Monday, September 14, 2015

The Four Immeasurable Minds

Chapter 22 The Four Immeasurable Minds
(from "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" by Thich Nhat Hanh)

1. Four Immeasurable Minds
  = love, compassion, joy, equanimity 
  = the dwelling place (address) of true love
  = the four aspects of true love
  = inter-are
  = will grow until they embrace the whole world
  = the very nature of an enlightened person
  = everyone and everything will become happier as a result

(Cf. 1)
With the power of mindfulness, of concentration and insight, we can transform our limited love into a source of boundless love.
The Buddha spoke about four elements that constitute true love: 
1) love, the capacity to be kind and offer happiness, 
   maitri in Sanskrit; 
2) compassion, the capacity to relieve suffering, karuna in 
3) joy, the capacity to bring joy every day, mudita in Sanskrit;
4) equanimity (letting go), the capacity of nondiscrimination, 
   upeksha in Sanskrit.
(Excerpt from The Art of Power by Thich Nhat Hanh)

(Cf. 2)
1) friendship (or kinship), ("maitri" comes from the Sanskrit word, 
   mitra, which literally means “friend”.)
2) healing, the capacity to heal (To heal is to become or to make 
   something healthy or well again. Thus, healing can be seen as 
   a process of transforming and removing suffering.)
3) joy (including "altruistic joy", to feel happy for another person’s 
   advantageous conditions or achievements)
4) interbeing (Interbeing encompasses equanimity, 
   nondiscrimination, inclusiveness, and letting go.)
(Excerpt from Mindfulness as medicine by Sister Dang Nghiem)

(Cf. 3)
During the Winter Retreat of 2011–12, Thay added two more elements to the Buddha’s Four Immeasurable Minds of love. One is “trust and confidence” and the other is “reverence” (capacity to recognize and to be in awe of what is).
(Excerpt from Mindfulness as medicine by Sister Dang Nghiem)

2. Practices for true love
1) To develop the capacity of love,
   we have to practice looking and listening deeply
   (to know what to do and what not to do to make others happy) 
   (a durian story: an example of love without understanding)
   Without understanding, your love is not true love.
2) To develop compassion,
   we need to practice mindful breathing, deep listening, and deep 
   (to be able to touch other's pain)
   You are in deep communication, deep communion with her, and 
   that alone brings some relief.
   One compassionate word, action, or thought can reduce 
   another person's suffering and bring him joy.
   The Buddha's smile is possible because the Buddha has 
   enough understanding, calmness, and strength. He is able to 
   smile to suffering because he knows how to take care of it and 
   to help transform it.
3) To develop joy,
   we need to dwell in mindfulness.
   (to be able to touch the wondrous and refreshing things)
4) To develop equanimity,
   we have to put ourselves "into the other person's skin" and 
   become one with him.
   (to understand and truly love the other person)
   (there is no "self" and no "other")
   If your love has attachment, discrimination, prejudice, or 
   clinging in it, it is not true love.
   equanimity = nonattachment = nondiscrimination = 
   even-mindedness = letting go
[All above practices for true love are based on mindfulness, concentration and insight. So, in short, generating the energies of mindfulness, concentration and insight is the practice for true love, boundless love, unconditional love, or enlightenment.]

6. Practices for enlightenment
The Buddha told, "Whoever practices the followings will arrive deeply at enlightenment."
1) the Four Immeasurable Minds(四無量心
2) the Seven Factors of Awakening(七覚支
3) the Four Noble Truths(四聖諦
4) the Noble Eightfold Path(八正道
[ Seven Factors of Awakening: Mindfulness, Investigation, Diligence (Energy), Joy, Ease (Relaxation), Concentration, Letting go (Equanimity) ]

(Cf. 4)
1) The Four Noble Truths ⇒ 
2) The Noble Eightfold Path ⇒ 
3) The Four Establishments of Mindfulness (The Sutra of  Four 
   Foundations of Mindfulness) ⇒
4) The Sutra on the Full Awareness of Breathing (The Sutra on 
   Mindful Breathing, or 16 exercises on mindful breathing) 
5) The Heart Sutra 
6) The Seven Factors of Awakening ⇒
7) The Four Immeasurable Minds
[ I understand that above can be categorized as follows:
1-2): the teachings on the whole picture
3-6): the teachings on the concrete practice methods
6-7): the fruits through the practice of mindfulness, concentration and insight ]


Four immeasurable minds = Four elements of true love

No comments:

Post a Comment