For a bodhisattva to benefit and bring joy to all sentient beings, he or she will demonstrate four embracing virtues; giving, beneficial actions, encouraging speech and the ability to view things from another’s point of view. At the same time, the bodhisattva must also harbor four immeasurable states of mind (kindness, compassion, joy, and non-attachment) as the foundation for these virtues. If we practice the bodhisattva way without a mind filled with kindness, compassion, joy, and non-attachment, we would be unkind and hypocritical people, and our words would be untruthful. Therefore, we must practice the four immeasurable states of mind together with the four all-embracing bodhisattva virtues. Then both speech and mind will be harmonious and we can truly help and benefit all sentient beings.
How should we practice the four immeasurable states of mind? When we practice meditation, we should contemplate how we could, from now on, practice the bodhisattva way, propagate the Buddha’s teachings, and liberate all sentient beings. How could we liberate all sentient beings? First, all sentient beings are our previous relatives; therefore we must resolve to liberate them. Second, all sentient beings have the buddha nature, they are all future buddhas but are presently deluded, therefore we should practice the four immeasurable states of mind to help them.
Immeasurable kindness is to bring joy to all sentient beings. Immeasurable compassion is to eliminate all suffering. Immeasurable joy is to rejoice when we see others practicing good deeds. When a bodhisattva sees others doing good deeds, attaining success in life, perfecting their cultivation or succeeding in their studies, the bodhisattva is happy and generously gives admiration and praise. We should not only treat all people, but also all animals this way. Immeasurable non-attachment (self-possession) means renunciation (relinquishing) and giving. This may take many forms such as Dharma giving, giving of material items, giving of comfort and giving care to others in need; It also includes the dedication of merits to others.
If the bodhisattva sincerely resolves to practice the four immeasurable states of mind, the four great vows, and the ten virtues, he will be freed from birth, aging, sickness, and death in this life. When we truly succeed in practicing the four immeasurable states of mind, we can break our attachment to the notion of a self, a person, or a sentient being. When there is no attachment to the notion of a self, a person, or a sentient being, and the mind is in equanimity, we will be in conformity with the true impartial reality of Buddha nature and Dharma nature.