Metta towards the opposite sex

The cultivation of calm or tranquility and the development of concentration
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Stiphan
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Metta towards the opposite sex

Post by Stiphan » Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:13 am

I know that the reason why metta should not be extended towards a specific member of the opposite sex is because it could increase lust and passion.

What if it is one's own mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, etc (in the case of a male practitioner)? Is it still bad? What if one has a bad relationship with one's mother and wants to fix it by practising metta towards her regularly in one's sitting sessions?

Also, what if one has split up or parted with a girl one previously was in love with, but still wishes her well? The pair have separated, there is no chance of getting back together (literally 0% chance), and one just wants to wish that person well for her future simply out of respect and care and gratitude for the good times spent together by sending metta to her. Not even then?

Just wondering.

SarathW
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Re: Metta towards the opposite sex

Post by SarathW » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:17 am

I can't recall any Sutta which says that we should not extend Metta towards the opposite sex.
I think this is just commentarial.
I may be wrong.
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Goofaholix
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Re: Metta towards the opposite sex

Post by Goofaholix » Wed Aug 24, 2016 2:56 am

The point is that if there is a liklihood of lustful feelings arising choose a different person, some people have lustful feelings for the same sex, hopefully not many have them for their mother or father.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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fivebells
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Re: Metta towards the opposite sex

Post by fivebells » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:32 am

This is a good chance to practice the four noble truths. That your thoughts are turning towards her is suffering, obviously borne of craving. How can you relinquish the craving and experience the release? Keep an eye out for when it happens by accident, and notice what leads up to it.

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L.N.
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Re: Metta towards the opposite sex

Post by L.N. » Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:09 am

Related thread.
Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The advice is given in the Visuddhimagga, which is the source of the extract from Ñāṇamoli's article quoted by SarathW.

Lust is the near enemy of metta, so practising loving-kindness towards someone of the opposite sex is potentially dangerous. In beginning the practice, one should take a respected member of the same sex, such as one's own father, or a spiritual teacher. Later, when concentration and mental stability is established, one may safely practise loving-kindness towards all beings without discrimination. Their sex, age, or physical appearance then become irrelevant — they are just living beings that are suffering, and in need of kindness.
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cjmacie
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Re: Metta towards the opposite sex

Post by cjmacie » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:30 am

SarathW wrote:I can't recall any Sutta which says that we should not extend Metta towards the opposite sex.
I think this is just commentarial.
I may be wrong.
Probably you're right.

Most of what is taught about metta is from the commentaries, including the whole method "may I/teacher/friend/neutral/enemy be...".

Take a look at references to "metta" or "loving kindness" in the indexes of B. Bodhi's Nikaya translations -- how often do "dharma" talks deal with how metta is treated in those passages throughout the sutta-s?

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Cittasanto
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Re: Metta towards the opposite sex

Post by Cittasanto » Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:38 am

SarathW wrote:I can't recall any Sutta which says that we should not extend Metta towards the opposite sex.
I think this is just commentarial.
I may be wrong.
I believe you are both correct and incorrect here.
There is no sutta talking of metta which restrics who it is to be aimed at, however, there are texts which advise against thinking of the opposite sex as these thoughts may promote lust....

to get to the OP.
I can not think of any reason to restrict who you direct metta towards particularly when you restrict what you are looking at i.e. not including general things, such as scent... but being specific to qualities a person has in association with that person. However care should be taken when it is a member of the opposite sex

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Re: Metta towards the opposite sex

Post by binocular » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:01 am

As far as I know, there are four brahmaviharas, and each should be practiced after consideration of the other three, in each instance deciding which one of the four is the most appropriate in any given situation.
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Re: Metta towards the opposite sex

Post by TRobinson465 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 4:42 am

I dont see a reason why you cant extend Metta toward the opposite sex, I always thought you can and should try to extend it to all living beings. If you practice sense restraint it should be fine to extend it to the opposite sex if you want to avoid developing lust. Thats my interpretation, and yes, i have never seen any Sutta saying you can't. Maybe avoid focusing on someone who may infatuate you perhaps.
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"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

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Re: Metta towards the opposite sex

Post by santa100 » Sat Aug 27, 2016 5:30 pm

Upasaka Sumana wrote:Also, what if one has split up or parted with a girl one previously was in love with, but still wishes her well? The pair have separated, there is no chance of getting back together (literally 0% chance), and one just wants to wish that person well for her future simply out of respect and care and gratitude for the good times spent together by sending metta to her. Not even then?
There's nothing wrong with practicing metta toward your ex...as long as you're able to "dress your wounds" as taught in MN 33:
And how does a monk not dress wounds? There is the case where a monk, on seeing a form with the eye, grasps at themes or details by which — as he dwells without restraint over the faculty of the eye — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. He doesn't practice for its restraint. He doesn't protect the faculty of the eye. On hearing a sound with the ear... On smelling an odor with the nose... On tasting a flavor with the tongue... On touching a tactile sensation with the body... On cognizing an idea with the intellect, he grasps at themes or details by which — as he dwells without restraint over the faculty of the intellect — evil, unskillful qualities such as greed or distress might assail him. He doesn't practice with restraint. He doesn't guard the faculty of the intellect. He doesn't achieve restraint with regard to the faculty of the intellect. This is how a monk doesn't dress wounds."
For detailed explanation on "themes" and "details" (also called "signs" and "particulars"), see Vism-I.54-59 starting page 22.

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