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The Four Immeasurables: Essential to Inner...and World Peace

Updated on July 26, 2016

The buddha's " four immeasurables" surviving in theravada buddhism, esssential to internal and world peace

One of Buddha's importand teachings was that of the 4 divine states of being... four virtues all humans should work towards mastering.

The Brahmavaharas (sublime attitudes- "abodes of brahma") are a series of four Buddhist virtues and the meditation practices made to infuse them into our lives and actions.

aka the four immeasurables Pali-appamanna):

1. Loving Kindness/benevolence


3. Empathetic Joy

4. Equanimity

The four immeasurables were very important to the Buddha- the are the way strive to live our lives, teach, share and interact with the world.

Although the Buddha was adamant about the dharma he was NOT being made into a religion (see "the Buddha" Karen Armstrong for specific pali canon citations), He would probably not have been hung up on that so long as people were sharing and spreading his teachings. And the best way to spread the Buddhist Dharma was to work of the four immeasurables..... think of how perfect these virtues are for great teachers!

Loving Kindness (Metta): This is often seen in "loving kindness meditation" a meditation where one cultivates a glowing light through breath and visualization and then gives it -energetically/ mentally to Loved ones, friends, strangers and enemies alike. It leaves you with a feeling of euphoria and good will...most of all nonjudgmental acceptance of others.

Compassion (Karuna): compassion is empathy plus action. where you feel for someones pain and use this to understand them and how they are acting, and ultimately be able to help them. Compassion is also vital for non-judgmental acceptance of others.

Giving/Sympathetic/appreciative/connected JOY (mudita ) How is this for the best kind of endless loop: Joy is for giving... and when you give joy, it gives you joy, so you give more joy!

Equanimity (upekkhā) "Peace, it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, no trouble and no hard work, it is to be in the midst of all those things and still keep a calm heart" -unknown but famous meme. that sums it up though, and what better quality could a teacher have? it is patience and presence of mind/ mindfulness all in one! To attain equanimity one must meditate: practicing awareness, acceptance, forgiveness, then back to loving kindness etc. It would be nice if Mahayana included these 4 immeasurables into their teachings...and for that matter...Imagine if everyone worked to cultivate these qualities!

So many people now pull of pride and easily offended , bent on revenge and violence in the name of gods, honor and honor of a god could live in peace and harmony.

Dozens of examples in a little book called the Koran:

3.151 We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve for what they have associated with Allah of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.

Then the question comes up : "Buddhism sounds like constantly "turning the other cheek' , Throughout the centuries Buddhists have been massacred, enslaved and subjugated (by mostly Muslims) for being seen as polytheists (which they are not, but that would be a silly reason to hurt anyone anyway) and even in modern times their greatest shrines have been destroyed for the same reasons. at what point do you say "enough is enough" when do you stand up for your humanitarian rights as a Buddhist?

In my next post on this topic, I will go into that question; which i have explored in depth through lifelong martial arts studies.

But first , here's more basic Buddhist dharma:

Buddhism Is a science of the mind and the Buddha was its founder and chief scientist. Like most scientists he started with a troubling question. The one on his mind was "How can we alleviate human suffering". He first came up with this:

" the four noble truths" :

1.Life is full of dissatisfaction,

2.attachment to feelings of desire lead to dissatisfaction.

3. you can free yourself from this dissatisfaction.

4. the path (dharma) to freedom from dissatisfaction is The eight fold path.

The Noble 8-Fold Path

The Noble Eightfold Path is sometimes divided into 3 parts:

Wisdom ( Pāli: paññā )1. Right View 2. Right Resolve

Moral virtue ( Pāli: sīla )3. right speech 4. right action 5. Right livelyhood

Meditation (Pāli: Samadhi )6. right effort (and diligence) 7. right mindfulness and awareness 8. Right concentration

The buddha also described "3 fires" in his famous fire sermon, about the attitudes in life that can consume a person and are the opposite of peace and mindfulness.

(1) Desire/Thirst, (2) Anger (3) Delusion
'Your house is on fire, burns with the Three Fires; there is no dwelling in it' - the Buddha in Fire Sermon.

'Not to do any evil; to cultivate good; to purify one's heart - this is the teaching of all the Buddhas.

Upcoming topics:

Buddhist thought is not all there is when one is constructing a philosophy that creates joy and alleviates pain in the world, but its a the obvious foundation. I will also Post about Daoism, , which has more to say about nature and how to live in harmony with nature and others.

In an upcoming post i want to discuss with you the Golden Rule, as stated in most of the world's religions. I will also talk about possible reasons for it not being in the Koran

Another future post will be on The Buddha's thoughts on god and religion.

For discussion: Lets stay focused on the topic of this post: the four immeasurables - loving kindness, compassion, Empathetic joy and Equanimity and important they can be in teaching, raising kids, conducting business, dealing with agression and living life.

Your thoughts are welcome :)


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