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the 4 'sublime' or 'divine abodes', also called the 4 boundless states (appamaññā), are:

  • loving-kindness (mettā),
  • compassion (karunā),
  • altruistic (or sympathetic) joy (muditā),
  • equanimity (upekkhā).

The stereotype text on the development of these 4 sublime abodes (brahma-vihāra-bhāvanā; s. bhāvanā), often met with in the Suttas,- is as follows:

"'There, o monks, the monk with a mind full of loving-kindness pervading first one direction, then a second one, then a third one, then the fourth one, just so above, below and all around; and everywhere identifying himself with all, he is pervading the whole world with mind full of loving-kindness, with mind wide, developed, unbounded, free from hate and ill-will."

Hereafter follows the same theme with compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity.


  • Detailed explanation in Vis.M. IX. -
  • For texts s. "Path", 97ff;
  • texts on mettā in The Practice of Loving Kindness, by ñānamoli Thera (WHEEL 7). -
  • The Four Sublime States, by Nyanaponika Thera (WHEEL 6). -
  • Brahma Vihāra, by Narada Thera (Vajirarama, Colombo, 1962).

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