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The four blessed abodes

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran

Also known as the Brahma Viharas, I’ve been looking into them recently by making my way through past topics on NewBuddhist where they were talked about. Apparently @Glow made it his main practice for about 5 years. I came across this:

The brahmaviharas are best seen against their opposites:

metta (goodwill) is the opposite of hatred or ill-will,
karuna (mercy/compassion) is the opposite of cruelty,
mudita (appreciative joy) is the opposite of resentment or jealousy,
upekkha (balance or equanimity) is the opposite of craving.

These qualities are about committing to the end of suffering. If you’ve worked with the defilements (kleshas) and have come to a point where further insight is yielding you equanimity but not happiness or bliss, then my experience is working with the brahmaviharas will allow you to advance further in the path. If you feel peace and happiness when you do the meditations or contemplations then it is probably doing you some good.

It seems to be important to approach the brahmaviharas in a balanced way (see this older discussion), to me it makes sense that too much loving-kindness and compassion practice might lead to increased sensitivity to suffering, whereas appreciative joy moves the center of the experience away from yourself and equanimity practice encourages a measure of stability. Personally I started with appreciative joy as something I felt I needed to experience.

There are some good resources out there on the internet such as this site or these three talks by Ajahn Thanissaro.

adamcrossleyBunkslobsterperson

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Bravo @Kerome
    ... a healthy post.

    Initially the attainments are the opposite of our mad/bad monkey being. Eventually when refined or more unfolded, they have no opposite. For example the wrathful (outwardly hateful) may be serving a tougher metta ...
    https://stottilien.com/2013/04/03/crazy-wisdom-the-archetype-of-the-fool-the-clown-the-jester-and-the-trickster/

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    Yes @lobster, I think it is healthy. But it was odd, I tried to share this topic with my mother and stepfather, and they couldn’t get into it at all. They spend their time thinking about the past, health and other pragmatic things, and they didn’t really see how spending time on these areas of goodness could actually help you feel better and be a better person.

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Really? They couldn't see it?? Wow...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:
    Really? They couldn't see it?? Wow...

    Yeah I know... I think it has to do with the fact that they are a bit older, 71 and 83 years old, and so not really that open to new concepts anymore. They were both Osho sanyassins but they don’t want to partake of other paths, it varies a lot, some Osho followers are very open to other directions.

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