One who wants to develop these four should practice them towards beings
first as the promotion of the aspect of welfare—and loving-kindness has the
promotion of the aspect of welfare as its characteristic; and next, on seeing or
hearing or judging
that beings whose welfare has been thus wished for are at
the mercy of suffering, they should be practiced as the promotion of the aspect of
the removal of suffering—and compassion has the promotion of the aspect of
the removal of suffering as its characteristic; and then, on seeing the success of
those whose welfare has been wished for and the removal of whose suffering
has been wished for, they should be practiced as being glad—and gladness has
the act of gladdening as its characteristic; but after that there is nothing to be
done and so they should be practiced as the neutral aspect, in other words, the
state of an onlooker—and equanimity has the promotion of the aspect of
neutrality as its characteristic; therefore, since their respective aims are the aspect
of welfare, etc., their order should be understood to correspond, with lovingkindness stated first, then compassion, gladness and equanimity
Though they have a single characteristic in having a measureless scope,
yet the first three are only of triple and quadruple jhána [respectively in the
fourfold and fivefold reckonings]. Why? Because they are not dissociated from joy. But why are their aims not dissociated from joy? Because they are the escape
from ill will, etc., which are originated by grief. But the last one belongs only to
the remaining single jhána. Why? Because it is associated with equanimous
feeling. For the divine abiding of equanimity that occurs in the aspect of neutrality
towards beings does not exist apart from equanimous [that is to say, neitherpainful-nor-pleasant] feeling
pegembara wrote:Another simile to show the gradual development in sequence:
A mother is not only born with the child she brings forth, she
also grows up with the child she brings up. Her growth is in terms of
the other three Divine Abidings or Brahma Vihara- compassion,
sympathetic joy and equanimity. In bringing up her child, some-
times a mother has to be stern and tactful. Her soft tender love
matures into a compassionate sternness, when the child is pass-
ing through the unruly boyhood and reckless adolescence. But
that hardness of her heart melts at the correct moment, like
The child has now reached manhood. He can stand on his
own feet with enviable self-confidence. The mother also grows
up with sympathetic joy enjoying the fruits of her labours. Her com-
placence, like curd, is serene and has nothing meddlesome about it.
The bringing forth and the bringing-up is over. The time comes
now to let go - of the attachments and involvements regarding
the child. But for that separation too, the mother, now mature
in her experience, is fully prepared with equanimity. Like a pot
of ghee, she is not easily upset.
daverupa wrote:Hmm... they don't really come "in an order" do they?
They are simply in a list; they are almost always found together when their practice is described, as I recall...
Alobha wrote:What's the reason for the fixed sequence of the Brahma Viharas?
SarathW wrote:There are many categories in Dhamma teaching. I see them as different paths. They all are aim towards one goal “Nirvana”
If you can understand and experience one category you will understand all. That could be the reason why, that we chose one meditation object, when we meditate.
To see various categories please refer to the following link:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el322.html
Modus.Ponens wrote:In this sutta the Buddha advises that the practice of metta and other brahmaviharas should be taken from the first to the fourth jhana. Specificaly, it recomends practicing equanimity from the first to the 4th jhana, proving that the Visudhimagga is wrong.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Then you should train yourself thus: 'Good-will (1), as my awareness-release, will be developed, pursued, [...]
"When this concentration is thus developed, thus well-developed by you, you should then train yourself thus: 'Compassion (2), as my awareness-release... Appreciation (3), as my awareness-release... Equanimity (4), as my awareness-release, will be developed, pursued, handed the reins and taken as a basis, given a grounding, steadied, consolidated, & well-undertaken.'
Furthermore, In the most systematised way the Buddha taught the entire path, which is found in the Mahaparinibbana sutta, of the 37 things to develop to attain enlightenment, there is only direct mentioning of one brahmavihara: equanimity. Aditionaly, development of each brahmavihara leads to rebirth among the brahmas, and equanimity leads to rebirth among the highest brahmas.
I don't think the Brahma Viharas are intended to be practiced in order any more than the Eightfold Path is. I think the idea is to develop all parts simultaneously, as much as one is able. But I've been wrong before.
Cittasanto wrote:One possibility is that we need to gladden the mind before balancing it.
but the reverse could be true also.
Alobha wrote:That may be right for a less-formal training of the Brahma Viharas, where it depends much on the situation what is most skillful to develop. However, it stands in contrast with the non-random order given like in the Sankhitta Sutta (and a few other Suttas) and the Visuddhi Magga.
Alobha wrote:Cittasanto wrote:One possibility is that we need to gladden the mind before balancing it.
but the reverse could be true also.
Believe it or not, that was helpful.
I'm sure yet, but I'll investigate further. It is possible that Metta, Karuna and Mudita prepare the mind for Upekkha. So Upekkha would be the most important, but the others need to be trained before that. Considering how easy it is to drop from equanimity into indifference, taking out all anger with Metta, Karuna and Mudita before going for Upekkha would be a very skillful approach. Hm.
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