14. FOUR IMMEASURABLE MINDS & FOUR WAYS OF PERSUASION
14.1 Four Immeasurable Minds (Catvari apramanani)
A Bodhisattva has to cultivate the Four Immeasurable Minds, which direct all activities of his/her body, mouth and brain, to achieve the goal of deliverance of living beings, and fulfill the Four Universal Vows. The Four Immeasurable Minds form the basis of a Bodhisattva.
14.1.1 Loving-Kindness (Maitri)
Kindness, compassion, and equality represent the fundamental concepts in Buddhism. As all sentient beings possess the Buddha nature, therefore, their existence is virtually under the same causal condition - The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination.
Bodhisattvas treat all the sentient beings as their children, by taking care of them, giving them happiness and comfort, and teaching them the ways to attain wisdom and blessings. Bodhisattvas have immeasurable mind of loving-kindness.
14.1.2 Compassion (Karuna)
Similarly, the substance of all sentient beings is the same, therefore Bodhisattvas regard the sufferings of sentient beings as their own. Their mercy extends to all the beings in the Dharma realms without discrimination. Due to the ignorance, the sentient beings act in distorted manner, so that they keep on creating the causes of suffering, and thus living in fear, in depression and in anxiety. Bodhisattvas take every chance to give them the advices and show them the right paths to ultimate liberation. Their mind of compassion is again immeasurable and boundless.
14.1.3 Joy (Mudita)
Bodhisattvas are delighted when they know that the sentient beings are in peace and happiness. They are more delighted when the sentient beings cease to perform evil deeds and cultivate wholesome Karma to enrich their wisdom and blessings.
Bodhisattvas are not jealous of the sentient beings' achievement. They regard the achievement of the sentient beings being the same or even better than that of their own. Bodhisattvas have the immeasurable mind of joy.
14.1.4 Renunciation (Upeksa)
The mind of Bodhisattvas does not attach to any specific being and matter. Understanding the principle of impermanence, principle of not-self, the reality of existence, they realize that every matter does not possess its own nature, and is thus transient and not real, subject to ever-changing conditions. Bodhisattva himself/herself is no exception. Bodhisattvas break up all kinds of greed, hatred and illusion and are never controlled by emotions. Bodhisattvas renunciate all the causes of afflictions/vexations. It is the way of Bodhisattvas to transfer merit, i.e. to give the merits to others with the hope to help them. Good speech and wholesome deed accumulate merits. Bodhisattvas transfer merits with a mind of compassion and generosity. They give the merits away without the thought of getting merits in return. Bodhisattvas, of course, do not attach to the virtues and merits, and to the transference itself. Without any attachment to self (i.e. egocentrism) and Dharma, Bodhisattvas have immeasurable mind of renunciation.
14.2 Four Ways of Persuasion (Catuh-samograha-vastu)
As a salvator, a Bodhisattva is expedient to get in touch with the sentient beings and to attain their trust and faith on him/her. Consequently, the sentient beings are willing to accept and follow the teachings of Bodhisattva in their daily lives, and to liberate themselves from suffering, and to cultivate the blessings and wisdom. The Four Ways of Persuasion are the methods used by Bodhisattvas to convince and persuade the sentient beings to cross over. They are also useful guidelines to improve the human relationship in our daily lives. They are:
14.2.1 Giving (Dana)
For those poor and disabled, a Bodhisattva helps them with money in order to satisfy their basic need.
For those who have no skill to work, a Bodhisattva teaches them to work in society, to earn a living without relying on the financial support from others.
For those who live in despair, fear and anxiety, a Bodhisattva takes care of them, and encourage them to overcome any difficulties encountered.
14.2.2 Affectionate Speech (Priyavacana)
A Bodhisattva has to be neat and gentle in appearance, good and pure in conduct, kind and sincere in speech. A Bodhisattva with Right Speech will be respected.
If the sentient beings have done something good, a Bodhisattva will praise and encourage them to continue.
If the sentient beings are in fear, despair and anxiety, a Bodhisattva will say a few words to comfort them.
If the sentient beings have evil thoughts or perform evil deeds, a Bodhisattva will give them advices to stop doing so.
A Bodhisattva respects others, listens carefully to what they say, and understands their problems and needs. In this way, a Bodhisattva can persuade them with appropriate words in an appropriate manner. It is known as affectionate speech.
14.2.3 Beneficial Actions (Arthakrtya)
A Bodhisattva always performs in such a way to benefit others in order to save them from suffering. As a Bodhisattva has no discrimination among all sentient beings, he/she is always humble and ready to serve and help. A Bodhisattva always has an equal mind of kindness and compassion to benefit all sentient beings of all races, ranks, social position, rich or poor. A Bodhisattva does not mnd the praises or the blames from others for his/her beneficial actions, because it is the nature of a Bodhisattva to do so.
14.2.4 Co-operation (Samanartharta)
The best way of teaching is to lead by example. A Bodhisattva cannot alienate the sentient beings. He/she should always live, work, study with the sentient beings, in order to understand them and to develop the friendship and trust. A Bodhisattva should also co-operate with sentient beings in cultivating the Buddhist Way.