I have read on Wikipedia, after an enlightening answer on here, that upekkha signifies not total indifference, but that:

The "far enemy" of Upekkha is greed and resentment, mind-states in obvious opposition. The "near enemy" (quality which superficially resembles Upekkha but is in fact more subtly in opposition to it), is (cold) indifference or apathy: one is not neutral after having engaged deeply with the wordly winds, but due to having closed oneself off to many emotions related to these worldly winds.

Can anyone expand on this paragraph, and especially on that last part?

Thank you.

7 Answers 7


I don't understand the whole quoted text, because my english is terrible, however I understand upekkhā-brahmvihāra's enemy, so I will explain just it:

Near enemy = fake-upekkhā = unwholesome mind that acting like upekkhā, but it is just a lazy and a fool mind that don't has any knowledge to manage that situation, so fake upekkhā just acting like upekkhā, but the real mind is difference.

Far enemy = appeared enemy = antonym of upekkhā. upekkhā mind factor is in the middle way between unwholesome mind especially lobha and dosa. So lobha and dosa are an opposite of upekkhā.

I am not sure that you already knew this:

In path of purification, visuddhimagga, said that there were 10 difference phrases that upekkhā is used in tipitaka.

Your quoted text is upekkhā-brahmvihāra, tatramajjhattatā mind's factor. It is not upekkhā-vedanā mind's factor.


“The real meaning of upekkha is equanimity, not indifference in the sense of unconcern for others. As a spiritual virtue, upekkha means stability 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. Bhikkhu Bodhi.


We can experience the Upekkha stage in meditation. At this stage, our mind is very clear and it is neither disturb nor attach to the arisen of the phenomenon, no matter how painful is the phenomenon of the body, the mind is still very peaceful and unshaken. The mind knows that the pain is only on the body but the mind is not disturb by the pain.


Good question. This appears to be talking about the distinction between indifference and Equanimity. When one has engaged deeply with that which arises, one sees it for what it truly is - impermanent, incapable of truly satisfying, and Not-Self. However, if one is simply indifferent, one is not seeing things clearly but is remaining in a subtle state of aversion and ignorance. One who is indifferent to an arising state, feeling, thought, etc., will not be motivated to use wisdom or mindfulness in regards to the arisen object. One then may become subtly affected with this cool aversion and ignorance, proliferating into the fruits of such.

The Buddha taught to be mindful of feeling - the basic charge of any arisen object - to be mindful of if it is pleasant, unpleasant, or neither pleasant nor unpleasant (neutral). The neutral, when one isn't mindful of it, leads to ignorance, the unpleasant to aversion, and pleasant to clinging. Equanimity comes when one sees them all as equally unsatisfying/impermanent, conditioned by seeing them deeply, without judgement, the moment they arise.

Feeling can be difficult to see directly, as it happens so fast. Getting the mind still in meditation, sharpening one's mindfulness, one can come to actually experience this and know this difference between true Equanimity and indifference. Good luck.


Again about the "upekkha" of people not having done their homework, Eggman:

An Analysis of the Six Sense-media

"And what are the six kinds of household equanimity? The equanimity that arises when a foolish, deluded person — a run-of-the-mill, untaught person who has not conquered his limitations or the results of action [2] & who is blind to danger [3] — sees a form with the eye. Such equanimity does not go beyond the form, which is why it is called household equanimity. (Similarly with sounds, smells, tastes, tactile sensations, & ideas.)

[2] A person who "has not conquered his limitations or the results of action": this passage seems related to the passage in AN 3.99, which defines a person of limited mind, prey to the results of past bad actions, as one who is "undeveloped in contemplating the body, undeveloped in virtue, undeveloped in concentration, and undeveloped in discernment; restricted, small-hearted, dwelling with suffering." As AN 3.99 points out, such a person suffers more intensely from the results of past unskillful actions than does one whose awareness is unrestricted. SN 42.8 recommends the practice of the four sublime attitudes as a way of developing an unrestricted awareness that weakens the results of past unskillful actions.

[3] A person who is "blind to danger" is one who does not see the drawbacks of sensual pleasure or attachment to the body. For such a person, moments of equanimity are usually a dull spot in the midst of the quest for sensual pleasure. This is why such moments do not go beyond the sensory stimulus that generated them.

The eight Winds (loka dhamma) are:

"These eight worldly conditions spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions. Which eight? Gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. These are the eight worldly conditions that spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions.

"For an uninstructed run-of-the-mill person there arise gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. For a well-instructed disciple of the noble ones there also arise gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise, pleasure, & pain. So what difference, what distinction, what distinguishing factor is there between the well-instructed disciple of the noble ones and the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person?" ...The Failings of the World

Wolf keeping Uposatha or The Fox and the Grapes are sample-stories to "having closed oneself off to many emotions related to these worldly winds"

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma, not meant for commercial purpose or other kinds of low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange]


You want to know how later Theravada understands upekkha, or how upekkha is understood according to EBT (early buddhist teachings)?

Detailed collection of EBT passages here: http://lucid24.org/sted/8aam/8samadhi/upekkha/book/index.html


Emotions are difficult, not least strong emotions. A common tendency (and also a very human way) of dealing with emotions is to distract oneself from them, or trying to ignore them entirely (vibhava-tanha). It results in a seemingly calm state of mind - that can be mistaken for upekkha - but only for so long.

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