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Title: Ethical Importance Of Brahmavihāra In Buddhism
Authors: Das, Bhupendra Chandra
Barik, Biplab
Keywords: śīla
Issue Date: Mar-2020
Publisher: Vidyasagar University , Midnapore , West Bengal , India
Series/Report no.: Philosophy and the Life-world;Vol 22 [2019-2020];
Abstract: Śīla, Samādhi, and Prajñā are the stages on the path to nirvāṇa. Śīla is the development of excellence of character and Samādhi is profound contemplation of truth. It is the concentration of mind on one object to the entire exclusion of all irrelevant matter. Prajñā is the penetrating insight or wisdom or valid deeper and higher knowledge. Śīla is the positive aspect of morality and the latter lies in the cultivation of four Brahmavihāras. ‘Brahma’ means one greater than which nothing can be. Here the word ‘Vihāra’ signifies constant cultivation of four feelings mentioned below. According to Buddhism, there are four Brahmavihāras – Maitrī (disinterested friendship), Karuṇā (unrestrained compassion), Muditā (unreserved satisfaction) and Upekṣā (indifference). These are highly admirable for the purpose of right concentration (Samyak Samādhi) and they ultimately lead to emancipation (nirvāṇa). In case of maitrī, the practice of universal and unselfish friendship is necessary. It is ruination of enmity or ill-will of any type, because that is not humanizing. So we should help, love, enable not only oneself but also should extend it to the entire living beings in the world. After seeing the grief of others the trembling which arises in the hearts of gentle person is known as karuṇā. Karuṇā may even be extended to repentant criminals and enemies. Muditā means sincere joy at others happiness. Kindliness (muditā), is sharing someone else’s joy. Upekṣā is the feeling of indifference to happiness and sorrow, etc. It is to overlook the errors of others. The aforesaid Brahmavihāras resembles with the four quoted in Yogasūtra –I .33. The four sublime states (Brahmavihāras) of mind are interconnected, complementary and yet independent. Brahmavihāras develop a proper linkage between Prajñā and Śīla. Prajñā without Śīla is empty and Śīla without Prajñā is barren. Brahmavihāras bridge the link between theory and practice, essence of humanity and essencelessness of personality. Therefore, we can conclude that Buddhism has a proper insight into the conception of man and his Nirvāṇa in which Brahmavihāras has a properly decisive role. According to the Buddha, works of a sadhaka, influenced by the thought of maitrī begets a plenty of good result. Malice (dveṣa), violence or hatred and the act of vengeance wither away respectively by maitrī, karuṇā and upekṣā. The feeling of disinterestedness of actions may come in the doer’s mind if he continues to do the practice of muditā.
ISSN: 0975-8461
Appears in Collections:Philosophy and the Life-world Vol 22 [2019-2020]

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