Welcome to

The Four Immeasurables, Part 1

A Wisdom Academy Online Course with Lama Alan Wallace

In The Four Immeasurables Part I, you’ll learn about the theory and application of the first two of profound practices known as the Four Immeasurables, or the Divine Abidings (brahmaviharas): loving-kindness and compassion (the second two are sympathetic joy and equanimity, covered in Part 2 of this course).

About this Course

Welcome to The Four Immeasurables, Part 1! In this course, taught by Lama Alan Wallace—a teacher internationally renowned for the clarity and profundity of his teachings—you’ll learn about the following areas of Buddhist study and practice:

  • the theory and application of the first two of profound practices known as the Four Immeasurables, or the Divine Abidings (brahmaviharas): loving-kindness and compassion (the second two are sympathetic joy and equanimity, to be covered in Part 2 of this course, coming Fall 2020)
  • the first two of the four “greats”: Great Loving-Kindness and Great Compassion. In Lama Alan’s teaching, the “four greats” require a fundamental shift from aspiration to intention.

Both parts of the course will also touch on:

  • Pith instructions on different methods of shamatha and vipashyana
  • the cultivation of bodhicitta
  • the practice of sadhana
  • the practice of relative and ultimate bodhicitta in the context of Dzogchen
  • and much more.



Lesson 1: Introduction, Happiness, & Intro to Loving-Kindness

In this first lesson, Lama Alan begins with a brief explanation of the topics covered in the course: the Four Immeasurables, the “Four Greats”, how to practice the Four Immeasurables and the Four Greats from the perspective of Vajrayana, and how we’ll explore the practice of bodhicitta from the perspective of Dzogchen. He then explores the human yearning for happiness and how the Four Immeasurables relate to our deepest happiness.


Lesson 2: Loving-Kindness

In this lesson, we begin our exploration of the Four Immeasurables with the first, loving-kindness, including how it relates to relaxation and where it comes from.


Lesson 3: Loving-Kindness, Worldview, & Ethics

In this lesson, Lama Alan explores the intersection of loving-kindness, ethics, worldview, and more.


Lesson 4: Introduction to Compassion

In this lesson, we move to the second of the Four Immeasurables, compassion. Lama Alan explains what compassion is and is not, its relationship to suffering, and beyond.


Lesson 5: Compassion, the Source of Suffering, & Difficult People

We continue the exploration of compassion with teachings on self-hatred, the sources of suffering, and beyond.


Lesson 6: Introduction to Shamatha

In this lesson, Lama Alan gives a comprehensive introduction to shamatha, a foundational practice for the four immeasurables. He first explains how we suffer largely because we identify so much with our minds, and how we don’t have to be so entangled in this way. He then moves into a more detailed exploration of shamatha.


Lesson 7: Shamatha Part II

In this lesson, we continue our exploration of shamatha, a foundational practices for the Four Immeasurables, including an exploration of Panchen Lozang Chökyi Gyaltsen’s synthesis of Maitripa’s two methods of practicing shamatha.


Lesson 8: Tonglen & Practicing with Positive, Neutral, & Difficult People

In this lesson, Lama Alan teaches on the practice of tonglen, including how to practice tonglen for difficult people, and beyond.


Lesson 9: Shamatha & Vipashyana

In this lesson, Lama Alan teaches about the bringing together of shamatha and vipashyana practice, which provide a necessary foundation for the Four Immeasurables.


Lesson 10: Consciousness & the Nature of the Mind

In this final lesson of part I, Lama Alan starts with a brief survey of the history of studying the mind, providing an understanding that can greatly enhance our understanding and practice of the four immeasurables.

About the Teacher

Dynamic lecturer, progressive scholar, and one of the most prolific writers and translators of Tibetan Buddhism in the West, Lama Alan Wallace, PhD, continually seeks innovative ways to integrate Buddhist contemplative practices with Western science to advance the study of the mind. Lama Alan, a scholar and practitioner of Buddhism since 1970, has taught Buddhist theory and meditation worldwide since 1976. Having devoted 14 years to training as a Tibetan Buddhist monk, ordained by H.H. the Dalai Lama, he went on to earn an undergraduate degree in physics and the philosophy of science at Amherst College and a doctorate in religious studies at Stanford. Lama Alan later studied Dzogchen with Gyatrul Rinpoche, a senior teacher in the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. With his unique background, Lama Alan brings deep experience and applied skills to the challenge of integrating traditional Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the modern world. Lama Alan is the author and translator of several books, including Düdjom Lingpa’s Visions of the Great Perfection, Stilling the Mind: Shamatha Teachings From Dudjom Linpa’s Vajra EssenceTibetan Buddhism from the Ground Up, Natural Liberation: Padmasambhava’s Teachings on the Six Bardos, and The Attention Revolution.