The four limitless ones culminate in a supplication for equanimity: “May they
Nye ring, or “near far,” points to the fundamental experience of duality that drives our lives: the eight worldly dharmas of loss and gain, pleasure and pain, praise and blame, disgrace and fame. “Near ones” are the people that we hold near and dear, such as family and friends. “Far ones” are the people that we dislike or hold at a distance. These could include so called neutral people, with whom we feel no particular connection and whose impact on our lives we consequently ignore: the grocery store clerk, a bank teller, someone we might pass on the street.
Equanimity (tang nyom) is the mind that is free from this kind of dualistic judgment, an attitude that sees all beings as equal to one another and, most importantly, equal to oneself. Tang means “to give” or “to send,” and is a form of the verb tong found intonglen, the mahayana practice of sending and taking. Tang has been explained as giving up our aggression to enemies and our attachment to friends. Nyom means to be “even” or “equal” and is related to a word for meditation, nyam- shak, which literally means “to rest evenly” and has been translated in various ways: to rest, to meditate, to rest in meditation, or to rest in meditative equipoise. So equanimity is giving up our hold on duality and resting evenly in meditation, without the prejudice of holding those we like near and those we dislike away.