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brahmavihara

(Sanskrit: "living in the Brahman-heaven"), in Buddhist philosophy, the four noble practices of mental development through which men can attain subsequent rebirth in the Brahman heaven. These four practices are: (1) perfect virtue of sympathy, which gives happiness to living beings (Sanskrit: maitri; Pali: metta); (2) perfect virtue of compassion, which removes pain from living beings (karuna); out of karuna the bodhisattva postpones entrance into nirvana to work for the salvation of others; (3) perfect virtue of joy, the enjoyment of the sight of others who have attained happiness (mudita); (4) perfect virtue of equanimity, being free from attachment to everything and being indifferent to living beings (Sanskrit: upeksa; Pali: upekkha). These are also called the four apramanas (infinite feelings), since these four practices give happiness to infinite living beings.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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