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[Buddha]

Author Topic: [Q&A] How to view people with metta and karuna?  (Read 141 times)

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Offline Johann

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[Q&A] How to view people with metta and karuna?
« on: January 13, 2018, 04:42:42 PM »
How to view people with metta and karuna?

There are definitions of metta and karuna here: What are metta and karuna?

There's a metta-bhavana meditation.

I'm wondering how to practice these socially, though, e.g. as a lay person when talking with people individually or in a group (or perhaps even as a monk talking with people).

In particular what type of view should you try to have of (or see in) people?
 


My question is sparked by this comment :
 
Quote

I posted the way of the Buddha, which is metta plus asuba. Asuba alone won't work. Metta is to view women as mothers, sisters & daughters rather than to view them as sex objects. If you can see that sexual promiscuity of women diminishes & often destroys the capacity for good motherhood, then you might understand the teachings of Gotama better. In summary, asuba is not really necessary for laypeople. It is generally pointless suggesting asuba to a layperson who does not have the disposition to be a monk.

I found that comment questionable, because why not view women as people?

Viewing "women" as "mothers" sounds like pigeon-holing "them" as just another type of sex-object (gender-specific-object) or social role/stereotype/function (slave).

I mean, "yes" to metta -- but "metta" isn't necessarily to "view women as mothers", or is it?

But then the question occurred, if metta isn't as described in the comment then what does metta mean?

The reason I found the above comment questionable is because I expect a person (a woman) might view him- or her-self in a variety of ways: as a mother, as an adult child, as a consumer, as a worker, an athlete, a friend, a volunteer, a voter, and so on ... different views (different ambitions or roles) at different times.

I think that holding a view of someone that isn't the same as their own current view of themselves is a form of harm and a cause of suffering (e.g. a view like "you can't be a friend because you're a woman", "you can't be an employee because you're a mother", "you can't be political because you're a girl", while she wants to be a friend or employee or etc).

So maybe "sympathy" means that you should see other people as they see themselves? But someone's view-of-self might be a cause of suffering too, so maybe it's better if you don't try to see each person as they see themselves? Perhaps it's fantasy to hope that you can see others as they themselves, except in limited circumstances (e.g. in a job interview)? In summary this question (about metta and interacting with people) has devolved towards views-of-self and the thicket-of-views.



So what can be said about metta and karuna, if they interact with identity-view, self-view?

What does a kind of transactional behaviour (attitude) sound like (is it good or bad?) e.g. a view like, "you're a bus driver and I'm here because I'm on the bus ... it doesn't matter who you think you are, nothing matters except your driving the bus and me having an absolute minimum standard of politeness so as not to be actually offensive"?

Sorry if this is a confused question. The suttas (e.g. Sigalovada Sutta ) necessarily talk about general truths, and ends up maybe seeming impersonal, cold, robotic, and I'm not sure if that's the right impression or the whole lesson.

Venerable members of the Sangha,
walking in front Fellows in leading the holly life.

  _/\_  _/\_  _/\_

In Respect of the Triple Gems, Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha, in Respect of the Elders of the community  _/\_ , my person tries to answer this question. Please, may all knowledgeable Venerables and Dhammika, out of compassion, correct my person, if something is not correct and fill also graps, if something is missing.

Valued Upasaka, Upasika, Aramika(inis),
dear Readers and Visitors,

 *sgift*

(This is a maybe modified and expanded answer of the "original" that can be found here   .)

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa   -


Nyom Chris ,

like Nyom Vorapol  (Bonn) pointed out helpfully , it was for the Buddha very importand, that they get neither confused in gegard of gratitude and deeds of others, in ways like "there is nobody doing...who did", as shown in the quote from the Bhāradvājasutta or in regard of who is the carries of suffering, in the Bhāra Sutta . Something many are leaded to be confused by common ways of interpretations of Buddhas way of thinking for benefit and non-confusion. The common thief-like Niganthas/Jains-ways of metta and insight practice

Especially metta-bhavana has person/s individual/s as object. Thoughts of goodwill be extended not only torward a singe being, group or kind, but torward All possible existing being, which gives release to reach certain Jhanas. (See Karaṇīya Metta-Sutta as a guide for practice (by Bhante Nyanadassana ) .

As it is pointed oth in the quoted sutta text by Nyom Vorapol, certain related people should be regarded in terms of what they had done on benefical and duties toward one and not in regard of sensual pleasure one might had received (which might goes up till sexual pleasure). When we thing on emotions of love, for example, those are mostly in certain range of the seven kinds of sexualities (see Methuna Sutta , by Piya Tan  ).

The tool of using beloved relations to possible develope metta also torward not beloved persons, beings, one can find, when the Buddha counts, that:

 

- Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammā-sambuddhassa -

A being who has not been your mother at one time in the past is not easy to find... A being who has not been your father... your brother... your sister... your son... your daughter at one time in the past is not easy to find.

On one hand, to know clear about the goodness one had received from others, and the fact that nearly all other beings had been such generous beings as well, like those we highly regard for now, cuts away any willingless to be not of goodwill as a reward.

As the understanding of giving/taking and obligation, goodness and gratitude, gets also clear at the same time, step by step, it also urges samvega and to seek good mindstates and concentration, giving by performing a temporary "debtlessness" in giving ones goodwill equal torward everyone, good or bad, not necessary to be seen equal (since beings are not), for insight an liberation and not for the sake of Coupling (even at is lowest grade: desire for heavingly being and union)

If willing to pull the term of mother into your metta-bhavana, there are again, two anchors:

  • Remember that there is hardly a being having not been you mother in the past, to cut of aversion and increase a suppotive attitude of obligation for being easily able to develop thought of goodwill.
  • and as reminder, that you/one should stick with practicing metta and thoughts of goodwill like a mother clings/loves and holds on her only son (might it be skillful in regard of the mother or not): fight against any thought that likes to harm you metta-state of mind (=son).
If one wishes to bring together asobha-meditation (on the ugliness and imperfection of matter/form, of all kind) and metta meditation (which was actually introduced as a strawmen to excuse unseeming approach) together, such might bear certain dangers. Like told in the quoted Sutta of the comment (if there is sense-desire involved, which is possible in imperfect metta), even a corpse can be reason for sexual lust. So such might be not good to do together, if not one of the ywo is already good developed. But it is right, as commented there, that such as othed kinds of "pleasant" meditation objects are useful as a compensation of to much disgust toward body in a harmful way.

The same counts for karuna (thoughts of wishing to be helped) in regard of "how to view people" and becomes even more visible in regard of mudita, appreciation of goodness developed/done by all other beings and rejoice with all, appreciate then (again a temporary release of subtile present force of obligation) to reach ceratin concentration.

People and beings, when seen in this way, should always been seen in their deeds, way of deeds, result of their deeds, and certain kind be selected to act on it proper. If understanding such as common know as "Buddha-nature" in that way, to find a source of deeds in any being, to be able to regard them proper and with thoughts of metta, karuna and mudita, a matter of gratitude and appreciation for deeds, then to use "Buddha-nature" as a translation for that, to approach other sects developed practice as well in a way to do not increase wrong view, might be good as well.

In the same way one should also regard oneself, have gratitude and appreciation toward ones many previous sacrifices done in the past to in such a seldom, rich and auspicious situation: not waste ones merits and current wealth (in all regards) having no idea of how hard it was to gain and use this again as a strong drive toward liberation and to stick joyful with right effort.

My person hopes that this gives enough reasonable ground to dispel confusions and the questions of "what can be said about metta and karuna, if they interact with identity-view, self-view?"

To get your metta-bhavana on the right track (neither being nor not-being), it's good to remember the contained sentence in the Karaniya Metta Sutta:
 
Quote
Since mettā meditation has the (concept of) "beings" as object, it is close to the ego-illusion or the wrong view of a personality (of what ever kind). Hence, in order to prevent the entanglement in this and other wrong views, and in order to reach the 'fruition attainments' of the 'Noble Living' through insight meditation, the Buddha commences the last verse with the statement: 'And not holding to wrong view'.

Actions give causes, from this comes that, with this that arises.

« Last Edit: January 13, 2018, 04:49:39 PM by Johann »
This post and Content has come to be by Dhamma-Dana and so is given as it       Dhamma-Dana: Johann

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