The role of Brahmavihara in tibetan buddhism

Discussion of meditation in the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions.

The role of Brahmavihara in tibetan buddhism

Postby TaTa » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:51 am

Hi. Im starting to get into specific tibetan buddhism and i was wondering whats the role of brahmavihara in this tradition. How important is in the practices priorities? How do they practice it? In wich order we should learn to meditate on them?

I have been doing metta for a couple of months and i wanted to try another one. I didnt know if i should do equanimity or compassion since ive read that in the "skillfull ways" of meditation we should start on one of those
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Re: The role of Brahmavihara in tibetan buddhism

Postby Yudron » Wed Jul 25, 2012 4:42 am

Tibet is a Mahayana country, and the Mahayana expanded the Brahmaviharas to limitless/immeasurable love, compassion, joy and equanimity in their training in Bodhicitta. The meditations have an expansive quality and bring one from, for example, metta (maitri) towards one person or a select group, to all sentient beings throughout all world systems. Thus, the mediation on equanimity can come first or last, and is a part of all the other three. There are practices one can do on each one, but generally they balance each other out, so they are done as a series. They are generally called the "Four Immeasurables" in English. Pema Chodron I believe has a book on these, and I'm sure others do. Although the translation it is a very dated, the greatest Nyingma scholar yogi, Longchenpa, taught how to do these practices in either Vol. 1 or 2 of a translated text called Kindly Bent to Ease Us, translated by Guenther a long time ago.

Each Tibetan lama emphasized Mahayana training to a greater or lesser degree. When I practiced the Longchen Nyingthig foundational practices, I spent a significant period of time cultivating the four immeasurable as a practice while I was focusing mainly on the Bodhicitta aspect, following Longchenpa's advice. As I recall, I did all four in a session to a greater or lesser degree based on time and what felt right. I bet the Gelugpa's focus on this a lot, because they generally emphasize a long period focusing mainly on the Mahayana. The Sakya, Nyingma, and Kagyu Schools generally try to move people along into the Vajrayana because it is viewed as a swifter path to enlightenment. But, each to his own!
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Re: The role of Brahmavihara in tibetan buddhism

Postby Aemilius » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:16 am

Alex Berzin, a well known buddhist, has written an article about the Four Immeasurables in different schools of buddhism, it also explains the different tibetan traditions, it is helpful and informative http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/study/comparison_buddhist_traditions/theravada_hinayana_mahayana/4_immeasurable_%20attitudes.html
Longchenpa has written about the Brahma Viharas also in his Great Chariot Autocommentary Chapter VII The Four Immeasurables
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Re: The role of Brahmavihara in tibetan buddhism

Postby TaTa » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:04 am

Is the equanimty of the four Immeasurables different from the equanimty born from samadhi cultivation? I havent practiced equanimty meditation yet but it seems that the focus is different from the one born in samatha. What i mean is that the equanimty from samadhi cultivation seems more related to a non grasping/non pulling back "attitude" to what ever arises from inner expirience while the equanimity from the four immeasurables its more related to the inparciality(i dont know if this word exists =P) to all beings, understanding that we are all equal. Is this correct? Correct me if im wrong please.

Thanks for your replays
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Re: The role of Brahmavihara in tibetan buddhism

Postby Jnana » Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:21 pm

TaTa wrote:Is the equanimty of the four Immeasurables different from the equanimty born from samadhi cultivation?

The four immeasurables are practices for cultivating samādhi and equanimity is both a developmental practice (samādhibhāvanā) and a mental quality (caitasika). Practicing the former leads to the latter.

TaTa wrote:I havent practiced equanimty meditation yet but it seems that the focus is different from the one born in samatha. What i mean is that the equanimty from samadhi cultivation seems more related to a non grasping/non pulling back "attitude" to what ever arises from inner expirience while the equanimity from the four immeasurables its more related to the inparciality(i dont know if this word exists =P) to all beings, understanding that we are all equal.

Equanimity is equally equanimous ;) with regard to all objects, is it not?
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