Equanimity

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
JohnK
Posts: 1008
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Equanimity

Post by JohnK » Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:49 pm

Srilankaputra wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:24 pm
one_awakening wrote:
Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:43 am
This comment really surprises me;
Once you've clearly seen that a particular quality like aversion or lust is harmful for the mind, you can't stay patient or equanimous about it. You have to make whatever effort is needed to get rid of it and to nourish skillful qualities

thanissaro bhikkhu
Perhaps the Ajahn was referring to hiriottappa (Conscience and Prudence),
This "perhaps" raises a good point: We have been discussing a short quote for two pages w/o any context.
It might be helpful to see (or be provided a paraphrase) of the quote in context.
(I know that Thanissaro Bhikkhu often makes statements in the context of counteracting modern teachings that he sees as missing the mark.)

Okay, I found it:
Some teachers define mindfulness as “non-reactivity” or “radical acceptance.” If you look for these words in the Buddha's vocabulary, the closest you'll find are equanimity and patience. Equanimity means learning to put aside your preferences so that you can watch what's actually there. Patience is the ability not to get worked up over the things you don't like, to stick with difficult situations even when they don't resolve as quickly as you want them to. But in establishing mindfulness you stay with unpleasant things not just to accept them but to watch and understand them. Once you've clearly seen that a particular quality like aversion or lust is harmful for the mind, you can't stay patient or equanimous about it. You have to make whatever effort is needed to get rid of it and to nourish skillful qualities in its place by bringing in other factors of the path: right resolve and right effort.
from here: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... fined.html
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]

SteRo
Posts: 919
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: Equanimity

Post by SteRo » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:05 am

JohnK wrote:
Sat Jan 04, 2020 7:49 pm
...
This "perhaps" raises a good point: We have been discussing a short quote for two pages w/o any context.
It might be helpful to see (or be provided a paraphrase) of the quote in context.
(I know that Thanissaro Bhikkhu often makes statements in the context of counteracting modern teachings that he sees as missing the mark.)

Okay, I found it:
Some teachers define mindfulness as “non-reactivity” or “radical acceptance.” If you look for these words in the Buddha's vocabulary, the closest you'll find are equanimity and patience. Equanimity means learning to put aside your preferences so that you can watch what's actually there. Patience is the ability not to get worked up over the things you don't like, to stick with difficult situations even when they don't resolve as quickly as you want them to. But in establishing mindfulness you stay with unpleasant things not just to accept them but to watch and understand them. Once you've clearly seen that a particular quality like aversion or lust is harmful for the mind, you can't stay patient or equanimous about it. You have to make whatever effort is needed to get rid of it and to nourish skillful qualities in its place by bringing in other factors of the path: right resolve and right effort.
from here: https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... fined.html
But that shows even more that Thanissaro's view " you can't stay patient or equanimous about it" isn't appropriate.

If "Equanimity means learning to put aside your preferences so that you can watch what's actually there"
and "Patience is the ability not to get worked up over the things you don't like, to stick with difficult situations even when they don't resolve as quickly as you want them to"
then "Once you've clearly seen that a particular quality like aversion or lust is harmful for the mind"
it's appropriate to
1. "stay patient" to "not to get worked up over" the way it is and "stick with" this "difficult situation" "even when" it doesn't "resolve as quickly as you want it to". Thus based on your patience you don't give up to work on its resolvement .
2. "stay equanimous" to learn "to put aside your preferences" of not seeing and having any problems "so that you can watch what's actually there" and face it and work on it, equanimously and patiently.

sunnat
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Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:08 am

Re: Equanimity

Post by sunnat » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:02 am

When it is particularly difficult, particularly early in practice, effort should be made to drive it out of the mind but ultimately letting go of it is simply being equanimous. So, one should practice being equanimous. There will be times when one succeeds in relation to whatever kamma fruit has arisen in a moment. This is the time when there is no re-action or no new kamma made and one has 'let go'. In time, with patient practice, one becomes equanimous.

JohnK
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Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: Equanimity

Post by JohnK » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:13 pm

The difference of opinion regarding what to do about harmful mind states may be smaller than it appears:
SteRo wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:05 am
...work on its resolvement ...
Thanissaro:
"...make whatever effort is needed to get rid of it."
From the context, it appears that Thanissaro is warning against the danger of "radical acceptance" which could suggest not "working on its resolvement."
I am not very familiar with teachings of "radical acceptance," but I suspect it is presented as a way of "working on resolvement" (or less politely "getting rid of") for example, ill will.

The even broader context here might be the western teachers' observation that students are prone to self-aversion, and so a necessary first step is radical acceptance, whereas Thanissaro Bhikkhu sticks tight to the suttas (where right effort suggests "abandoning" unwholesome states and might include "obliterating" -- as noted earlier).
Again, I suspect the difference of opinion may be smaller than it appears.
For example, I suspect the radical acceptance teachers promote metta practice as an antidote to ill-will -- the antidote either "resolving" or "getting rid of" the ill-will. I do see that recommended routinely here on DW.

Caveat: It's a bit of a habit for me to look for common ground or to look for some underlying truth in apparently divergent opinions. Perhaps I merely water down (and misrepresent) both sides!
Last edited by JohnK on Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]

Srilankaputra
Posts: 845
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:56 am
Location: Sri Lanka

Re: Equanimity

Post by Srilankaputra » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:33 pm

sunnat wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:02 am
When it is particularly difficult, particularly early in practice, effort should be made to drive it out of the mind but ultimately letting go of it is simply being equanimous. So, one should practice being equanimous. There will be times when one succeeds in relation to whatever kamma fruit has arisen in a moment. This is the time when there is no re-action or no new kamma made and one has 'let go'. In time, with patient practice, one becomes equanimous.
:anjali:

Metta is also a good way of dissolving and Kamma fruits that has come to the surface.
O seeing one,we for refuge go to thee!
O mighty sage do thou our teacher be!

Paccuppannañca yo dhammaṃ,
Tattha tattha vipassati

“Yato yato mano nivāraye,
Na dukkhameti naṃ tato tato;
Sa sabbato mano nivāraye,
Sa sabbato dukkhā pamuccatī”ti.

SteRo
Posts: 919
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 10:27 am

Re: Equanimity

Post by SteRo » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:04 pm

JohnK wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:13 pm
The difference of opinion regarding what to do about harmful mind states may be smaller than it appears:
SteRo wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:05 am
...work on its resolvement ...
Thanissaro:
"...make whatever effort is needed to get rid of it."
From the context, it appears that Thanissaro is warning against the danger of "radical acceptance" which could suggest not "working on its resolvement."
That might have been his intention but if so he has - from my perspective - made a mistake choosing the expression " you can't stay patient or equanimous about it".
JohnK wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:13 pm
I am not very familiar with teachings of "radical acceptance," but I suspect it is presented as a way of "working on resolvement" (or less politely "getting rid of") for example, ill will.
Don't know what "radical acceptance" stands for either. Maybe it's one of those well-intended but nevertheless easily misunderstood (un?)skillful means.
JohnK wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:13 pm
The even broader context here might be the western teachers' observation that students are prone to self-aversion, and so a necessary first step is radical acceptance, whereas Thanissaro Bhikkhu sticks tight to the suttas (where right effort suggests "abandoning" unwholesome states and might include "obliterating" -- as noted earlier).
Again, I suspect the difference of opinion may be smaller than it appears.
For example, I suspect the radical acceptance teachers promote metta practice as an antidote to ill-will -- the antidote either "resolving" or "getting rid of" the ill-will. I do see that recommended routinely here on DW.
Your assessment might be right.
JohnK wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:13 pm
Caveat: It's a bit of a habit for me to look for common ground or to look for some underlying truth in apparently divergent opinions. Perhaps I merely water down (and misrepresent) both sides!
Middle-way-approach is good.

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