Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 02/16/2010


It was hard this morning to cultivate equanimity towards my formal cultivation of equanimity because the results were definitely lacking. I guess I’ll keep hitting that wall of expectation until I start to understand that a great part of the dukkha comes from wanting my experience to conform to an ideal.  Perhaps because of the difficulty this morning I found myself constantly drawing comparisons between patient forbearance (an excellent quality in itself) and upekkha. But, to be honest, I don’t think the quality of upekkha has much at all to do with the striving that I understand to be inherent in exercising patience. Perhaps I’ll be able to explore the relationship between the two at some later date but for now I’ll leave you with two reflections on equanimity’s meaning people who may just know more than yours truly. Here is the Dhamma talk:

And here is a short written piece:

Upekkha is a Pali word which means in English equanimity, self-control, accepting the facts and detaching oneself from all feelings or emotions. Equanimity is a balanced state of mind characterized by lack of strong attachments – attractions (cravings or desires) or repulsions (aversions). In equanimity one still notices and cares (even deeply) about what is going on, and has the capacity to be active rather than merely reactive.

All states of mind depend on the power of mind, springing from mindfulness, concentration and wisdom. This state of mind experiences feelings as they really are, without forming any opinion. Whatever feeling that happens, is experienced it as it really is. The mind is put into a balanced state with no difference between good and bad, happiness or pain, wholesomeness or unwholesomeness. If s particular state of mind is formed, it can become attached to this or that, or distracted by good or bad feelings. Such a state of mind is a factor of desire and ends up with suffering. The enlightened ones always say, “Don’t attach to any feeling; good or bad, let go of things.”

Upekkha springs from intention which must be accumulated or practised. The intention does not come to us by accident. It comes to us by training or practising. We may have some bad experiences occurring in our mind when we practise, because we are still overwhelmed by ignorance. If we do it constantly, we can be calm, mindful, concentrated and self-controlled. These states of mind can sometimes suppress some kinds of desire and defilements and some can get rid of them. This depends on how strong our mind is. Upekkha is neither a happy nor a painful state of mind. It is neutral, indifferent to happiness or pain. In practical terms, we have to practise mindfulness to catch ignorance which is the basic root of all defilements; remember, training is needed to do this big task of “Getting rid of desire and getting real wisdom.”

Written by Dhammacaro on 08/18/2006


  1. Death is coming. Never forget.

    • Maraṇa-dhammomhi maraṇaṃ anatīto. I couldn’t agree more.

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Shillelagh Studies

A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.