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The Four Immeasurables in Action

Dharmacharya Andrew. J. Williams


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“Equality and equal opportunity for all people is essential, to be able to develop and maintain a peaceful and harmonious environment, both individually and collectively.

For us all to have peaceful and harmonious homes, communities, regions, countries and world, all people need to have equal opportunity to have access to the essentials in life. For there to be equality everywhere, all of the time.

To enable ourselves to achieve this equality and equal opportunity, it is essential that we develop and practise the Four Immeasurables, or Sublime Mental States (Brahma Vihara), of universal loving kindness (metta), universal compassion (karuna), empathetic joy (mudita) and non-biased equanimity (upphekka).

These four sublime states of mind are also called the four immeasurables because they can be developed, both internally and externally, beyond limit, and they can benefit innumerable sentient beings.

It should be noted that universal loving kindness, universal compassion and empathetic joy should be based on non-biased equanimity, to enable them to be developed beyond limit, with no bias, prejudice or hindrance.

A mind of equanimity helps us to overcome bias and prejudice. Universal loving kindness helps us to overcome hatred and anger. Universal compassion helps us to overcome cruelty and harmful intent. Empathetic joy helps us to overcome jealousy and envy.

Imagine if the whole world, or at least the majority of the world, developed and practised these four immeasurably precious states of mind. The benefit to both the individual and the world at large would also be immeasurable.

The communities throughout the world would be reasonably free from bias and prejudice, hatred and anger, cruelty and harmful intent, and jealousy and envy. They would also be reasonably free from the unhealthy competitiveness, arrogance and envy that arise from selfish pride and self-centeredness.

This freedom would allow us to realise that, no matter how or where we live, we are all inter-related, all intimately connected, all part of the human family that, along with other living beings, share this world together.

All people have the basic right to have clean air to breath, water to drink, food to eat and sufficient shelter to protect us from the elements.

We all have the right to have equal opportunity in regards to education, medical assistance, work, transport and the like, as well as to have freedom of thought, speech and action. The right to live.

It is life that all people treasure the most, knowing this, how can we harm each other or deprive each other of the basic and essential rights and freedoms.

Inequality breeds frustration, confusion and conflict, whilst equality breeds contentment, peace and understanding.

So let’s develop and practise these four immeasurably precious sublime states of mind, and create and maintain homes, communities, regions, countries and a world of equality and equal opportunity for all, and a peaceful and harmonious environment for us all to live in.”


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“We should replace dislike and hatred with genuine universal loving kindness, and replace any lack of appreciation and respect with genuine appreciation and respect. If we do this, we will naturally be kind and friendly to ourselves, others and all of nature.

To fully understand and radiate this spirit of friendship and good-will, this universal loving kindness, it is beneficial to reflect upon the meaning of the Buddha’s words in the Karaniya Metta Sutta (Discourse on Universal Loving Kindness). Then meditate on this precious teaching, to absorb the mind with genuine understanding, and radiate this loving kindness towards all living beings, including yourself.

‘………May all sentient beings be happy. May they live in safety and joy. All sentient beings, whether weak or strong, great or small, short or tall, seen or unseen, near or distant, born or to be born, may they all be happy.

Let no-one deceive or despise another being in any state. Let none by anger or hatred wish harm upon another. Just as a mother would protect her only child with her life, even so, let one cultivate a boundless love toward all sentient beings. Let one radiate that boundless love towards the entire world, above, below and in all directions. Without hindrance, without ill will, without enmity (hostility)………’

May the hearts and minds of all living beings be filled with genuine love, appreciation and respect. May we all be well and happy.”

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~Dharmacharya Andrew. J. Williams~

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