The Four Immeasurables: Practices To Open The Heart

The Four Immeasurables: Practices To Open The Heart

by B. Alan Wallace

Paperback(3rd Edition)

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The Four Immeasurables: Practices To Open The Heart by B. Alan Wallace

The Four Immeasurables—the cultivation of loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity—is a rich suite of practices that open the heart, counter the distortions in our relationships to ourselves, and deepen our relationships to others. Alan Wallace presents a unique interweaving of teachings on the Four Immeasurables with instruction on meditative quiescence, or shamatha practice, to empower the mind. This book includes both guided meditations and lively discussions on the implications of these teachings for our life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781559393539
Publisher: Shambhala
Publication date: 09/16/2010
Edition description: 3rd Edition
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 514,719
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

B. Alan Wallace has authored, translated, edited, and contributed to more than forty books on Tibetan Buddhism, science, and culture. With fourteen years as a Buddhist monk, he earned a BA in physics and the philosophy of science and then a PhD in religious studies. After teaching in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he founded the Santa Barbara Institute for Consciousness Studies to explore the integration of scientific approaches and contemplative methods.

Table of Contents

Preface 8

1 Introduction 9

Why Practice? 9

The Foundation of Ethics 16

The Affirmation of Intuitive Wisdom 20

A Meditation on the Jewel in the Lotus: Om Mani Padme Hum 23

Questions and Responses: On Ethics and the Sequence of Practice 25

2 Entering Samatha Practice 31

Beginning the Meditation 33

Relaxation, Stability, and Vividness 34

Questions and Responses: On Breath Awareness 40

The Mastery of Attention: Mindfulness and Introspection 46

Samatha as a Catalyst for Mental Events 50

Dealing with Problems in Samatha Practice 52

3 The Path to Samatha: An Overview 59

The Nine Stages of the Path to Samatha 59

The Achievement of Samatha 65

The Prerequisites for Achieving Samatha 68

Five Obstructions to Progress in Samatha 73

The Five Factors of Stabilization 76

On the Choice of an Object in Samatha Practice 78

Questions and Responses: On Achieving Samatha 80

Beyond Samatha 84

4 Loving-Kindness 87

Meditation: Loving-Kindness for Oneself 90

Extending the Practice of Loving-Kindness 95

The Advantages of a Lay Person in the Practice of Loving-Kindness 97

Loving-Kindness for One's Enemies 98

The Problem of Righteous Anger 107

Passion and Patience in Response to the Sources of Suffering 109

Finding a Lovable Quality 112

Confusing Attachment with Loving-Kindness 114

Questions and Responses: Enemies and Insight 116

The Attainment of Samatha in Loving-Kindness 121

5 Compassion 127

Questions and Responses: Catharsis, Logic, and Compassion 133

Compassion for a Suffering Person: Meditation 135

Extending the Meditation on Compassion 137

Intrusiveness in the Practice of Compassion 138

Meditation on Avalokitesvara, the Embodiment of Compassion 139

6 Empathetic Joy 143

Rejoicing in Others' Happiness 143

Rejoicing in Virtue 145

7 Equanimity 149

Equanimity in Theravada Buddhism 149

Equanimity in Tibetan Buddhism 151

Questions and Responses: On Distinguishing Attachment from Affection 161

8 The Empowerment of Insight 163

From Insight to an Unmediated Experience of the Ultimate 169

Questions and Responses: The Urgency and Rarity of Spiritual Awakening 178

Notes 185

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"Alan Wallace is one of the great Western Buddhist thinkers of our day."—Howard Cutler M.D., coauthor with H.H. the Dalai Lama of The Art of Happiness

"A one-of-a-kind book that helps educate as well as inspire."—Inquiring Mind

"Any person on a spiritual path, Buddhist or not, will find in this book fresh practical insights for cultivating a boundless heart. A thought-provoking, useful, encouraging read."— ForeWord Magazine

"We are in very good hands when Alan Wallace takes us on a journey with the four immeasurables."—Mandala, Editor's Choice

"This book is written in a very simple and direct style. It always cuts out the superficial and directs the reader to the heart of the practice. Interspersed are numerous personal anecdotes and insights that could only be gathered from a lifetime of practice and teaching."—The Middle Way

"This in-depth treatment is presented clearly and directly without unnecessary trappings and will be a good choice for customers looking to begin serious study of Buddhist tradition and practice. It includes guided meditations intended to help readers open their hearts and empower their minds."—New Age Retailer

"This rich psychological unfolding of these spiritual practices provides a fine capstone to the author's thoughts on meditation."—Spirituality & Practice

"As is usual with books by Alan Wallace, there is a strong emphasis on making the ideas and practices discussed accessible to modern readers without diluting those ideas or dumbing them down. A determination to show how the four immeasurables are to be applied in practice in our lives is also evident. For anyone who wishes to a read a lively presentation of some central ideas within Buddhism and that achieves the difficult balance of being both traditional and modern in approach, this book will not disappoint."—Buddhism Now

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