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July 23, 2011 in meditation | Tags: compassion, equanimity, four sublime states of the mind, four unlimited mind, individual social dimensions, joy, love, loving-kindness, metta karuna mudita upekkha, Metta meditation, Metta Sutta, Nyanaponika Thera, the Buddha | 1 comment
Voicing good wishes to oneself and others is known as a meditation in itself, the Metta meditation.
The four sublime or unlimited states of mind are: love or loving-kindness (metta); compassion (karuna); sympathetic joy (mudita), and equanimity (upekkha). [Pali terms within brackets]
“Here, monks, a disciple dwells pervading one direction with his heart filled with loving-kindness, likewise the second, the third and the fourth direction; so above, below and around; he dwells pervading the entire world everywhere and equally with his heart filled with equanimity, abundant, grown great, measureless, free from enmity and free from distress.”
–The Buddha. (Metta Sutta).
The previous excerpt is followed by three more paragraphs in which the term loving-kindness is substituted sequentially by compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.
These states of mind have both an individual and a social dimension that I wanted to incorporate in CM meditation.
The following paragraphs are taken from the excellent commentaries of Nyanaponika Thera on this topic, the first on the individual dimension, and the second to the social:
“Love, without desire to possess, knowing well that in the ultimate sense there is no possession and no possessor: this is the highest love. It is compassion that removes the heavy bar, opens the door to freedom, and makes the narrow heart as wide as the world. 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. Equanimity is a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight.”
“These four attitudes are said to be excellent or sublime because they are the right or ideal way of conduct towards living beings. They provide, in fact, the answer to all situations arising from social contact. They are the great removers of tension, the great peace-makers in social conflict, and the great healers of wounds suffered in the struggle of existence. They level social barriers, build harmonious communities, awaken slumbering magnanimity long forgotten, revive joy and hope long abandoned, and promote human brotherhood against the forces of egotism.”