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Brahmaviharas and world peace

india Updated: Aug 11, 2006 15:33 IST
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Obtaining a peaceful world and a global family won't be a difficult task at all if we were to believe Buddhist scholars. All that we have to do is to practise the Brahmaviharas or four sublime states : Maitri-bhavana, Karuna-bhavana, Mudita-bhavana and Upeksha-bhavana. These are called the Brahmaviharas  because their persistent practice helps one to be reborn into the highest realm of consciousness, called Brahma.

Scholars, at a seminar in Leh, recently, stressed that the bloodshed being done in several parts of the world today was due to the non-practice of the Brahmaviharas  which was not only a way of life but the very key to peaceful human co-existence on this planet beautiful. They echoed what the great Buddhist saint Nagarjuna had said on the benefits of practising the Brahmaviharas: "You will have the pleasures of the mind / poison and weapons will not harm you/you will attain your aims with ease/ and be born in the world of Brahma."

According to Dr Nawang Tsering, Principal, Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, that organised the seminar, the first sublime state ( Maitri-bhavana) involves cultivation of loving-kindness. It helps us in subduing hatred and anger. The Buddha, the embodiment of loving-kindness, had said the only weapon that can nullify hatred was Maitri.

The Buddha's compassion (Karuna-bhavana) can be gained through undergoing long practices for multiple births. Compassion is not merely an attitude but an action too. It was out of compassion that the Buddha nursed the sick, the diseased and the old.

There is a moving tale in the Viyaghri Jataka where the Boddhisattva sacrifices himself by feeding his own flesh to a starving tigress. The third sublime state (Muditabhavana) enables us to appreciate others' joy and success. Anyone who has practiced Mudita will radiate an aura of serene tranquility. The fourth Brahmavihara (Upeksha-bhavana) confers the power to treat everybody impartially. It is this quality that perfects you into a being capable of not distinguishing between a friend and a foe or between pleasure and displeasure. Let us apply these precepts now.

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