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Book Review: The Four Immeasurables

December 6, 2010

The Four Immeasurables: Practices to Open the Heart
Written by B. Alan Wallace
Published by Snow Lion Publications

“The Four Immeasurables: Practices to Open the Heart” is a compendious study of the four immeasurables, the precursor to generating bodhichitta, a core piece in Tibetan Buddhist teachings.

For those unfamiliar with the four immesaurables, which can be written or recited in various ways, they are as follows…

May all sentient beings have happiness and its causes.
May all sentient beings be free of suffering and its causes.
May all sentient beings not be separated from sorrowless bliss.
May all sentient beings abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger

B. Alan Wallace, a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner who was ordained by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, has been practicing, studying and teaching since the 1970’s. His knowledge and commentary are world renowned as being approachable and understandable.

With this edition, the third edition, Wallace focuses on samatha meditative practices in conjunction with a study of the four immeasurables. Throughout the book there are various mediation practices which are outlined in a manner that both beginner and advanced practitioner can put into action.

Samatha meditation, also know as calm abiding, is a technique that with practice helps the practitioner nurture attention which is not only focused, but is sustainable in a manner that which takes little, to no effort.

Wallace’s approach is as clear as it gets. His research and study of the Dharma is evident in his ability to quote masters throughout the years and draw on their teachings in  way that translates well to the Western world.

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