Loving Kindness Meditation

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.
antiquebuddhas
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Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by antiquebuddhas »

Living Kindness is the cultivation of emotion or feelings that existed in the heart i.e. love.
But love can be the source of desire and attachment. Doesn't this practice is wrong?
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." Lord Buddha
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Seishin
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by Seishin »

Loving kindness is the English translation of "metta". It is not an emotion, but a wish for people to be happy, free and safe. It is one of the "Divine Abodes" the Buddha said we need to cultivate to become enlightened. These abodes overcome negative mental states, such as greed, anger and lust.

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Caodemarte
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by Caodemarte »

Is love the source of attachment or is attachment a "corruption" of love? I would think that if you really love your children you want the best for them and their growth as full, independent adults. If attachment, which is baseed is selfishness, gets out of hand you smother them and stunt their growth. Love would be encouraged, not suppressed, in Buddhism.
gloriasteinem
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by gloriasteinem »

Seishin wrote:Loving kindness is the English translation of "metta". It is not an emotion, but a wish for people to be happy, free and safe. It is one of the "Divine Abodes" the Buddha said we need to cultivate to become enlightened. These abodes overcome negative mental states, such as greed, anger and lust.

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Seishin
I think it is an emotion. Love comes from the heart, kindness too. I think the mind itself could be very cold or at least too conceptual to show these. They come from the heart chakra. I know it not because I'm emotional but because usually I'm not, I'm a more thoughtful person and there is a constant need for me to feel/learn this from outside, other people. Mind even when peaceful cannot give loving kindness but can give place for the heart to release such.
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DGA
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by DGA »

Seishin wrote:Loving kindness is the English translation of "metta". It is not an emotion, but a wish for people to be happy, free and safe. It is one of the "Divine Abodes" the Buddha said we need to cultivate to become enlightened. These abodes overcome negative mental states, such as greed, anger and lust.

In gassho,
Seishin
I wanted to underscore something important in Seishin's excellent post. One of the results of carefully practicing the Four Immeasurables, including metta (lovingkindness) and karuna, (compassion), is to undermine the source of egotism, greed, and attachment. So it's the opposite of wrong.

antiquebuddhas wrote:Living Kindness is the cultivation of emotion or feelings that existed in the heart i.e. love.
But love can be the source of desire and attachment. Doesn't this practice is wrong?
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Seishin
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

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gloriasteinem wrote: I think it is an emotion. Love comes from the heart, kindness too. I think the mind itself could be very cold or at least too conceptual to show these. They come from the heart chakra. I know it not because I'm emotional but because usually I'm not, I'm a more thoughtful person and there is a constant need for me to feel/learn this from outside, other people. Mind even when peaceful cannot give loving kindness but can give place for the heart to release such.
I think metta is better translated as "benevolence" rather than loving kindness. Also note: metta is not love and kindness, it is kindness that is loving.
gloriasteinem
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by gloriasteinem »

Seishin wrote:
gloriasteinem wrote: I think it is an emotion. Love comes from the heart, kindness too. I think the mind itself could be very cold or at least too conceptual to show these. They come from the heart chakra. I know it not because I'm emotional but because usually I'm not, I'm a more thoughtful person and there is a constant need for me to feel/learn this from outside, other people. Mind even when peaceful cannot give loving kindness but can give place for the heart to release such.
I think metta is better translated as "benevolence" rather than loving kindness. Also note: metta is not love and kindness, it is kindness that is loving.
So it is loving kindness. Kindness that is loving, kindness that involves loving feeling, so kindness and love. Benvolence is one of its meanings too.
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Malcolm
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by Malcolm »

Seishin wrote:
gloriasteinem wrote: I think it is an emotion. Love comes from the heart, kindness too. I think the mind itself could be very cold or at least too conceptual to show these. They come from the heart chakra. I know it not because I'm emotional but because usually I'm not, I'm a more thoughtful person and there is a constant need for me to feel/learn this from outside, other people. Mind even when peaceful cannot give loving kindness but can give place for the heart to release such.
I think metta is better translated as "benevolence" rather than loving kindness. Also note: metta is not love and kindness, it is kindness that is loving.
Maitri is the wish that someone have happiness and the cause of happiness. Translating metta/Matri as "love" is just fine.
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by gloriasteinem »

Obviously some people really want to remove "love" from religion, including with changing quotations without seeking translators approval for it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... =614571840

Love is a very important thing in religion, it is opposed to hatred. And after all it is what makes people good.
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Seishin
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by Seishin »

gloriasteinem wrote:Obviously some people really want to remove "love" from religion, including with changing quotations without seeking translators approval for it:

https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?ti ... =614571840

Love is a very important thing in religion, it is opposed to hatred. And after all it is what makes people good.
That is not what I'm doing at all and I don't appreciate the insinuation. Love most certainly does have a place. My point is that our western understanding of love is different to the eastern understanding of love. This is just my opinion and others are welcome to disagree, but please do not speculate my intentions. Thank you.
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by DGA »

I'd always thought benevolence was a type of love--a non-selfish kind. I think Seishin's right to point toward that meaning.
SeeLion
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by SeeLion »

Most people I heard are practicing Metta involving emotion.

I don't think it's possible to practice it otherwise, except in a "logical" sense, which I feel is missing the point of the practice. I don't think one can have benevolence and not really care at an emotional level.

Discussing attachment, an important point is that Metta is love that is not attached to a certain person.

So the attachment doesn't arise, because you wish for everybody to be happy, friends, enemies, etc. What could become the object of attachment to in this case ?

Another reason why attachment isn't a danger is that you won't be practicing Metta exclusively, so you will balance your practice as a whole.

That isn't to say that attachment is impossible to happen for certain people practicing Metta. The issue of attachment is a valid concern for any practice of meditation and needs to be addressed properly, on a case to case basis. For example, I believe it is mentioned that people who suffer from lust may be wise to avoid Metta.
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Seishin
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by Seishin »

I think this is an interesting discussion point - is metta an emotion or a feeling? Although related, they are different. An emotion is fleeting, but the feelings that they create can stay with us for a lifetime. Metta may arise due to an emotional state, but I don't believe what sticks around is an emotion. So to me, metta is a feeling not an emotion. Lets discuss this (without getting emotional ;-) ) :popcorn:
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Seishin
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by Seishin »

DGA wrote:I'd always thought benevolence was a type of love--a non-selfish kind. I think Seishin's right to point toward that meaning.
Thanks, but I think I'm sinking fast in this discussion. May soon have to exit, stage-left :spy:
antiquebuddhas
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by antiquebuddhas »

Seishin wrote:Loving kindness is the English translation of "metta". It is not an emotion, but a wish for people to be happy, free and safe. It is one of the "Divine Abodes" the Buddha said we need to cultivate to become enlightened. These abodes overcome negative mental states, such as greed, anger and lust.

In gassho,
Seishin
Oh so the Love basically is the source of for meditation in order to overcome all negative mentality, greed, anger as well as lust.
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." Lord Buddha
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by Kim O'Hara »

Part of the confusion and disagreement here is just a matter of translation.
The problem is that there is no good translation of the word "metta" into English. "Loving kindness" may be the closest equivalent but it is misleading because it is an almost obsolete form of words, a two-word phrase which can't be split without changing its meaning significantly. It is sometimes written with a hyphen or without the space ("'lovingkindness") to make this clear. Definition and history: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loving-kindness
Loving-kindness is used as an English translation for the Hebrew word חסד (chesed). This term is used often in the book of Psalms, and refers to acts of kindness, motivated by love. It is used primarily in reference to God, rather than people.
English is a tricky language sometimes, and this is one example.

We could use "love" instead, but that has far too many meanings already, and most of them don't fit "metta". There are more translations at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mettā but none of them are completely satisfactory.
We have the same problem with a lot of important Buddhist concepts - "dukkha" is one which comes to mind - and sometimes it's better just to use the foreign word until it becomes meaningful to us.

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SeeLion
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by SeeLion »

I think this is an interesting discussion point - is metta an emotion or a feeling? Although related, they are different. An emotion is fleeting, but the feelings that they create can stay with us for a lifetime.
Umm, well, I'm using emotion and feeling interchangeably. Also, these days I try to focus on present moment and impermanence, so I would argue that nothing stays with you for more than a moment.

But I don't think that's the point, also the point is not to find the right translation. If we are going to find the perfect translation for the word is not going to shed more light on the topic.

The point is to understand what the practice is about, then we will see the results for ourselves. The results can be feelings, emotions, attachment or detachment, the way we interact with people, the way they respond do us, etc.
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Seishin
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by Seishin »

In many ways I agree, but conversely, using the wrong words can cause a hell of a lot of damage.
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Loving Kindness Meditation

Post by Kim O'Hara »

SeeLion wrote:... the point is not to find the right translation. If we are going to find the perfect translation for the word is not going to shed more light on the topic.
But the OP was ...
antiquebuddhas wrote:Loving Kindness is the cultivation of emotion or feelings that existed in the heart i.e. love.
But love can be the source of desire and attachment. Doesn't [that mean] this practice is wrong?
... and it's clear that translating "metta" as "Loving Kindness" and then mixing that up with (another kind of) "love" is at the heart of antiquebuddhas' mystification.
More broadly, words are the tools we use to think with. Using the wrong word is like using a fork when we really should use a spoon: we may still eat, but it will be messy. :smile:
SeeLion wrote:... The point is to understand what the practice is about, then we will see the results for ourselves. The results can be feelings, emotions, attachment or detachment, the way we interact with people, the way they respond do us, etc.
That's another question, and it's a good one, too.

:meditate:
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