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Apr 07

The Four Immeasurables; My Sojourn in Buddhism

Clarissa Eads Posted by: Clarissa Eads in Featured Blogs Print 
Tagged in: compassion , Buddhism

In 2002 I travelled to India and Nepal to study Buddhism. I began with an organized pilgrimage called “Chasing Buddha” and ended up at a monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal called Kopan. The two month trip was a Buddhism intensive, immersion experience. A box of journals, books and various other articles from the trip had been packed away unopened until a few weeks ago when my parents finally cleared everything out of storage before moving across the country. 

I am amazed at how detailed my journal entries were. I guess there is nothing like a few silent weeks at a monastery to really get those written words flowing. What really delighted me about these journals were the pages and pages dedicated to compassion. There are pages talking about cultivating compassion, the nature compassion, how to be compassionate, the importance of compassion and ways in which lack of compassion can be detrimental in your life.  The context is definitely Buddhist and as such the language and terms are framed in religion and the ancient cultural identity of Tibet. Concepts like Karma and Bodhichitta are common throughout the journals and assumed as true. However, Buddhist framework aside, I still feel moved by the wisdom of many of the teachings. For example, this is an entry I wrote on Dec 9th 2002, entitled “The Four Immeasurables.”

  • 1. Equanimity: Is a state of balance and quiet. Not attached to outcomes and not getting angry.

  • 2. Loving Kindness: Reinforce the loving kindness you already feel. Make your affection, happiness toward another, delight in another totally UNCONDITIONAL. Love another because they exist. Respect them as fellow beings.· Realize that all people are the same. We are all trying to be happy. Expand your awareness to include others.

  • 3. Immeasurable Compassion: generate the wish for all people (the Buddhists expand this category to all sentient beings), to be free of suffering.

  • 4. Rejoicing: Be happy for the fortune of another. Rejoice in your own feelings of happiness. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Rejoice in the good actions and deeds of another. Celebrate it.

I found this entry on “The Four Immeasurables” very sweet and totally relevant to life now, nine years later. Compassion is discussed in great length among Buddhists and is written about often in Buddhist literature but I feel that compassion transcends religion. Reading through these journal entries and reflecting on my life since this time I’m left with an awareness of compassion as a state of being that feels like a blessing but it is a blessing that emerges from within you, not from outside of you. Compassion is love, acceptance, allowing and generous all at the same time. 

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