Boundless Heart by Christina Feldman is a remarkable guide to the cultivation of kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity – relational qualities which are traditionally referred to as the brahma viharas or the Four Immeasurables.
Christina Feldman is a cofounder of Gaia House retreat centre in the United Kingdom, and a guiding teacher at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, so she has plenty of experience in helping practitioners to develop these qualities in person. This book now gives readers the opportunity to benefit from her teaching remotely and to cultivate the qualities in their daily lives at their own pace.
The book begins by introducing the brahma viharas, their place in Buddhist teaching and giving us an insight into how their development can positively transform our daily experience. The author then discusses each of the Four Immeasurables in turn, with chapters on Immeasurable Kindness, Compassion, Joy and Equanimity.
Each main chapter provides the reader with a superb teaching on the quality being discussed, establishing exactly what it means and how its development can improve our daily lives and our relationships with others. The tone throughout is encouragingly pragmatic, and the author provides many practices by which the reader can begin cultivating each quality for themselves.
In our opinion, readers would do best to approach Boundless Heart as an experiential guidebook rather than a volume to be read in a single sitting. Combined with the right attitude, and the willingness to actually carry out the practices as instructed, this book will help one to cultivate kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity just as surely as those who practice in a retreat setting.
Whether used as a practical guidebook, as intended, or simply to acquire a better understanding of the brahma viharas and their relevance to our lives in the modern world, Boundless Heart is a hugely important title which we are pleased to recommend wholeheartedly.