Equanimity (Upekkha)

May all beings abide in equanimity
free from attachment and aversion

Summer Stillness by the SeaIn this fourth verse, we generate the mind of Equanimity. From the very depths of our heart, we radiate in all directions the sincere wish that all living beings may abide in Equanimity, free from attachment (self-centered desire) and aversion (hatred/hostility). The immeasurable quality of Equanimity is an imperturbable composure of heart—a love that embraces all living beings and circumstances with equality, wisdom, and serenity.

With this sublime Equanimity, our love is impartial, rightly discerning, balanced, not carried away by emotion, and free of attachment. We do not distinguish between friend, enemy, or stranger, but regard every sentient being as equal. In this way, Equanimity opens the heart and dissolves prejudice, attachment, aversion, uncaring indifference, anger, and hostility. Equanimity is the culmination of The Four Immeasurables; it is the most essential yet difficult to cultivate, the guide of the other three.

Our Equanimity—our sincere wish for all beings to abide in Equanimity—must extend even further than those to whom we feel close. Our Equanimity must extend to and embrace all living beings throughout all realms of existence for it to become sublime, limitless, and immeasurable.

Source: Used with permission from SourcePoint Global Outreach, The Heart of Dharma Collection (Mount Shasta, CA: Naljor Prison Dharma Service, n.d.) http://sourcepointglobaloutreach.org/what-we-offer/



I am the owner of my own karma.
Happiness and unhappiness arise with my own actions and not outside sources.

The etymological meaning of upekkha is “discerning rightly” or “viewing justly.” Equanimity is the capacity to be here in the middle-ness. It is the guardianship of our own karma and the acknowledgement that we are responsible for what we think, say and do. With equanimity practice, this sense of responsibility grows with dignity and integrity.

As well, the practice of upekkha strengthens our capacity to be okay with life. Equanimity is spacious balance enabling us to work with, rather than against, change. It is equipoise, sustained presence of mind and confidence to meet all of life’s incessantly changing circumstances with increasing poise and acceptance.

Equanimity dissolves away the tensions in the mind associated with the struggle between light and dark. Here in the middle-ness is an all-inclusive stance that graciously works with each juncture of the awakening process.

Indifference is the near enemy of equanimity. Indifference is the sad and tragic pretense of equanimity. It is a cold distance from a heartfelt sense of life. It is a state of utter isolation. Its impulse is towards superiority. By nature it suffers a scornful, contemptuous reaction to the beauty of the human process. Indifference blocks the potential to engage the love and freedom life has to offer.

The far enemy to equanimity is craving, clinging and attachment. As a mother of five children I have seen the inbred nature of attachment. Two craving beings come together and create another craving being. We are born to attach ourselves, to cling to the mother. It is part of the survival mechanism.

Meanwhile, in delusion we continue to attach and cling to the pleasant and push away the unpleasant. Craving has us living life on demand. Equanimity is the capacity to let go-to let be. Ajahn Chah points to the practice of equanimity when he suggests that we cultivate a mind that knows how to let go. When we can let go a little, we have a little peace. When we can let go a lot, we have a lot of peace. When we can let go completely, we have complete peace. Equanimity practice cultivates a mind that knows how to let go.

Equanimity’s exemplar is the mother-child relationship as the child leaves home. The parent’s role is fulfilled, and now it is time to cut the ties that bind. She now belongs to the universe of her own karma. With a heart full of good will, compassion and appreciative joy, we stand at the threshold of her departure.

Source: Used with permission from the Brahma Vihara Foundation. http://www.brahmaviharas.org/