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Meditation Kamma and Metta

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  • Meditation Kamma and Metta

    Hello Venerable,

    I hope you had a blissful and rejuvenating rains retreat. Hereís my inquiry:

    1) Does meditation produce good kamma? I donít mean indirectly, such as meditation leads us to be kinder people so we do acts of generosity which is good kamma. I mean quite directly, meaning is the act of meditation itself good kamma?

    2) How can one develop boundless compassion once again after being hurt many times so that the heart has been encrusted with some resentment and wounds. A person used to be very compassionate and forgiving towards all, even cruel people. But time, the cruelty of people, and infliction have taken their toll and caused metta and karuna to weaken in a person. Now one is earnestly on the Buddhist path again practicing meditation including metta and karuna. So how can we encourage boundless, beautiful metta to blossom within our hearts once again for all sentient beings, kind or cruel?

    It would be great if you can offer some practices, meditations, as well as references, suttas, commentaries, Sutta study classes by Dhamma superstars such as Ajahn Brahmali, and so on. You can also share any personal advice or experiences. Anything you think would help is appreciated.

    With metta.

  • #2
    Dear Haca Ce,

    So nice to hear from you - after a long time. As the forum was down, I kind of didn't check it for a while, thus the delay in responding!

    Your question is a big one. Let me think about it, as I am searching for the answer myself!

    With metta,
    Ven Upekkha

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    • #3
      Dear Haca Ce

      Hope you well, and I am happy to hear the voice of someone earnestly walking the path!

      Your first question - well, unfortunately there is no black-and-white result of meditation. One can sit in meditation for years and years and be going around in circles because one just does not see clearly. Of course it is better to be doing that than spending the night out drinking. So in terms of meditation being good in itself, the quality of the meditation counts. Just sitting - as Ajahn Chah said - even a chicken can do that.

      Your second question, losing one's compassion and kindness over the course of one's spiritual life is to be expected. And in terms of regaining it, have a 'beginner's mind'! Don't think that the practices that worked in the past are of no use anymore, one just has to revisit them with a fresh heart. Can you see a different angle to compassion, one that you didn't strike you before? A deeper kind of kindness?

      As for some good teachings and references, other than Ajahn Brahm, the Dalai Lama is one of my heroes, as is Thich Naht Hanh. So many of their talks are online. I find just watching their faces on YouTube gives me a feel for what true compassion is, as they embody that quality. Another one of my favourite teachers is Ajahn Sucitto (on www.forestsangha.org).
      I often make an aspiration, may the right teaching come to me, and I go out with an open ear. And then the right talk, or the right 'teacher' comes my way (sometimes it is not how I like it!).

      With regard to practices and meditations, it is difficult to say what is suitable at this time for you. For myself personally, Tonglen practice is rewarding - breathing in, one takes in the pain of others and breathing out, one sends them relief. It is counter-intuitive, but like I said, for me, it is very rewarding. Pema Chodron has teachings online on how to practice Tonglen.

      These are the things that come to my mind right now.

      Hope they are a good start.

      With metta,
      Ven Upekkha

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      • #4
        Hello Venerable,

        Thank you very much for your great insights. I especially like your point about not underestimating the practices which helped us in the past. They are still of great value in the present. I had actually developed many reflections in the past which specifically suited me and helped me develop boundless metta and karuna. I’ve often revisited these practices and it’s like coming back home. They help me in a similar way as they did in the past. So I think I should make them a cornerstone in my meditation and spiritual practice.

        I also find that whenever I’ve had an especially good meditation session and I feel deep joy, happiness, and contentment, such a state of mind and heart quite naturally gravitates towards wishing all other beings happiness and love. It seems like a tranquil, joyful, and contented mind naturally wishes to radiate boundless metta and karuna to all living beings. So gradually increasing the quality of our meditation practice should also be helpful.

        Tonglen is something I spontaneously started doing in the past even without reading about it as a specific practice. It was a natural outgrowth of a loving and compassionate state of mind and heart. I will also deepen this practice once metta and karuna have become more established in my heart.

        Venerable, I have another question about my spiritual life and I’m wondering if I should ask it here in this thread or start another thread? I’ll still ask it in “Ask a Monastic”, so the question is coming to you anyways

        Warmest regards.

        Comment


        • #5
          Dear Haca Ce,

          Probably start a new thread. Then it is searchable by others.

          Ven Upekkha

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