The Four Immeasurable Minds

The four immeasurable minds are some of my favorite insights that have come from the Buddha.

What are the four immeasurable minds?

They are loving kindnesss, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

I can remember a time when I had muscle invasive bladder cancer for the first time in 1997. I was watching my daughter, Rachael, in a tennis match. My pride in her willingness to be out there on the court and competing with the other school triggered a powerful emotion. Then I knew the powerful feeling of sympathetic joy.

I took so much pleasure in her happiness and continue to do so many years later.

The same feelings arise when I think of my son and my other daughter. Loving kindness and compassion seem to radiate from me when I think of my children. They have a special place in my life.

From that point on, I finally understood how the four immeasurable minds inter-are. When you are able to feel such loving kindness for others, you naturally feel it for yourself. You are able to feel compassion for people who are less fortunate than you as well as those who have a lot of responsibility on their minds.

Self Disappears | August 4, 2014

When we are freed from the reactive patterns sprung from the boundaries we live by—good and bad; love and hate—we are not the self we were before. And when the boundaries themselves dissolve, self as we understand it disappears.

– Anne C. Klein, “The Four Immeasurables”

Anne C. Klein

I have seen writings of Anne C. Klein in Tricycle magazine and have always been impressed. Her words of wisdom about the four immeasurable minds inspired me to write this article.

As with my experience with my daughter, I recommend that you begin your investigation into these wonderful states of mind by experiencing sympathetic joy for someone you love. Watch this develop into loving kindness, compassion and equanimity.

Do you think you will have a problem with this? If so, please allow me to guide you towards feeling these immeasurable minds deeply.

Books by Anne C. Klein, AKA Rigzin Drolma

Knowledge And Liberation: Tibetan Buddhist Epistemology In Support Of Transformative Religious Experience

Anne Carolyn Klein

Buddhist philosophy is concerned with defining and overcoming the limitations and errors of perception. To do this is essential to Buddhism’s purpose of establishing a method for attaining liberation. Conceptual thought in this view can lead to a liberating understanding, a transformative religious … [Read More…]

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  1. […] recent articles, we have learned that sympathetic joy is one of the four immeasurable minds. When we cultivate joy, we also cultivate loving kindness and compassion and develop […]