(THL: tang nyom;
WYL: btang snyoms)
Upekkhā (Pali; Sanskrit: upekṣā), is most commonly translated as "equanimity". It is also translated as "equilibrium", "serenity", etc.
Upekkha (upeksa) is identified as:
- one of four divine abodes (brahmavihara) (emphasized more within the Theravada tradition)
- one of the eleven virtuous mental factors within the Mahayana Abhidharma teachings.
- 1 Theravada
- 2 Mahayana
- 3 Similarity with Greek concepts
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 Sources
- 7 External links
Bhikkhu Bodhi states:
- “The real meaning of upekkha is equanimity, not indifference in the sense of unconcern for others. As a spiritual virtue, upekkha means stability in the face of the fluctuations of worldly fortune. It is evenness of mind, unshakeable freedom of mind, a state of inner equipoise that cannot be upset by gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pleasure and pain. Upekkha is freedom from all points of self-reference; it is indifference only to the demands of the ego-self with its craving for pleasure and position, not to the well-being of one's fellow human beings. True equanimity is the pinnacle of the four social attitudes that the Buddhist texts call the 'divine abodes': boundless loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity. The last does not override and negate the preceding three, but perfects and consummates them.”
In the Theravada tradition, Upekkha as identified in the following contexts:
- Upekkha is one of the Four Divine Abodes (brahmavihara).
- In the development of meditative concentration, upekkha arises as the quintessential factor of material absorption, present in the third and fourth jhana states.
- In the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhanga), upekkha is the ultimate factor to be developed.
- One of the ten paramis.
Within the Four Divine Abodes
Upekkha is one of the Four Divine Abodes (brahmavihara), which are purifying mental states capable of counteracting the defilements of lust, aversion and ignorance. As a brahmavihara, it is also one of the forty traditionally identified subjects of Buddhist meditation (kammatthana).
Within the context of the Four Divine Abodes:
- The "far enemy" of Upekkha is greed and resentment, mind-states in obvious opposition. The "near enemy" (quality which superficially resembles Upekkha but is in fact more subtly in opposition to it), is (cold) indifference or apathy: one is not neutral after having engaged deeply with the wordly winds, but due to having closed oneself off to many emotions related to these worldly winds. 
Within the Seven Factors of Enlightenment
In the context of the seven factors of Enlightenment:
- To practice true upekkha is to be unwavering or to stay neutral in the face of the eight vicissitudes of life, also known as the eight worldly winds or eight worldly conditions: loss and gain, good-repute and ill-repute, praise and censure, and sorrow and happiness (the Attha Loka Dhamma).
Ajaan Lee Dhammadharo describes the mental factors related to the first jhana within the contexts of meditation on the breath.
To think of the breath is termed vitakka, directed thought. To adjust the breath and let it spread is called vicara, evaluation. When all aspects of the breath flow freely throughout the body, you feel full and refreshed in body and mind: This is piti, rapture. When body and mind are both at rest, you feel serene and at ease: This is sukha, pleasure. And once you feel pleasure, the mind is bound to stay snug with a single preoccupation and not go straying after any others: This is ekaggatarammana, singleness of preoccupation. These five factors form the beginning stage of Right Concentration.
Mental factor - definition
The Abhidharma-samuccaya states:
- What is equanimity? It is it mind which abides in the state of non-attachment, non-hatred, and non-deludedness coupled with assiduousness. It is quite dissimilar to it state that gives rise to emotional instability. It is it state where mind remains what it is-a state of being calm and it spontaneous presence of mind. Its function is not to provide occasions for emotional instability.
The Khenjuk states:
- Equanimity is the mind resting naturally, free from attachment, anger and delusion. Its function is to avoid giving occasion for the disturbing emotions [to occur in one's stream-of-being].
- Equilibrium (btang-snyoms) or serenity is a mental factor that, while remaining in a state of detachment, imperturbability, lack of naivety, and joyful perseverance, allows the mental activity to remain effortlessly undisturbed, without flightiness or dullness, in a natural state of spontaneity and openness.
Similarity with Greek concepts
Similar terms within Greek philosophy are:
- "Bodhi (1998)". Accesstoinsight.org. 2010-06-05. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- Buddhagosha, 'Vishudimagga' Section 2.101
- "The Seven Factors of Enlightenment". Accesstoinsight.org. 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2013-10-07.
- Keeping the Breath in Mind
- Guenther (1975), Chapter: Equanimity
- Kunsang (2004), p. 24.
- Primary Minds and the 51 Mental Factors
- Bodhi, Bhikkhu (1995, 1998). Toward a Threshold of Understanding (BPS Newsletter cover essays nos. 30 & 31). Retrieved January 15, 2007 from "Access to Insight"
- Primary Minds and the 51 Mental Factors
- Guenther, Herbert V. & Leslie S. Kawamura (1975), Mind in Buddhist Psychology: A Translation of Ye-shes rgyal-mtshan's "The Necklace of Clear Understanding". Dharma Publishing. Kindle Edition.
- Kunsang, Erik Pema (translator) (2004). Gateway to Knowledge, Vol. 1. North Atlantic Books.
- Equanimity (upekkha) by the Venerable Nyanaponika Thera.
- Equanimity by Gil Fronsdal
- Dharma Dictionary - RangjungYesheWiki - Btang Snyoms/Upeksa
- Equanimity practiced as a part of a Ten day Vipassana course.
- Writings on equanimity in yoga by Shy Sayar.
|This article uses material from Upekkha on Wikipedia (view authors). License under CC BY-SA 3.0.|