Equanimity or Indifference?

William David Bodell, modified 11 Years ago.

Equanimity or Indifference?

Posts: 20 Join Date: 11/28/09 Recent Posts
I'm not sure its the right forum but my issue is:

How do you distinguish 'lo' equanimity from indifference - that is if they are different?
Brian M, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity or Indifference?

Posts: 35 Join Date: 11/22/09 Recent Posts
Perhaps it's not exactly what you're asking, but you might find this old thread useful

http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/242547
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Florian Weps, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity or Indifference?

Posts: 1028 Join Date: 4/28/09 Recent Posts
To me, it's an "I can take it" attitude, a kind of calm low-grade confidence/indifference to circumstances/"this is worn down"/"Im okay either way" (quite different from the resignation of the preceding stage) which all too easily becomes carelessness after a while.

I may not be a good reference point, however, as this is very close to where I'm currently at - apart from the possibility that I'm completely off the mark about that emoticon

Cheers,
Florian
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Jackson "awouldbehipster" Wilshire, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity or Indifference?

Posts: 97 Join Date: 5/6/09 Recent Posts
The monk-scholar Bhikkhu Bodhi has this to say about the difference between equanimity (upekkha) and indifference...

“The real meaning of upekkha is equanimity, not indifference in the sense of unconcern for others. As a spiritual virtue, upekkha means equanimity in the face of the fluctuations of worldly fortune. It is evenness of mind, unshakeable freedom of mind, a state of inner equipoise that cannot be upset by gain and loss, honor and dishonor, praise and blame, pleasure and pain. Upekkha is freedom from all points of self-reference; it is indifference only to the demands of the ego-self with its craving for pleasure and position, not to the well-being of one's fellow human beings. True equanimity is the pinnacle of the four social attitudes that the Buddhist texts call the 'divine abodes': boundless loving-kindness, compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity. The last does not override and negate the preceding three, but perfects and consummates them.”*

Indifference says, "I couldn't care less, because it doesn't concern me." Equanimity says, "I can stand in the midst of this for the sake of all beings."

* http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/bodhi/bps-essay_30.html
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yana pets, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity or Indifference?

Posts: 669 Join Date: 3/24/10 Recent Posts
Ditto the above. Here's what's been happening with me lately, see if any of it is similar for you: I'm finding myself progressively more stable in practice and day-to-day dealings. Negativity/dissatisfaction simply doesn't phase me anywhere even close to what it used to.. Last week during Dark Night stuff I could just laugh it off, and there is calm/peace very regularly.. don't want to say constantly because that's solidifying it probably.. I've been cycling a whole bunch and think I'm well into Equanimity again right now.

So, are you categorizing an "okayness" with things as they are (no matter what they are) as indifference? Indifference is more a defeat type thing. More context would be helpful.
Brian M, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity or Indifference?

Posts: 35 Join Date: 11/22/09 Recent Posts
See also Shinzen Young's take on equanimity:

http://shinzen.org/Retreat%20Reading/artEquanimity.pdf

In simple terms, I think of equanimity as just going with the flow. "Easy come, easy go." You don't strain to make certain experiences arise nor do you strain to make them go away. You just allow experiences to come and go completely on their own terms, completely unimpeded, however pleasant or nasty they might be.

In this context indifference might be defined as "non-interference due to lack of interest or relevance." Equanimity is about non-interference, but perhaps the motivation or emotional orientation underlying this non-interference is different. Indifferent, we don't interfere with something because it is not of sufficient value to merit the effort of interference. Equanimous, we don't interfere with something because we are engaging with experience in such a way that the question of the merits of interference don't come into play in the first place. So indifference is driven by a value judgment whereas equanimity transcends value judgments.
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Daniel M. Ingram, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity or Indifference? (Answer)

Posts: 3199 Join Date: 4/20/09 Recent Posts
From a more insight-oriented point of view:

Low Equanimity can be known by the following:

1) one is in Re-observation, and it suddenly breaks and one is suddenly okay again. Some pain may be there, some irritation, but the weight is lifted, and when one sits on the cushion or applies mindfulness to objects, there is not the restlessness and irritation of that previous stage.

2) Attention suddenly widens in a way it didn't before, thoughts, which typically one has been re-caught in during Re-observation, suddenly split off again and seem far less important and sticky than they were before.

3) Low Equanimity may be followed by a real sense of freedom, of coming home, of naturalness, of okayness, and a wonder at all this, like a freshness from childhood. This increases as one moves from 11.1 to 11.2 to use ñana.subjhana terminology.

4) Low Equanimity may not be that noticeable for some, as the drama and tension and restlessness of Re-observation tends to demand attention, however skewed, but Low Equanimity can feel so normal after it that some will not really notice it as a distinct stage unless they are inclined to that sort of mapping and analysis.

5) Indifference, the deadening impostor and near-enemy of Equanimity, is flat, lifeless, dull, whereas Equanimity is open, workable, broad, and feels very natural and easy in comparison.

Helpful?

Daniel
William David Bodell, modified 11 Years ago.

RE: Equanimity or Indifference?

Posts: 20 Join Date: 11/28/09 Recent Posts
Thanks for the above everyone and thanks Daniel for the succinct summary. Spot on. My working assumption is I am / was in Re-observation (tho it is possible I have fallen back into 3rd nana but I put that at 20% chance).

Points 3,4 and 5 hit the nail on the head. It feels 'nice', ok without being 'spectacular' both on and off the cushion.

Thanks again.

Bill