The Four Immeasurables

The Four Immeasurables is a foundational Indic Buddhist model, which describe four immeasurable, sublime, & boundless qualities of heart that are well worth cultivating.

The Four Immeasurables, also known as the Four Brahmaviharas (Pali), the Four Divine Abodes, the Four Sublime States, or the Four Infinite Minds is a foundational Indic Buddhist model, which describes four Buddhist forms of Love, each of which is immeasurable & boundless in their transcendently inclusive scope. These four, along with their (Pali/Sanskrit), and other common English translations are listed here:

  • Loving-Kindness - metta/maitrī - also translated into the english as "Loving Awareness," "Friendliness," "Good Will," "Benevolence," or "Big Heart."

  • Compassion - Karuṇā - also translated into the english as "Mercy," "Self-Compassion," or "Great Compassion"

  • Emapthetic Joy - Muditā - also translated into the English as "Sympathetic Joy," "Vicarious Joy," or "Great Joy."

  • Equanimity - Upekkhā/Upekṣā - also translated into the English as "Resilience," "Balance," "Okness," or "Big Mind"

Two Traditional Orders

The order in which these four immeasurables are taught differ in two of the major schools of Buddhism. In the early Buddhist approach, also known as The 1st Turning, the four immeasurables begin with Loving-Kindness and culminate with Equanimity. In the Mahayana Buddhist approach–which arose several hundred years after the historical Buddha was alive, and known as The 2nd Turning, the four begin with Equanimity, culminating in Empathetic Joy. Both orders are shared below.

The 1st Turning Order

The 2nd Turning Order

Loving-Kindness

Equanimity

Compassion

Loving-Kindness

Empathetic Joy

Compassion

Equanimity

Empathetic Joy