29 Sep 2014

Alan starts the session with a brief introduction of the meaning of the aspiration of immeasurable equanimity and its etymology. Further, Alan elaborates on the differences of equanimity among the different vehicles.

In the context of the sravakayana, which is focused on the selflessness of persons (the emptiness of an autonomous, independent and permanent self), they realize the emptiness of self but not the emptiness of the skandhas, as they consider they are truly existent. Therefore, the practice of equanimity is for the sake of one’s own liberation, to purify their minds and attain nirvana in order to get rid of samsara. It is interesting to see that according to Buddhaghosa, the catalyst for equanimity is taking responsibility for one’s own actions. It is based on recognizing how karma works. Virtue brings happiness and non-virtue brings suffering.

In the mahayana context, in which wisdom and compassion work together as the two wings of a bird to fly, not only the self is empty of inherent existence but also the five skandhas. Because everything is mutually interdependent, there is no self without others and no others without self. Therefore, there is no difference between self and others. In this way, the realization of emptiness deepens the sense of equality between self and others and vice versa. Equanimity is an aspiration based in bodhicitta.

From dzogchen perspective and having an insight into rigpa, one apprehends what is close as pristine awareness. And one apprehends what is far as samsara, especially when viewing others’ behavior and mental afflictions. Then, one generates the aspiration to release the preference for nirvana, which is what one has already tasted, and abide in equanimity without preference for samsara or nirvana, for adversity or felicity. In dzogchen, equanimity is the equality of samsara and nirvana. All displays of samsara and nirvana are equally pure, samsara being a display of rigpa.

Meditation starts at 40:17

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