Upekkha

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Upekkhā (in devanagari: ऊपेक्खा), is the Buddhist concept of equanimity. As one of the Brahma Vihara (meditative states), it is a pure mental state cultivated on the Buddhist path to nirvāna.

Pali literary contexts[edit]

Buddhist
Perfections
 
10 pāramī
dāna
sīla
nekkhamma
paññā
viriya
khanti
sacca
adhiṭṭhāna
mettā
upekkhā
   
 6 pāramitā 
dāna
sīla
kṣānti
vīrya
dhyāna
prajñā
 
Colored items are in both lists.

In the Pali Canon and post-canonical commentary, upekkha is identified as an important step in one's spiritual development in a number of places:

  • It is one of the Four Sublime States (brahmavihara), which are purifying mental states capable of counteracting the defilements of lust, avarice and ignorance. As a brahmavihara, it is also one of the forty traditionally identified subjects of Buddhist meditation (kammatthana).
  • To be unwavering or staying neutral in the face of the eight vicissitudes of life, loss and gain, good-repute and ill-repute, praise and censure, and sorrow and happiness (Attha Loka Dhamma), is to practice true upekkha.[1]
  • In the development of meditative concentration, upekkha arises as the quintessential factor of material absorption, present in the third and fourth jhana states.
  • In the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhanga), upekkha is the ultimate factor to be developed.
  • In the Theravada list of ten paramita (perfections), upekkha is the last-identified bodhisatta practice.

Similarity with non-Buddhist Concepts[edit]

Ataraxia and Apatheia are similar terms in Greek philosophy.

Contemporary exposition[edit]

American Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:

“The real meaning of upekkha is equanimity, not indifference in the sense of unconcern for others. As a spiritual virtue, upekkha means stability in the face of the fluctuations of worldly fortune. It is evenness of mind, unshakeable freedom of mind, a state of inner equipoise that cannot be upset by gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pleasure and pain. Upekkha is freedom from all points of self-reference; it is indifference only to the demands of the ego-self with its craving for pleasure and position, not to the well-being of one's fellow human beings. True equanimity is the pinnacle of the four social attitudes that the Buddhist texts call the 'divine abodes': boundless loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity. The last does not override and negate the preceding three, but perfects and consummates them.”[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Seven Factors of Enlightenment". Accesstoinsight.org. 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 
  2. ^ "Bodhi (1998)". Accesstoinsight.org. 2010-06-05. Retrieved 2013-10-07. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]