How to meditate spreading a heart full of rejoicing and equanimity?

Hi when I read the suttas on meditate spreading a heart full of loving kindness, compassion, rejoicing and equanimity, I’ve wondered how exactly we should meditate spreading a heart full of rejoicing and equanimity.

For rejoicing: meditate and spread “May all beings rejoice at others’ good deeds”, to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of envy and jealousy?

For equanimity: meditate and spread "May all beings dwell in equanimity ", to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of lust and aversion?

Thanks for all your help. With Metta,


PS: I’ve just updated my post on “The Sequence of the Gradual Training” (Part I. Right View) in Discussion.


You might read the first section of Bhikkhu Analayo’s book Compassion and Emptiness in Early Buddhist Meditation for help. He defines compassion and highlights it in the context of the Buddha’s teachings and then explores the Brahmavihāras in the EBTs as well as traditions. I had not been aware of the range of practices of cultivating the Divine Abodes, that some ways work well for some but not others, that there are options. I think you’ll find comprehensive answers to your questions which will lead you to where you need to go.


There are many ways in which the Brahmavihara meditations can be practiced… if you want a detailed formal guide see Brahmavihara Dhamma - Mahasi Sayadaw or see Ven Vimalaramsi’s simpler (though sometimes controversial) Guide to Tranquil Wisdom Insight Meditation.. Many guided meditations are also available on the internet and youtube.


It’s probably also worth mentioning the downloadable guided meditation audios that go with Analayo’s Compassion & Emptiness book:

The first two focus on the Brahmaviharas, 40 minutes each, the first focusing on the four divine abodes, with the second combining these with practice of the seven enlightenment factors.
The following is a link to several Analayo meditation audios (various types of practice, not just metta):

There is also Ajahn Mahachatchai’s method of Metta, which Bhante Sujato practices. Check out the post here for a link to a YouTube series describing this method. Or see the book, A Flower Called Metta, here:


The meditation on the brahma viharas has the eventual aim of developing a boundless state of mind :

“He discerns, 'Before, this mind of mine was limited & undeveloped. But now this mind of mine is immeasurable & well developed. And whatever action that was done in a measurable way does not remain there, does not linger there.”—-AN 10. 208

“whatever action that was done in a measurable way does not remain there, does not linger there,” means the mind temporarily goes beyond evil actions when in a boundless state, as they have a confining influence, likened to a “debt” (AN 6.45). This gives a glimpse into the importance of space to the Buddha’s concept of mind.

To achieve boundlessness, the mind must first be trained in applying the four noble truths to living beings as recognizing them all in the common state of being subject to suffering and wishing to be free from that condition. This general perception allows transcendence of the specifics of human society. So the motive for developing the brahmaviharas is personal in nature. The boundless quality is linked to the subjects of progressive spatial expansion described in MN 121, the Lesser Discourse on Emptiness, where the step from the confined state of human society to the more expansive one of “wilderness” constitutes the early stage of mental spatial development.

Developing an attitude of loving-kindness in the way described above is a necessary replacement for sensual desire as a social attitude as insight develops:

“Loving-kindness has its “enemy within” in lust, which easily gains entry in its wake, and it must be well guarded against this. The remedy for lust is the contemplation of ugliness (in the body) as in the Satipattana Sutta (Digha Nikaya Sutta 22 and Majjhima Nikaya Sutta 10). Its “enemy without” is its opposite, ill-will, which finds its opportunities in the intervals when loving-kindness is not being actively practiced.”—-Nanamoli quoting from the Visuddhimagga


You can listen to any of the audio recordings of Venerable Sujato’s metta retreats:


That which is given attention grows.

Attending to good deeds with others brings us together, especially in times of strife.
Attending to equanimity with others brings us together, especially in times of chaos.
The ending of limits is the ending of suffering.

SN41.7:6.2: Greed, hate, and delusion are makers of limits.

Practically speaking, in USA today, this requires burying the hatchet with family members who voted the other way.


Very true…:pray:t3:

Gives fuel to good meditation kamma. I always find doing some act, motivated by kindness and selflessness , or rejoicing in the good acts of others,helps my mind calm down immensely prior to meditating.


In MN 62 the Buddha instructs his son on how to practice meditation on the breath. He begins with subsidiary themes including the brahmaviharas which are intended to bring the mind to balance from either over-activity or lack of energy. This is in line with the instructions under the third foundation of mindfulness, to “steady” the mind, or “gladden” it, whichever is necessary.

SN 42.8 and AN 10.208 describe how deeds done resulting in a constricted mind state cannot remain in a mind permeated by the boundless spatial quality of the brahmaviharas:

"That disciple of the noble ones, headman — thus devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unbewildered, alert, mindful — keeps pervading the first direction [the east] with an awareness imbued with good will, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth. Thus above, below, & all around, everywhere, in its entirety, he keeps pervading the all-encompassing cosmos with an awareness imbued with good will — abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. Just as a strong conch-trumpet blower can notify the four directions without any difficulty, in the same way, when the awareness-release through good will is thus developed, thus pursued, any deed done to a limited extent no longer remains there, no longer stays there.—-SN 42.8

In SN 47.10 the Buddha outlines the process of applying the subsidiary theme, then returning to the main subject of meditation. Here and elsewhere investigation is described as an energetic activity and concentration as a relaxed one:

“As he remains thus focused on (body, feelings, mind, or mental qualities) in & of themselves, a fever based on (body, feelings, mind or mental qualities) arises within his body, or there is sluggishness in his awareness, or his mind becomes scattered externally. He should then direct his mind to any inspiring theme. As his mind is directed to any inspiring theme, gladness is born within him. In one who is gladdened, rapture is born. In one whose heart is enraptured, the body grows calm. His body calm, he feels pleasure. Feeling pleasure, his mind grows concentrated. He reflects, ‘I have attained the aim to which my mind was directed. Let me withdraw.’ He withdraws & engages neither in directed thought nor in evaluation. He discerns that ‘I am not thinking or evaluating. I am inwardly mindful & at ease.”—-SN 47.10

In MN 62, the five elements (including space) also constitute a subsidiary theme, and the meditations on ‘air’ and ‘space’ immediately precede the brahmaviharas, indicating the development from the elements to the boundless quality of the brahmaviharas, then to the breath as a vehicle of the element air, a platform for later meditation on space, remembering Rahula is a beginner. That is how this procedure results in “much fruit, much benefit,”

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