The Benefits Of Perfecting Equanimity

This talk explores the 10th Parami, upekkha, typically translated as equanimity, or neutrality.  Peter describes an additional Buddhist term that applies to this Parami, tatramajjhattata, typically translated as “that quality of mind that is balanced in the middle“.  The cultivation and perfection of equanimity is a crucial aspect for the process of awakening (it is one of the seven factors for awakening, and one of the four Divine Abidings, along with lovingkindness, compassion and sympathetic joy, as it represents the optimal balance of energy (not too much–agitation, or too little, sloth and torpor) and attention (not too attached, or too distracted), which must be dynamically managed with mindful investigation and the ability to redirect attention skillfully.  This explanation of the balancing process that produces equanimity was followed by lively discussion among the participants about how the concepts can be realized through practice.

Here are the notes prepared for this discussion, including a graph representing the balancing elements:  The Benefits Of Perfecting Equanimity

There will be further discussion of the Paramis focused on how they interact dynamically in ways the promote the process of awakening during a future talk.


Perfecting Wholesome Mental Qualities

This talk begins a series of explorations of the paramis, qualities of the mind to be perfected during the process of awakening.  The word parami is translated from Pali as perfection; in Sanskrit, the word is paramita.  These qualities emerge as the frequency and potency of wholesome self-state organizations flourish.  In describing the paramis, Peter emphasized the importance of cultivating attention through the combination of mindful investigation and benevolent intention. In the Theravada tradition, there are 10 paramis: generosity, virtue, renunciation, Wisdom, energy/persistence, patience, truthfulness, determination, lovingkindness, and equanimity/balance.  These were reviewed as a wholesome system for self-state integration and liberation, with an emphasis on the interpersonal/societal benefits as well as personal awakening.  This was followed by general discussion of the holistic “package” of the paramis, that is, how the function of one integrates with all the other paramis.  In forthcoming talks, each of the paramis will be explored more deeply, with an emphasis on practical applications in contemporary secular life.  The first parami, generosity, will be discussed at the next meeting.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk; please note the definition of the paramis follows a very traditional format, that is, characteristic description, specific function, its manifestation and proximal cause:  Perfecting Qualities For Awakening


The Banyan Deer

Judy looks at various “lists” within Buddhism, particularly the 5 precepts and the 10 Paramitas, and examines them within the context of the Jataka tale “The Banyan Deer”.