09 Oct 2014

Whereas the Four Immeasurables are the best friends of Vipashyana in weakening the mental afflictions before wisdom finally gives them the rest, the Four Greats go much deeper, lifting the last veils to become a fully awakened buddha. In this meditation of Great Compassion we attend to the different layers pertaining to the question why all sentient beings couldn’t become free from suffering. We should take this question really serious, it is not meant to be a philosophical question. Alan gives the parallel to medicine, where a resolve was made to free all human beings from the suffering of Ebola or other diseases, and with intelligence and effort it is made a reality. First we have the blatant suffering that is caused by hatred, which means caused by views i.e. of racism, and these views could be eradicated - not the people that hold these views, they are equally worthy of our compassion. This type of suffering pertains to specific problems that we encounter, and each of them could be addressed, one by one. For those of us who cannot become full-time yogis because of responsibilities for their families etc., we can alleviate this type of suffering by acting as bodhisattvas in our daily lives. The next layer is the suffering of change, which is related to craving and attachment. It could be solved by being content, by valuing eudaimonia over hedonic pleasures, and the way that leads out of that suffering could be taught to children from kindergarten on. And finally, we have the deepest level of suffering, the all-pervasive, existential suffering related to delusion. This depth of suffering can only be addressed by wisdom, and we find the wisdom capable of this in every religion, in true science and philosophy. If we look deep enough, we find the Great Perfection in all of them. Alan ends with a great appeal to all of us. Since scientific materialism with its consumer-driven way of life, its worldview and its hedonic values is dragging human civilization down into an abyss, the primary responsibility for each of us is to save this planet.

Guided meditation starts at 36:30 min

Download (M4A / 29 MB)

Transcript

This lecture does not have a text transcript. Please contact us if you’d like to volunteer to assist our transcription team.

Discussion

Ask questions about this lecture on the Buddhism Stack Exchange or the Students of Alan Wallace Facebook Group. Please include this lecture’s URL when you post.