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Brahma Viharas (the four sublime states of mind)

sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran
Hello Everyone

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Intention! Watch it, cultivate it, master it.


The brahma-viharas, or "sublime attitudes," are the Buddha's primary heart teachings — the ones that connect most directly with our desire for true happiness. The term brahma-vihara literally means "dwelling place of brahmas." Brahmas are gods who live in the higher heavens, dwelling in an attitude of unlimited goodwill, unlimited compassion, unlimited empathetic joy, and unlimited equanimity. These unlimited attitudes can be developed from the more limited versions of these emotions that we experience in the human heart.

Of these four emotions, goodwill (metta) is the most fundamental. It's the wish for true happiness, a wish you can direct to yourself or to others. Goodwill was the underlying motivation that led the Buddha to search for awakening and to teach the path to awakening to others after he had found it.

The next two emotions in the list are essentially applications of goodwill. Compassion (karuna) is what goodwill feels when it encounters suffering: It wants the suffering to stop. Empathetic joy (mudita) is what goodwill feels when it encounters happiness: It wants the happiness to continue. Equanimity (upekkha) is a different emotion, in that it acts as an aid to and a check on the other three. When you encounter suffering that you can't stop no matter how hard you try, you need equanimity to avoid creating additional suffering and to channel your energies to areas where you can be of help. In this way, equanimity isn't cold hearted or indifferent. It simply makes your goodwill more focused and effective.

Making these attitudes limitless requires work. It's easy to feel goodwill, compassion, and empathetic joy for people you like and love, but there are bound to be people you dislike — often for very good reasons. Similarly, there are many people for whom it's easy to feel equanimity: people you don't know or don't really care about. But it's hard to feel equanimity when people you love are suffering. Yet if you want to develop the brahma-viharas, you have to include all of these people within the scope of your awareness so that you can apply the proper attitude no matter where or when. This is where your heart needs the help of your head.

posted countless times no doubt! so much the better !

=) may your meditation go well
may your day go smoothly
and may your true heart expanse be your guide


  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran
    Beautiful! :) Very moved. There are some audio teachings I've been saving for 'later' on the brahma-viharas . . . now is later, apparently!

    Gassho :)
  • Dennis1Dennis1 Veteran Veteran
    Fine, thank you. From a Buddhist point of view I wouldn't call Brahmas Gods. It means noble one or divine but this comes from the casts system in India. Then, the Aryan(noble ones) peoples (white faced) who were conquerors, were the highest castes with the dark-aboriginal peoples being the lower-Sudras-untouchable caste. It sort of goes against my views of equality to call Brahmas, Gods. However the Viharas are beautiful and fine. Sort of like the Paramitas. Again, thank you.
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