Bhavanas means reflections or contemplation. We are always thinking of
something or another which may be near us or could even be as far away
as the other end of the world. This thinking may cause happiness,
sorrow, anger, greed, jealousy, and egoism, etc.  And, depending upon
how we react we attract various types of karmas to our souls. No
prudent person would like to attract bad karma and at certain stages
any karma at all. But it is not as easy as turning off a light switch.
To minimize the bondage of karmas, the Jina have taught us to observe
sixteen Bhavanas. Of them the following four can easily be practiced by
householders while the rest may be observed once we become more serious
about spiritual uplift.
1)   Maitri Bhavana (Thinking of being a Friend)
2)   Pramod Bhavana (Thinking of Appreciation)
3)   Karuna Bhavana (Thinking of Compassion)
4)   Madhyastha Bhavana (Think to staying neutral or uninvolved)

Let us understand how these bhavanas play important roles in our lives,
how they can keep us away from bad karmas, and ultimately how they can
improve our overall chances to uplift our souls.

1)   Maitri Bhavana  (Thinking of a Friendship)
Lord Mahävira said that we must be a friend to all living beings.  The
feeling of friendship brings love and respect for others. It also
initiates a feeling of brotherhood among all and in turn leaves no room
for harm, deceit or quarrelsomeness with anybody. If we contemplate on
Maitri Bhavana our thoughts, words, and actions will not be harsh and
we will not hurt anybody. On the contrary, we will support and protect
everybody. Friendship will lead us to be tolerant, forgiving and caring
for one another. It can be seen that if we develop a friendship with
all living beings, we will avoid bad karma.

2) Pramod Bhavana   (Thinking of Appreciation)
In this bhavana we admire the success of our friends, spiritual leaders
and Arihants. One of the most destructive forces in our lives is
jealousy. However, friendship combined by admiration, destroys jealousy
. As jealousy subsides, negative impulses are turned into positive
ones, and in time you will be at peace.

3) Karuna Bhavna  (Thinking of Compassion)
Instead of succeeding, many of our friends may be getting into trouble
for things they should not be doing and even those who are successful
may be accumulating vices such as greed and ego. If such is the case
then, they are not on the right path and may be weak, helpless, and in
distress. At a time like this you should contemplate on the karuna
Bhavana and show compassion towards them instead of disgusted towards
them or hating them. Show them a right path with patience, tolerance,
and forgiveness and offer them needed support. In this way not only
will you be avoiding bad karma, but so will your friends.
4) Madhyastha Bhavana (Think of staying neutral or uninvolved)
Life appears to be nothing but involvements. Sometimes life works out
favorable and sometimes it does not. So instead of getting
disappointed, angry, or more involved, you should contemplate on
Madhyastha Bhavana which leads to feeling that ‘I did my best to
resolve the situation.’ If someone does not want to understand, then
leave them alone without getting further involved. You should simply
hope that one of these days they may understand and change. By
observing Madhyastha Bhavana you will remain in equanimity instead of
provoking turmoil in your mind. When your mind stays neutral and
uninvolved it keeps karma away.

In short, you can avoid influx of bad karma and stay in peace while
living in worldly life by developing a friendship towards all living
beings, admiring their success, holding their hands when they are in
distress, and leaving them alone at times when they do not understand
what is right or wrong. So until it becomes the natural way of life to
observe the above bhavanas, one should contemplate on them as many
times as needed. If there is a goal, then there is an achievement!

(There are Twelve More Bhavnas which are not discussed here at this

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