Brahmaviharas

ManZ A, modified 11 Years ago.

Brahmaviharas

Posts: 105 Join Date: 1/12/10 Recent Posts
Hi

I don't know why these meditations are almost never mentioned here (or I have simply not noticed and not looked hard enough). They seem to have really great potential, and I just a have a gut feeling that they could greatly supplement insight practice in that it might make things a bit more bearable and keep things in check. The reason why I posted this is because I can't seem to really find how to actually practice these. Do you simply sit down and think of yourself first and then try to engender the feeling somehow? Most of the instructions seem kind of vague or they just talk about the benefits of the brahmaviharas.

Some questions:

1) Is each meditation considered separate ? (e.g. Would you only practice metta in one session and karuna in a separate one)

2) Do you need Jhana to practice these so that they would have any real benefit?

So if anyone could provide some detailed instructions in some fashion it would be great.

Some recommendations and clarifications would be great.

Thanks emoticon
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Eran G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Brahmaviharas

Posts: 182 Join Date: 1/5/10 Recent Posts
There's no doubt that meditation on the Brahmaviharas can be beneficial in many ways. There are many different practices related to them. A basic (but nonetheless powerful) practice is Metta (or Loving-Kindness) meditation as described here: http://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/the-issue-at-hand/chapter22/. There are other Metta practices in multiple traditions and you might find instructions for meditation based on the other divine abodes but they seem to be less common.

I believe you would usually practice each of those separately but I can't think of any reason not to do them sequentially. I've heard of people who like to open their practice with a short metta meditation and others who like to close it that way.

Jhana is not required for the practices I'm aware of. It is possible to reach jhana with metta meditation and some teachers do teach jhana in that way. Based on the description I've heard from someone who practiced this, it can be a very powerful practice.
ManZ A, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Brahmaviharas

Posts: 105 Join Date: 1/12/10 Recent Posts
Thx for the link. I know the other divide abodes are rarely ever mentioned and dunno why that is either. I'm guessing because most people are concerned about the ultimate goal of insight practice and so see this practice as kind of extraneous (possibly).
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Eran G, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Brahmaviharas

Posts: 182 Join Date: 1/5/10 Recent Posts
Just remembered something as I was looking for a quote. James Baraz has many practices designed to incline the mind towards wholesome states. Check out the Awakening Joy course website - http://www.awakeningjoy.info/ and the related book http://asin.cc/055380703X.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Brahmaviharas

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
I think that at the level of jhana they become much more interesting, where you think about what the quality of mind feels like you are trying to cultivate, bring to mind people for whom you easily feel it, take the bodily sensation with its mental supports as object, and then gradually build that out to fill the body with the feeling.

Taken to that level they are really fun, feel great, and do good things in terms of one's mental habits, concentration, and general outlook, and probably other good neurochemical things, but they are concentration practices, which, around here, do, for better or for worse, get less emphasis than insight practices.

I think the concentration practices are good and have their own merits, but they never did for me what stream entry, etc. did, and after stream entry, etc. I was much more able to cultivate and appreciate the samatha stuff, and others have often come to similar conclusions, hence the general trend in that direction.
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Tejananda John Wakeman, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Brahmaviharas

Posts: 7 Join Date: 12/1/09 Recent Posts
Hi,

I've done metta and the other brahmaviharas a lot. I've produced these notes / handouts on them that you may find useful stuff in:

Brahmaviharas Notes

Regards, Tejananda
Peter J Malek, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Brahmaviharas

Posts: 2 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
Tejananda John Wakeman:
Hi,

I've done metta and the other brahmaviharas a lot. I've produced these notes / handouts on them that you may find useful stuff in:

Brahmaviharas Notes

Regards, Tejananda


This is very interesting and helpful, thank you! I especially like the distinction between vedana as non-volitional feeling-tone and emotion as volitional (skilful or unskilful) samskara. In practice, I have found that trying to change the vedanas directly is fruitless and frustrating, but working on the prevailing samskara (volitional emotion, attitude, intent) affects the vedanas (feeling tones) as a consequence.

I think this is a very useful contribution to the subject of "feeling" and "emotion" being discussed concurrently in one of the AF threads.

It would also be interesting if Tarin or Trent could comment on the relationship between metta, as described in the above linked document, and "naïveté" and "felicity" in the AF teachings. Tarin has emphasized the importance of distinguishing the "good" feelings from the "felicitous" feelings, which makes me wonder where metta fits in. I had assumed that metta belongs in the "good" category because of its association with love and compassion, but here it seems more closely akin to the naïve felicity that the AF people talk about.

Peter
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Bruno Loff, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Brahmaviharas

Posts: 1094 Join Date: 8/30/09 Recent Posts
Thanks Tejananda! Wow!
ManZ A, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Brahmaviharas

Posts: 105 Join Date: 1/12/10 Recent Posts
I also must give you my sincere thanks as these notes are the best guide I've found for Brahmaviharas so far. emoticon
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boeuf f, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Brahmaviharas

Posts: 60 Join Date: 2/4/10 Recent Posts
Based on recent retreat experiences, I would say that in particular, metta and karuna practice are critical to aspects of insight practice. Developing intentions of compassion and good will leads towards extending this compassion and good will towards yourself, ie: your experience and your response to that experience. It's so important in this practice to include everything, to leave nothing unexamined--and most relevant to the sort of goal oriented practice discussed here. Without compassion and kindness, it's easy to reject sensations or emotions ("this isn't the right state/stage" "this isn't unfolding like last time", "I'm stuck outside in the weeds and can't get in to the real stuff")., get caught up in the rejection and not realize the feeling tone of one's entire posture/countenance.

I don't know why these don't get mentioned here either--it's very troubling.

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