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Last night at Exeter Sangha Night we continued our theme of the ‘Divine Abodes’ - AKA the brahmaviharas, or the Four Immeasurables. We are exploring this theme as part of Triratna’s Buddhist Action Month 2017!
Our topic this week was to practice the skill of being joyful at other’s good fortune and rejoicing in their merits. We talked about taking every opportunity to express our appreciation for others (or in fact to ourselves too!) and noticing the effect that has. This meditation is known as ‘the development of sympathetic joy’, or to use its Sanskrit name, mudita bhavana.
If you want to read a passage in the Pali canon where the Buddha teaches the Brahmaviharas have a look here on www.accesstoinsight.com - it is quite detailed and gives you the locus classicus so to speak.
Or there is this article in the Buddhist magazine Tricycle which includes the poignant line -
“By practicing the four boundless states, we avoid the fate of T. S. Eliot’s poor Alfred Prufrock, who lamented, “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.” The ease of equanimity, the full-heartedness of love, the tenderness of compassion, the radiance of joy—these are things we don’t want in meager doses.”
Let’s not have to say at the end of our lives that we have measured our our lives with coffee spoons!
The Four Immeasurables
May all beings have happiness and the cause of happiness.
May they be free of suffering and the cause of suffering.
May they never be disassociated from the supreme happiness which is without suffering.
May they remain in the boundless equanimity, free from both attachment to close ones and rejection of others.