brahmavihāra (T. tshangs pa'i gnas ཚངས་པའི་གནས་; C. fanzhu 梵住), lit. "abodes of brahma," are four topics of meditation which are widely taught and practiced in both the Pali and Sanskrit traditions.
These states are called brahmavihāras, "divine abodes" or sublime states, "because they are the mental dwellings of the Brahmā divinities in the Brahma-world." These states are also called immeasurables (apramāṇa) "because they are to be radiated towards all living beings without limit or obstruction."
The four "divine abodes" are:
- Loving-kindness (mettā) - the wish for the welfare and happiness of all living beings. It helps to eliminate ill will.
- Compassion (karuṇā) - that which makes the heart quiver when others are subject to suffering. It is the wish to remove the suffering of others, and it is opposed to cruelty.
- Appreciative joy (muditā) - the quality of rejoicing at the success and prosperity of others. It is the congratulatory attitude, and helps to eliminate envy and discontent over the success of others.
- Equanimity (upekkhā) - as a divine abode, is the state of mind that regards others with impartiality, free from attachment and aversion. An impartial attitude is its chief characteristic, and it is opposed to favouritism and resentment.
- Four immeasurables (apramāṇa)
- Bhikkhu Bodhi, ed. (2000), A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, Pariyatti Publishing
- Dalai Lama; Thubten Chodron (2014), Buddhism: One Teacher, Many Traditions, Wisdom Publications
- Dalai Lama; Thubten Chodron (2020), In Praise of Great Compassion, The Library of Wisdom and Compassion, Volume 5, Wisdom Publications