Posted by: ADMIN | April 2, 2011

The Four Immeasurable Minds From Nagarjuna Bodhisattva’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom

The Four Immeasurable Minds
From Nagarjuna Bodhisattva’s Treatise on the Great Perfection of Wisdom


As for the four immeasurable minds, they are loving – kindness,
compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. Loving – kindness refers to being affectionately mindful of [other] beings such that one constantly seeks to benefit them with situations which induce peace, security and bliss. Compassion refers to being sympathetically mindful of beings’ undergoing of all manner of physical and mental suffering in the five paths. Sympathetic joy refers to the desire to cause beings to go from the experiencing of pleasure to the realization of joyfulness.
Equanimity (she = upek.saa) refers to the relinquishing (she) of the
three [other immeasurable] minds such that one is simply mindful of beings in such a way that one is not either averse or affectionate
towards them.
One cultivates the mind of loving – kindness for the sake of
getting rid of initial thoughts (vitarka, as opposed to secondary
thought, vicaara) [characterized by] hatred towards beings. One
cultivates the mind of compassion for the sake of getting rid of initial thoughts [characterized by] affliction towards beings. One cultivates the mind of sympathetic joy for the sake of getting rid of displeasure towards beings. One cultivates the mind of equanimity for the sake of getting rid of affection and hatred towards beings.
Question: (#1/208c12) The four immeasurable minds and so forth
on up to the ten pervasive elements (DFB.137b,180c: yi chye chu /
k.rtsnaayatana) were already treated in the [discussion of] the four
dhyanas. Why then do you now proceed with a separate discussion?
Reply: Although they were already brought up in the [discussion
of] the four dhyanas, if one did not undertake a separate discussion of the names of these dharmas then one would not become aware of their merits. This is analogous to having precious things inside of a bag: If one fails to open it up and bring them out then people will not know of them. If there be one who desires to gain great blessings and merit one explains the four immeasurable minds for their sakes. If there be a person who is distressed by and disgusted with form, [regarding it] as if imprisoned [by it], one explains for him the four formless absorptions.
[If there is one who] is unable to gain independence in the midst of
conditions such that he can contemplate freely and at will [anything] which he takes as an [objective] condition, one explains for him the eight realms of dominance (ba sheng chu = abhibhvaayatana). If there is one whose path is blocked off such that he cannot achieve a breakthrough, one explains for him the eight liberations (DFB.136a vimok.sa). If there is one who cannot proceed sequentially from [one level of] dhyana to enter another [level of] dhyana, one explains for his sake the nine sequential absorptions. If there is one who cannot achieve the universal
illumination of all conditions such that he can freely and at will gain liberation, one explains for his sake the ten pervasive elements.
If one brings to mind the beings of the ten directions, when one
aspires to] cause them to gain happiness, there arises one of the dharmas associated with mind known as loving -kindness. The dharmas within the sphere of the feeling, perception, formative factor and consciousness aggregates which correspond to loving – kindness together with those physical karmas, verbal karmas and formative factor [dharmas] not associated with the mind which are generated by this dharma [of loving – kindness] are all collectively referred to as loving – kindness. Because they [are generated] on account of loving – kindness they take loving – kindness as that which is primary. It is for this reason that [they are all] referred to as loving – kindness.
This is analogous to the case of mind dharmas and dharmas
associated with the mind. Although they constitute karmic causes and conditions [arising] in subsequent incarnations, still, they are simply referred to under the rubric of “consideration” (ssu / cetana). This is because it is “consideration” which possesses the most power in the creation of karma. The case is the same with compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.
Loving – kindness is [operative] in the form realm. It may be
[characterized as] either “with outflows” or “without outflows,” as
“subject to cutting off” or as “not subject to cutting off.” It is
present in both the basic – level dhyanas* (gen ben chan) as well as
within the dhyanas proper. It is associated with three faculties. It is
excluded in the faculties of suffering and of worry. The Abhidharma
discusses such distinctions as these.
Because there is a seizing on the appearance of a “being” it is
[characterized as] “with outflows.” Because after having once seized on the appearance of a being one may then [eventually] gain access to the true character of dharmas it may [also] be [characterized as] “without outflows.” It is for this reason that it says in The Questions of Inexhaustible Intellect Bodhisattva, “Loving – kindness is of three kinds. The first takes beings as its [objective] condition. The second takes dharmas as its [objective] conditions. The third takes nothing whatsoever as its [objective] condition.
Question: (#2/209a8) How does one go about cultivating these
four immeasurable minds?

[Loving-kindness Which Takes Beings as the {Objective} Condition][209a9]
Reply: As the Buddha explains in many places in the Sutras,
“There are bhikshus who, on account of taking up thoughts associated with loving – kindness, are devoid of enmity (hwei), devoid of animosity (hen), devoid of hostility (ywan) and devoid of cruelty (nao). They well cultivate a mind of loving – kindness which is vast, great and immeasurable and so realize an understanding which is universally pervasive. With respect to the beings in the worlds to the east he generates a mind of loving – kindness [through which] he realizes an understanding which is universally pervasive. So too does he [carry out this contemplation] with respect to the beings in the [rest of] the ten directions: to the south, to the west, to the north, to the four midpoints, above and below. And so too does he take up in this very same manner the mind associated with compassion, the mind associated with sympathetic joy and the mind associated with equanimity.”
As for the mind associated with loving – kindness, loving –
kindness is a dharma belonging to the mind. It has the ability to get
rid of befuddlement and turbidity in the mind, namely the so-called
afflictions of hatred (chen), animosity (hen), niggardliness (jyan),
desire (tan) and so forth. It is analogous to the water – purifying
jewel which when placed in turbid water causes that water to immediately become clear.
As for being devoid of enmity (hui) and animosity (hen), if, with
or without reason, one feels hatefulness (chen) towards beings or if one is desirous of cursing, scolding, vilifying, killing, injuring,
plundering or pillaging, this is referred to as hatred (chen). If one
waits for the opportune time or place when one possesses the requisite power whereupon one will inflict injury, this is referred to as animosity (hen). To employ loving kindness to get rid of these two phenomena is what is meant by being without hatred (chen) or enmity (hen), without hostility (ywan) and without cruelty (nao).
Animosity (hen) is just cruelty (nao). The initial stage of
aversion is animosity (hen). When animosity (hen) goes on for a long time then it becomes hostility (ywan). The inflicting of injury through karma of the body or mouth is referred to as cruelty (nao).
Then again [another explanation has it that] the initial
generation of the fetter of hatred (chen jye) is what is referred to as
hatred (chen), while when that hatred (chen) increases and endures and when it is accompanied by scheming and by a holding on and attaching to it, as long as this has not yet been resolved in the mind this is what is known as animosity (hen). It is also referred to as hostility (ywan).
If the mind has already become fixed [in it] and one has no fear or
anxiety [about acting on it], then this is what is referred to as cruelty (nao). If one employs the power of the mind of loving – kindness to get rid of these three matters, this is what is meant by being without hatred (chen), without animosity (hen), without hostility (ywan) and without cruelty (nao).
It was on account of [the virtues of] being without hatred
(chen), without animosity (hen), without hostility (ywan) and without cruelty (nao) that the Buddha praised the mind of loving – kindness. All beings fear suffering while being desirous of and attached to pleasure.
Hatred (chen) is the cause and condition for suffering. Loving –
kindness is the cause and condition for pleasure. When a being hears that this samadhi of loving – kindness is able to get rid of suffering and is able to provide pleasure he [may] single – mindedly, earnestly and vigorously cultivate this samadhi and on account of this may be without hatred (chen), without animosity (hen), without hostility (ywan) and without cruelty (nao).

As for [the mind of loving – kindness] being “vast, great and
immeasurable”, [this] single great mind, when analyzed, possesses [these] three names. “Vast” refers to a single direction. “Great” refers to being lofty and far – reaching. “Immeasurable” refers to the direction of the nadir as well as the [other] nine directions.
Then again, [it may be explained that] the inferior direction is
described as “vast”, that which is in between is described as “great” and that which is above is “immeasurable”. Yet again, [one may say that] a mind which takes the beings of the four directions as the [objective] condition may be referred to as “vast”, a mind which takes the beings of the four midpoints as the [objective condition may be referred to as “great” and a mind which takes the beings of the superior and inferior directions as the [objective] condition may be referred to as “immeasurable”. Then again [one may say that] the mind which destroys hatred and animosity (chen hen) may be described as “vast”, the mind which destroys hostility (ywan) may be described as “great”, and the mind which destroys cruelty (nao) may be described as “immeasurable”. Then again [one may say] that all minds characterized by afflictions may be
referred to as petty because they are carried on by petty people and
because they produce [only] petty matters. Among these [afflictions],
hatred (chen), animosity (hen), hostility (ywan) and cruelty (nao) are even pettier yet. That which destroys these pettiest among the petty is referred to as “vast, great and immeasurable.” Why is that? Because great causes and conditions are always able to destroy petty matters.
As for the mind which is “vast,” because it fears [creating]
offenses and because it fears falling into the hells, it gets rid of the
evil dharmas in the mind. As for the mind which is “great,” because it has faith in and takes pleasure in the resultant retribution of blessings and merit, it gets rid of the evil mind. As for the mind which is “immeasurable,” it gets rid of the evil mind on account of the desire to realize nirvana.
Then again, [one may also say that] because the practitioner is
pure in his upholding of the prohibitions, this mind is “vast,” because dhyana absorption is perfected, this mind is “great,” and because wisdom is brought to completion, this mind is “immeasurable.”
One employs this mind of loving – kindness to be mindful of those
sages who have realized the Way. This is referred to as the
“immeasurable” mind. This is because one employs the immeasurable Dharma(s) to make distinctions among the sages. Because it is mindful of the honorable and noble points of gods and humans, [this mind] is referred to as a “great” mind. Because one is mindful of all of the other inferior and base beings as well as [those abiding in] the three paths of evil, this [mind] is referred to as a “vast” mind.
When it is directed towards those beings for which one holds
affection, because the thoughts of loving – kindness are more vast than when one is mindful [only] of oneself, [this mind] is referred to as a “vast” mind. When one employs loving – kindness in being mindful of people who are “in between,” this [mind] is referred to as a “great” mind. When one employs loving – kindness to be mindful of people towards whom one feels hostility and whom one detests, because its merits are manifold, [this mind] is referred to as an “immeasurable” mind.
Then again, where it is employed for the sake of a mind which is
narrow, it is referred to as “vast,” where it is employed for the sake of a mind which is small, it is referred to as “great,” and where it is
employed for the sake of a mind which is of limited capacity, it is
referred to as “immeasurable.” One may make distinctions such as these with regard to the meanings.

As for [the words] “well cultivates,” this mind is induring.
When the mind of loving – kindness is [only] first realized it is not
described as “cultivated.” It is not when directed solely towards beings of whom one is affectionately mindful, not when directed solely towards beings who are good, not when directed solely towards beings who are beneficial to oneself, and not when directed solely towards beings of a single region that it is described as “well cultivated.”
When one practices [loving – kindness] for a long time one
develops a deep affection and a feeling of pleasure which is correct,
equal and undifferentiating in its extending towards the three categories of beings: those towards whom one has felt affection, those whom one has detested and those towards whom one has been neutral. In beholding all of the beings of the ten directions and the five paths of rebirth one employs a singular mind of loving – kindness, [regarding them all] as one’s father, as one’s mother, as one’s brothers, as one’s sisters, sons, nephews, [nieces], and friends. One constantly looks for their good aspects, and wishes to bring about their benefit, their peace and their security. In this fashion one’s mind [of loving – kindness] universally pervades to all of the beings of the ten directions. [When one employs] the mind of loving – kindness in this fashion this is to take beings as the [objective] condition. For the most part it is [the level] practiced among common people or perhaps among those with more to study who have not yet brought outflows to an end.
[Loving-kindness Which Takes Dharmas as the {Objective} Condition][209b29]

Those whose practice takes dharmas as the [objective] condition
include those arhats who have put an end to outflows, the pratyeka
buddhas and the buddhas. Because all of these sages have destroyed the
characteristics of a self and have extinguished the characteristics of
unity and difference, they simply contemplate that it is from an
[apparent] continuity of causes and conditions that all desires are
generated. When they take up loving – kindness in their mindfulness of
beings, [they observe] that they are produced from an [apparent]
continuity on the part of a conjunction of causes and conditions and
[observe that] it is only five empty aggregates which constitute beings.
In their mindfulness of the five aggregates they take up loving –
kindness and [so] are mindful that beings are unaware of this emptiness
of dharmas. Thus [beings] constantly and single – mindedly seek after
pleasure. The sages have sympathy for them and so cause them to gain
pleasure according to their aspirations. Because this [practice is
carried out] for the sake of mundane worldly dharmas it is referred to as
[practice which takes] dharmas as the [objective] condition.

[Loving-kindness With Nothing Whatsoever as the {Objective} Condition][209c6]

As for [the loving – kindness] which is takes nothing whatsoever
as the [objective] condition, this loving – kindness is possessed only by
the buddhas. Why is that? The mind of the buddha does not abide in
eihther the conditioned or unconditioned nature. It does not rely upon
or rest in the past, the future or the present eras and is aware that no
conditions are real [ as their existence] is a result of the
deceptiveness of inverted views. The [Buddha’s] mind has nothing
whatsoever which it takes as a condition. Because beings are not aware
of this true character of all dharmas and so come and go in the five
paths [of rebirth], their minds attaching to dharmas and making
distinctions whereby they either seize upon or avoid [them], the Buddha
employs this wisdom [which perceives] the true character of all dharmas
to cause beings to realize it [themselves]. This is what is referred to
as [the loving – kindness which takes] nothing whatsoever as the
[objective] condition.

[Three Kinds of Loving -kindness Like Three Levels of Giving][209c12]

This is like providing for a person who is poor. Perhaps one
gives him money and material things. Perhaps one gives him gold, silver
and precious valuables. Or perhaps one gives him an actual “as- you-
wish- it” pearl. [The loving – kindness practice which] takes beings as
the [objective] condition, [the loving – kindness practice which] takes
dharmas as the [objective] condition and [the loving – kindness practice
which takes] nothing whatsoever as the [objective] condition are just
like these. This constitutes a summary discussion of the meaning of the
mind of loving – kindness.

[The Mind of Compassion][209c14]

The meaning of the mind of compassion is just like this. With a
mind of sympathy and pity one universally contemplates the sufferings of
the beings of the ten directions and then composes this thought, “Beings
are pitiable. Don’t allow them to undergo all of these various kinds of
suffering.” And so in the same way [one takes up] the mind devoid of
hatred (chen), [the mind] devoid of animosity (hen), [the mind] devoid of
hostility (ywan), and [the mind] devoid of cruelty (nao) and so proceeds
forth until [one directs these thoughts] towards [the beings of] the ten
directions in like manner.
Question: [#3/209c17] There are three kinds of beings: There
are those [beings] such as the gods and a minor fraction of humans who
experience pleasure. There are those [beings] such as [the inhabitants
of] the three paths of evil and a minor fraction of humans who experience
suffering. There are those constituting a minor fraction [of the
inhabitants] of the five paths [of rebirth] who experience neither
suffering nor pleasure. Why then is it that the practitioner of loving –
kindness contemplates all beings as experiencing pleasure and the
practitioner of compassion contemplates all beings as experiencing
suffering?
Reply: When the practioner desires to study this immeasurable
mind of loving – kindness, he first formulates an aspiration wherein he
wishes that all beings may be able to experience all manner of pleasure.
He takes up this image of people experiencing pleasure, focusses his mind
and then enters dhyana [meditation]. This image gradually increases in
its breadth such that he then perceives all beings as experiencing
pleasure.

[Loving-kindness Contemplation Like Lighting a Fire][209c24]

This is analogous to using drilling to ignite a fire. First one
fuels it with tender hay and dry cow pies. When the intensity of the
blaze grows great it is able to consume even huge wet logs. The samadhi
of loving – kindness is just like this. When one first generates the
loving – kindness aspiration it extends only to one’s relatives, one’s
clan and one’s friends. When the mind of loving – kindness grows vast
[in its scope], enemies and friends alike are identically and equally
seen as achieving happiness. This is on account of the consummmation of
increase and growth in the dhyana absorption of loving – kindness. [The
development of] the mind of compassion, the mind of sympathetic joy and
the mind of equanimity is just like this.

Question: [#4/209c28] In [cultivating]the mind of compassion one
takes up the image of people undergoing suffering and in [cultivating]
the mind of sympathetic joy one takes up the image of people experiencing
joy. In [cultivating] the mind of equanimity, what sort of image does
one take up?
Reply: One takes up the image of people undergoing neither
suffering nor pleasure. On account of this mind’s gradually increasing
and growing more vast the practitioner perceives absolutely everyone as
undergoing neither suffering nor pleasure.
Question: [#5/210a2] There ought to be blessings and merit
inherent in [the cultivation of] each of these three kinds of mind. What
benefit does [cultivation of] this mind of equanimity hold for those
beings beset by neither suffering nor pleasure?
Reply: The practitioner formulates this thought: “Whenever any
being leaves behind pleasure he experiences suffering. Whenever he is
undergoing suffering, that [too] is just suffering. Whenever he gains
[the state of] neither suffering nor pleasure then he is peaceful and
secure. It is with this [result] that benefit is achieved.
When the practitioner cultivates the mind of loving – kindness or
the mind of sympathetic joy there may be times when the mind of desire
and attachment arises* (*see the counteractive siddhaanta’s warnings
about the sometimes pathogenic effects of loving – kindness practice).
When cultivating the mind of compassion there may be times when the mind
of worry and distress arises. On account of this desire or worry the
mind may become disturbed. When one accesses this mind of equanimity one
gets rid of this desire and worry. It is because desire and worry are
gotten rid of that [this mind] is referred to as the mind of equanimity.
Question: [#6/210a9] It is obvious that there are distinctions
between the mind of compassion and the mind of equanimity. [However],
the mind of loving – kindness [aspires] to cause beings to develop [a
state of] pleasure [while] the mind of sympathetic joy [aspires] to cause
beings to develop [a state of] joy. What sorts of differences are there
between pleasure and joy?
Reply: Physical pleasure (shen le) is referred to as “pleasure”
(le), [whereas] mental pleasure (syin le) is referred to as “joy” (syi).
Pleasure (le) which corresponds to the five [sensory] consciousnesses is
referred to as “pleasure” (le), [whereas] pleasure (le) which corresponds
to the intellectual consciousness is referred to as “joy” (syi).
Pleasure (le) which arises from among the five [types of sense] objects
is referred to as “pleasure” (le), [whereas] pleasure (le) which arises
from among the dharmic objects [of mind] is referred to as “joy” (syi).
Initially, one seeks [to bring about] pleasure, wishing to cause
beings to be able to follow up on that pleasure so that because of it
they are influenced to realize joy. This is like when a person takes
pity on someone who is impoverished, first providing precious things.
This corresponds to “pleasure.” Afterwards he teaches the person how to
go into business [for himself], thus enabling him to gain the pleasures
of the five kinds of desire. This corresponds to “joy.”
Then again, [one may explain that] “pleasure” refers to that
pleasure of the desire realm which one wishes to cause beings to gain,
[whereas] “joy” refers to that pleasure of the form realm which one
wishes to cause beings to gain.
Then again, [one may explain that] “pleasure” refers to those
desire realm pleasures corresponding to the five [sensory]
consciousnesses, to those pleasures of three consciousnesses
[experienced] in the first dhyana and to all bliss [experienced] in the
third dhyana, [whereas] “joy” refers to that pleasure which corresponds
to the intellectual consciousness in the desire realm up to the first
dhyana and all pleasure experienced in the second dhyana.

[Pleasure & Joy Compared to Phases of Medicinal Action][210a20-23]

[One may also explain that] coarse pleasures constitute
“pleasure” whereas subtle pleasures constitute “joy,” that in the realm
of cause it is referred to as “pleasure” [while] in the realm of effect
it is referred to as “joy,” or that when one first gains pleasure, that
is referred to as “pleasure,” whereas when the delighted mind generates
characteristics of pleasure inwardly [while also] outwardly bringing
forth singing, dancing and leaping about, that is referred to as “joy.”
This is analogous to when one first takes medicine. This corresponds to
“pleasure.” [Then}, when the medicine becomes active and permeates the
entire body, that corresponds to “joy.”
Question: [#7/210a23] If this is the case why are these two
minds not conjoined into a single immeasurable [mind], but rather are
instead distinguished into two separate dharmas?
Reply: In the beginning, because the practitioner’s mind is not
yet focussed he is not yet able to develop a deep affection for beings
and so is only [able to aspire to] bestowing pleasure. When his mind
becomes focussed, because he then possesses a deep affection for beings
he [aspires to] bestow joy. It is on account of this that pleasure is
placed first and joy is placed after it.
Question: [#8/210a27] If that is the case, why then are [the
mind of] loving – kindness and [the mind of] sympathetic joy not [listed]
in sequential order?
Reply: When cultivating the mind of loving – kindness one holds
an affection for beings like for [one’s own] child. One wishes to bestow
pleasure [upon them]. Because when one emerges from the samadhi of
loving – kindness one observes beings undergoing all sorts of sufferings
one develops a mind of deep affection which feels pity for beings and
which [aspires] to cause them to achieve profound [levels of] pleasure.
This is analogous to parents who, although normally feeling affection for
a child, find that if he develops and acute illness their mind of
affection grows more intense. The bodhisattva is just like this. When
he accesses the mind of compassion and contemplates the sufferings of
beings a mind of pity arises and he then [aspires to] bestow profound
[levels of] pleasure. It is for this reason that the mind of compassion
is placed in between [the mind of loving – kindness and the mind of
sympathetic joy].
Question: (#9/210b4) If one possesses a deep affection for
beings like this, how then does one cultivate the mind of equanimity?
Reply: The cultivator contemplates thus: “I must never [retreat
into] equanimity (i.e. “relinquish”* Both the Sanskrit [upek.saa] and
Chinese [she] preserve this sense of “disregard,” “ignore,” “relinquish”)
as regards beings, but should only establish equanimity with respect to
these [other] three kinds of [immeasurable] mind.” Why? This is to
prevent the deterioration of other dharmas. It is also because although
one employs the mind of loving – kindness in aspiring to cause beings to
experience pleasure, still, one is unable to cause them to experience
pleasure. Although one employs the mind of compassion in aspiring to
cause beings to transcend suffering, still, one is unable to cause them
to succeed in transcending suffering. Nor when one cultivates the mind
of sympathetic joy is one able to cause beings to achieve great joy.
These are only reflective contemplations. They have not yet become
actual circumstances. If one desires to cause beings to be able to
achieve these as actual circumstances, one must bring forth the mind to
become a buddha, cultivate the six paaramitaas, and bring to completion
the dharmas of a buddha [whereby one may] cause beings to gain real
happiness (le). It is on account of this that one develops equanimity
with respect to these [other] three [immeasurable] minds and accesses the
mind of equanimity.
Then again, [it may be explained that] when practicing in accord
with loving – kindness, compassion and sympathetic joy it is difficult to
develop equanimity with respect to beings. [But] because one accesses
this mind of equanimity it becomes easy to transcend.
Question: [#10/210b14] Even when the bodhisattva cultivates the
six paaramitaas and even when he has gone so far as to realize
buddhahood, he is still unable to cause all beings to transcend suffering
and gain happiness (le). Why is this the case? Because one only speaks
of these three [immeasurable] minds. A mind of reflective contemplation
arises. [But] there are no actual [corresponding] circumstances.
Reply: When this bodhisattva becomes a buddha, although he is
unable to cause all beings to achieve happiness , still the bodhisattva
generates the great vow. From this great vow he gains as retribution the
effect of great blessings and merit. Becauses he gains great retribution
he is able to greatly benefit common people.
When the Hearers cultivate these four immeasurable minds they do
so for the sake of self discipline and self benefit. In that case too
there is only an empty mindfulness of beings. When the bodhisattva
cultivates this mind of loving – kindness, it is out of a desire to cause
beings to transcend suffering and gain happiness (le). From the causes
and conditions of this mind of loving kindness he not only creates
blessings and merit for himself. He also instructs others in the
creation of blessings and merit. When one receives the resultant
retribution perhaps one becomes a wheel – turning sage king. Or perhaps
the bodhisattva leaves behind the home life cultivates dhyana, leads
forth and guides beings, instructing them and influencing them to
cultivate dhyana [so that they] succeed in being born into pure realms
where they experience immeasurable mental happiness (syin le). If when
one becomes a buddha one makes offerings to immeasurable asemkyayas of
beings and then enters into the nirvana without residue, when one
compares this with empty mental altruistic aspirations, this is a great
benefit. And it extends on to the point of the shariira and remaining
Dharma being of great benefit.
Moreover, if one single buddha completely brought to delivrance
all beings, other buddhas would then have no one further to bring to
deliverance. In this case then there would be no buddhas of the future
and so this would consittute the cutting off of the lineage of the
buddhas. There are faults such as these. Forthis reasons one single
buddha does not bring all beings to deliverance.
Moreover, this nature of beinghood exists on account of delusion
(chr). It is not actually a fixed dharma. Even if all of the buddhas of
the three periods of time and ten directions sought to find some reality
in beinghood, still, it could not be found. How then could there be a
complete bringing to deliverance of all of them.
Question: [#11/210c3] If it is the case that they are empty and
so cannot all be brought to deliverance, then even in the case of a
lesser number of them they will all still be entirely empty. How then
could one cross over even a lesser number [of beings]?
Reply: I said that because even if all of the buddhas of the ten
directions and three periods of time sought [to discover the reality in]
all beings, they would be unsuccessful and so therefore there are no
[beings] whatsoever who are brought to deliverance. You had posed the
difficulty in which you had asked why they are not all brought to
deliverance. This amounted to your having fallen into defeat. You were
unable to extricate yourself from that situation of defeat, but then
posed [another] difficulty in which you asked, “Among those nonexistent
beings how could one cross over even a few of them?” This amounts to
having fallen into a double defeat.
Moreover, if looked at from the standpoint of the true character
of all dharmas and the supreme meaning then there are not only no beings,
but there is no “bringing to deliverance” either. It is solely based on
Worldly mundane dharmas that one speaks of there being a bringing to
deliverance. You are seeking for the supreme meaning in the sphere of
worldly and mundane. This is an impossible endeavor. This is analogous
to the impossibility of suceeding in finding precious jewels among tiles
and stones.
Moreover, all of the merit which accrues to the buddhas from the
time of first bringing forth the mind [intent on bodhi] to the time when
their Dharma has come to an end, all of it , because it has a beginning
and an end, exists within the sphere of created dharmas which are finite
and measurable. And so the number of beings crossed over ought to be
measurable. It should not be the case that one employs a measurable
dharma in the sphere of causes, conditions, effects and retributions to
entirely bring to deliverance an immeasurable number of beings.

[The Falling Arrow Analogy]

This is analogous to [the circumstance of] a great warrior.
Although the power of his bow is great, once the arrow has flown far, it
is [still] bound to fall [to the ground].

[The Kalpa-ending Fire Analogy]

It is also analogous to the great conflagration at the end of the
kalpa which incinerates the trichiliocosm and which possesses brightness
which is immeasurable in its illumination. Although it goes on for a
long time, still, it is bound to finally be extinguished. The
bodhisattva’s realization of buddhahood is just like this. From the time
he first brings forth the intention, he grasps the bow of vigor, uses the
arrow of wisdom [which plunges] deep into the Buddha Dharma [and so]
greatly accomplishes the work of the buddhas. But still, this too is
bound to finally be extinguished. When the bodhisattva realizes the
knowledge of all modes his body puts forth light which illuminates an
immeasurable number of worlds. Every single ray of light transforms into
an immeasurable [number of] bodies. They bring to deliverance an
immeasurable number of beings throughout the ten directions. After the
nirvana, the eighty – four thousand fold accumulation of dharmas and the
shariira [continue to] transform and bring beings to deliverance.
[However], like the illumination from the fire at the end of the kalpa,
though it goes on for a long time, still, it is finally extinguished.
Question: [#12/210c22] You yourself stated that the rays of
light transform into an immeasurable number of bodies which bring to
deliverance an immeasurable number of beings throughout the ten
directions. Why then do you now say that because the causes and
conditions are measurable, those who are brought to deliverance ought
also to be measurable in number.
Reply: There are two types of “immeasurability.” The first
refers to actual immeasurability. It is such that the sages cannot even
measure it. For example, empty space, nirvana, and the nature of beings
are all such that one cannot measure them. In the case of the second
[type of immeasurability] there do exist methods whereby they can be
measured, however, those of lesser power are unable to measure them. For
example, the weight of Mount Sumeru and the number of drops in the great
ocean. The buddhas and bodhisattvas are able to know them. But they are
such that the gods and worldlings cannot know them. A buddha’s bringing
to deliverance of beings is also like this. The buddhas are able to
know. But it is not a thing such as the likes of you might be able to
reach up to it. And so therefore we say, “immeasurable.”
Then again, because dharmas are the product of the coming
together of causes and conditions they are devoid of an inherent nature.
Because they are devoid of an inherent nature, they are eternally empty.
It is impossible to get at any being in the sphere of eternal emptiness.
This is as declared by the Buddha:

When I sat in the place of enlightenment (bodhima.n.da)
It was such as wisdom could not realize.
[As] with an empty fist tricking little children,
It was done to bring all to deliverance.

The true character of all dharmas
Is just [identical to] the characteristic of beinghood.
If one seizes upon the characteristic of being hood,
Then one strays far from the Way of reality.

If one constantly bears in mind the characteristic of eternal
emptiness,
This person contradicts the practice of the Way.
[Though] among the dharmas which are neither produced nor
destroyed,
[He] nonetheless makes discriminations among characteristics.

If one makes discriminations or engages in reflective
intellection,
This then is the net of Mara.
To be unmoving, nondependent and have nothing in which one rests:
This then is the imprint of Dharma.

Question: [#13/211a] If it is the case that [concern with]
“pleasure” (le) has a two – fold division [under the] mind of loving –
kindness and [under the] mind of sympathetic joy, why is not the
contemplation of suffering on the part of the mind of compassion not
[also] divided into two?
Reply: Because pleasure is that which all beings love and and
esteem as important it is divided into two. Because this suffering is
disliked and not born in mind it is not divided into two.
Moreover, when one experiences pleasure, the mind is pliant.
When one suffers, the mind is rigid. Take for example Viitashoka, the
younger brother of King Ashoka who becaume the king of Jambudviipa for
seven days during which he was able to freely indulge in all of the most
marvelous experiences of the five desires. After seven days had passed,
King Ashoka asked him, “Did the ruler of Jambudviipa experience
flourishing pleasure and delight or not?”
He replied, “I did not see it, I did not hear it and I was not
aware of it. Why? Because every day the ca.n.daala rang a bell and sang
forth in a loud voice, ‘Of the seven days, yeah many days have already
gone by. After the seven days have past you will die.’ When I heard
this voice, even though I was the King of Jambudviipa [and in possession
of] the most marvelous [experiences of the] five desires, because the
suffering of distress was so profound, I neither heard nor saw.”
From this we can know that the power of suffering is greater and
the power of pleasure is weak. [Even] if a person experiences pleasure
which permeates his entire body, if he experiences one needle prick in
one place [on his body], all of the manifold pleasures are lost and he
experience only the pain of the puncture. Because the power of pleasure
is weak the two – fold division [is employed] making it more potent.
Because the power of suffering is greater [treating it in a single place
is adequate for clarifications purposes.

Question: [#14/211a24] What sorts of resultant retributions are
gained from the practice of the four immeasurable minds?
Reply: The Buddha stated that if one enters this samadhi of
loving – kindness, one gains five types of merit in the present: One can
enter fire and not be burned, be poisoned and yet not die, be attached by
the blades of the army and not be injured, be immune in the end from
violent death, and be guarded by good spirits. On account of benefitting
an immeasurable number of beings one gains these immeasurable blessings
and qualities. On account of employing this outflow – level
immeasurable mind while taking beings as the [objective] condition, one
is born into a pure place, the so-called form realm.
Question: [#15/211a29] Why did the Buddha state that it is the
retribution for loving – kindness to be reborn in the Brahma heaven?
Reply: This is because the Brahma heaven is revered and prized
by beings and because everyone has heard of it and everyone knows of it.
The Buddha resided in the country of India. In India, the Brahmans are
always numerous. According to the dharma of the Brahmans, all blessings
and merit are entirely dedicated to the aspiration to be born in the
Brahma heaven. If beings hear that cultivating loving – kindness results
in being reborn in the Brahma heaven, then they will have faith in and
cultivate the dharma of loving – kindness. It is for this reason that it
is said that cultivating loving – kindness results in being born in the
Brahma heaven.
Then again, those heavens in which sexual desire is cut off are
all referred to as “brahman.” Whe one speaks of “brahman” it subsumes
the entire form realm. It is for this reason that the dharma of cutting
of sexual desire is referred to as “brahman conduct” while transcending
desire is also referred to as “brahman.” If one speaks of “brahman” this
subsumes then the four dhyanas and the four formless absorptions.
Then again, because initial and discursive though are difficult
to extinguish, he did not mention the names of higher grounds. This is
analogous to the case of the five precepts where in speaking of the
regulations regarding verbal conduct one speaks only of one type, “false
speech,” while actually subsuming therein three [other] matters*
(*abusive speech, duplicitous speech, and frivolous speech).
Question: [#16/211b10] [The practice of] loving – kindness is
possessed of five meritorious qualities. Why is there no discussion of
meritorious qualities with respect to compassion, sympathetic joy and
equanimity?
Reply: It is just as with the above analogy wherein one matter
subsumes three others. If one speaks of loving – kindness one has
already thereby spoken of compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.
Moreover, loving – kindness is truly immeasurable. Loving – kindness is
like a king whereas the other three follow along like [the king’s]
subjects. How is this so? One first employs the mind of loving –
kindness and so aspires to cause beings to gain pleasure (le). Because
one observes that there are those who do not succeed in gaining pleasure
one develops the mind of compassion. Because one wishes to cause beings
to transcend suffering so that their minds gain Dharma bliss one develops
the mind of sympathetic joy. Because with respect to these three matters
one [wishes to be] without aversion, without affection, without desire
and without worry one develops the mind of equanimity.
Then again, [one may explain that] it is because [the practice
of] loving – kindness involves taking that which is pleasurable and
bestowing it on beings [that it is singled out as possessing meritorious
qualities].
The Item Added Agama does speak of the mind of compassion being
possessed of five meritorious qualities. Its meritorious qualities are
spoken of in many places in the Mahayana scriptures. For instance, in
The Brilliant Net Bodhisattva Sutra it states, “The bodhisattva dwells
among beings and carries on the practice of thirty-two kinds of
compassion. [This practice] gradually increases, becomes vast and
transforms into the great compassion. The great compassion is the root
of the meritorious qualities of all buddhas and bodhisattvas. It is the
mother of the Prajnaapaaramitaa+and+the+grandmother+of+the+buddhas.++It
is+on+account+of+the+mind+of+great+compassion+that+the+bodhisattva
realizes+the+Prajnaapaaramitaa and it is on account of gaining the
Praj~naapaaramitaa that he realizes buddhahood.” In all manner of cases
such as these praises are proclaimed for the great compassion. In other
places the mind of sympathetic joy and the mind of equanimity are also
praised. Because the two matters of loving – kindness and compassion are
universal and great the Buddha praised their meritorious qualities. This
is because the meritorious qualities of loving – kindness are rare and
because it is on account of compassion that one perfects the great karma.
Question: (#17/211b26) In discussing the meritorious qualities
of the four immeasurables, the Buddha stated, “If one cultivates
assiduously and cultivates well the mind of loving – kindness, the
blessings [accruing therefrom] culminate in the heaven of universal
purity. If one cultivates assiduously and cultivates well the mind of
compassion, the blessings [accruing therefrom] culminate in the station
of empty space. If one cultivates assiduously and cultivates well the
mind of sympathetic joy, the blessings [accruing therefrom] culminate in
the station of consciousness. If one cultivates assiduously and
cultivates well the mind of equanimity, the blessings [accruing
therefrom] culminate in the station of nothing whatsoever.” Why then is
it said that the resultant retribution of loving – kindness corresponds
to birth in the brahma heaven?
Reply: The Dharma of the Buddhas is inconceivable and ineffable.
It is explained like this to accord with what is appropriate for bringing
[particular] beings to deliverance. Furthermore, it is because when one
arises from the loving – kindness based meditative absorption it is easy
to return towards the third dhyana. [It is because] when one arises from
the compassion – based meditative absorption one tends towards the
station of empty space. [It is because] when one arises from the
sympathetic joy based meditative absorption one enters the station of
consciousness. [And it is because] when one arises from the equanimity
based meditative absorption, it is easy to enter the station of nothing
whatsoever.
Then again [it may be explained that when one cultivates] the
mind of loving kindness, one aspires to cause beings to gain pleasure
(le). The resultant retribution [from such cultivation] ought naturally
to be that one experiences pleasure. It is because the [heaven of]
universal purity is the most pleasurable place in the [entire] triple
world that it was stated, “the blessings culminate in [the heaven of]
universal purity.
[When one cultivates] the mind of compassion one contemplates the
suffering of old age, sickness, and cruel injury experienced by beings.
A mind of pity arises on the part of the practioner [and he thinks], “How
can I cause them to succeed in transcending suffering? If one acts for
the sake of getting rid of inner suffering, then the external suffering
will come yet again. If one acts for the sake of getting rid of external
suffering, then the internal suffering will come yet again.” The
practitioner ponders, “If one possesses a body it is definite that one
will experience suffering. It is only in the absence of a body that one
will then succeed in being without suffering.” [The station of] empty
space is capable of breaking [the constraints of] form. Therefore [it
was stated that] the blessings [of cultivating compassion] culminate in
the station of empty space.
[When one cultivates] the mind of sympathetic joy one aspires to
provide beings pleasure on the level of the mind and consciousness. As
for pleasure on the level of the mind and consciousness, [it corresponds
to] the mind succeeding in leaving the body just a a bird escapes from a
cage. Although at the station of empty space the mind does succeed in
escaping from the body, the mind is still tied to abiding in empty space.
The station of consciousness is immeasurable. The mind and consciousness
exist in all dharmas [and so] the consciousness gains unlimited
independence. It is for this reason that [it was stated that] the
blessings of [cultivating] sympathetic joy culminate in station of
consciousness.
As for the mind of equanimity, one develops equanimity with
respect to the suffering and pleasure among beings. It is on account of
developing equanimity with respect to suffering and pleasure that one
realizes the dharma of true equanimity, the so-called station of nothing
whatsoever. It is for this reason that [it was stated that] the
blessings of [cultivating] the mind of equanimity culminate in the
station of nothing whatsoever.
Only the sages [are capable of] realizing the four immeasurables
in this fashion [described above]. It is not the case that common people
[are capable of this].
Additionally, the Buddha was aware that the disciples of future
generations, on account of their dull faculties, would make
discriminations and become attached to dharmas and [on account of this]
they would engage in erroneous explanations of the characteristics of the
four immeasurables, [claiming that] these four immeasurable minds are
only [in effect on the level of] those with outflows because they take
beings as the [objective] condition, [claiming that] because they can
only take the desire realm as the [objective] condition they are
nonexistent in the form realm. Why? Because in the form realm one does
not take the desire realm as [an objective] condition.
In order to cut off erroneous views on the part of people such as
these the explained that the four immeasurable minds [are even in effect]
in the formless realm. Because in the Buddha’s implementation of the
four immeasurable minds, he universally takes all beings of the ten
directions as [objective] conditions, it ought to be the case that he
also takes [beings abiding] in the formless realm as [objective]
conditions. This is as in The Questions of Inexhaustible Intellect
Bodhisattva wherein it states, “Loving – kindness is of three kinds: That
which takes beings as the [objective] condition, that which takes dharmas
as the [objective] condition, and that which takes nothing whatsoever as
the [objective] condition.”
[In this regard], the author of this commentary declares, “Where
beings are taken as the [objective] condition, that is [on the level of]
outflows. Where nothing whatsoever is taken as the [objective]
condition, that is [on the level of] no outflows. Where dharmas are
taken as the [objective] condition, that is sometimes [on the level of]
outflows and sometimes [on the level of] no outflows.”
And so all kinds [of explanations] such as these [offered above
collectively] constitute a summary explanation of the four immeasurable
minds.

Source: http://www.purifymind.com


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