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Meditation on the four immeasurables - equanimity

The four immeasurables - equanimity

November 2003

Today we reflect on the fourth immeasurable meditation, which is equanimity.

The four immeasurable meditation techniques of training oneself and the mind are of great importance. Our mind differentiates between enemies and loved ones, yet other than in our mind no such differentiation exists. So for reasons such as this it is important to reflect and train one's mind - to think about one's own enemy or the persons one dislikes and try to bring up the reason why we don't like these people. Is it because of the different way that person thinks and behaves? Or you do not like them because they don't like you? Or is it just that they are different from you?

So that is really not the other person's problem. It is one's own mind, the bad mind. If you are not careful, your own negative or bad mind creates dislike and enemies out there. The enemy does not cause us to be reborn in lower realms or to experience suffering. The true creator of suffering or of rebirth in the lower realms is our own inner negative mind. So from beginningless time up until now we have always missed the point, we have always chosen innocent beings as our enemies and our negative mind as a friend.

So because we do not recognise them, there is no way we can free ourselves from our problems and difficulties. If you look at it from the logical point of view, then that person may not do any harm to you, that person might be more kind to you than your loved ones.

However, simply because you do not like that person, whatever he or she says that is nice, you always interpret as negative. In this way the other person is not creating themself as an enemy - our individual mind is creating the enemy and dislike. Think about the Buddhist term 'all mother sentient beings' because with whatever reason you use to think "this is my enemy" or "I really dislike this person", remember that person has also been kind to you in many lifetimes, giving you everything received from your present mother. Many whom we consider an enemy or whom we dislike, really have done nothing to hurt us in this life, just simply as I mentioned earlier, we don't like the person.

We create the enemy and that person may also think that you are his or her enemy. So it is good to make an exchange, you just put yourself in that person's life and that person does the same. If you mistreat each other ask yourself "is it worthy, is this the way to gain happiness?" If you really seriously contemplate on that you will see what causes negative karma to arise is the moment you start treating others like your enemy. By this you already strongly establish a cause in your mind for anger. Then when the person with whom you have already established the cause for anger does something, you have both cause and condition and that makes it very hard to control one's anger.

Anger is the most non-virtuous deed and can lead us to the worst suffering of the hell beings. Due to this in order to be free from one's own anger, it is very important not to establish the cause of the negative mind within oneself, not to establish the conditions for one's enemy or a person you dislike. When you are free from the causes and conditions, then it is impossible for anger to arise and then we are free from the lower realms.

Secondly think of your attachment to those close to you. Whoever we love (whether self or others), it is not for the right reasons. The only reason I can think of is because of me. I like my family, they are the same culture and I like them because we speak the same language. Thoughts of "I like them" are faulty; if you really think seriously about your defilement mind then it is our attachment to loved ones that causes more harm to us than an enemy or a person we dislike.

If we think about this from the Dharma viewpoint, we see that our enemies do not cause obstruction to us or take our time from practice of Dharma, but our loved ones cause obstacles to practice. It is the attachment that is the root or nest of all defilements. The reason we have taken birth in samsara from beginningless time until now is because of clinging and attachment. As long as we do not free ourself from this attachment, we cannot be free from samsara. Due to this reason, we have to free ourself from inner attachment and anger mind. This is the most profound mind training, when we are free of these two - anger and attachment - then there is no difference out there, all beings are equal.

So once we establish the equal state, this is the right foundation for practice of loving kindness to all beings without exception. Based on that foundation we can practise compassion and bodhicitta regardless of who they are. So when you free this troublemaker mind, then you can discover the true sense of peace and happiness, because these two (anger and attachment) always steal our peace and happiness. So the whole purpose of meditation is to recognise the root cause of all the powerful problems and minimise them day to day. So that's the point of meditation. You have to uproot the nest of all the defilements.

So in this way we will do a short meditation on equanimity to all sentient beings.

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