Sujato in Germany

I’m off to Germany and other points in Europe after the vassa. If anyone’s interested, here’s the details:

24 thoughts on “Sujato in Germany

  1. As a mother would give her life
    to protect her only child,
    So with a boundless heart
    should one cherish all living beings.’

    So just if you don’t know that is also a wrong Translation… but of course it’s a good drug to catch people. Ohhh, Shanti OM.

    The Karaniya Metta Sutta goes on to say that when you’re developing this attitude, you want to protect it in the same way that a mother would protect her only child.
    As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings.

    Some people misread this passage — in fact, many translators have mistranslated it — thinking that the Buddha is telling us to cherish all living beings the same way a mother would cherish her only child. But that’s not what he’s actually saying. To begin with, he doesn’t mention the word “cherish” at all. And instead of drawing a parallel between protecting your only child and protecting other beings, he draws the parallel between protecting the child and protecting your goodwill. This fits in with his other teachings in the Canon. Nowhere does he tell people to throw down their lives to prevent every cruelty and injustice in the world, but he does praise his followers for being willing to throw down their lives for their precepts:
    Just as the ocean is stable and does not overstep its tideline, in the same way my disciples do not — even for the sake of their lives — overstep the training rules I have formulated for them.

    Metta means Goodwill

    • Great center ( you have found, they even have mantra singing and wellness programs. Even meat eating is discriminated and forbidden. So will be maybe a problem is you just go for alms. I guess it will be not easy to stand such high standards. Maybe you can give some metta sutta singing or songs of freedom
      They will love you! 🙂
      Even Osho would be no match for such an inspiring center of love an peace and could even got jealous. How much do they pay? I seriously consider if such would be not a possibility to spread peace in the world. Do they pay they fly as well?

  2. How will you deal with “The damaging of a living plant is to be confessed. if they will cook plants for you and forbid you to eat meat? Will you take your food on the street after your alms round? Or is it just a minor fault and not worthy to think about?
    Of course, if you stay “unknowingly”, “unthinkingly” and “unintentionally” you will not cause any fault.

    Or will you take up the burden and just confess it next time you meet a assembling. Note, there is no “executing” Sangha in Germany.

  3. Dear Bhante,

    This Mettā Retreat in December looks wonderful! Do you speak German?

    The site for the retreat also looks excellent. At the site, you write:

    In mettā meditation, we learn to be free from the shackles of selfishness that constrict our emotional capacity.

    As I currently understand it, mettā is a general form of karuṇā and muditā (i.e. karuṇā and muditā are more specialized forms of mettā) and the way to make mettā, karuṇā and muditā truly boundless is to cultivate upekkhā (i.e. upekkhā perfects mettā, karuṇā and muditā). Am I on the right track? I’ve heard Ajahn Punnadhammo explain it in these terms, but I may not have understood him correctly.

    • Bhante Sujato,

      Looking back at my original comment, I’d like to clarify and/or correct part of what I wrote.

      Mettā is more general, i.e. includes karuṇā and muditā

      Karuṇā and muditā are more specialized

      Cultivating upekkhā is beneficial in that it ensures that the others become truly boundless.

      Perhaps what I meant was clear in my original comment… (or perhaps I’m still not expressing it well!)

      Please let me know what you think when you have a moment.

    • Hi Brc,

      No, I don’t speak German, except what I learnt from Hogan’s heroes!

      A nice way of thinking about the relationship between the brahmaviharas is described in the Visuddhimagga, in terms of the maturing of a mother’s love for her child. Perhaps someone knows of a link to the passage?

    • The “famous” metta Sutta starts with some important prerequisites:’

      One who is skilled in welfare: One who is skilled in welfare (attha) knows what should be done (karanīyam), and what should not be done (akaranīyam). The commentary explains that, in brief, what should be done means that one should follow the bhikkhu’s training. What should not be done means that one should avoid failure in morality (sīla-vipatti), failure in view (ditthi-vipatti), failure in conduct (ācāra-vipatti), and failure in right livelihood (ājīva-vipatti). One who has gone forth in this dispensation of the Buddha should abstain from the twenty-one kinds of wrong livelihood and fulfil the fourfold morality:

      Fundamental restraint by the Pātimokkha rules, which is fulfilled by faith or confidence.
      Sense-faculty restraint, which is fulfilled by mindfulness.
      Right livelihood, which is fulfilled by energy.
      Reflection on the proper use of requisites, which is fulfilled by wisdom.

      One who fulfils this fourfold morality, is said to be skilled in welfare (atthakusalena).

      This is for bhikkhus, but how should lay people practise to be skilled in welfare?

      They should observe the eight precepts with right livelihood as the eighth.

      Unlike the eight precepts observed on Uposatha days, this morality can be observed by a lay person throughout life. To observe it one can simply determine as follows (or make a formal undertaking in the presence of a bhikkhu), “From today onwards throughout my life …

      I will abstain from taking life.
      I will abstain from stealing.
      I will abstain from indulging in sexual misconduct and taking intoxicants.
      (These three comprise Right Action).
      I will abstain from telling lies.
      I will abstain from setting one person against another.
      I will abstain from using rude and rough words.
      I will abstain from talking frivolously.
      (The preciding four comprise Right Speech).
      I will abstain from earning a living by taking life, stealing, sexual misconduct, telling lies, or selling animals, weapons, flesh, poisons, or intoxicants (which is Right Livelihood).

      One who can undertake and observe these eight precpets is said to be “skilled in welfare.” <a href="

      But of cause has also pleasant effects for ordinary people running around mindless, driving to the next metta-course and feeling good. They even pay money to feel good while and in the afternoon they can talk about vegi-burger and the new apps and ipones. And nice meditation centers… lovely teachers… nice decoration…

      It’s so powerful in leading people to more heedlessness, that the Buddha took good care that he would not teach such to ordinary people not having taken on the requirements.

      Not to speak of the second prerequisite:

      Who wishes to attain that state of calm (nibbāna): The purpose of the Dhamma taught by the Buddha is to find mental peace and to realise nibbāna. Every good person wishes to attain nibbāna, which means the end of craving and suffering. Those who do not wish to attain it, do not know what it is. Perhaps they think that it is some kind of self-denial or annihilation. Therefore it is vital to understand that nibbāna is the supreme bliss.

      I knew of people “seriously” practicing metta-bhavana while have still a strong desire to keep in Samsara and nourish on others. Its a really perfect field of maya (illusion) and you will gain the power to keep it upright gain even Brahma-hood one day.

      He should be able (sakko): means that one should have confidence and energy to practise morality, concentration, and wisdom. Pious hopes and wishful prayers are useless. Though pious thoughts are productive of merit, they do not reach the goal. The King of Tāvatimsa, Sakka, got that high position by his great diligence and ability. He is able, therefore he is Sakka. Some people, who profess to be Buddhists, rarely practise morality, concentration, and wisdom. They are really opposed to the Dhamma and strongly addicted to sensual pleasures, just like Māra! Since they do not practise morality properly, they are hopeless of attaining concentration. Without concentration, insight is far away, and the realisation of nibbāna is even more remote.

      Thinking of Buddha gave it actually as protection for those who previously act out of karuna, it is really more then disusing seeing people praising metta, but have not a little adopt honest virtue.

      Upright, perfectly upright (ujū ca, suhujū ca): Why is it emphasised as perfectly upright? The meaning of upright is that one should be completely honest and upright in one’s actions and speech. Perfectly upright means that one should be honest even in thought that is one should expel lust, ill-will, delusion and wrong views whenever they arise.

      When you even come this this point, it might be useful for you to practice such. If not, better start with the prerequisites.

      Its a good read (even some little errors I guess, the writer does not live in a region where people still hold on right view) and you might understand if you wish to, how this and also that works and this and that was never done in the past.

      An Exposition of the Metta Sutta

      Nowhere in the text you will find a place, where Buddha taught such as metta- bhavana to ordinary people and people leading a normal wordily life.

    • It goes further:

      Obedient (suvaco): In many translations this is given as “pleasant or gentle speech.” However, the commentary says it means that one receives admonishment meekly, and invites one’s critic open-heartedly: “It is good, venerable sir. Thank you for telling me. It is difficult to see one’s own fault. Please tell me if you see any such fault in me again, out of compassion for me.”

      If one responds like that when criticised or admonished, one would also qualify as ‘suvaco’ in the sense of having gentle speech. Venerable Rāhula, when he was a novice in training, piled up a heap of sand, and made an earnest wish, “May I be admonished as many times as there are grains of sand in this heap.” Such a person is capable of rapid spiritual progress.

      Gentle (mudu): The commentary makes it clear that this does not mean that a bhikkhu should run errands for lay supporters or give them presents, to ingratiate himself with them, but he should win their respect by his polite and gentle manners. He should not be stubborn.

      Humble (anatimānī): ‘Anatimānī’ means ‘not conceited.’ One should not be puffed up with pride on account of one’s lineage, learning, or other virtues. It is said that Venerable Sāriputta was humble like a beggar with shabby clothes entering a village with an earthenware pot. Though he was praised by the Buddha as the wisest of his disciples, Venerable Sāriputta was also the meekest and humblest person one could imagine.

      Contented (santussako): One should be contented with whatever is available, whatever is within one’s means, or whatever is suitable considering one’s status. At his ordination a bhikkhu is reminded to be content with lumps of rice collected on almsround. If he is invited for luxurious meals in the houses of wealthy supporters he can accept, but he should not expect. If he longs for special food it would amount to discontent, then he would not be able to gain concentration. A householder, and his wife and children, should be content with whatever their income can provide. If not, they will quarrel, and get into debt. The Buddha said, “Contentment is the greatest treasure.”

      Easily supported (subharo): means that one should be frugal and able to make do with little. If a bhikkhu is avaricious and difficult to satisfy, he will not be able to develop loving-kindness.

      With few duties (appakicco): One who wishes to practise meditation should not burden himself with any unecessary responsibilities. Bhikkhus have a duty to maintain their dwelling-place and robes, and to look after sick monks, but they should spend most of their time for meditation and study. If a bhikkhu has no time to practise meditation, he should go elsewhere, otherwise the purpose of his going forth will be lost.

      A certain elder was always sweeping the monastery. One day he saw the elder Revata who was meditating as usual, and thought, “Why does this elder not sweep at least one room?” The elder Revata knew what he was thinking, and admonished him to sweep only in the morning and evening, not the whole time, but to spend the day in meditation. The sweeping elder soon attained Arahantship, and stopped doing so much sweeping. Rubbish started piling up, and the other bhikkhus thought he was negligent. The elder replied that though he was heedless before, now he was not. The bhikkhus reported this to the Buddha, and the Buddha said that the elder had spoken the truth:

      “Whoever was heedless before, but afterwards is not,
      illumines the world like the moon freed from clouds.” (Dhp v.172)

      Of light livelihood (sallahukavutti): A bhikkhu should have eight essential requisites an almsbowl, three robes, a waist-band, a razor, a water-strainer, and a needle. If he travels anywhere he should carry these eight things with him. It would be very easy….

      Not easy… but easy to teach it and make even a livelihood out of it.

    • Bhante,

      I was recalling a talk that Ajahn Punnadhammo offered in Knoxville in 2011. In the talk, he explained all four brahmaviharas in brief, then explained the importance of upekkhā as described in the Visuddhimagga (though he said not to take the Visuddhimagga’s distinction regarding upekkhā too rigidly), then he explained the first three in detail (including the near and far enemies of each as presented in the Visuddhimagga), and he said this, which is the part I was talking about:

      Karuṇā and muditā are complimentary forms. One focuses on the suffering of beings, and one focuses on the happiness of beings. But they focus on that particular aspect, whereas mettā is more general and just wishes beings be well and happy. So mettā is the most general form, and the other two are specialist forms of mettā.

      I’ve found this to be helpful.

      Regarding the Metta Sutta, I’ve been reflecting lately on the qualities of suvaco (being suvacocassa means ‘being one who is easy to admonish,’ right?) and mudu.

    • Bhante is teaching a more modern and common kind of metta. There it is not needed to have the quality of suvacocassa, you just need to have a opinion and feel good with your developed ideas of metta.

      And you can even make all such on common ground and domain. Free 🙂

  4. Dear Bhante Sujato,

    What other points in Europe do you have planned ? Will you be leading any retreats in the U.K., giving any public talks or otherwise being available there ?

    Best wishes!

    • Hi Andy,

      So far I’m going to be in Norway and Germany for retreats. And in Vienna for the global Religions for Peace conference, to be held here; but this is not confirmed. Not UK, I’m afraid. Maybe next time!

    • Dear Bhante,

      Thank you for your informative reply. It’s the U.K.’s loss, hopefully next time 😀

      Enjoy your European Grand Tour !

    • Good Luck, Bad Luck

      Opposites are endless. Good and bad, day and night
      , right and wrong, mine and yours, praising and blaming – all are opposites, all are endless.
      Opposites produce each other. Day becomes night, and death becomes rebirth. The egg becomes the hen, and the hen makes the egg. In just this way, good luck and bad luck are an endless cycle.
      There was once a farmer who lost his mare. When the mare disappeared, the people of the village said, “Bad luck!” But when the mare came home the very next day followed by a good strong horse, the people of the village said, “Good luck!” Yesterday they thought “bad luck,” today they think “good luck”. Yesterday they said “loss,” but today they say “gain.” Which is true? Gain and loss are opposites.
      When the farmer’s son rode the beautiful horse, he fell and broke his leg. Then all the people said, “Bad luck!” War came, and all of the strong men were drafted. Many men fought and died on the battlefield. Because the farmer’s son had broken his leg, he could not go to war. Was this loss or gain? Good luck or bad luck? Who knows?

      Maha Ghosananda “Step by Step”


  5. The Germany retreat is at a hugely difficult time for me. When will you be in Norway, and where? Not coming to denmark by any chance?

    Probably a bad time to ask – are you already on retreat?


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