Neither a thought nor an emotion, it is rather the steady conscious realization of reality’s transience. It is the ground for wisdom and freedom and the protector of compassion and love. While some may think of equanimity as dry neutrality or cool aloofness, mature equanimity produces a radiance and warmth of being. The Buddha described a mind filled with equanimity as “abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill-will.
Equanimity’s strength derives from a combination of understanding and trust. It is based on understanding that the conflict and frustration we feel when we cannot control the world doesn’t come from our inability to do so, but rather from the fact that we are trying to control the uncontrollable. We know better than to try and prevent the seasons from changing or the tide from coming in. Following autumn, winter comes. We may not prefer it, but we trust it because we can understand and accept its rightful place in the larger cycle, a bigger picture. Can we apply the same wise balance to the cycles and tides of pleasant, unpleasant and neutral experiences in our lives?
By jvalamalini on Thu, 19 Mar, 2015 - 15:17A cold bright day in Bristol, and a deep quiet atmosphere in the Buddhist Centre, as we move into cultivating upekkha (equanimity).
As a brahma vihara, equanimity is more than the dictionary definition of ‘calm and composed especially in adversity’. It is a composite of metta, karuna and mudita pervaded by Dharmic understanding, like metta with a wisdom eye. It sees joy and suffering, their conditionedness and the constant flux of everything.
Another session with Ratnavandana, helping establish where we are in the Mandala and in relation to our heart this morning as we set up for the day by chanting the mantra of Amitabha, the great red Buddha of love and light in the West.
Did you never observe how in moments of happiness a person’s features change and become bright with joy? Did you never notice how joy rouses people to noble aspirations and deeds, exceeding your normal capacity?
Sympathetic joy gives to equanimity the mild serenity that softens its stern appearance. It is the divine smile on the face of the Enlightened One, a smile that persists in spite of his deep knowledge of the world’s suffering, a smile that gives solace and hope, fearlessness and confidence: “Wide open are the doors to deliverance” thus it speaks.
By jvalamalini on Wed, 18 Mar, 2015 - 18:58We’ve had a wonderful sunny spring day today in Bristol, perfect for us to dwell in what Sangharakshita has described as the bright dancing colours of mudita.
Ratnavandana talked about mudita as a natural response that happens often, but which we don’t always recognise. She suggested consciously appreciating moments of gladness in our lives, particularly when it connects us to others - for example she enjoyed seeing three small girls with mother’s day bouquets in the street at the...
Some lovely, personal notes on the core practice in the Brahma Viharas sequence - the cultivation of loving kindness (metta), which is said to glow, shine and blaze forth like the sun… From Rumi and Subhuti to the Itivuttaka, we hear about how love transforms both self and world in ways extraordinary and everyday.
The short guided meditation and initial notes are by Ratnavandana. The main talk is by Jvalamalini.
By jvalamalini on Tue, 17 Mar, 2015 - 14:57After days of gloom outside it’s wonderful to have spring sunshine today as we move into contemplating karuna - which Sangharakshita has described as like metta with a shadow over it.
Ratnavandana says: It is good to reflect on our attitudes to suffering, whether it’s physical or emotional. I know for a long time I had this a sense that somehow suffering was wrong, that I shouldn’t be suffering, so there was a feeling of failure there which was...