Buddhism is one of the most followed religions in the world. The teaching of Buddhism was started by Lord Buddha, and he showed the path of non-violence and peace. There are many teachings that Lord Buddha taught to the world and people who follow the path of Buddhism follow today. Among the many teaching that Buddhist follow is Brahmavihara.
Brhamavihara is considered the noblest emotion in Buddhism. There are 4 of the emotions in total and together they are known as chat Brahmavihara. Brahmavihara is made of two words Brahma which means the supreme or the creator and Varaha means to dwell or to live. We all feel lots of emotions and feelings, from negative to average to positive emotions there are all sorts of them. However, Buddhism says that among the emotions there are 4 which are the noblest and one must live life with those emotions.
The 4 chatu Brahmavihara are as follows: Metta (Loving-kindness), Karuna(compassion), Mudita (joy with others), and finally Uppekaha(equanimity).
Let us discuss the four emotions in detail.
Metta is the first of the four Brahmavihara. It means loving and kindness. We are human beings, and we live in a society that is constructed by many people. Some are related to us by our blood, some by friendship, and some are unrelated to us. We feel strong love and affection towards those who are close to us and related to us. As the relationship gets longer the love and affection decrease.
Most humans love those closest to them and have little to no kindness and affection towards others. However, even if the animals love those who are related to them by blood then what difference remains between the animals and the conscious beings of us humans.
Metta of the Brahmavihara says that one needs to have love and kindness towards each and every one. In this world everyone is different not just by physical appearance but different also by behavior, way of thinking, knowledge, and so on. Some are characterized by their noble actions and good work, while others are known for their bad behavior and heinous acts. The one with noble emotion should see all of them equally and have love and kindness for all of them.
Karuna or compassion is second of the 4 Brahmavihara. Compassion is one of the greatest gifts one can have as a conscious being. Compassion is the ability to feel and understand what another person is going through, generally compassionate people are able to feel and more importantly understand the pain another individual is going through. Like love and kindness, compassion is also reserved for the one close to us and not for all people and animals for most of us.
Lord Buddha himself is known for his compassion. He was compassionate to each and every one. When people have the gift of compassion instead of judging people can understand them. One can even look at the people who are thieves differently when they have compassion within them. Instead of getting angry at the one who stole one can understand what circumstances led them to do such an act. Lord Buddha himself praised the virtue of compassion as it is the root cause of various other good emotions and virtues.
Mudita (joy with others)
Mudita is the third of the 4 Brahmavihara. Mudita is the joy of others. This emotion is the reverse of jealousy, envy, and greed. We are all living our lives and have something different at our table of life than others. Some are good at their careers, while some have a good family life, and some are good at their studies.
Nobody has everything and everybody has something. In some aspects family and friends may be progressing a lot more than you. One needs to be happy for the progress of all and not just themselves. When people have joy with all others and not just by their achievements and progress of themselves then they will be forever happy. While in the opposite situation when one gets jealous of the progress and joy of other people will be forever unhappy and sad.
Upekkha is the last of the Brahmavihara. It is equanimity, meaning calmness and balance. It is said that we are more responsible for not what happens to us but how we react to what happens to us and that is what matters really. One needs to be always emotionally calm and composed. The individual who is able to keep himself calm and composed in every situation can see the world better and see the whole picture. When one is not emotionally composed than that individual can be manipulated by other individuals very easily.
Everyone cannot be emotionally composed each and every time. Sometimes one’s emotion gets out of the way due to various factors. It is hard to be emotionally stable with the one who has hurt you and caused many problems. However, it is best to be in a balanced state rather than in an emotionally disturbed state.
Being in a state of equanimity also aids one to get rid of the temptation and provocations of various kinds. One may face these situations at various points in life and be in a state of equanimity will aid you each and every time.