For the past few weeks this blog has been focused on teachings about the four immeasurables. You can catch up on other teachings on lovingkindness, compassion, and sympathetic joy from previous weeks here. For this week, and then two more, we will explore what teachers from various traditions say about equanimity. We invite you to read along with us during the next several weeks, and please comment below and let us know how these practices resonate with you.
“The fourth element of true love is equanimity (or “upeksha” in Sanskrit). We can also call it inclusiveness or nondiscrimination. In a deep relationship, there’s no longer a boundary between you and the other person. You are her and she is you. Your suffering is her suffering. Your understanding of your own suffering helps your loved one to suffer less. Suffering and happiness are no longer individual matters. What happens to you happens to your loved one.” — Thich Nhat Hanh (from How to Live #BK558)
In Zen teachings, upeksha is often referred to as “non-discrimination”. In this video from Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh teaches about how living with an outlook of nondiscrimination expands all possibilities.
On a retreat at Plum Village, Thich Nhat Hanh taught about finding a True Home, a place with no enemies, and no discrimination. He said, “The teaching of the Buddha is the teaching of dwelling peacefully and joyfully in the present moment. If we know how to come back to the present moment and generate the energy of mindfulness, concentration, and insight, then we will be in touch with the wonders of life. We will have happiness immediately. We will have insights. We will no longer discriminate, no longer be narrow-minded. And we can open our arms to embrace all species, all peoples, and we have no enemies. To have no enemies is a wonderful thing. When we have no enemy, no reproach, no blaming, then our mind is light like a cloud. I have no discrimination or hatred, so my mind is light and I have great happiness. I want you to be able to practice like that so that you have your true home, so that you do not accuse and judge the people who have caused you suffering. Do not look at them as your enemies, but see them as people who need understanding and compassion, so that you can help them. That is the bodhisattva’s way of looking.”
Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, poet, scholar, and human rights activist. In 1967, he was nominated by Martin Luther King, Jr.., for the Nobel Peace Prize. He lives in France, at his meditation center, Plum Village.