Equanimity is one of the central points of buddhism practice. I am curious what would happen to that state in cases of extreme disturbance.

Imagine that you were in immediate danger, like being killed by someone , robbed or raped.

I guess Equanimity would not be helpful on those cases, unless we are talking about calmness to think better how to counter-attack. But that would require action, and not only being observer, how equanimity states.

With base of these circunstances, i would like to hear your opinions. What would happen to an equanimity state in case of extreme disturbances?

  • Usually "opinions" (or "subjective" answers) should be based on references, or based on personal experience (something that happened to you personally).
    – ChrisW
    Oct 21, 2017 at 17:14
  • 1
    i was robbed, and nowadays news about killings and raping are more and more common. Thats why my curiosity how to deal with those situations, in a buddhist perspective
    – nm85
    Oct 21, 2017 at 18:22

2 Answers 2


Equanimity is not the central point of practicing the Dhamma but a high end tool. The central task is discrimination of phenomenas, mindfulness (on the four frames of reference).

In doing so, there is seen where a possible disturbance actually comes from, arises, and by uprooting the disturbance (inwardly), recognicing that one can be not really touched but it is just the grasping, of what is not real, by oneself, there such equanimity with phenomenas arise.

What is an extreme disturbance really? The perception of a mouse, news on TV, a day without food, an executor, a tiger in front, a lost leg, a wounded belly, sreeming child, broken computer? What disturbes? The own missing coffee or missing food for the third world? Minimum 50 years more to suffer here, and not to speak after, again and again?

My person found "Equanimity is one of the central points of buddhism practice" merely disturbing, therfore:

AN 4.100: Potaliya Sutta: Potaliya {A ii 100} [Bodhi]. Here the Buddha points out to an wandering ascetic that alienation and equanimity are not the higherst virtues in regard of praise and blame.

and maybe: The Integrity of Emptiness

Because if having started practicing one will soon know for oneself, without building on disturbing thought constructions.

Enjoy solution, discriminatingly, direct perceived.

[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]

  • My affirmation of "Equanimity is one of the central points of buddhism practice", was on the base of The brahmavihāras (sublime attitudes, lit. "abodes of brahma"), series of four Buddhist virtues and the meditation practices made to cultivate them. They are also known as the four immeasurables (Sanskrit: apramāṇa, Pāli: appamaññā).[1][2] The Brahma-viharas are: loving-kindness or benevolence compassion empathetic joy equanimity
    – nm85
    Oct 21, 2017 at 18:05
  • However, i lack a lot in knowledge and wisdom about budhism practice and i apologize if my text was not truthfull. I did not had bad intention.
    – nm85
    Oct 21, 2017 at 18:08
  • However, if you were about to be raped or robbed or killed, how would you react?
    – nm85
    Oct 21, 2017 at 18:09
  • The verses of Theras and Theris give expressions of reaction on disturbances like such. Or Bhikkhuni-samyutta — Nonnen But again, some times people fel disturbed by lack of chocolate and prever to dy, be raped... one is not touch-able when really aware. Ther is just "this phenomena has come into being" is it comes into being. The first level of rightous fearlessness is gained if virtue is complet. Eg. Sotapanna.
    – user11235
    Oct 21, 2017 at 23:29
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    Sadhu for adding link to satipaṭṭhānā, Nyom @Lanka
    – user11235
    Oct 21, 2017 at 23:44

Imagine that you were in immediate danger, like being killed by someone , robbed or raped.

I could answer this from theory (canonical references) or practice. How closely a practitioner is able to attain the theoretical ideal might be another question, but here are some canonical references:

i was robbed ... Thats why my curiosity how to deal with those situations

So maybe you should be interested in how you are now, after that fact:

However, if you were about to be raped or robbed or killed, how would you react?

I think that Samana Johann is a monk and therefore has virtually nothing you could rob him of.

unless we are talking about calmness to think better how to counter-attack

I think that monks' code of behaviour includes elementary self-defence practices, e.g. trying to avoid places where thieves and murderers are known to be.

The recommendations for laypeople's behaviour include a lot of prudence: not going out drinking at night, avoiding bad friends, saving money to guard against future misfortune, etc.

By the way "think better how to counter-attack" sounds to me like it might be bad advice.

  • Good (better) advice is maybe to be inoffensive (and so to avoid conflict)
  • Buddhism maybe doesn't teach much "self-defence" (instead it's more likely to teach a "non-self" doctrine)

A few little bits of "self-defence", which I learned not from Buddhism but from (Taoist) Tai Chi (as a "martial art"), included:

  • Run away!
  • Don't attack first
  • Defend yourself, when necessary, "without thinking"
  • Don't get stressed (stand, keep breathing, avoid getting hit, keep your equilibrium or balance)

If you can stay calm it may be better to think about how to de-escalate, how to avoid making things worse (making an enemy) -- not how to counter-attack.

  • 1
    Ohh, the current on-going wood cutting around the current dwelling somehow troubles my person, since one of the last proper forests in this world for future generations of Noble ones. But thats the way it is. Jhain used to cut it of to get ride of the Buddha. It's not good to stay longer on one place. :-) and better to do always the Ven. Puñña's way. Sadhu for most of the answers. No need to fear to be to less common. That is an unskillful fear, fearing to be not beloved, doing no favor, Nyom Chris.
    – user11235
    Oct 22, 2017 at 3:01

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