Near and far enemies

Each of the Four Immeasurables has Near and Far Enemies. The Near Enemy is a deceptive substitute which we can settle for or confuse with the real thing. This can separate us from the true feeling, rather than connecting us to it, so we need mindfulness to avoid it. Each Immeasurable also has a direct opposite, its Far Enemy. Developing the Four Immeasurables helps us to challenge these in ourselves.

Loving Kindness: the intention of good will; the wish for the welfare and happiness of all being

The Near Enemy of Loving Kindness is Attachment, greed, conditional love.

The Far Enemy is Hatred, ill will, anger

Compassion: The wish to alleviate suffering

The Near Enemy of Compassion is Pity, grief

The Far Enemy is Cruelty

Empathetic Joy: Rejoicing in the success of others; appreciation, joy at others’ good fortune

The Near Enemy of Empathetic Joy is Joy tinged with insincerity or personal identification; forms of joy that are excessive; hedonism

The Far Enemy is Envy, jealousy, aversion

Equanimity: Seeing equality in beings, balanced, non-reactive, non-partial awareness; quieting of resentment

The Near Enemy of Equanimity is Indifference, foolish unknowing

The Far Enemy is Greed, taking of sides, prejudice, resentment