B. Alan Wallace has devoted himself to the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, psychology, and meditation since 1970. In this paperback, organized around a weeklong retreat, he presents his commentary on the Four Immeasurables based on Buddhaghosa's fifth century compendium called "The Path of Purification." They are loving-kindness, compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. These practices of Theravada Buddhism enrich each other and move us forward on the spiritual path.
In one of the most interesting chapters, Wallace discusses the near and the far enemies of the Four Immeasurables. For example, the near enemy of empathetic joy is frivolity, while the far enemy consists of cynicism and despair combined. The near enemy of equanimity is stupid indifference, and the far enemy is attraction and repulsion, "in which the heart reaches towards some and rejects others." This rich psychological unfolding of these spiritual practices provides a fine capstone to the author's thoughts on meditation. Throughout the book, B. Alan Wallace responds to questions by retreat participants.