During the time of Lord Buddha Sakyamuni the Brahmins where ruling over the diverse casts. One day a Brahman asked Lord Buddha:
What can I do to be sure I will be with Lord Brahma when I die?
Note that in Hinduism we have Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Siva the destructor. It is said that Lord Buddha is the emanation of Lord Vishnu.
The Buddha replied: As Brahma is the source of Love, then you should dwell in Brahma so in the source of Love. For that you should practice the Brahmaviharas: Love, Compassion, Joy, Equanimity.
Those are the four main qualities of true Love that manifest themselves when we are in our Buddha nature.
A vihara is an abode or a dwelling place.
Love in Sanskrit is maitri; in Pali it is metta.
Compassion is karuna in both languages. Joy is mudita.
Equanimity is upeksha in Sanskrit and upekkha in Pali.
The Brahmaviharas are the four elements of true love. They are called “immeasurable,” because if you practice them, they will grow in you every day until they embrace the whole world.
For love to be true love, it must have compassion, joy, and equanimity.
For compassion to be really true compassion, it has to have love, joy, and equanimity in it.
True joy has to have love, compassion, and equanimity.
True equanimity has to have love, compassion, and joy.
If all four of them are to be true, you must be in your Buddha nature.
The practice of the four immeasurable minds is very popular in Buddhism. However, in my opinion, sometimes these qualities exaggerated in their expression, because they are not expressed naturally, but rather as a concept or idea that needs to be practiced.
Before you try to express these principles outwardly you must practice them towards yourself. People are doing such practice often for others but not towards themselves!
One thing is certain: if you are not able to manifest or do something for yourself, how can you do it in a proper way for others? In my explanation, I will bring more attention to develop the understanding and come to the knowledge of the four immeasurable qualities by practicing them yourself. Once this is done you will express them towards others in a natural, true and honest way.
The first immeasurable mind is Love
Some call it loving kindness, the word Love must be understood like the love of a mother to her newborn child. This love goes beyond any concept, idea or a predetermined experience. It is there either you want it or not. It comes directly from your essence in a natural way.
Having Love for yourself is like expressing the same Love that a mother has for her newly born child, it is nurturing, caring, protective. The love of a mother has so many qualities in it; it is truly boundless.
Some will say that to have such Love for yourself is selfish, but this is not correct. True Love is Brahma, and you are Brahma, so how can Brahma be selfish if he is true Love? He is Love, so he loves himself first. Each one of his cells contains true Love, is it not so? This makes it important for you to start by loving and caring about yourself and then let this Love expand to others and all the multi-universes.
The second immeasurable mind is compassion
Compassion is not the same thing as Love but it comes from the same source inside you. We could say that compassion is more like the Masculine aspect and Love is the Feminine aspect. See how a father cares for his child. Sometimes his caring might sound a little strict but he expresses compassion by knowing what is right for his child.
To be able to express true compassion you need to be able to understand and to feel how the other is feeling inside themselves. What are their needs? By doing so in a natural way, you will know which action to take and how to help. This is not a concept but something that comes with maturity, the maturity you have gained within yourself.
When you really see yourself as you are and are facing the truth about you, then you can have understanding about your needs. By taking specific actions you are showing compassion towards yourself. This is how maturity comes, starting with yourself, and then it manifests itself outside.
In Buddhism there are many teachings about compassion and the expression of a relative compassion that is self-generated. It is like an artificial compassion coming from a concept. It is not the Compassion.
From what I have seen and experimented, I believe that there is no need for such practices if you have the capacity to understand the real teachings. Better to spend the time to discover your Buddha nature, then true compassion will come by itself, starting by expressing compassion for yourself.
The third immeasurable mind is Joy
The true joy is an energy that emanates from your root and sexual chakras, it is the manifestation of the Shakti or the kundalini energy. It is connected to sensation. Sensations are occurring in the physical body not the mind.
There are diverse types of joy.
The Joy that emanates from the simple things we do in life.
The Joy that we have when we connect with the Masters, Guru, Bodhisatvas and all enlightened Beings, Ringzins, Dakinis, and Dragons.
The Purest of all Joys is the one that comes from the manifestation of your Buddha nature and the infinite space of dharmadatu.
In the immeasurable mind we talk more about the last one. But if a person does not experiment the other first levels, how can it be possible to live the most advanced one?
To start this training one must have to learn to find joy in all actions of life.
This Joy as it manifests naturally is like a reference of where you stand in your practice. Knowing that the enlightened state is composed with joy.
If you think that you have achieved some kind of level, or are in your Buddha nature, but you are not happy, have no joy and satisfaction in life then you could say, you are not in your Buddha nature.
Once you have joy in your material life, then in order to be able to experiment the joy of connecting with the Masters and Bodhisatvas you will be detached from the joy that comes in material life. Then in order to move to the next level, you must also be detached from the joy that comes from connecting with the Dakinis, Dragons, Guru, etc.
Then and only then, you can rest in total equanimity from the Joy that emanates from being in your Buddha nature, or natural state.
The fourth immeasurable mind is equanimity
Everything has the same flavour. This does not mean that you cannot smell, taste and feel diverse things.
True equanimity comes only when you have realized your natural state, when there is no more identification with the I. When you have experimented by training through your practice that everything is empty, then you can relax and let your real nature show itself.
I recommend making your life as simple as possible. Try to be satisfied with what you have, live each moment fully, do not bring any judgements on others, do not gossip about others - this will help you to have more equanimity into your life.
When I look at the four immeasurable minds I understand that they are the manifestation of our essence and that they are interconnected.
They are the essence of our Buddha nature, and even though we can think that we have trained in one, then the other, this is not the same as these qualities manifesting spontaneously by being in your natural state.
Extract from my book Dragon Buddha Hermit Yoga