What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby villkorkarma » Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:16 am

I want to ask you something, what happened to theirs neutral feeling after enlightenment?
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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby pt1 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 7:14 am

villkorkarma wrote:I want to ask you something, what happened to theirs neutral feeling after enlightenment?

As far as I know, feeling is a mental factor that is said to arise with every state of consciousness. So, it’s the same before and after enlightenment – pleasant, neutral and unpleasant feeling will keep arising dependent on conditions. However, there are two important differences between an arahat and a worldling, as far as I understand from studying:

1. an arahat will only experience unpleasant feeling in connection with resultant (vipaka) body-consciousness. So, he will not experience unpleasant feeling in connection with unwholesome states of consciousness, because he simply doesn’t have them anymore. Similarly, when it comes to pleasant and neutral feeling, he will experience these only in connection with operative (kiriya) states of consciousness, as well as resultant consciousnesses (vipaka), but not in connection with wholesome states of consciousness, because he doesn’t have them anymore either.

[For reference - if you’re not familiar with different kinds of consciousness – there are 4 kinds of consciousness according to abhidhamma:
- wholesome – with wholesome mental factors, which generates wholesome kamma
- unwholesome – with unwholesome mental factors, which generates unwholesome kamma]
- resultant – which are basically results of kamma, which doesn’t generate kamma
- operative – which “replaces” wholesome consciousness for arahats – so a consciousness that still has wholesome mental factors, but it doesn’t generate kamma.

So, a worldling will have the first three kinds of consciousness, while an arahat will only have resultant and operative kinds of consciousness.]

2. And of course, the most important difference between an arahat and a worldling is that for an arahat no craving will arise anymore in response to a pleasant feeling, nor will there be aversion arising to unpleasant feeling or neutral feeling. So whatever sort of feeling arises for an arahat, his mental factor of equanimity will keep the consciousness “even” so to speak (in addition to mindfulness, wisdom, and other mental factors performing their functions as well). And since there's no craving arising anymore, thus no new kamma is generated, so no more rebirth, etc.

There's one more bit I think I need to tell you, I'll do that in a few hours when I get a bit of time.

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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby pt1 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:06 am

villkorkarma wrote:yes actually that gaved me hope that iam on the right way practising, i think i have had that neutral feeling before, but i had now motivation to progress to nirvana and that led me to many ruff years.

villkorkarma wrote:I want to ask you something, what happened to theirs neutral feeling after enlightenment?


Okay, here's that extra bit:

I hope I didn’t mislead you into thinking that the natural progression of the path is from states with pleasant feeling to states with neutral feeling, when equanimity has been developed to a high degree. To my understanding, it doesn’t have to happen that way. I mean, some say that you don’t even need to get anywhere near fourth jhana, nor develop the equanimity brahmavihara, to get to stream-entry. Further, while equanimity as a brahmavihara is accompanied by a neutral feeling, this is just one of many things that can arise on the path. So for example, if you’re developing vipassana, at moments when vipassana happens, equanimity as a mental factor can be very strong, but that doesn’t mean it will necessarily be accompanied by a neutral feeling – it might be, but it can also be pleasant feeling of some degree, because there are other mental factors that will be arising at the same time (like mindfulness, wisdom, perception, etc), which will also condition the arising of a particular sort of feeling.

Anyway, my conclusion from studying abhidhamma is that the emphasis is put on development of understanding. So regardless of what arises at the moment (e.g. regardless whether it is pleasant, neutral or unpleasant feeling), the important thing is that it’s known by understanding as anicca, anatta or dukkha. This is important because if there’s any understanding presently - that means that the present state of consciousness is wholesome (thus generating good kamma), and that, importantly, wisdom (=right view=understanding -> *edit: so it's the same mental factor, just different translations) is being developed at that moment, and thus, the path is being developed at that moment.

*Edit: feel free to ask for further clarification, I'm not sure how clearly i'm managing to explain all this

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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby villkorkarma » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:18 pm

Nibbida wrote:Not from the suttas, but excerpts from Nyanaponika Thera's The Four Sublime States:

Love [i.e. metta] imparts to equanimity its selflessness, its boundless nature and even its fervor. For fervor, too, transformed and controlled, is part of perfect equanimity, strengthening its power of keen penetration and wise restraint.
...
Compassion guards equanimity from falling into a cold indifference, and keeps it from indolent or selfish isolation. Until equanimity has reached perfection, compassion urges it to enter again and again the battle of the world, in order to be able to stand the test, by hardening and strengthening itself.
...
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.

Equanimity rooted in insight is the guiding and restraining power for the other three sublime states. It points out to them the direction they have to take, and sees to it that this direction is followed. Equanimity guards love and compassion from being dissipated in vain quests and from going astray in the labyrinths of uncontrolled emotion. Equanimity, being a vigilant self-control for the sake of the final goal, does not allow sympathetic joy to rest content with humble results, forgetting the real aims we have to strive for.

Equanimity, which means "even-mindedness," gives to love an even, unchanging firmness and loyalty. It endows it with the great virtue of patience. Equanimity furnishes compassion with an even, unwavering courage and fearlessness, enabling it to face the awesome abyss of misery and despair which confront boundless compassion again and again. To the active side of compassion, equanimity is the calm and firm hand led by wisdom — indispensable to those who want to practice the difficult art of helping others. And here again equanimity means patience, the patient devotion to the work of compassion.

In these and other ways equanimity may be said to be the crown and culmination of the other three sublime states. The first three, if unconnected with equanimity and insight, may dwindle away due to the lack of a stabilizing factor. Isolated virtues, if unsupported by other qualities which give them either the needed firmness or pliancy, often deteriorate into their own characteristic defects. For instance, loving-kindness, without energy and insight, may easily decline to a mere sentimental goodness of weak and unreliable nature. Moreover, such isolated virtues may often carry us in a direction contrary to our original aims and contrary to the welfare of others, too. It is the firm and balanced character of a person that knits isolated virtues into an organic and harmonious whole, within which the single qualities exhibit their best manifestations and avoid the pitfalls of their respective weaknesses. And this is the very function of equanimity, the way it contributes to an ideal relationship between all four sublime states.

Equanimity is a perfect, unshakable balance of mind, rooted in insight. But in its perfection and unshakable nature equanimity is not dull, heartless and frigid. Its perfection is not due to an emotional "emptiness," but to a "fullness" of understanding, to its being complete in itself. Its unshakable nature is not the immovability of a dead, cold stone, but the manifestation of the highest strength.


http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... html#inter


But Goenkaiji says this: how to reach nibbana which is a state without craving so it isnt possible to reach it if you craves for it.
So what do you mean with eventually? Is that before enlightenment? I mean shouldnt you feel extasy full of joy all the time before just before nibbana?
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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby villkorkarma » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:30 pm

Individual wrote:The short version:
There is what is called indifference, apathy, numbness. In this, there is no joy and no suffering, no happiness but no sadness either. This is how many people interpret Nibbana too -- as the numbness of experience. But it isn't. It's possible to develop such numbness, but that numbness is itself merely a subtle form of dukkha.

In the case of equanimity, there is joy. Not ecstatic joy, but tiny joy. Whereas in numbness is a subtle form of dukkha, equanimity is a subtle form of happiness. And whereas numbness is ignorance reborn, equanimity is associated with wisdom.

The longer version:
To understand equanimity, one must first understand real happiness. I actually do not think it is possible to truly know what equanimity is without at least attaining the first jhana. Perhaps that's wrong. It's just... Equanimity is built on top of the happiness born of mindfulness and morality.

It's like smelling the flowers, enjoying nature, a warm coffee or shower in the morning, the pleasant feel of a human touch -- all without delighting in them. One can be swept away by the simple joys and have ecstasy even over nature, then reality comes along to remind you of the first noble truth: suffering. One develops equanimity first by practicing mindfulness until one realizes the infinite happiness born of concentration, but then, seeing the danger of it, one practices restraint. Because the happier one is, the sadder one can become. So, you take that happiness born of concentration and you squeeze it, tighter and tighter, smaller and smaller. You squeeze it, because you know, "I love this happiness. I really do, but I know it's impermanent and notself. If I hold onto it and delight into it, it will eventually fade and I will be disappointed." So you make it smaller, so that the disappointment is smaller.

Eventually, you may come to a point where people wonder if you're even happy, because you don't seem to be. But you are. It's just a subtle form of happiness (and actually -- you're smiling all the time -- crying too, but they're tears of joy). But it is also supreme happiness because it stays with you, and doesn't come and go like the intoxication of drugs or the intoxication of delight in every day experience.



Is this your own words or where have u heard this?
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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby villkorkarma » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:40 pm

what is equanimity as a brahmavihara?

so one doesnt need so much equanimity you mean to reach stream enter?

what people said this? thanks
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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby villkorkarma » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:45 pm

how much equanimity (feelings of joy) does one need to enter stream-enter (nibbana)?
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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby villkorkarma » Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:55 pm

This is was Goenkaji says anyway:

Upekkhā—equanimity is the seventh factor of enlightenment. Like sati, it must be present from the beginning to the end, at every step. Whichever other factor is being developed, awareness and equanimity must always be present.
When the bojjhaṅgas are practiced properly, they increase and become perfect and when each is perfect, enlightenment is perfect. This is the whole process of Vipassana.
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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:53 am

Wizard in the Forest wrote:What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?
It is beyond my control and I don't care.
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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:38 pm

Villokarma

I think you should not confuse yourself- just stick to what GoenkaG says.

with metta

Matheesha
With Metta

Karuna
Mudita
& Upekkha
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Re: What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?

Postby andre9999 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:58 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
Wizard in the Forest wrote:What is the difference between equanimity and apathy?
It is beyond my control and I don't care.


This post is full of win.
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