This is Post 13 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series.
When we look within, we find that Consciousness, the ultimate nature of the human mind, appears to be structured like a mandala – like a compass rose. And at each of the directions of this inner compass are ethical principles that are inherent in the nature of Consciousness. In the last few posts, I have been starting to explore one cultural form of this archetypal mandala structure – an ancient pre-Buddhist formulation called the four brahmavihāras – the four ‘abodes of Brahma’, sometimes called the four immeasurables.
Meditation as a Mandala-Cycle
Traditionally in the Indian and Himalayan countries our circumambulation of, or progression around, the mandala, follows the path of the sun in the northern hemisphere, so we enter the mandala in the east, which is associated with sunrise; then move round clockwise to the south, which is associated with mid-day; then move round clockwise again to the west, which is associated with sunset; then move round clockwise again to the north, which is associated with midnight; and then return to the east point and the sunrise once again. I shall be adopting this traditional order as I go deeper into the four brahmavihāras in the future articles is this series over the coming weeks. When we have a full understanding of all four brahmavihāras there is great value in practicing all four in sequence, as a mandala-cycle. Continue reading