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The Four Brahma Viharas

About the brahma viharas...

  • The four "sublime states" of the boddhisattva (roughly, a saint one who has accomplished enlightenment, but remains with us to show the rest of creation the way). The rest of us are expected to practice these states as best as we can.
  • "The four modes of sublime living... which would lead to the establishment of a peaceful and prosperous world."
  • "The foundation of happiness."
  • Bhante Henepola Gunaratana says

    "They are so important in the practice of Vipassana meditation that they are included in the second step of the Noble Eightfold Path. In fact, no concentration is possible without these sublime states of mind because in their absence the mind would be filled with hatred, rigidity, worry, fear, tension and restlessness."

    Briefly...

    1. Metta (sanskrit, Maitri): caring, loving kindness displayed to all you meet.
    2. Karuna: compassion or mercy, the special kindness shown to those who suffer.
    3. Mudita: sympathetic joy, being happy for others, without a trace of envy.
    4. Uppekha (Upeksa): equanimity or levelness, the ability to accept others as they are.

    For more...

  • Read Sharon Salzberg's Lovingkindness; The Revolutionary Art of Happiness.
  •  © Copyright Catherine Holmes Clark 2001. Last Updated 26 February 2001