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Thread: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

  1. #1

    METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    Hi,

    You may have noticed that I have posted today a suggested Metta practice above (in the ANNOUNCEMENTS section), and I hope you will give it a try.

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1199

    We have talked about this for awhile ...

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1118&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hi lit=metta

    ... but please feel free to post any additional impressions here ...


    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    Hi,

    My little online talk on Metta Practice is working now.

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/10 ... metta.html

    I wonder if everyone is trying Metta Practice this week and, if so, how it is going?

    Gassho, Jundo

  3. #3

    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    Hi Jundo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I wonder if everyone is trying Metta Practice this week and, if so, how it is going?
    Yes, I'm just getting started with it. I've done it in the evenings just before going to sleep, but I'm thinking about taking it up before my morning Zazen practice in place of the sange mon (repentance), and doing the latter before going to sleep instead. It seems it would make more sense to start the day with metta and reflect on all that went wrong at the end of the day.

    Gassho
    Ken

  4. #4

    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    I've encountered mixed feelings on this. I was really excited about it, and printed out the posting, and have been trying to start this during the week. I thought it would be really easy and natural. So far, it's felt more perfunctory than anything else.

    I loving starting with metta towards self, since that seems similar to any prayer or wish that that things go well for me, or else I be able to handle whatever does come. And, being insecure anyway, it's a strengthening exercise of sorts.

    Metta towards a close one, or a neutral person, -- well, if they are close to you then it's only natural to want good things for them anyway, so what's the point? Metta towards a distasteful person--I go through the lines, and find myself thinking--it doesn't matter my thinking this, it won't make any difference for them anyway with their attitude, way of behavior, etc.

    Re-reading that last line, it seems as though I want a goal or purpose for this part of the practice. And, we are supposed to be goal-less?

    It's a beautiful practise--and although some folks have told me that I'm loving and generous, I tend to suspect that I lack any real level of genuine compassion, and this really brings that thought to the fore.

    I think I'll just have to work with it over a long period of time, and hope that it eventually sinks down into my bones. Not meaning to splash any cold water around, but giving honest *initial* reactions and thoughts, for what they are worth. (embarrassed for my lack of metta--or lack of understanding or something :?: ops: )

    Gassho, ann

  5. #5

    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    I printed off the Metta Sutra onto a single sheet of paper and put it on the back of my clipboard that I hold all my paperwork on while at work. When I start my shift while overlooking everything in my patrol car I usually stop for a minute or two to read the sutra and meditate.

    After a particularly intense call where I had a rude or hateful contact, or they started to fight with me if I had to arrest them, I will get back in my unit, drive off to a more safe place and say the "May ..." over the person I just had contact with. In the last week I have found that this practice has helped me get back to a more calm and positive frame of mind as well as letting go of any anger or frustration I might be experiencing toward that person. Most cops would laugh at the idea, but I have found that if I don't find someway to release the pressure I will either take that anger and frustration out on the next person I make contact with, or I take it home. Before metta I had used my workout times (weight room, martial arts classes, and running) and meditation times to help bring back to a balanced state, but every extra tool is appreciated.

  6. #6

    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    Hi, Jundo.
    This may be a silly question, and maybe it is covered on the net-cast (mine skips so that I can't hear everything that Jundo says); are we to do metta while on the cushion in whatever position we meditate in, or do you wish that we keep the two a bit distinct from one another so that we train ourselves not to mix shikantaza and metta?

    Gassho,
    Bill

  7. #7

    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    Quote Originally Posted by DontKnow
    Hi, Jundo.
    This may be a silly question, and maybe it is covered on the net-cast (mine skips so that I can't hear everything that Jundo says); are we to do metta while on the cushion in whatever position we meditate in, or do you wish that we keep the two a bit distinct from one another so that we train ourselves not to mix shikantaza and metta?

    Gassho,
    Bill
    Hi Bill,

    First, one of those 'ol Zen paradoxes ...

    We do not mix Shikantaza with anything ... although, of course, Shikantaza = everything. That means that, while when "just sitting" Shikantaza we do not do recite Metta and we "just sit"... yet when we recite Metta, or eat our breakfast, or sneeze, or shop in the grocery, or swat a mosquito we are "just sitting" Shikantaza. Nothing in the universe is other than Shikantaza. So, even if we recite Metta -- after -- Zazen, from another perspective, there is never "before" or "after" or any phenomena that is/are not "Zazen".

    Got that? This is a very important perspective(s) for our Zen Practice.

    But on a practical level, to answer your question: Because we do not mix Shikantaza with anything but Shikantaza, we do our Metta recital --before-- or --after-- Shikantaza. In other words, I see nothing wrong with reciting it --after-- the closing bell for Zazen, but before rising from the Zafu. Or, you can do it right before crawling into bed. Or any time (except when "Just Sitting". When "Just Sitting", we "just sit").

    Ken's suggestions also feels really right. Thank you Ken.
    I'm thinking about taking it up before my morning Zazen practice in place of the sange mon (repentance), and doing the latter before going to sleep instead. It seems it would make more sense to start the day with metta and reflect on all that went wrong at the end of the day.
    I hope that answered your question.

    Gassho, Jundo

  8. #8

    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    Many thanks.

    Gassho,
    Bill

  9. #9
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    I find it best to start my day with zazen followed by metta practice. During the day I also do bits of metta practice sometimes. Doing that is sort of like, but not quite, doing Jundo's insta-zazen, which I also do some times some days.

    I've been doing metta daily ever since the beta version came out. It takes a while to get used to it, but it got very comfortable fairly quickly. In many ways it is much easier than zazen, because it is more focused or purpose-driven, or something like that. Oh, I also wanted to add that my first instruction to myself when practicing metta is this: Smile, and mean it. That simple step really really helps.

  10. #10

    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Oh, I also wanted to add that my first instruction to myself when practicing metta is this: Smile, and mean it. That simple step really really helps.
    That's lovely, and I am going to add that point the the 'official' instructions. Thank you Alan.

  11. #11

    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    I just wanted to add that here is a psychological theory (i.e., facial feedback hypothesis) that states emotions can be influenced by feedback we receive from facial muscles. Thus, smiling may be of benefit when doing Metta practice.

  12. #12
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: METTA PRACTICE HAS BEGUN!

    Part of my practice these days is to smile, to practice smiling. I have been called a crumudgeon on occasion, not completely inaccurately, so to smile and mean it is a way to be less crumudgeonly to others as well as make myself feel better. So simple, really.

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