Sutta Study Discussion Theme 8-6-16

From Craving to Liberation, From Grasping to Emptiness: Excursions into the Thought-World of the Pali Discourses by Bhikkhu Analayo,
Chapter 15, Equanimity/Upekkha

Sections to be read outloud:
15.2 Top of page 167 through the third paragraph on p. 169
15.3 Begin with third paragraph p. 172 until the end of the second paragraph p. 173, also the last two paragraphs of this section and chapter.

Discussion Theme:
Equanimity is the capacity to turn toward and connect with an experience whether or not it is agreeable or disagreeable. This balanced, non judging and intimate connection with things as they are is experienced as peaceful and sublime. In other words, this practice reveals that non reactivity of equanimity turns out to have the unworldly pleasant taste of freedom. Equanimity is a dependable barometer of progress along this path of awakening. Of course, initially we might mistake the near enemy of indifference for the wholesome quality of equanimity. However, with practice, we see that indifference  always includes an aversive distancing – a unwillingness to connect and be close.

?This month, let’s remember that true equanimity and the process of awakening itself is an empowering joy not a neutral resignation. The fruit of practice is empowering in the sense that it includes more and more energy and wisdom, a spacious and clear perspective, that allows one to better navigates the twists and turns of life.

Equanimity as a training is the practice of seeing the disagreeable in the agreeable and the agreeable in the disagreeable. We practice not taking initial conditioned perceptions to be the only truth. Venerable Ananlayo suggests that as the practice matures the mind is no longer bound to its conditioned habits of organizing and reacting to experiences in terms of its initial likes and dislikes. The cultivation of the wisdom of equanimity means that the mind’s relationship to arising feelings is transformed from one that takes any experience of feeling tone personally to a mind that discerns feeling tone as it is, but is not confused by it and is not inclined to react to it. In this way equanimity is often associated with the presence of mindfulness and clear comprehension – uncovering the wisdom that allows the heart to be free from its conditioned tendencies, such as the habit to tell ourselves, “I can’t stand this unpleasant experience”.

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