Learning
Center

The Four Immeasurables &
Loving-kindness

 

The Brahma-Viharas & the four immeasurables

The four immeasurables, known also by the Sanskrit Brahma Viharas, are found throughout Buddhist traditions. They are summed up in this meditation/prayer:

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from bliss without suffering,
May all sentient beings be in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger.

The Buddha taught these to his son Rahula:

Rahula, practice loving kindness to overcome anger. Loving kindness has the capacity to bring happiness to others without demanding anything in return.

Practice compassion to overcome cruelty. Compassion has the capacity to remove the suffering of others without expecting anything in return.

Practice sympathetic joy to overcome hatred. Sympathetic joy arises when one rejoices over the happiness of others and wishes others well-being and success.

Practice non-attachment to overcome prejudice. Non-attachment is the way of looking at all things openly and equally. This is because that is. Myself and others are not separate. Do not reject one thing only to chase after another.

I call these the four immeasurables. Practice them and you will become a refreshing source of vitality and happiness for others.

From Thich Nhat Hahn's Old Path White Clouds"

The Four Sublime States – Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity
Nyanaponika Thera

Mudita
Eileen Siriwardhana

The Four Immeasurable States
Traleg Rinpoche

The Practice of the Four Immeasurables" Awakening a Kind Heart
Ven Sangye Khadro

The Four Immeasurables
Ven. Thubten Chodron

See the Ashoka online course Liberating the Heart: The Brahma Viharas taught by Sharon Salzberg

Metta / loving-kindness

Lovingkindness, or metta as it is known in Pali, is a universal, unselfish and all-embracing love that protects, supports and heals both oneself and others. Metta is one of the four immeasurables.

Meditation on Loving-Kindness (Metta)
Bhante Gunaratana

Universal Loving Kindness
Ajahn Sumedho

Reflecting on kindness
Ajahn Candasiri

The Practice of Loving-Kindness (Metta) As Taught by the Buddha in the Pali Canon
Ñanamoli Thera (compilation and translation)

Facets of Metta
Sharon Salzberg

The Power of Metta
Guy Armstrong

Guided Lovingkindness Meditation
This guided meditation for cultivating the power of metta, taught by Sharon Salzberg, begins by directing positive sentiments towards oneself and progresses to radiate this well-wishing outward towards specific people and finally to all beings everywhere, without limit. From Dharma Stream.