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Thread: Landscape of an Awakened Mind

  1. #1

    Landscape of an Awakened Mind

    This is a short excerpt from the introduction of "Boundless Heart " byBuddhist teacher Christina Feldman:


    Introduction: The Landscape and Embodiment of Liberation

    “There is no greater love than the immeasurable friendliness that can embrace all beings, all events, and all experiences with unshakeable kindness. There is no compassion greater than the fearless heart that can turn toward suffering and pain, tremble with empathy, and live with the commitment to end the causes of anguish. There is no greater happiness than inwardly generated joy and peace. There is no equanimity more unshakeable than the profound poise of the liberated heart that can meet the world of ungraspable conditions and events without being shattered.

    Threaded through the entirety of the Buddha’s pathway of awakening are the teachings on cultivating the boundless heart – immeasurable kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. These qualities are referred to as the brahma viharas. Brahma refers to the sublime or noble tenor of these qualities; vihara originally comes from the word for “monastery”, or the place we abide and make our home. We are encouraged, whether standing or walking, sitting or lying down, whenever we are awake to make kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity the home of our heart. This is the noblest way of living in this world here and now.”

    https://bodhi-college.org/boundless-...istina-feldman



    Any thoughts in connection with the excerpt?



  2. #2
    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing this, Aloka.

    The Brahma Viharas are indeed a great place to begin the development of awakening.

    The conditioning of mind to the state of mental equanimity has been a stumper for me over the last twenty years of practice, as the difficulty seems to be letting go of all judgement of the non beneficial observed in the life conditions of others. The hindrance seems to be associated with judgements themselves. I have identified judgements to be hindrances and an obstructive lack of acceptance, as if there was a personal appointment to be judge and jury over the life conditions of others.

    Before there can be mental equanimity, there must be a release of any and all judgement. This I have found to be not only difficult, but impossible for me to do.

    Has anyone had success getting over this hump? If so, how?

    ...Ron

  3. #3
    Hi Ron,

    There's a section about equanimity (upekkha) in an article "Cultivating Empathy" by Ajahn Sucitto. He says:


    Upekkhā is equanimity. The commentary likens this to the mood of a parent seeing that the child is now fully grown and can move around on its own. Then the parent senses: ‘He or she will find out what they need to find out. I still care for them, but now they can discover things for themselves.’

    Upekkhā carries trust: it’s accompanied by the understanding that we all have to work with our own impulses, habits and attitudes. In this process, equanimity sustains the empathy that keeps the heart open and allows us to grow, rather than be perfect from day one. Or perfect at all: with empathy we begin to sense that ‘perfection’ is a form of ill-will. If you look for perfection, what you find is the critical and discontented mind. Instead of setting up an ideal, equanimity trusts that we can be who we are and go through what we need to in order to grow. Equanimity doesn’t sound that emotionally rich, but it is a very generous form of love.

    We all have to be with our fears and joys, our success and failure, our good and bad, and equanimity allows us to be present with the results of our actions so that we can acknowledge and investigate them. With equanimity we know what is good as just ‘that leads to a good place’ rather than ‘I am right.’ And what was unskilful can be known as ‘ that was unskilful’ rather than being agonized over. So we learn and see things in a way that doesn’t attach a big ‘I am’ to them. This is transformative.

    Upekkhā is not indifference. So when one is going through a tough time, or seeing others struggling, rather than panicking or self-pitying or collapsing, equanimity maintains confidence in being empathically present. We thus trust mindful presence of heart to have its effects. With some stuff, you just don’t know what to do; all you can do is be present with it, and just not keep adding more to it. This is upekkhā, to others as to oneself.


    https://ajahnsucitto.org/articles/cultivating-empathy/



  4. #4
    Forums Member Olderon's Avatar
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    Thank you for the reading, Aloka.

    Upekkhā arises when the conditions are correct. I look forward to this event and will greet it with great joy!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Olderon View Post

    Before there can be mental equanimity, there must be a release of any and all judgement. This I have found to be not only difficult, but impossible for me to do.
    Has anyone had success getting over this hump? If so, how?

    ...Ron
    I had this problem too. For many years I forced myself to play devil's advocate, to see both sides of a judgement, until it became second nature. In a way it helped that I was the only one I knew who was interested in some of the stuff that was important to me, so I had to argue the case out with myself. In the end I discovered the Zen saying "There is neither a God nor not a God" which seemed to help in the process of letting go of judgements. The idea in this case is that the problem is in the question rather than in any possible answer.

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