The Divine Abodes
by Friends of Godwin
There are four important qualities, four beautiful qualities which the Buddha emphasised. They are Metta, loving-kindness; Karuna, compassion; Mudita, sympathetic joy; and Upekkha, equanimity.
According to the Buddha’s teaching, when we develop these important spiritual qualities we become like gods. That’s why they are sometimes called “The Divine Abodes”. I would like to see them as four of our very beautiful friends. When we have these four friends within us they will make us beautiful, they will make us experience more joy and lightness and this can also affect others around us.
Metta can be seen very briefly as learning to be your best friend and then also learning to be a friend to others. Metta helps us to open our heart to ourselves. It also enables us to open our heart to others.
Karuna is when you see suffering in yourself and when you see suffering in others, doing something to overcome your own suffering and doing something to overcome the suffering of others. This is developing the quality of Karuna, compassion.
In this modern world, where there is a lot of suffering, and the suffering manifests itself in many different ways, it is extremely important to develop this quality of Karuna in relation to others and in relation to your own suffering. In this connection the Buddha has said: Helping others is helping yourself; helping yourself is helping others. And eventually you see no difference between yourself and others.