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The Four Immeasurables

The Four Immeasurables

Question:

What are the four Immeasurables?

Answer:

Good question! The four immeasurables are a collection of meditation practices that are designed to increase four specific virtuous ideals. We’ve already talked quite a bit about the first one:

1. Loving Kindness

Remember when we talked about loving-kindness meditation a few weeks back? The practitioner sits in meditation and thinks or recites to him or herself, “May I be kind to myself. May I rest in this moment. May I be at ease. May I be happy,” and then gradually aims these and similar thoughts outwards towards other individuals and the whole world. This is often called metta.

2. Compassion

Wanting others to be free from suffering. Unselfishly desiring to help others with no gain whatsoever to yourself is the goal to aspire to here. This is a huge part of being a Bodhisattva.

3. Sympathetic Joy

When someone you know has good luck or succeeds are you happy? Are you really happy, or is it more of a ‚Äúquietly jealous‚Äù happy? It’s not always easy to truly rejoice in the success of others, but it is one practice that must be mastered.

4. Equanimity

It’s all the same to you. Every person you meet has equal worth. Whether you win or lose, profit or loss, succeed or fail, it will not affect you. This is not the same as apathy, but it is a removal of attachment. Don’t be attached to results, expectations, ideas, or outcomes.


THE FOUR IMMEASURABLES

How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were to abide in equanimity,
Free of hatred and attachment!
May they abide in equanimity!
I myself will cause them to abide in equanimity!
Please, guru-Buddha, grant me blessings to be able to do this.

How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings had happiness and the cause of happiness!
May they have happiness and its cause!
I shall cause them to have these!
Please, guru-Buddha, grant me blessings to be able to do this.

How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were free of suffering and its cause!
May they be free of suffering and its cause!
I myself will free them from suffering and its cause!
Please, guru-Buddha, grant me blessings to be able to do this.

How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were never separated from the happiness of higher rebirth and liberation!
May they never separated from the happiness of higher rebirth and liberation!
I myself will cause them never to be separated from these!
Please, guru-Buddha, grant me blessings to be able to do this.

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