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.


Understanding Equanimity July 22, 2020

This discussion reviews the characteristics of upekkha (ooh-peh-kah), the seventh Awakening Factor, translated as equanimity regarding one’s state of consciousness.  Upekkha is also considered as one of the Four Divine Abidings (lovingkindness, compassion and sympathetic joy being the other three), one of the ten Perfections and the primary characteristic of the Fourth Jhana, experienced at extraordinarily developed levels of concentration.  Equanimity is not indifference but rather the ability to be aware of and non-reactive to emotional urgency and impulsive reactivity.  This quality is synonymous with tatramajjhatata, (tah-trah-muh-jah-tuh-tah), a term that describes a state of mind that is “in the middle”, that is, not too excited or too dull, nor too identified with a thought or too skeptical.  Upekkha is relevant in daily life as the ability to stay present and do the right thing even under trying circumstances, while tatramajjhatata is more associated with the refined levels of awareness that involve the seven Awakening Factors.  Peter reviews the other six Awakening Factors: Mindfulness, Investigation, Energy/Right Effort, Joy, Tranquility and Concentration, explaining how Equanimity interacts with each of them to create the optimal conditions for Awakening.  Several suggestions were made regarding lifestyle choices and finding opportunities to develop equanimity that are sufficiently challenging but not overwhelming.  This was followed by discussion of how upekkha is experienced by those participating in the Zoom meeting.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  THE EQUANIMITY AWAKENING FACTOR (AutoRecovered)

Next week’s discussion will begin a series of reviews of the 52 cetasikas (cheh-tah-see-kahs), conditioning factors of the mind, also termed sankharas (sahn-kah-rahs).