Brahmaviharas with detailed distinctions?
January 9, 2009 3:51 AM   Subscribe

"Mudita is a Buddhist (Pali and Sanskrit: मुदित) word meaning rejoicing in others' joy." The Wikipedia description is really, really good. Where can I find more really good information about the brahmaviharas?

This is what really got me, from the Wikipedia article:

"[...] Mudita's "near enemy," or quality which superficially resembles mudita but is in fact more subtly in opposition to it, is exhilaration, perceived as a grasping at pleasant experience out of a sense of insufficiency or lack."

This is a fine-grain distinction that's going to be really helpful to me in my practice. The reference cited in the article didn't have this level of detail. Where can I find this level of detail for all four of the Four Immeasurables?

Here is one good resource I've found:

And I haven't looked into Allan Wallace's books yet:

So, again, the sort of thing I'm looking for is: "It's this, but not this," "This is close, but not quite," etc.
posted by zeek321 to Religion & Philosophy (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
"It's this, but not this," "This is close, but not quite,"
Would probably be AskMetafilter
posted by tellurian at 5:41 AM on January 9, 2009

Response by poster: Indeed. That's where we are. :) I know my question reads a little blue, at first, but I figured I'd leave it. :)
posted by zeek321 at 5:45 AM on January 9, 2009

Sorry, my mistake zeek321, too many tabs open. Good luck with your question though. It's far too deep for me but I did find it intriguing (for that reason).
posted by tellurian at 5:56 AM on January 9, 2009

Best answer: Here's the relevant article from the Berzin Archives. I shall comment no more as it's well over my humble head.
posted by Abiezer at 7:13 AM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, "rejoicing" is as important a part of generating bodhicitta as the other aspects of the seven-limbed prayer (offering, confession, equanimity, generosity, etc.).

The distinction made in the wikipedia article reminds me somewhat of the distinction I've heard made between meditative bliss that leads to wisdom versus bliss that is just an escape, a balm for the ego. In both cases I think it's the egolessness of the "good" practice that's key (in the case of rejoicing: feeling good for others so that one can feel good for others being less good, versus feeling good for others' for their sake only being much more productive).

I also found this: Pema Chodron on rejoicing. Good luck with your practice.
posted by aught at 7:21 AM on January 9, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks all. Still watching this thread.
posted by zeek321 at 8:14 AM on January 9, 2009

Best answer: This [pdf] is a great description of equanimity (upekkha). It also touches briefly on the other three.

The Practice of the Four Immeasurables - seems to be written for a non-Buddhist audience, so it comes off as a little patronizing to me.

The Four Sublime States - I think you will like this one.
posted by desjardins at 3:42 PM on January 12, 2009

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