this idea "4 Brahamaviharas plus 7 factors of awakening = Base of Nothingness Jhana"? I'm pretty sure that, if we are talking suttas here, that such high attainments are pretty much off limits for a non-anagami layperson.
Do you have a Sutta reference for favorable rebirth intention for the teachings? Rebirth in heaven as far as I understand involves a lot of pleasure, but it ends, even after a long period of time it ends and then what? again in to Samsara the eternal suffering wheel, liberation is different, is the end of suffering not the temporal suspension of it.

I find the approach of MN 117 to be good, Jhana has as a requisite and condition right view but to walk the 8 fold path you need all the factors.

The Brahamaviharas is not exclusivlly a lay teaching, even in http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html MN 118 (Minfullness of breathing)] we read: "..there are bhikkhus who abide devoted to the development of loving-kindness..."

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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mikenz66
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:41 pm

dhammarelax wrote: Do you have a Sutta reference for favorable rebirth intention for the teachings?
See In the Buddha's Words, Chapter V. The Way to a Fortunate Rebirth.

:anjali:
Mike

dhammarelax
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Re: Metta vs. Breath

Post by dhammarelax » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:53 pm

mikenz66 wrote:
dhammarelax wrote: Do you have a Sutta reference for favorable rebirth intention for the teachings?
See In the Buddha's Words, Chapter V. The Way to a Fortunate Rebirth.

:anjali:
Mike
Wow, thanks I wasn't aware of this, the Buddha actually encourages not to be afraid of meritorious deeds that lead to good rebirths.

smile all the time
dhammarelax
Even if the flesh & blood in my body dry up, leaving just the skin, tendons, & bones, I will use all my human firmness, human persistence and human striving. There will be no relaxing my persistence until I am the first of my generation to attain full awakening in this lifetime. ed. AN 2.5

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