What exactly is equanimity?

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
vesak2014
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by vesak2014 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:16 am

culaavuso wrote:
vesak2014 wrote:I'm talking about upekkhā vedanā, there is no such thing, and it is not the pali term for the third type of feeling. This small yet critical error makes the rest of the path misleading.
What is the difference between upekkhindriya, classed as vedanā and said to be anything to be experienced as adukkhamasukhā, and upekkhā vedanā? In what way is this distinction critical to the practice of the path and how does a misunderstanding between them lead astray?
Regarding the meaning, it is true upekkhindriya can have similar meaning to adukkhamasukhā, even though the five vedanā exposition uses sātaṃ & asātaṃ while the three vedanā exposition only uses dukkhaṃ & sukhaṃ. That is not the main issue. But changing the word used in an exposition with other word with "similar" meaning used in another exposition of the same topic (vedanā) may cause confusion. Problem arises since it turned out that there is more to upekkhā than merely equals to adukkhamasukhā, and the damage is done. Below is the explanation.
MN 140:
"There remains only consciousness: pure & bright. What does one cognize with that consciousness? One cognizes 'pleasure.' One cognizes 'pain.' One cognizes 'neither pleasure nor pain.' In dependence on a sensory contact that is to be felt as pleasure, there arises a feeling of pleasure. When sensing a feeling of pleasure, one discerns that 'I am sensing a feeling of pleasure.' One discerns that 'With the cessation of that very sensory contact that is to be felt as pleasure, the concomitant feeling — the feeling of pleasure that has arisen in dependence on the sensory contact that is to be felt as pleasure — ceases, is stilled.' In dependence on a sensory contact that is to be felt as pain... In dependence on a sensory contact that is to be felt as neither pleasure nor pain, there arises a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain. When sensing a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, one discerns that 'I am sensing a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain.' One discerns that 'With the cessation of that very sensory contact that is to be felt as neither pleasure nor pain, the concomitant feeling — the feeling of neither pleasure nor pain that has arisen in dependence on the sensory contact that is to be felt as neither pleasure nor pain — ceases, is stilled.'
...
[simile]
...
"There remains only equanimity: pure & bright, pliant, malleable, & luminous. Just as if a skilled goldsmith or goldsmith's apprentice were to prepare a furnace, heat up a crucible, and, taking gold with a pair of tongs, place it in the crucible: He would blow on it time & again, sprinkle water on it time & again, examine it time & again, so that the gold would become refined, well-refined, thoroughly refined, flawless, free from dross, pliant, malleable, & luminous. Then whatever sort of ornament he had in mind — whether a belt, an earring, a necklace, or a gold chain — it would serve his purpose. In the same way, there remains only equanimity: pure & bright, pliant, malleable, & luminous. One discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure & bright as this toward the dimension of the infinitude of space, I would develop the mind along those lines, and thus this equanimity of mine — thus supported, thus sustained — would last for a long time. One discerns that 'If I were to direct equanimity as pure and bright as this toward the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... the dimension of nothingness... the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I would develop the mind along those lines, and thus this equanimity of mine — thus supported, thus sustained — would last for a long time.'
When the three kinds of feeling cease, there remains only equanimity (upekkhā.) If you say the third type of feeling and upekkhā are the same, then it turns out to be erroneous. So the difference is (the condition) when it arises.

And how the misunderstanding leads people astray? By equalizing them, people will not likely to have any idea between household equanimity and renunciation equanimity. Because the three vedanā exposition is more commonly known compared to the five vedanā exposition which seems to be used in more advanced topic such as jhana. The MN 140 passage about equanimity is talking about renunciation equanimity, i.e. equanimity which goes beyond form, sound, smell, tastes, tactile, & mano. Below is the passage from MN 137 about household and renunciation equanimity:
MN 137:
"And what are the six kinds of household equanimity? The equanimity that arises when a foolish, deluded person — a run-of-the-mill, untaught person who has not conquered his limitations or the results of action & who is blind to danger — sees a form with the eye. Such equanimity does not go beyond the form, which is why it is called household equanimity. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)

"And what are the six kinds of renunciation equanimity? The equanimity that arises when — experiencing the inconstancy of those very forms, their change, fading, & cessation — one sees with right discernment as it actually is that all forms, past or present, are inconstant, stressful, subject to change: This equanimity goes beyond form, which is why it is called renunciation equanimity. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)
Now take a look at the fact in the mainstream vipassana movement, their take on equanimity:
Knowledge of Equanimity about Formations
He cherishes no desire nor hate with regard to any object, desirable or undesirable, that comes into the range of his sense doors, but taking them as just the same in his act of noticing, he understands them (that is to say, it is a pure act of understanding). This is “equable vision” at the stage of “equanimity about formations.”
"comes into the range of his sense doors" means one sees form with eye, hears sound with ear, etc. Tell me if it is not household equanimity.
The effect from downgrading equanimity (to household equanimity) is the emergence of deluded people (which follow the teaching) with their arahant claims. How come household equanimity leads to arahantship.

culaavuso
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by culaavuso » Sat Aug 02, 2014 6:45 am

vesak2014 wrote: "comes into the range of his sense doors" means one sees form with eye, hears sound with ear, etc. Tell me if it is not household equanimity.
The distinction between household equanimity and renunciation equanimity does seem to be an important one, as MN 137 makes clear in saying that the former should be abandoned for the latter. Though MN 137 also appears to mention the sense doors in regard to renunciation equanimity, only setting the sense doors aside for the later description of equanimity dependent on singleness. The description of renunciation equanimity also mentions experiencing the inconstancy of forms. The description of equanimity dependent on singleness appears to be associated with the formless attainments.
MN 137: Saḷāyatana­vibhaṅga Sutta wrote: And what are the six kinds of renunciation equanimity? The equanimity that arises when — experiencing the inconstancy of those very forms, their change, fading, & cessation — one sees with right discernment as it actually is that all forms, past or present, are inconstant, stressful, subject to change: This equanimity goes beyond form, which is why it is called renunciation equanimity. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)
...
There is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity; and there is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness.

And what is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity? There is equanimity with regard to forms, equanimity with regard to sounds...smells...tastes...tactile sensations [& ideas: this word appears in one of the recensions]. This is equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity.

And what is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness? There is equanimity dependent on the dimension of the infinitude of space, equanimity dependent on the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness... dependent on the dimension of nothingness... dependent on the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception. This is equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness.

By depending & relying on equanimity coming from singleness, dependent on singleness, abandon & transcend equanimity coming from multiplicity, dependent on multiplicity. Such is its abandoning, such its transcending.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:07 am

vesak2014 wrote: Now take a look at the fact in the mainstream vipassana movement, their take on equanimity:
Knowledge of Equanimity about Formations
He cherishes no desire nor hate with regard to any object, desirable or undesirable, that comes into the range of his sense doors, but taking them as just the same in his act of noticing, he understands them (that is to say, it is a pure act of understanding). This is “equable vision” at the stage of “equanimity about formations.”
"comes into the range of his sense doors" means one sees form with eye, hears sound with ear, etc. Tell me if it is not household equanimity.
What is being described in the section you linked as a whole looks to be more in line with renunciation equanimity.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

SarathW
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by SarathW » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:23 am

Hi Tilt
I am in agreement with you in regard to that article.
By the way I still struggle to understand the meaning of household equanimity.
Can you explain that in your words the way you understand it.
Perhaps give me an example.
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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tiltbillings
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Aug 02, 2014 8:58 am

SarathW wrote:Hi Tilt
I am in agreement with you in regard to that article.
By the way I still struggle to understand the meaning of household equanimity.
Can you explain that in your words the way you understand it.
Perhaps give me an example.
:thinking:
I'll use the commentary as quoted by Ven Bodhi, MLDB, p 1342, fn. 1241: "This is the equanimity of unknowing that arises in one who has not conquered the limitations imposed by the defilements or the future results (of action [kamma]).It "does not transcend form" because it is stuck, fastened to the object like flies to a ball of sugar.

The equanimity of renunciation MLDB, p 1342, fn. 1242: This is the equanimity associated with insight knowledge. It does not become lustful towards desirable objects that come into range of the senses, nor does it become angry because of undesirable objects.

From the sutta, MN iii 219 MLDB 1069-70: When by knowing the impermanence, change, fading away, and cessation of forms, one sees as it actually is with proper wisdom that forms both formerly and now are all impermanent, suffering, and subject to change, equanimity arises Such equanimity as this transcends the form; that is why it is called equanimity based upon renunciation.

In other words, household equanimity, not grounded in insight, is liable to be easily upset.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

SarathW
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by SarathW » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:24 am

Ok for an example,
-a three year old child kill a bug, without any anger or attachment.
-A person see a stranger dying in the roadside. He just walk away without any anger or attachment.
-We heard the news some people died due to war or some refugees drown in the sea. We just watch the news without any attachment or aversion.

Is that the household equanimity?
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

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tiltbillings
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:29 am

SarathW wrote:Ok for an example,
-a three year old child kill a bug, without any anger or attachment.
-A person see a stranger dying in the roadside. He just walk away without any anger or attachment.
-We heard the news some people died due to war or some refugees drown in the sea. We just watch the news without any attachment or aversion.

Is that the household equanimity?
Could be.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Mkoll
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by Mkoll » Sat Aug 02, 2014 9:33 am

SarathW wrote:Ok for an example,
-a three year old child kill a bug, without any anger or attachment.
-A person see a stranger dying in the roadside. He just walk away without any anger or attachment.
-We heard the news some people died due to war or some refugees drown in the sea. We just watch the news without any attachment or aversion.

Is that the household equanimity?
There is attachment and craving in all of those examples, just not necessarily toward what you may have in mind.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

SarathW
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by SarathW » Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:32 pm

Hi M
Well can you give me an example for household equanimity?
The way I understand:
Household equanimity is free from attachment and aversion but predominantly ignorant.
None Ariya in Jhana with equanimity also predominant with ignorant but suppressed attachment and aversion.
:thinking:
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

SarathW
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by SarathW » Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:49 pm

It appears there is a wrong equanimity!

"'Equanimity is of two sorts, I tell you: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to what was it said? When one knows of a feeling of equanimity, 'As I pursue this equanimity, unskillful mental qualities increase, and skillful mental qualities decline,' that sort of equanimity is not to be pursued. When one knows of a feeling of equanimity, 'As I pursue this equanimity, unskillful mental qualities decline, and skillful mental qualities increase,' that sort of equanimity is to be pursued. And this sort of equanimity may be accompanied by directed thought & evaluation or free of directed thought & evaluation. Of the two, the latter is the more refined. 'Equanimity is of two sorts, I tell you: to be pursued & not to be pursued.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

barcsimalsi
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by barcsimalsi » Sun Aug 03, 2014 4:04 am

SarathW wrote:Hi M
Well can you give me an example for household equanimity?
The way I understand:
Household equanimity is free from attachment and aversion but predominantly ignorant.
None Ariya in Jhana with equanimity also predominant with ignorant but suppressed attachment and aversion.
:thinking:
One of the highest form of household equanimity i can think of is to walk around naked in front of a crowd without feeling embarrass. Not many people has the talent to do that nowadays.

SarathW
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by SarathW » Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:03 pm

“As the lamp consumes oil, the path realises Nibbana”

thepea
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Re: Are there five senses or six senses?

Post by thepea » Sun Aug 03, 2014 10:55 pm

barcsimalsi wrote: One of the highest form of household equanimity i can think of is to walk around naked in front of a crowd without feeling embarrass. Not many people has the talent to do that nowadays.
Is equiminity not simply this childlike awareness, freedom from craving and aversion?

befriend
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Re: What exactly is equanimity?

Post by befriend » Sun Aug 03, 2014 11:45 pm

you can get a feel for equanimity by contemplating how happiness arises then it passes, sadness also arises and then it passes then happiness arises again etc.. you will feel a balanced level headed mind by doing this. but i think a stronger equanimity happens in vipassana when we see that everything even our pleasurable sense objects are impermanent then you will feel equanimity.
Take care of mindfulness and mindfulness will take care of you.

barcsimalsi
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Re: What exactly is equanimity?

Post by barcsimalsi » Mon Aug 04, 2014 5:17 am

SarathW wrote:Well!
Naked Jains.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oaxlx7BZ-Zk
Nice video. :jumping:
Although naked ascetic are renunciate but that behavior probably originate from primate householder that's why the sutta implies they still have wrong views.
thepea wrote: Is equiminity not simply this childlike awareness, freedom from craving and aversion?

Not quite, i understand the term as possessing the ability to remain still during unfavorable situation.

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