Ven. Thubten Chodron on the inclusiveness of the Brahmaviharas
- "There's a very important word in these Four Immeasurables.* You
find it in each of the four, and that word is 'all.' 'May all
sentient beings have happiness and it's causes.' It doesn't
say, 'May my friends and relatives have happiness and it's causes,
and may my enemies suffer!' It doesn't say that! It says, 'all
sentient beings' and 'all sentient beings' includes people that we
don't like. It includes the people who cut you off on the highway;
it includes the people who talk behind your back and work; it
includes the terrorists; it includes your neighbor who plays their TV
too loud; it includes your best friend who betrayed your trust; it
includes everybody. You can't leave anybody out. 'All' means 'all,'
it doesn't mean everybody minus the people we can't stand. There
something very pertinent in this, something that stretches our mind,
stretches our ability, hmm?"
"And 'all' also includes ourselves. So when we're generating love
and compassion and joy and equanimity, when we're generating these
four we're also extending them to ourselves. It's not, 'May
everybody else have happiness and it's causes, because they deserve
happiness and I'm a creep. I don't deserve anything good.' We have
to love ourselves and wish ourselves love. And it's not that we wish
everybody else to be free of suffering, but we have such low self-
esteem that we think we're awful people and that we deserve to suffer
ourselves. It's not that. Okay? We are a sentient being - no more,
but also no less. So when it says 'all' it also includes ourselves.'
~ Excerpted from "Workshop on the Four Immeasurables: Love,
Compassion, Joy and Equanimity" by Ven. Thubten Chodron.
* The Four Immeasurables
May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes,
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes,
May all sentient beings never be separated from sorrowless bliss,
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias,
attachment and anger.
The entire dharma lecture can be accessed at:
May this be of benefit.