10 thoughts on “2017 Metta is faster than Breath Meditation”

  1. Nice clip, thanks. Excellent points re breath vs metta. (Just a note there's a bit of audio sound interference).

  2. The breath is just a tool to learn mindfulness. We observe the breath and at the same time observe ourselves watching the breath. This carries over to everyday life and we become more self-aware of our thoughts, feelings, behaviors as they are happening.

  3. There is much to be gained from the Brahmaviharas and, when they are used as a basis for jhana which is then itself used as a platform for dispassion and unbinding, they lead to Awakening. However,  the claims that Buddha taught the Brahmaviharas more often than Anapanasati is arguably not true. It is true of the Majjhima and the Digha Nikayas, but I don't think it's true of the entire Sutta-Pitaka as a whole. At any rate, I argue that the Buddha did not assert the Brahmaviharas or Metta to be "the fastest" – this, respectfully, seems to be an outright falsehood; I would welcome the citation of a sutta passage that supports this claim, but I think that there is none. Quite the contrary seems fairly arguable. The Buddha used Anapanasati meditation when he himself attained his enlightenment; and the method seems to have done the trick quite quickly after his meal from Sujata. But there is more definitive evidence: there actually are a couple of suttas that do actually explicitly describe their method of meditation as the most direct path – these are the famous Satipatthana Suttas (MN 10, DN 22, & a whole ton of suttas in the Samyutta Nikaya), which open by saying "Hey, this is the most direct way," then give instructions, and finally close by saying "This practice will take you to initial awakening within two weeks". And suttas describe Anapanasati as intertwined with Satipatthana, indeed as fulfilling the Satipatthana practice itself. Of additional note is the fact that while the Brahmaviharas are mentioned often in the suttas, the instructions provided on how to do it are actually quite sparse compared to the imposing and conspicuous volume and detail of instructions concerning contemplation of the body, contemplation of feeling, of mind/heart states, and mental phenomena, the analysis of the sense spheres and aggregates, and Anapanasati. I think there is a lot, a lot of merit to everything else about this video, the practice, and the benefits to be accrued by it mentioned by the Bhante. His book on breath meditation, while I disagree with much of its content now, was the first book on (Buddhist) meditation I'd read almost twenty years ago as a teenager, and I appreciated the points that he made in it about sticking to the Suttas and recognizing that Anapanasati wasn't some harsh lazer-like practice as treated by Abhidhamma and Vissudhimagga fans. It is on the basis of what good I have drawn from Vimalaramsi that I respectfully challenge some of these other assertions, though, which seem not only to be inaccurate but also unnecessary, constituting rhetorical flourish of a sort. I truly appreciate Vimalaramsi's arguments against Abhidhamma, against the "Vipassana Meditation," etc., but I was taken aback by some of these small but questionable assertions. There were similarly odd, over-reaching assertions in his book on breath meditation, in which he asserted that the word "Samadhi" was created by the Buddha and taught that the Anapanasati Sutta concerned arupa-jhana. I believe that credit is truly due where it's due, but that critique is due where it's due as well. I would love an opportunity to study and practice Brahmavihara-Bhavana with the bhante, if life ever allowed it. He is spot on as to the substantive benefits of their practice,

  4. For more about how this works and the path laid out get David Johnson's new book, "The Path to Nibbana." www.thepathtonibbana.com

  5. Breathing is good. Metta is the more efficient tool, a conceptual starting point to get away from the habitual tendencies. Learning that we as a person are not a separate entity and therefore, the path has to start somewhere to cultivate this change. Transitioning from the concept, over a feeling towards the jhanas makes more sense then just to watch the breath without cultivating a new perspective. Hard to describe, but it is about cultivating something that was buried a long time ago.
    From my personal experience metta and laughing cultivate a very nice state – won´t give it a name, that would be too much here… Don´t just put just a lid on the fire – build something new. Hope that makes sense…

  6. My teacher Robert Beatty remembers you from many years ago, Bhante! Metta is my main practice, so your theory here completely rings my bell.

  7. It is clinically shown that genuine forgiveness, like metta, causes an unavoidable alpha brain wave state. It is much like the result of simply not knowing but with an open heart…so to say. It is at the root of wellbeing and also creativity that arises without personal agenda. Once learned it can be accessed just about anytime.

  8. Wonderful Bhante! I practice in the Tibetan tradition, and I find loving-kindness perfectly accessible throughout all three vehicles. And as you said, the benefits are immense when compared to the breath.

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