#330 the 4 Jewels of Zen Sept 7 20

                                         The four jewels or “divine states”

The Buddha called the 4 jewels “divine states”.

It’s important to understand that they are not emotions but rather daily attitude towards self and others. It takes practice and dedication to establish these 4 states of mind.

One cannot simply make up in her/his mind that we will be kind, empathic, compassionate, and contempt or serene at the flick of a switch. These four states requires intentional dwelling and altering how you experience and perceive yourself and all our surroundings including others.

Becoming aware of and loosening the tight bonds of our ego are especially important in this practice.

If these 4 mental attitudes are somewhat achievable for our loved ones, the task regarding those that we dislike is a huge challenge. Maybe this is why they are called “divine”

1 Genuine kindness:

This attitude is directed toward all living beings, without discrimination or selfish attachment.

For some it is compared to the unconditional love that a mother would have for her children. 

This kindness does not discriminate between good people and malicious people.

It is an attitude in which ”I” and “you” disappear, and where there is no possessor and nothing to possess. By practicing genuine kindness one can overcome all negative feelings such as anger, hatred, aversion, negative judgment, etc. 

2 Sympathetic Joy or empathy:

Means taking sympathetic or altruistic joy in observance of the happiness of others.

Empathy is the ability to take active delight in others’ good fortune or good deeds as a way to develop and maintain calmness of our own mind. The antithesis of empathy is jealousy and envy. By being happy when good things happen to others, your opportunities for a peaceful mind are greatly increased.

3 Compassion:

 “Sharing the sufferings or misfortunes of others and feel compelled to reduce their suffering.

Put simply, compassion is a concern to improve the welfare and well-being of others.

4 Equanimity:

Psychology defines equanimity as a stable mental state.

Zen describes the word equanimity as “Neither a thought nor an emotion but rather a steady conscious experience of the current reality of the moment, as it is w/o attachement, judgment, discrimination and utopic expectations.”

Things, events and people are what they are and not what we want them to be.

It is the practice of letting go, allowing the mind to be undisturbed.

It includes mindful observation, acceptance, and resilience to negativity from things, events, and people. Serenity or contentment are the consequences of equanimity.

Equanimity does not mean indifference to the suffering or the joy of others

Final 53 words:

These 4 jewels are called jewels probably because, not only we express kindness, empathy and compassion to others but also we are creating mental equanimity for ourselves, a powerful antidote against the mind-made ego self. Remember that kindness, empathy and compassion should be applied first to ourselves, otherwise they cannot be expended to others.

Thank you all