🙏🏿 UNDERSTANDING THE FOUR IMMEASURABLES AND THEIR NEAR AND FAR ENEMIES The Near and Far Enemies of Equanimity

  • 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.

Andrew often talks about “near enemies” of worthy goals and attributes and after thinking about, and reciting, The Four Immeasurables in Buddhism I came across the following article that I found worth contemplating. Maybe you will too.

:pray:t6:

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Great read, thank you for sharing that teaching

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I have been in online sessions where some folks expressed concerns about The Four Immeasurables, questioning how anyone could wish happiness for Hitler or their least favorite president, actor, or any mass murderer in the news. I’ve often wondered about that so I was interested to hear Phakchok Rinpoches answer to “What is Happiness?” asked at a recent online session. Rinpoche has some marvelous books Radically Happy and In the Footsteps of the Bodhisattavas, and a new one due out soon, Awakening Dignity: A Guide to Living a Life of Deep Fulfillment, so I’ve been following him for a while and value what he says.

His response was simply, “When I am happy I am outside of myself, not thinking about myself, but thinking about others, working for their happiness.” What a great thought, I thought. I remembered Andrew paraphrasing Shanti Deva? “All efforts on you own behalf get you nothing, the only things that count are what you do for others.”

Then I realized, when asking that all beings be happy, it’s not that they get the cars or homes or goodies that they desire, but that they come to Rinpoche’s realization and learn to operate that way and be free from the suffering of not realizing The Four Immeasurables.

Or rapists, or pedophiles, or Putin… this list goes on and on.

I have wondered the same thing.

The conclusion I came up with, was that when you are in a happy state, or place of deep contentment, the desires to comitt harm vanish.

If you are not starving, you will have no desire to steal food. If you are drained of hatred or anger, you will have no desire for violence.

This topic reminds me of one of my favorite Mark Twain quotes:

"But who prays for Satan? Who in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most, our one fellow and brother who most needed a friend yet had not a single one, the one sinner among us all who had the highest and clearest right to every Christian’s daily and nightly prayers, for the plain and unassailable reason that his was the first and greatest need, he being among sinners the supremest?”

I think a big reason why there is so much alcoholism and drug abuse in the world is because of the nasty stigma associated with it, many people are ashamed to get help. I think compassion evaporates that stigma, and gives people a desire to seek help and heal.

Really like both of those quotes.

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At least The Rolling Stones pleaded for sympathy for him! One of my college professors talked about a Greek Orthodox painting of Satan he saw in Athens, in which the central figure was strikingly beautiful, charismatic and magnetic. When he asked about it he was told that of course evil is attractive or why else would so many be drawn to it?

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