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Meditation on the four immeasurables - loving kindness

The four immeasurables - loving kindness

2004

So now here we do the four immeasurables meditation. There are two meanings of immeasurable. First, a place is immeasurable because each place has countless planets and each planet has countless sentient beings. Mahayana practice of loving kindness is for all sentient beings without any exceptions, so that is the first immeasurable.

The second immeasurable is that loving kindness is practised towards all beings whether you like them or not, whether they are human or not. Normally when we love, we have conditions. We only love someone who is nice to us and we don't love someone who is nasty to us. That is not loving kindness. Every single being wishes to be happy and have the cause of happiness - that is what we call the Mahayana form of loving kindness.

In order to master the Mahayana form of loving kindness, we have to start somewhere. Today, we start with someone who used to be a good friend to us but due to some problem they have become an enemy, or someone whom you dislike. If we have even a small reason to treat each other with dislike, in a moment we have forgotten all the nice things that we had together. Think about that person and the times together that made you happy. [pause]

Do not think about whatever made the difficulties between you, or what now makes your life hard. Normally our samsaric mind likes to hear when something bad happens to the person that we dislike. It makes us happy to hear that. But the happiness you felt when you heard or saw some suffering of your enemy is like poison. For example, if you taste chocolate, it's very nice - but too much is poison; it will kill you or make you sick. In the same way, when we are happy when bad things happen to our enemy, in that moment of happiness you create an enormous negative karma with heavy consequences to be paid. Therefore it's not worthwhile to be happy when you see or hear of bad things happening to your enemy.

The only way we can get rid of that arrogant or negative feeling to each other, is to think often about the positive aspects of what you receive from the other person. The more you consider the good things about that person, the more you can see they are not all bad. You can see that there were many good things he or she gave you. Even if she or he makes difficulties for me, still I can learn a lot from that. Someone who causes you difficulty can make you a stronger and wiser person if you use the difficulties as an opportunity to practise. One can always receive something positive if you are prepared to look in a positive way, no matter whether the person is your friend or your enemy.

The practice of loving kindness is not just about wishing other beings to be happy and to have the cause of happiness. The point is that the more you remain in the state of loving kindness, the less chance there is that any negative intentions can arise. That is the profound result and effectiveness of one's practice. Remember that all the great masters and enlightened beings reached happiness and the cause of happiness through the practice of loving kindness.

Today we specifically focus on someone we dislike without thinking about what makes you unhappy or unpleasant towards them. Think about what you received from that person before the breakdown of your relationship whether it was with friend, parent, family member, relative or a workplace colleague. So in this way, we just reflect for a few minutes and develop loving kindness towards all those people.

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