Pali word for Equanimity

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Pali word for Equanimity

Postby Wind » Thu May 13, 2010 12:41 am

What's the Pali word for Equanimity? And how close is the two terms in meaning? Is that the best English word equivalent to the Pali one?
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Re: Pali word for Equanimity

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu May 13, 2010 12:49 am

Upekkha

Yes, I believe equanimity is the best English word for it since it stands for the quality of being emotionally calm, balanced and even, especially when confronted with difficult situations.
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Re: Pali word for Equanimity

Postby Anicca » Thu May 13, 2010 12:51 am

What's the Pali word for Equanimity? upekkha

And how close is the two terms in meaning?
The word "upekkha" is used in the Canon in two basic senses: 1) a neutral feeling in the absense of pleasure and pain, and 2) an attitude of even-mindedness in the face of every sort of experience, regardless of whether pleasure and pain are present or not.

equanimity
Main Entry: equa·nim·i·ty
Pronunciation: \ˌē-kwə-ˈni-mə-tē, ˌe-kwə-\
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural equa·nim·i·ties
Etymology: Latin aequanimitas, from aequo animo with even mind
Date: circa 1616
1 : evenness of mind especially under stress <nothing could disturb his equanimity>
2 : right disposition : balance <physical equanimity>

synonyms equanimity, composure, sangfroid mean evenness of mind under stress. equanimity suggests a habit of mind that is only rarely disturbed under great strain <accepted her troubles with equanimity>. composure implies the controlling of emotional or mental agitation by an effort of will or as a matter of habit <maintaining his composure even under hostile questioning>. sangfroid implies great coolness and steadiness under strain <handled the situation with professional sangfroid>


Is that the best English word equivalent to the Pali one? IMO - yes.
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Re: Pali word for Equanimity

Postby Wind » Thu May 13, 2010 1:16 am

thanks :smile:
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Re: Pali word for Equanimity

Postby Buckwheat » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:37 pm

I can see how equanimity may be the most accurate English translation of upekkha, but it does not roll of my tongue and feels to me like jargon. Does anybody see anything wrong if I use the word "composure" as in "the quarterback showed strong composure leading to a comeback victory." My friends might understand that more with the sports parallel, which seems by my understanding to be fairly accurate to the Buddhist sense of upekkha. The calm mind going directly to the goal (liberation) in the face of pressure (suffering).

Is the translation "composure" misleading in any way?

Metta. :anjali:
Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Pali word for Equanimity

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:47 am

I believe that there is an element of "non-favouring" , "accepting that this is the way it is", "not saddened" that is implied by upekkha. In that sense it balances karuna (compassion). One understands the pain of others and cares (karuna), but one is not upset and sad about the outcome (upekkha).

:anjali:
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Re: Pali word for Equanimity

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:46 am

Buckwheat wrote:Is the translation "composure" misleading in any way?

The thesaurus built into my computer gives 'composure' as the nearest synonym of 'equanimity' but that word doesn't quite meet the need here because 'composure' can be a front, a pretence of calm, and upekkha is deep-seated, genuine.
The other alternatives are: calm, level-headedness, self-possession, coolheadedness, presence of mind; serenity, tranquility, phlegm, imperturbability, equilibrium; poise, assurance, self-confidence, aplomb, sangfroid, nerve; informal cool.
I have bolded the ones I think are closest to the sense we want.
Hope this helps,
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Re: Pali word for Equanimity

Postby Buckwheat » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:00 am

Thanks for that list of synonyms, Kim. It's very useful.

In my mind, composure can not be faked. If somebody is faking composure, they don't make that 4th quarter comeback. Even if you can fake the superficial signs of composure, you will still make blunders and slips that betray your real sense of unease and discomfort. Serenity and tranquility, in my mind, seem dependent on feeling good, which upekkha is supposed to be strong even when feeling pain/suffering. Is this just me? Sometimes I have funny ideas of what words mean, so I'm just trying to get a feel on the consensus. I am not a linguist in English, let alone Pali. However, I'm trying to dig into these things a little bit so that I can communicate dhamma better, especially to common people that aren't particularly interested in Buddhist study. Pardon me if I am asking silly questions.

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Sotthī hontu nirantaraṃ - May you forever be well.
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Re: Pali word for Equanimity

Postby cooran » Sat Jan 07, 2012 7:32 am

Hello Buckwheat,

A little more:

Upekkhā
http://what-buddha-said.net/library/Bud ... htm#upekkhā

The Four Sublime States: Contemplations on Love, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy and Equanimity by Nyanaponika Thera
• Introduction
• The Basic Passage on the Four Sublime States
• Contemplations on the Four Sublime States
• The Inter-relations of the Four Sublime States
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el006.html

with metta,
Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: Pali word for Equanimity

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:00 am

Buckwheat wrote:Thanks for that list of synonyms, Kim. It's very useful.

In my mind, composure can not be faked. If somebody is faking composure, they don't make that 4th quarter comeback. Even if you can fake the superficial signs of composure, you will still make blunders and slips that betray your real sense of unease and discomfort. Serenity and tranquility, in my mind, seem dependent on feeling good, which upekkha is supposed to be strong even when feeling pain/suffering. Is this just me? Sometimes I have funny ideas of what words mean, so I'm just trying to get a feel on the consensus. I am not a linguist in English, let alone Pali. However, I'm trying to dig into these things a little bit so that I can communicate dhamma better, especially to common people that aren't particularly interested in Buddhist study. Pardon me if I am asking silly questions.

Metta :anjali:

Hi, Buckwheat,
Perhaps there is a difference between Aussie and US usage? If so, better follow local usage.

And yours was *not* a silly question. The words we choose make a big difference to our own thinking as well as to how others understand us. Thinking about language does pay off.

:namaste:
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Re: Pali word for Equanimity

Postby daverupa » Sat Jan 07, 2012 2:46 pm

Upekkha & Upekha (f.) [fr. upa + ik?, cp. BSk. upekss

...

'looking on", hedonic neutrality or
indifference, zero point between joy & sorrow (Cpd. 66);
disinterestedness, neutral feeling, equanimity. Sometimes
equivalent to adukkhamasukha-vedana "feeling which is
neither pain nor pleasure".

source
    "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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