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The Four Immeasurables

The Four Immeasurables


May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness.

May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.

May all beings rejoice in the well-being of others.

May all beings live in peace, free from greed and hatred.


Each of the four verses corresponds to a mental state: loving kindess, compassion, sympathetic joy, and peace (or equanimity).


The following commentary is take from the Wikipedia entry for Brahmavihara.


The four immeasurables, in the original Pali and Sanskrit, Brahmavihāra Apramāṇa:


Brahmavihāra means “Brahma abidings”, or “sublime attitudes.” It may be parsed as “Brahma” and “vihāra”; which is often rendered into English as “sublime” or “divine abodes”.


Apramāṇa, usually translated as “the immeasurables,” means boundlessness, infinitude, a state that is illimitable.


In English the “Four Immeasurables” are known as follows:


1. Loving-kindness (Pāli: mettā, Sanskrit: maitri) towards all: the hope that a person will be well; “the wish that all sentient beings, without any exception, be happy.”

2. Compassion (Pāli and Sanskrit: karuṇā): the hope that a person’s sufferings will diminish; “the wish for all sentient beings to be free from suffering.”

3. Empathetic joy (Pāli and Sanskrit: mudita): joy in the accomplishments of a person—oneself or another; sympathetic joy; “the wholesome attitude of rejoicing in the happiness and virtues of all sentient beings.”

4. Equanimity (Pāli: upekkhā, Sanskrit: upekṣā): learning to accept loss and gain, praise and blame, and success and failure, all with detachment, equally, for oneself and for others. Equanimity is “not to distinguish between friend, enemy or stranger, but regard every sentient being as equal. It is a clear-minded tranquil state of mind—not being overpowered by delusions, mental dullness or agitation.”

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