The four sublime abodes are the central of moral virtues in Buddhism and these virtues are answers to world peace. Happiness and peace must first be established in one’s own heart before he can bring peace to others and to the world at large.
The 4 sublime abodes are: 1. Metta (loving kindness): sincere and genuine wish for the welfare and happiness for all living beings without exception, without any selfish motive or expectation. In other words it is unconditional love towards oneself, friends, foes without any preferential love. It is the antidote to anger and hatred (one of the 3 evil roots). 2. Karuna (Compassion): One helps others without expecting anything in return, shares sorrows with others and showing compassion to those who are misfortunate. This counteract cruelty and harmfulness towards others. 3. Mudita (Sympathetic joy): one feels happy when they see others being successful, prosperous and happy. This is antidote to jealousy and envy especially towards enemies. 4. Upekkha (Equanimity): is a balanced and even state of mind that arises on seeing that all beings will reap the results of their wholesome and unwholesome kamma. Understanding that we are hiers of our own deeds. The practice of upekkha discards cravings and aversions. One is neither attracted by desirable objects nor is averse to undesirable objects.
Metta embraces all beings, karuna embraces the sufferers, mudita embraces the prosperous and upekkha embraces the good and bad, the loved and unloved, the pleasant and unpleasant.