The Buddha's approach to upekkha?

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The Buddha's approach to upekkha?

Postby starter » Thu Mar 24, 2011 2:51 pm

Hello Teachers/Friends,

I've been wondering about the Buddha's method to upekkha, which seems to be obtained through samadhi [finally] as indicated in the 7 enlightenment factors. Since only the 3rd jhana and above can give rise to upekkha, I wonder how those who were liberated with only the 1st jhana reach upekkha, via vipasana I suppose? Did they all contemplate anicca/dukkha/anatta to reach upekkha, or there might be some other methods as well?

Thanks and metta to all,

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Re: The Buddha's approach to upekkha?

Postby PeterB » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:11 pm

I think starter there is a danger of becoming too preoccupied with techniques and in thinking that if get all our ducks lined up things fall into place.
For a start the three marks can only be understood if a degree of upekkha is present.
And Upekkha is a vital part of the Brahma Viharas...
I would forget Jhanas and lists and concentrate on some form of Anapanasati supplemented perhaps with the Brahma Viharas.
Buddha Dhamma is not a maintenance handbook with items to be ticked off.
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Re: The Buddha's approach to upekkha?

Postby IanAnd » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:09 pm

starter wrote:Since only the 3rd jhana and above can give rise to upekkha, I wonder how those who were liberated with only the 1st jhana reach upekkha, via vipasana I suppose?

Peter makes some very good points.

In addition, one might consider that what Gotama meant by upekkha could very well be translated into the approach outlined in Nyanaponika Thera's classic book The Heart of Buddhist Meditation wherein he extols the virtues of "bare attention" toward objects, which has all the elements of equanimity, or even mindedness with regard to phenomena. In this sense, then, it would seem obvious that such equanimity could be cultivated outside of meditative absorption (or states of fixed concentration — appana samadhi). Although it goes without saying that appana samadhi might very well be a useful tool in order to attain this kind of equanimity also. But, to make it a condition for its attainment might be going a bit too far. Yet with that said, there is something to be recognized by the mind's ability to remain fixed on an object so as to see it in its suchness (true state) and not to become influenced by personal bias or prejudice.
"The gift of truth exceeds all other gifts" — Dhammapada, v. 354 Craving XXIV
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Re: The Buddha's approach to upekkha?

Postby daverupa » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:32 pm

In the Anapanasati Sutta, the Buddha describes how anapanasati fulfills satipatthana:

"And how is mindfulness of in-&-out breathing developed & pursued so as to bring the four frames of reference to their culmination? ...On that occasion the monk remains focused on the {body|feelings|mind|dhammas} in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world."

This last seems to be a form of equanimity. Therefore, equanimity precedes jhana of any kind. Upekkha is perfected later (purity of equanimity in fourth jhana), but anapanasati doesn't begin with it already perfected. There are no catch-22s in the Dhamma.

:heart:
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The Buddha's approach to upekkha?

Postby rowyourboat » Thu Apr 21, 2011 8:10 pm

Hi starter,

Your question has got me thinking- the suttas talk about upekkha mostly (99%) in terms of samadhi leading to upekkha. It does not talk of upekkha arising from yatabutha nana, unless you want to take statements such as 'cooling' etc as meaning upekkha. Yatabhutha nana (the three characteristics) gives rise to dispassion/fading and cessation. I have come across 'sankhara upekkha' (equanimity about formations-a pure vipassana term) once in the suttas (maha kottitha, if I remember correctly).

But without getting caught up in semantics, we do develop an equanimity of mind when we give up craving and aversion. Giving up delusion, helps with giving up craving and aversion. If we are to go with the following understanding:

"When tranquillity is developed, what purpose does it serve? The mind is developed. And when the mind is developed, what purpose does it serve? Passion is abandoned.

"When insight is developed, what purpose does it serve? Discernment is developed. And when discernment is developed, what purpose does it serve? Ignorance is abandoned.


..we could state that development of equanimity is the highest development/fruit of samadhi, but not so, of vipassana. The highest development there is attainment (vimutti).

With metta


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Re: The Buddha's approach to upekkha?

Postby starter » Sat Apr 23, 2011 3:38 pm

Hello thanks everybody for your input.

Just would like to share with you my new understanding about the Budda's approach to upekkha, which is actually outlined in the Anapanasati sutta. After cultivating sila (purification of conduct) and samadhi (purification of mind), the Buddha taught us to contemplate bodily fabrications (breathing) and mental fabrications (feelings) to realize the anicca/dukkha/anatta nature of both bodily and mental fabrications, and then be mindful of the mind (presence/absence of greed/aversion/delusion) and gladden the mind to reach the jhana ("releasing the mind"); after the jhana is reached, contemplate anicca/dukkha/anatta of the five aggregates involved in the jhana to become disenchanted towards the five aggregates, and contemplate dispassion and ending of craving towards the five aggregates.

That's how one can reach not only anagami who has no greed/aversion (with upekkha), but also even arahantship.

Metta to all,

Starter

PS:

"Venerable sir, when this is the path and the method for the destruction of the five lower bonds for the sensual world [for some "bhikkhus"], why does a certain bhikkhu talk of a release of mind and a release through wisdom? Ananda, that is the difference in the maturity of the mental faculties."

"Whatever exists therein [jhanas or formless attainments] of (form,) feeling, perception, formations, and consciousness, he sees those states as impermanent, as suffering, as a disease, as a tumour, as a barb, as a calamity, as an affliction, as alien, as disintegrating, as void, as not self.
He turns his mind away from those states [jhanas or formless attainments] and directs it towards the deathless element thus:
'This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, that is, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishing of all attachments, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbana.'

If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints because of that chandaraga (desire and attachment) for the Dhamma [those states: jhanas or formless attainments] then with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously [in the pure abodes], and there attain final Nibbana without ever returning from that world. This is the path, the way to the abandoning of the five lower states."

--MN64 Maha-Malunkhyaputta Sutta
http://www.mahindarama.com/e-tipitaka/M ... /mn-64.htm
Last edited by starter on Sat Apr 30, 2011 12:46 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Buddha's approach to upekkha?

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:44 pm

Hi starter,

Sounds good, but I would replace 'contemplate' with 'be mindful of'.

With metta

Matheesha
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Re: The Buddha's approach to upekkha?

Postby daverupa » Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:47 pm

I disagree with the claim that three tetrads of anapanasati lead to jhana, and the fourth is done within jhana. I agree that liberating the mind, part of the third tetrad, involves the brahmaviharas, upekkha included.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: The Buddha's approach to upekkha?

Postby rowyourboat » Fri May 06, 2011 6:22 pm

daverupa wrote:I disagree with the claim that three tetrads of anapanasati lead to jhana, and the fourth is done within jhana. I agree that liberating the mind, part of the third tetrad, involves the brahmaviharas, upekkha included.


Hello Daverupa

How do you understand 'I breath in liberating the mind'? In the 3rd tetrad?

With metta

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