Step 1: Some person causes me pain

Step 2: let’s say I stay neutral about pain, pain does not cause me sorrow, and I don’t feel even slightest feelings of ill will towards that person — all because I know pain is impermanent and it is not self

Step 3: so at that point, should I take action against this person, as matter of cause and effect - or not - or what would Buddha do in similar circumstances


2 Answers 2


Remaining equanimous doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take action.

It means not reacting automatically from your emotions.

Step 1) someone hurts you. Step 2) you observe this and ensure you are equanimous and non reactive. Step 3) take mindful, conscious action. Not out of pity or anger, but out of compassion and reason.

For example if someone assaults you, it’s not that you should be a passive rag doll. You can defend yourself, but it’s important to have clarity and peace of mind before and while you do it.


Equanimity is easier to deal with than deluded emotion. But it is psychological insight that leads to Enlightenment in the Theravadin teachings. In the Satipatthana Sutta, the objective is to gain insight both “internally” (insight into one’s own karma) and “externally” (insight into the karma of others). Hence, the more important question is not about taking action, but one about the practice of mindfulness meditation. What steps can be taken to better understand this other person? What kind of psychological history has caused this person to be the way they are? What, if anything, can one do to help this person on the path of their Enlightenment? What kind of actions might one perform (such as “cause and effect”) that would only cause the other person to be more confused, unwholesome, or perhaps more enraged? (The Buddha never taught “cause and effect.”)

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