Four sublime states Catu Brahma-vihāra for disaster situation
Lecturer, Religious course
coordinator;Intercollegiate Sri Lanka Education
Affiliated to the University of
In Buddhist scriptures, these four sublime states are known under the name of
Brahma-vihara, a term which mostly be rendered as excellent, lofty, or sublime
states of mind and mainly higher qualities that maintain by the good humanity.
These four mentalities are supposed to be great or grand since they are the
privilege or perfect method of lead towards living creatures.
They give, actually, the response to all circumstances emerging from social
contact.They are the extraordinary removers of strain, the incredible
peacemakers in social clash, and the extraordinary healers of wounds endured in
the battle of presence.They level social barriers, build harmonious communities,
awaken slumbering magnanimity long forgotten, revive joy and hope long
abandoned, and promote human brotherhood against the forces of egotism.
This world is a marvelous structure between nature and man. That’s why military
conditions, natural disasters, illnesses and various forms of perishing can
occur in different situations.The attitudes, activities and qualities of the man
are mainly causal to these various forms of perishing. Four sublime states (Catu
Brahma-vihara) namely; Mettaā – Loving-Kindness, Karunaā – compassion, Muditaā -
sympathetic joy and Upekkaā–equanimityare very much important for humanity and
social stability. These four qualities are also known as the boundless states
because, in their perfection and their true nature, they shouldnot be narrowed
by any limitation as to the range of beings towards which they are extended.
They should be nonexclusive and impartial, not bound by selective preferences or
Presently all over the world is facing for an unbearable situation. With the
outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic reaching threatening proportions in many
countries. The outbreak was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019
and gradually spread to most of the countries in the world. People are suffering
with health and economic problems and most of the people are confuse about the
situation. As an example lives of the Sri Lankan people are getting worse every
day, due to the law of curfew and the economy of the people has collapsed.Some
of them have lost their relation due to the virus. Some of them haven’t seen
their relations for a long time due to their services or quarantine. Most of the
people fed-up with the unexpected problems.
The Buddhism is the ultimate philosophy which teaches us about the actuality. It
is highly recognized the practical application of the Buddhist theories in this
kind of disaster situation. Four sublime states are very much important and
useful for give helping hand to each other. Mettaā – Loving-Kindness is love,
without desire to possess, knowing well that in the ultimate sense there is no
possession and no possessor. This is the highest love. Human being should spread
Mettaā – Loving-Kindnessto the every spirit without boundaries. According to the
Buddhist teaching the Buddha advised to spread Mettaā – Loving-Kindness as a
mother love to her only son the peopleshould be unlimitedly distributed Mettaā –
Loving-Kindness to all living being. In this particular situation every human
being can wish as may all living beings be well, happy and peaceful. May no
harm, difficulties come to them. May all living beings free from mental and
physical illness. This is very much useful to develop own peace as well as world
Karunaā – compassion means sympathetic consciousness of others' distress
together with a desire to alleviate it. Karunaā – compassion is very much
important for this kind of situation. Now people are suffering with lot of
problems. They are unable to full fill basic need even. For an example most of
the people in this world are suffering with food problems. As living being we
can understand the hunger of other beings. So those who are capable to supply
basic needs can help to helpless people in the world. Not only food but also
medicine, cloths, shelter as well as the spiritual and mental support to
overcome every problem.
Muditaā - sympathetic joy means a enjoying others happiness. This is very much
helping us to get rid from the jealousy. Your life will pick up in bliss by
sharing the joy of others as though it were yours. Did you never see how in
snapshots of bliss men's highlights change and gotten splendid with delight? Did
you never see how euphoria rouses men to honorable yearnings and deeds,
surpassing their ordinary limit? Didn't such experience fill your own heart with
euphoric happiness? It is in your capacity to increment such experience of
thoughtful delight, by creating joy in others, by bringing them bliss and
comfort. So in this situation all can express the sympathetic joy to those who
suffer and non-suffer. Incidents which were happened in the airport can take as
an example. Most of the passengers who came from abroad did want to join for the
quarantine due to many reasons. They had different reasons including politics.
So we all should have sympathetic joy to bear any success done by anybody.
Upekkaā – equanimityis a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight.
This is very much important for this disaster situation. We all as human beings
express our happiness than sadness. According to the Buddhism we have to be
patience to maintain the gap of happiness and sadness. These days we all have to
face lot of difficulties due to curfew and many other reasons. Sometimes when
all the family members are resident at home in this disaster period due to the
curfew there will be many problems occur.Each and every one will have different
kind of attitudes and habits. Everybody have to maintain the Upekkaā –
equanimity to have minimum problems. We all have to be very much patience with
equanimity to reestablished the country and human day today life.
As a summary four sublime states - Catu Brahma-vihara,we can use in practical
application in this disaster period as; Mettaā – Loving-Kindness to activate
good will towards all,Karunaā – compassionto identifying the suffering of others
as one's own, Muditaā - sympathetic joy to enjoy and feels others happiness and
Upekkaā – equanimityto even-mindedness and serenity, treating everyone
All the human being has to take this COVID 19 disaster as a lesson to the life.
It is not matter that you’re a Buddhist or any other religious person. The
matter occurs with the levels of your humanity, qualities and discipline. These
sublime states - Catu Brahma-vihara can help anybody to live with full of
happiness as well as to be an excellent human being. Not only that but also to
attend the highest happiness of Nibbana.