Four Immeasurable Truths; Four Immeasurable States of Mind

Adapted from a Dharma Talk given by the Grand Master

For a bodhisattva to benefit and bring joy to all sentient  beings, he or she will demonstrate four embracing virtues; giving, beneficial  actions, encouraging speech and the ability to view things from another’s point  of view.  At the same time, the  bodhisattva must also harbor four immeasurable states of mind (kindness,  compassion, joy, and non-attachment) as the foundation for these virtues.  If we practice the bodhisattva way without a  mind filled with kindness, compassion, joy, and non-attachment, we would be unkind  and hypocritical people, and our words would be untruthful. Therefore, we must  practice the four immeasurable states of mind together with the four all  embracing bodhisattva virtues. Then both speech and mind will be harmonious and  we can truly help and benefit all sentient beings.

How should we practice the four immeasurable states of  mind?   When we practice meditation, we should contemplate how we  could, from now on, practice the bodhisattva way, propagate the Buddha’s  teachings, and liberate all sentient beings.  How could we liberate all  sentient beings? First, all sentient beings are our previous relatives;  therefore we must resolve to liberate them. Second, all sentient beings have  the buddha nature, they are all future buddhas but are presently deluded,  therefore we should practice the four immeasurable states of mind to help them.

Immeasurable  kindness is to bring joy to all sentient beings. Immeasurable compassion is to  eliminate all suffering. Immeasurable joy is to rejoice when we see others  practicing good deeds. When a bodhisattva sees others doing good deeds,  attaining success in life, perfecting their cultivation or succeeding in their  studies, the bodhisattva is happy and generously gives admiration and  praise.  We should not only treat all people, but also all animals this  way. Immeasurable non-attachment (self-possession) means renunciation (relinquishing) and giving.  This may take  many forms such as Dharma giving, giving of material items, giving of comfort  and giving care to others in need; It also includes the dedication of merits  to others.

If the bodhisattva sincerely resolves to practice the four  immeasurable states of mind, the four great vows, and the ten virtues, he will  be freed from birth, aging, sickness, and death in this life.   When  we truly succeed in practicing the four immeasurable states of mind, we can  break our attachment to the notion of a self, a person, or a sentient  being.  When there is no attachment to the notion of a self, a person, or  a sentient being, and the mind is in equanimity, we will be in conformity with  the true impartial reality of Buddha nature and Dharma nature.