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Meditation on the four immeasurables - compassion

The four immeasurables - compassion

October 2003

Today we reflect upon compassion. In order to cultivate the proper compassion, in the beginning we focus on the first of the four common foundations meditation, the difficulty in obtaining this human life. When we reflect on each and every point of the four common foundations, we find that this human life is almost impossible to obtain. Due to this we call this the precious human life. So from this viewpoint, this is the most important opportunity for us to make this life meaningful in order to benefit ourselves and others, and is the most important cause to cultivate one's compassion.

We then reflect upon the last of the four common foundations meditation, the difficulties in this cycle of existence. From this viewpoint, if we reflect on the three types of suffering, this is the second most important cause to cultivate one's compassion. As we know, we are all looking for and trying to achieve happiness all the time, but what we experience of happiness in this world is not the pure one, not the real one. This is because the happiness that we are experiencing is not the cause of us to have peace. It actually increases our desire, our attachment because we are never satisfied. In this way, without compassion, it is not logical to think that one can have the right wisdom. This is because the right wisdom is the result of compassion.

This logical reasoning proves to us why we always commit more non-virtuous deeds than positive deeds. The result of that is that we expect to gain happiness, but we only experience even more unhappiness. For this reason it is very important to firstly understand the suffering of all the realms. In this way we are more interested to find out what is the cause of the suffering. When we recognise what is the actual cause of suffering and what is the actual cause of happiness, that mind we call the wisdom mind. The team of compassion and wisdom can free us from all these difficulties. We can liberate ourselves and can guide others. Without a sense of understanding or compassion, with just having a wish to be free from our sufferings and problems, it is almost impossible to not experience suffering. Due to a lack of wisdom, lack of compassion, we are always, whether consciously or unconsciously, creating the causes of suffering.

In this way it is very important to develop a true sense of compassion and to reflect deeply where this suffering arises. Before we can help others it is important to reflect on the suffering of suffering, suffering of change and the suffering of pervasiveness of all the compound phenomena.

Initially we establish an intellectual understanding, this is our first step. Then we actualise. Whenever we think, speak and act, we do so with mindfulness and alertness. So when we know how to adopt this positive attitude or way of life, then we are actually entering into the right direction or we could say entering into the true practice. So whatever we are practising of the true compassion, then this is the true medicine. It can heal whatever we are experiencing of suffering at this moment, as well as whatever we may have left over that can cause us to suffer in the future. In this way, it is very important to establish the wisdom and compassion within ourselves. Whenever this sum of compassion and wisdom arises within us, it helps to eliminate all the causes and conditions that create our suffering, whatever we are experiencing. Then the light radiates and goes out and touches others.

In this way we are contributing to guiding others through support, through companionship - whatever is necessary to help that person. Whatever we are actualising or understanding about the true meaning of the teachings of the Buddha about compassion and wisdom, it is the most effective way to eliminate our suffering and unhappiness. Whenever we have less suffering, then we have more chance to experience a greater sense of peace and happiness.

In this way we reflect about suffering, and about the antidotes for suffering, which are compassion and wisdom.

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