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4 Elements to Strengthen Us


As people committed to social justice, we are living in overwhelming, uncertain, and frightening times. We feel called to respond to great suffering.

We are all the more grateful, then, for the Buddha’s wisdom teachings, which focus precisely on the nature of suffering, and how to overcome it. By seeking refuge in a path of wisdom, we create space for clarity, courage, and skillful response — not only for ourselves, but for the benefit of others.

In difficult times, here are 4 friends we can call on: the 4 Immeasurables, or Brahmaviharas. If it helps, you might imagine them corresponding to the 4 Elements.

Whatever religion, tradition, faith or non-faith you practice, we invite you to support BPF’s spiritual activist offerings in 2017, always grounding social justice work in ageless values like compassion, kindness, connective joy, and equanimity.


Karuna (Compassion) — Earth Element

Knowing that we are interconnected, I open my heart to the suffering of others. In the rich, dark soil of compassion, I nurture deep roots of solidarity, finding those tender, alive places where our struggles interweave.

From rootedness, I grow toward peace, justice, and collective liberation.


Loving-Kindness (Metta) — Wind Element

I send goodwill everywhere on the winds: to myself, my loved ones, community, and maybe even my enemies, while compassionately confronting oppression with all my heart.

May the winds of loving-kindness fill my sails as I work to better this world.


Empathetic Joy (Mudita) — Fire Element

I notice and delight in the happiness of others: from the beaming smile of a child, to youth and elders rising up, incandescent, for Black lives, gender justice, immigrant rights, queer love, sacred Earth, and more.

I shine brightest when others shine, too.


Equanimity (Upekkha) — Water Element

Flowing in a wide stream of bold, beautiful social movements throughout space and time, I know I am not alone. Seeing the truth of impermanence, I recall that nothing lasts forever.

From this place of balance, I use my gifts to take action for what I believe is right.


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Comments (12)

  • Liz F.

    I have been contemplating the special, timely importance of the divine abodes since the election last month, and seeing this post today could not have been more timely. I attended an organizing meeting last night where the violence of the rhetoric used to call folks to action in working against injustice broke my heart – I sat, with a fair measure of equanimity, amidst the sadness, and let my body feel the devastation of the idea of fighting hatred with more hatred. I vow to do the best I can to, as y’all put it, “compassionately confront oppression with all my heart.” This is where I want to act from. This is how I want to let wisdom flow through me and inspire thoughtful action. Thank you for the inspiration, for speaking words that resonate so deeply with this being <3. May it be of great benefit to many.

  • Liz F.

    PS: Is it possible to get a big poster sized print out of this? I’d love to put it up on my wall at home, and maybe even at my dhamma center, if they’ll let me :)

  • Dawn

    Hi Liz!

    Yes — folks on our mailing list are getting a beautiful print out of this poster. If you are on our mailing list, it should be arriving shortly!

    If you aren’t, send an email with your address to Leora — leora [at] bpf [dot] org. Let her know you are looking to get a copy of this poster mailing if we have any left <3


  • Kathryn morgan

    Oh pleaee, would love poster. 2517 e. Stratford court, Shorewood, WI 53211. Cost?

    Good cheer,

  • Greg Chamberlin

    I too would love a copy of this poster.
    237 6th Ave N
    Hopkins, MN 55343



  • Ale

    Wonderful words! Thank you very much! =)

  • Bruno

    That’s real wisdom! Thank you!

  • Bianca Reis

    A great article!
    With lots of quality information!
    In order to help people!

  • joão @ 99saude

    I like this site. The text be perfect, congratuilations friends.

  • joão @ 99saude

    Beautiful words

  • Mauro

    Well structured text with intelligent and well positioned words, great post.

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