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Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2001 22:41:01 +0800
From: "hclee"
To: "Piya Tan"

Hi Piya,

Appreciate it if you could advise on the meaning of equainimity. Thanks.



Sorry for the late reply. I've been very busy polishing up my Pali, attending Abhidharma classes and doing Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit. I enjoy being a student now more than being a teacher, actually. :)

You asked me about EQUANIMITY. It is one of the most misunderstood doctrine in Buddhism. This is especially so when it is taken by itself, out of context. Equanimity is best explained in connection with the 4 Brahmaviharas or Divine Abodes. These are "godly" qualities which humans can develop to one another. When these qualities (lovingkindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity) are properly developed it turns earthly life into heavenly life.

Only when one has developed good levels of the first 3 divine qualities, can one properly develop equanimity, which is an "on-looking regard" for the world, a mirror-like wisdom, understanding the true nature of the world. One remains unmoved by the 8 winds, the vicissitudes of gain and loss, honour and dishonour, happiness and sorrow, praise and blame (Visuddhi,magga 683). This experience is only truly experienced in deep meditation.

In daily life, one practises this by being mindful, using the 4 Stations of Mindfulness, regarding every thought just as they are as they arise. If it is anger, regard it as anger; if it is happiness, regard it so, and so on, without reacting to it, not encouraging it nor discouraging it. Just enjoying it, you might say, but in a Dharma sense.

Lovingkindness can be compared to a mother's love for an unborn child. She does everything to wish this coming child all the best especially to be born whole and happy. Compassion: When the child is born, the happy mother takes every care of the child, putting its comfort and health even before her own. Altruistic joy: When the child grows up strong and playful, she watches him joyfully, and feels happy for his sake. Finally when the child is grown up and independent, the mother feels she has done her duty, and lovingly lets him do as he like, looking on with equanimity.


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