Unification of Four Boundless Minds

Yutang Lin

Benevolence means to bring happiness to sentient beings. Compassion means to relieve sentient beings of sufferings. Joy means the delight of original purity. Release means freedom from all attachments. Based on these basic notions recite the following stanza and think about the meaning a bit along side the recitation:

Benevolence of benevolence, compassion of benevolence, joy of benevolence, release of benevolence;
Benevolence of compassion, compassion of compassion, joy of compassion, release of compassion;
Benevolence of joy, compassion of joy, joy of joy, release of joy;
Benevolence of release, compassion of release, joy of release, release of release;

And then repeat three times:

Benevolence, compassion, joy, release.

During this recitation of benevolence, compassion, joy, release, each one of them would naturally comprise all the remaining three in its meanings.


This practice was invented by me and has been practiced by me for some time. I found it to be rather beneficial in helping me to unify the Four Boundless Minds into oneness. Therefore, I am writing it for the public to share. Through this practice one may increase comprehension of the interdependence and mutual support among the Four Boundless Minds. When the Four Boundless Minds are unified and harmonized into oneness, Bodhicitta would ensue.

While reciting the stanza above there is no definite thought connected to the phrases. As long as the thoughts are in accordance with the Dharma the practitioner may think in whatever direction so as to explore possible relevant significance. Below is only an example but not for practice of recitation. It is better to use the stanza above for recitation practice because that stanza allows the practitioner to explore in thinking and consequently, in the long run, would increase the width and depth of comprehension.

Benevolence of benevolence, pure altruism; compassion of benevolence, could not stand others’ suffering; joy of benevolence, free from gratitude and grievance; release of benevolence, no more entanglement.

Benevolence of compassion, reduce karma and nurture merits; compassion of compassion, equal salvation; joy of compassion, complete escape from sufferings; release of compassion, no calculation of merits or faults.

Benevolence of joy, share with all sentient beings; compassion of joy, transmigration has not stopped; joy of joy, no later problems; release of joy, no way to be greedy.

Benevolence of release, devoted to services; compassion of release, sufferings due to delusive grasping; joy of release, no more worries; release of release, originally no grasping.

This practice may be integrated with prostration, making offerings, etc. For example, the practitioner may do one prostration or offer a spoon of sandalwood incense while repeating benevolence of benevolence, and then do prostration or offering of incense again while repeating compassion of benevolence…

Written in Chinese on June 7, 2001
Translated on July 14, 2001
El Cerrito, California

Related Works

E0010 Abiding in the Boundless Mind
E0129 Cycling the Four Boundless Minds
P0310 Boundless Harmony
P0889 Visualization for the Unification of Four Boundless Minds

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