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Maitri, Karuna, Mudita, and Upeksha – The Four Immeasurable Brahmaviharas

Compassion Meditation – The Four Immeasurable Virtues: Maitri, Karuna, Mudita, and Upeksha

Sri Amit Ray talks about the importance of the four immeasurable Brahmaviharas – compassion meditation techniques and attitudes. They are the highest form of all virtues. The four Immeasurable Virtues are: Maitri, Karuna, Mudita and Upeksha. Brahmaviharas means divine abiding.  Dr. Ray talks about the nature of Brahmaviharas and the importance of Brahmaviharas. He also discusses how these four virtues increases our emotional intelligence and happiness in life. The four Immeasurable divine virtues are explained in details.

Purpose of yoga and meditation is to get a permanent blessed and peaceful state of mind. Being able to control our emotions is key to our happiness as well as our relationships. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with any kind of emotion, some of them can lead to major amounts of distress when left unchecked. By changing our thoughts, we would not change the situation, however, we would change the way it affects our life.

Maitri-Karuna-Mudita-Upeksha-The Four Immeasurable Brahmaviharas

Four Immeasurable Brahmaviharas and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra

These four virtues are mentioned in the teachings of Buddha, Patanjali’s yoga sutra and Upanishads. They are the four types of attitudes towards people and society. The yoga sutra (1.33) states that blessed state of mind is developed through meeting happy people with friendliness, those who are suffering with compassion, those who are virtuous with delight, and indifference or neutrality towards those we perceive as wicked or evil.

Four Immeasurable Brahmaviharas as Taught by Buddha

The Buddha taught the four great virtues, known as the four “Brahmaviharas”. The word Brahmavihara is Pali, and comes from two words. First, there is the word brahma. In the Buddha’s time, a brahma was a deity who lived in a heavenly realm. The word vihara means abode or dwelling. Hence, the word Brahmavihara means dwelling in the realm of blessedness. They are mindfulness practices that protect the mind from falling into habitual patterns of reactivity with the cultivation of our best intentions. We all have the potential to abide in loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity. When we know how to do this, these capacities become an inner wealth, more valuable than any external wealth. Read More »Maitri, Karuna, Mudita, and Upeksha – The Four Immeasurable Brahmaviharas