Understanding Equanimity

Equanimity is the quality of present-moment awareness and behavior that is highly valued in all spiritual endeavors.  Theravada Buddhism has developed an extensive analysis of equanimity to support the process of Awakening conceptually, and this talk reviews those concepts, using the Visuddhimagga, translated as “The Path of Purification”, as a guide.  Two primary areas of practice that will be reviewed are associated with the cultivation of lovingkindness, compassion and sympathetic joy, along with the function of equanimity as one of the Seven Awakening Factors.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Cultivating Equanimity

Next week’s talk will “Go back to the basics” with a guided training meditation focusing on mindfulness of breathing meditation, followed by a Dharma talk that will provide an insightful review of how mindfulness of breathing meditation beneficially affects the neural structures of the brain and the function of that practice for advancing the process of Awakening.


Balancing Lovingkindness, Compassion and Sympathetic Joy With Equanimity

This is the second of a series of talks reviewing the Divine Abidings, with emphasis on understanding the characteristics of Equanimity as a balancing factor, to avoid what are called the Far Enemy and Near Enemy of the four factors.  The talk also includes suggestions for cultivating the factors of Mindfulness, Investigation of Mind Conditioning Factors and Energy/Right Effort to support the functioning of Equanimity.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Balancing Lovingkindness Compassion and Sympathetic Joy

The topic for the next talk in the series will be a review of Lovingkindness, the primary focus in the cultivation of the Divine Abidings.


Reviewing The Brahma Viharas

The Brahma Viharas are better known as the Four Divine Abidings and include lovingkindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity.  Future meetings will review each of these qualities of consciousness individually, while this talk reviews the factor of skillfully managing empathy as the basic characteristic they represent.  During the talk, Peter suggests that the cultivation of these qualities represents an evolutionary development of human history and is cultivating theme provides a very important way to function effectively in these trying times.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  THE FOUR BRAHMA VIHARAS

The topic for next week’s review is equanimity, which provides balance in the cultivation of lovingkindness, compassion and sympathetic joy.


The Value Of Metta November 6 2019

This is the first of a series of talks about the Brahma Viharas, the Divine Abidings:  Metta (lovingkindness), Karuna (compassion), Mudita (sympathetic joy) and Upekkha (equanimity).  During the talk, which focused primarily on Metta, Peter read an excerpt from research published in 2010 that described the emotional and interpersonal benefits from cultivating positive emotions for the vagus nerve, an important nerve complex that connects the brain with the function of the heart and the intestinal wall.  This research suggests the benefits derived from Metta meditation.  Peter then described the evolution of his Metta practice, beginning in 1983 with a one-week retreat led by Sharon Salzberg, an authoritative teacher of Metta.  He talked of how important the words of the mantra are and the benefit of focusing attention on the “heart chakra” while practicing Metta, as this seems to involve the strengthening of “vagal tone”, the optimal balancing of energy transmission from the brain into the body and back again.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  The Value Of Metta  Here is a rendering of the Metta Sutta ( a translation of which was read by Peter during the talk), accompanied by Peter’s version of various levels of Metta mantra practice:  LOVINGKINDNESS MANTRA

The focus of next week’s talk will be the value of practicing Karuna, compassion.


Mike’s Metta Retreat Report

Mike Maldonado recently completed a one week retreat focused on the Brahma Viharas (Divine Abodes), that is, metta (lovingkindness), karuna, (compassion), mudita, (appreciative joy) and upekkha, (equanimity) at the Southern Dharma Center in North Carolina.  The retreat was led by DaeJa Napier, a very well respected dharma practitioner.  Mike talked about his experience during the retreat, including the facilities and schedule.  He focused on how DaeJa described practical ways to realize the spiritual potential of the Brahma Viharas.

Next week’s discussion focuses on how Buddhist principles and practices can help in understanding the nature of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as an extreme example of craving and clinging, along with ways to benefit from regular mindfulness and lovingkindness meditation practices.