The 4 immeasurables | INFJ Forum

The 4 immeasurables

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by mayflow, Nov 14, 2008.

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  1. mayflow

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    In Buddha's teachings, He taught about the 4 immeasurables or "Unbounded" or Sublime states of mind. These being loving kindness, sympathetic joy, compassion, and equanimity. These 4 working together in harmony is considered sublime. The following will be a condensed version of Nyanaponika Thera's treastises on these. I'll start with "Love"

    from: Contemplations on the Four Sublime States

     
    #1 mayflow, Nov 14, 2008
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  2. HolySmoke

    HolySmoke endeavoring to persevere

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    Thank you, Mayflow, for starting this thread.
     
    #2 HolySmoke, Nov 14, 2008
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  3. OP
    mayflow

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    A pleasure of course, and thank you for being you.

     
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    mayflow

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    III

    Sympathetic Joy (Mudita)

    Not only to compassion, but also to joy with others open your heart!

    Small, indeed, is the share of happiness and joy allotted to beings! Whenever a little happiness comes to them, then you may rejoice that at least one ray of joy has pierced through the darkness of their lives, and dispelled the gray and gloomy mist that enwraps their hearts.

    Your life will gain in joy by sharing the happiness of others as if it were yours. Did you never observe how in moments of happiness men's features change and become bright with joy? Did you never notice how joy rouses men to noble aspirations and deeds, exceeding their normal capacity? Did not such experience fill your own heart with joyful bliss? It is in your power to increase such experience of symapthetic joy, by producing happiness in others, by bringing them joy and solace.

    Let us teach real joy to men! Many have unlearned it. Life, though full of woe, holds also sources of happiness and joy, unknown to most. Let us teach people to seek and to find real joy within themselves and to rejoice with the joy of others! Let us teach them to unfold their joy to ever sublimer heights!

    Noble and sublime joy is not foreign to the Teaching of the Enlightened One. Wrongly the Buddha's Teaching is sometimes considered to be a doctrine diffusing melancholy. Far from it: the Dhamma leads step by step to an ever purer and loftier happiness.

    Noble and sublime joy is a helper on the path to the extinction of suffering. Not he who is depressed by grief, but one possessed of joy finds that serene calmness leading to a contemplative state of mind. And only a mind serene and collected is able to gain the liberating wisdom.

    The more sublime and noble the joy of others is, the more justified will be our own symapthetic joy. A cause for our joy with others is their noble life securing them happiness here and in lives hereafter. Symapthetic joy means a sublime nobility of heart and intellect which knows, understands and is ready to help.

    Symapthetic joy that is strength and gives strength: this is the highest joy.
     
  5. HolySmoke

    HolySmoke endeavoring to persevere

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    I'll just say up front...I can't wait to read this ! !
     
  6. OP
    mayflow

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    IV

    Equanimity (Upekkha)

    Equanimity is a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight.

    Looking at the world around us, and looking into our own heart, we see clearly how difficult it is to attain and maintain balance of mind.

    Looking into life we notice how it continually moves between contrasts: rise and fall, success and failure, loss and gain, honor and blame. We feel how our heart responds to all this with happiness and sorrow, delight and despair, disappointment and satisfaction, hope and fear. These waves of emotion carry us up and fling us down; and no sooner do we find rest, than we are in the power of a new wave again. How can we expect to get a footing on the crest of the waves? How can we erect the building of our lives in the midst of this ever restless ocean of existence, if not on the Island of Equanimity.

    A world where that little share of happiness allotted to beings is mostly secured after many disappointments, failures and defeats;

    a world where only the courage to start anew, again and again, promises success;

    a world where scanty joy grows amidst sickness, separation and death;

    a world where beings who were a short while ago connected with us by symapthetic joy, are at the next moment in want of our compassion - such a world needs equanimity.

    But the kind of equanimity required has to be based on vigilant presence of mind, not on indifferent dullness. It has to be the result of hard, deliberate training, not the casual outcome of a passing mood. But equanimity would not deserve its name if it had to be produced by exertion again and again. In such a case it would surely be weakened and finally defeated by the vicissitudes of life. True equanimity, however, should be able to meet all these severe tests and to regenerate its strength from sources within. It will possess this power of resistance and self-renewal only if it is rooted in insight.

    What, now, is the nature of that insight? It is the clear understanding of how all these vicissitudes of life originate, and of our own true nature. We have to understand that the various experiences we undergo result from our kamma - our actions in thought, word and deed - performed in this life and in earlier lives. Kamma is the womb from which we spring (kamma-yoni), and whether we like it or not, we are the inalienable "owners" of our deeds (kamma-ssaka). As soon as we have performed any action, it remains with us and inevitably returns to us as our due heritage (kamma-dayada). Nothing that happens to us comes from an "outer" hostile world foreign to ourselves; everything is the outcome of our own mind and deeds. Because this knowledge frees us from fear, it is the first basis of equanimity. When, in everything that befalls us we only meet ourselves, why should we fear?

    If, however, fear or uncertainty should arise, we know the refuge where it can be allayed: our good deeds (kamma-patisarana). By taking this refuge, confidence and courage will grow within us - confidence in the protecting power of our good deeds done in the past; courage to perform more good deeds right now, despite the discouraging hardships of our present life. For we know that such deeds provide the best defense against the hard blows of destiny, that it is never too late but always the right time for good actions. If that refuge, in doing good and avoiding evil, becomes firmly established within us, one day we shall feel assured: "More and more ceases the misery and evil rooted in the past. And this present life - I try to make it spotless and pure. What else can the future bring than increase of the good?" And from that certainty our minds will become serene, and we shall gain the strength of patience and equanimity to bear with all our present adversities. Then our deeds will be our friends (kamma-bandhu).

    Likewise, all the various events of our lives, being the result of our deeds, will also be our friends, even if they bring us sorrow and pain. Our deeds return to us in a guise that often makes them unrecognizable. Sometimes our actions return to us in the way that others treat us, sometimes as a thorough upheaval in our lives; often the results are against our expectations or contrary to our wills. Such experiences point out to us consequences of our deeds we did not foresee; they render visible half-conscious motives of our former actions which we tried to hide even from ourselves, covering them up with various pretexts. If we learn to see things from this angle, and to read the message conveyed by our own experience, then suffering, too, will be our friend. It will be a stern friend, but a truthful and well-meaning one who teaches us the most difficult subject, knowledge about ourselves, and warns us against abysses towards which we are moving blindly. By looking at suffering as our teacher and friend, we shall better succeed in enduring it with equanimity. Consequently, the teaching of kamma will give us a powerful impulse for freeing ourselves from negative kamma, from those deeds which again and again throw us into the realms of suffering.

    Equanimity is the crown and culmination of the four sublime states. But this should not be understood to mean that equanimity is the negation of love, compassion and sympathetic joy, or that it leaves them behind as inferior. Far from that, equanimity includes and pervades them fully, just as they fully pervade equanimity.
     
  7. HolySmoke

    HolySmoke endeavoring to persevere

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    Thank you, Mayflow, this is brilliant and necessary. Yes, esp as someone who's Karma is like an instant boomerang... The experiences in life are direct lessons. Unrecognized negative experiences and belief systems sit within and are extremely painful and confusing. On a basic level, if we don't learn our lessons (you know, those things that we are repressing or denying or delusional about) then they will come back at us, in a larger form, more daunting or sublime - depending upon the lesson. It does come back. That is an important launching point of departure in life. The first step to improving one's life is clearly, forgiveness. (restating) Recognizing our faults is also a critical process requiring a tremendous amount of strength from within.
     
  8. Seeker

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    Thank you Mayflow, thank you.
    :mclap:
     
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  9. IndigoSensor

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    Words of cosmic wisdom. Such a simple concept, but so hard to follow.

    But, such is life and it's never ending persuit :)
     
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    mayflow

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    Thanks to Holy Smoke. I so value your input and responses. Also thanks to Seeker! I'll post the thesis of how these 4 qualites interact and harmonize fairly soon.

    Indigo Sensor, I am curious about your user name and if it relates to Indigo Children or Aura's - I've been told I have a Crystal aura. [​IMG]

    http://www.namastecafe.com/edu/aurahealing.htm
     
  11. IndigoSensor

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    Ah, yes. My user name is as such because I am an indigo, and am very sensitive to my surroundings. I have been told I am an indigo for many years now, and have come to realise that indeed I am. I am almost a textbook story of an indigo. You have a crystal aura? Very very interesting.
     
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    mayflow

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    One of the cool things about crystals is their reflective qualities. We can talk about this further one day if we examine the stories of Indra's net. It could be argued that all are Crystals. :smile:

     
  13. HolySmoke

    HolySmoke endeavoring to persevere

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    This is simply beautiful and yet, I have only read the first few paragraphs.

    All forum jokes and jarring aside, this is the essence of why we are here...in general and on this specific forum. Read, reread, and read once more. Thank you Mayflow for keeping the important information in front of us.
     
    #13 HolySmoke, Nov 18, 2008
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2008
  14. OP
    mayflow

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    The reading or rereading of this is meant to be according to the desires of the readers. That is, if it touches them or moves them or connects with any of anyones, by all means enjoy it, learn from it, appreciate it. If it leads you into new ideas, thoughts, realizations, go for them. If it does not connect, that is also fine. Every heart has it's own path to follow.
     
  15. Lonewalker

    Lonewalker Regular Poster

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    Thank you! I enjoyed that very much.

    :m023:

    Lonewalker
     

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