Good and Bad Equanimity

“Upekkhaṃpāhaṃ, devānaminda, duvidhena vadāmi sevitabbampi, asevitabbampīti iti kho panetaṃ vuttaṃ, kiñcetaṃ paṭicca vuttaṃ? Tattha yaṃ jaññā upekkhaṃ ‘Imaṃ kho me upekkhaṃ sevato akusalā dhammā abhivaḍḍhanti, kusalā dhammā parihāyantī’ti, evarūpā upekkhā na sevitabbā. Tattha yaṃ jaññā upekkhaṃ ‘Imaṃ kho me upekkhaṃ sevato akusalā dhammā parihāyanti, kusalā dhammā abhivaḍḍhantī’ti, evarūpā upekkhā sevitabbā. Tattha yaṃ ce savitakkaṃ savicāraṃ, yaṃ ce avitakkaṃ avicāraṃ, ye avitakke avicāre, te paṇītatare. Upekkhaṃpāhaṃ, devānaminda, duvidhena vadāmi sevitabbampi, asevitabbampīti iti yaṃ taṃ vuttaṃ, idametaṃ paṭicca vuttaṃ.

Lord of the devas, it is said that there are two kinds of equanimity – one to be practiced, and one not to be practiced, but why is this said? When one knows of equanimity, “When I practice equanimity in this way, unskillful mind states increase and skillful mind states decrease,” that kind of equanimity is not to be practiced. When one knows of equanimity, “When I practice equanimity in this way, unskillful mind states decrease and skillful mind states increase,” that kind of equanimity is to be practiced.  And this may be accompanied by reasoning and investigation, or free of reasoning and investigation;  when free of reasoning and investigation,  you cross over into the most excellent.  Thus it is said, Lord of the devas, that there are two kinds of equanimity – one to be practiced, and one not to be practiced, and this is why it is said.

Sakkapañha Sutta, DN 21.5

Like a Pile of Froth

“Pheṇapiṇḍūpamaṃ rūpaṃ, vedanā bubbuḷūpamā .
Marīcikūpamā saññā, saṅkhārā kadalūpamā.
Māyūpamañca viññāṇaṃ, desitādiccabandhunā.
“Yathā yathā nijjhāyati, yoniso upaparikkhati.
Rittakaṃ tucchakaṃ hoti, yo naṃ passati yoniso.
“Imañca kāyaṃ ārabbha, bhūripaññena desitaṃ.
Pahānaṃ tiṇṇaṃ dhammānaṃ, rūpaṃ passatha var chaḍḍitaṃ.
“Āyu usmā ca viññāṇaṃ, yadā kāyaṃ jahantimaṃ.
Apaviddho var tadā seti, parabhattaṃ acetanaṃ.
“Etādisāyaṃ santāno, māyāyaṃ bālalāpinī.
Vadhako esa akkhāto, sāro ettha na vijjati.
“Evaṃ khandhe avekkheyya, bhikkhu āraddhavīriyo.
Divā vā yadi vā rattiṃ, sampajāno paṭissato.
“Jaheyya sabbasaṃyogaṃ, kareyya saraṇattano.
Careyyādittasīsova, patthayaṃ accutaṃ padan”ti.

Like a pile of froth is Form; Feeling-tone is like a bubble.
Like a mirage is Perception; Mental constructions are like a banana tree.
Like a conjurer’s trick is Awareness: This has been taught by the kinsman of the Sun.
Just so, just so – when one meditates and investigates with wisdom
They are void and empty to one who properly understands.
The one of great wisdom taught this regarding the body.
When the three dhammas leave, one understands and rejects Form.
Life, warmth and animation abandoning the body
As if asleep, it is cast away; senseless, it becomes food for another.
It goes on this way:  illusion, childish babble.
It’s called “the executioner;” no essence is found here.
Thus the firmly-established bhikkhu considers the Aggregates
By day and by night, thoughtfully recollecting.
Abandoning all bonds, he makes himself a refuge.
He acts as if his head were blazing, heading for a place of lasting peace.

Pheṇapiṇḍūpama Sutta, SN 22.95

pali canon

Fractal Dhamma

In the Satipatthana Sutta, one of the Four Foundations of Mindfulness is “dhammesu dhammānupassī” or “contemplation of dhammas in dhammas.” And one of the ways one does that is through contemplation of the Seven Factors of Awakening, on of which is “dhammavicaya” — the investigation of dhammas! Feeling a little fractal?

“Santaṃ vā ajjhattaṃ dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgaṃ ‘atthi me ajjhattaṃ dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo’ti pajānāti, asantaṃ vā ajjhattaṃ dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgaṃ ‘natthi me ajjhattaṃ dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgo’ti pajānāti, yathā ca anuppannassa dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgassa uppādo hoti tañca pajānāti, yathā ca uppannassa dhammavicayasambojjhaṅgassa bhāvanāya pāripūrī hoti tañca pajānāti.”

When one inwardly investigates dhammas, one clearly knows, “I am inwardly investigating dhammas,” or when one does not inwardly investigate dhammas, one clearly knows, “I am not inwardly investigating dhammas.” And one clearly knows the arising of unarisen investigation of dhammas, and clearly knows the existence and passing away of dhamma investigation that has arisen.
Mahāsatipaṭṭhānasuttaṃ, Dhammānupassanā Bojjhaṅgapabbaṃ (DN 22.13)

Don’t Confuse Your Dhammas

Ananda explains to Sariputta how to hear new Dhamma, and how not to get Dhammas mixed up:

Āyasmā ānando etadavoca —

“Idhāvuso sāriputta, bhikkhu dhammaṃ pariyāpuṇāti — suttaṃ geyyaṃ veyyākaraṇaṃ gāthaṃ udānaṃ itivuttakaṃ jātakaṃ abbhutadhammaṃ vedallaṃ. So yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ vitthārena paresaṃ deseti, yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ vitthārena paresaṃ vāceti, yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ vitthārena sajjhāyaṃ karoti, yathāsutaṃ yathāpariyattaṃ dhammaṃ cetasā anuvitakketi anuvicāreti manasānupekkhati. Yasmiṃ āvāse therā bhikkhū viharanti bahussutā āgatāgamā dhammadharā vinayadharā mātikādharā tasmiṃ āvāse vassaṃ upeti. Te kālena kālaṃ upasaṅkamitvā paripucchati paripañhati — ‘Idaṃ, bhante, kathaṃ; imassa kvattho’ti? Te tassa āyasmato avivaṭañceva vivaranti, anuttānīkatañca uttānīkaronti, anekavihitesu ca kaṅkhāṭhāniyesu dhammesu kaṅkhaṃ paṭivinodenti. Ettāvatā kho, āvuso sāriputta, bhikkhu assutañceva dhammaṃ suṇāti, sutā cassa dhammā na sammosaṃ gacchanti, ye cassa dhammā pubbe cetasā samphuṭṭhapubbā te ca samudācaranti, aviññātañca vijānātī”ti.

This is what Ananda said: “Sariputta, there’s the case in which a bhikkhu masters the Dhamma – suttas,  mixed prose and verse, commentaries, verses, exclamations,  discourses, birth stories, miracle stories,  question-and-answer dialogues.  Regarding what is heard and what is known, the bhikkhu explains the Dhamma in great detail; regarding what is heard and what is known, the bhikkhu recites the Dhamma in great detail; regarding what is heard and what is known, the bhikkhu  thoroughly studies the Dhamma, regarding what is heard and  what is known, the bhikkhus  aims to reflect on, and think about the Dhamma, and consider it carefully.  He spend the rains retreats wherever senior bhikkhus dwell, learned knowers of the suttas,  experts in the Dhamma, the Vinaya and the Patimokkha. When you approach this bhikkhus at an appropriate time and ask:  ‘What is the reason for this, Bhante, why is it like that?’ that venerable one makes it clear, reveals the truth, explains deeply; faced with various reasons and causes for doubting  the Dhamma, he dispels doubt.  In such a case, friend Sariputta, a bhikkhu can hear Dhamma he has not heard before, and not get confused by Dhammas, and remember the Dhamma he has touched in the past, and understand what he has not known before.”

Ananda Sutta, AN 6.51

What Makes The World Go ‘Round

Here’s a translation of one of the Buddha’s most famous teachings; perhaps you’ve even read or heard this sutta. The word “dhamma” almost never appears in English translations, although as you’ll see, it’s actually used no fewer than eight times!

“Aṭṭhime, bhikkhave, lokadhammā lokaṃ anuparivattanti, loko ca aṭṭha lokadhamme anuparivattati. Katame aṭṭha? Lābho ca, alābho ca, yaso ca, ayaso ca, nindā ca, pasaṃsā ca, sukhañca, dukkhañca. Ime kho, bhikkhave, aṭṭha lokadhammā lokaṃ anuparivattanti, loko ca ime aṭṭha lokadhamme anuparivattatī”ti.

“lābho alābho ca yasāyaso ca,
nindā pasaṃsā ca sukhaṃ dukhañca.
Ete aniccā manujesu dhammā,
asassatā vipariṇāmadhammā.
“Ete ca ñatvā satimā sumedho,
avekkhati vipariṇāmadhamme.
Iṭṭhassa dhammā na mathenti cittaṃ,
aniṭṭhato no paṭighātameti.
“Tassānurodhā atha vā virodhā,
vidhūpitā atthaṅgatā na santi.
Padañca ñatvā virajaṃ asokaṃ,
sammappajānāti bhavassa pāragū”ti.

Bhikkhus, There are eight worldly things that make the world go ‘round, eight worldly things that keep people on the move. What are the eight? Gain and loss, fame and disgrace, insult and praise, ease and difficulty. Indeed, bhikkhus, those are the eight worldly things that make the world go round, that keep people one the move.

Gain/Loss and Fame/Disgrace,
Insult/Praise and Ease/Difficulty:
These impermanent human things,
Inconstant, changing things.
When the wise one carefully knows
And considers these changing things
Pleasing things won’t disturb the heart and mind
Displeasure won’t cause resentment.
Cooperation nor obstruction,
Scattering nor gathering bring peace.
Having found this place, free from defilement, free from sorrow
The one having seen all these things has gone beyond this world.

AN 8.5

Dew-drop Alarm

Some of the Pali in this verse from the Cariyāpiṭaka is pretty obscure, being beyond the reach of any of my English translation tools. So I turned to some Pali-Burmese resources (which are far more extensive than the ones available in English), and then used Google Translate to render the Burmese into English. Phew!

“Yadāhaṃ amitayaso, rājaputto yudhañjayo.
Ussāvabinduṃ sūriyātape, patitaṃ disvāna saṃvijiṃ.

“taññevādhipatiṃ katvā, saṃvegamanubrūhayiṃ.
Mātāpitū ca vanditvā, pabbajjamanuyācahaṃ…

“Mātāpitā na me dessā, napi me dessaṃ mahāyasaṃ.
Sabbaññutaṃ piyaṃ mayhaṃ, tasmā rajjaṃ pariccajin”ti.

 

When I was the world-renowned Prince Yudhañjayo,
I grew alarmed as I watched a dewdrop vanish in the heat of the sun.

Taking it as a portent of death, my anxiousness for wisdom grew.
Having paid homage to my mother and father, I asked them for permission to go forth as a sage…

It’s not that I disliked my parents; nor did I dislike having great fame,
But I wanted to be all-knowing, so I left the throne behind.

Yudhañjayacariyā, Cariyāpiṭaka 3.1

To Fill a Wanting Mind

The Cariyāpiṭaka is a less-read and less-translated portion of the Khuddaka Nikaya, the same collection that holds the Dhammapada. The Cariyāpiṭaka is another collection of past lives of the Buddha; as always, these are teaching stories, meant to illustrate the kind of behavior that will lead you toward — or away from — enlightenment.

In this verse, the great king Mahasuddasana explains how his lavish giving was a form of spiritual healing for him:

“Yathāpi āturo nāma, rogato parimuttiyā.
Dhanena vejjaṃ tappetvā, rogato parimuccati.
“Tathevāhaṃ jānamāno, paripūretumasesato.
Ūnamanaṃ pūrayituṃ, demi dānaṃ vanibbake.
nirālayo apaccāso, sambodhimanupattiyā”ti.

Just as one who is ill, wishing to be surely free of disease,
Gives enough money to the doctor, and is freed from sickness,

Knowing this truth, for complete, remainder-less liberation,
To fill a wanting mind, I gave food to the poor wayfarers,
To the homeless children, to gain the mind of complete enlightenment.

Mahāsudassanacariyā, Cariyāpiṭaka 1.4