The last perfection

Dāna pāramī : generosity, giving of oneself
Sīla pāramī : virtue, morality, proper conduct
Nekkhamma pāramī : renunciation
Paññā pāramī : transcendental wisdom, insight
Viriya (also spelled vīriya) pāramī : energy, diligence, vigour, effort
Khanti pāramī : patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance
Sacca pāramī : truthfulness, honesty
Adhiṭṭhāna (adhitthana) pāramī : determination, resolution
Mettā pāramī : loving-kindness
Upekkhā pāramī : equanimity, serenity

The last of the ten perfections that we’ll consider is upekkha, usually translated as equanimity or evenness of mind, indicating a heart/mind that is not unsettled by worldly conditions. Upekkha describes both a formal state of concentration and an underlying acceptance of whatever comes, based on understanding.

It’s important to distinguish equanimity from indifference as the two are sometimes confused with each other.
…The real meaning of this word [upekkha] is equanimity, not indifference in the sense of unconcern for others. As a spiritual virtue, upekkha means equanimity 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.
Bhikkhu Bodhi – Toward a Threshold of Understanding (

Here’s a definition of upekkha as a meditation practice:
The etymological meaning of upekkha is “discerning rightly” or “viewing justly.” Equanimity is the capacity to be here in the middle-ness. It is the guardianship of our own karma and the acknowledgement that we are responsible for what we think, say and do. With equanimity practice, this sense of responsibility grows with dignity and integrity. As well, the practice of upekkha strengthens our capacity to be OK with life. Equanimity is spacious balance enabling us to work with, rather than against, change. It is equipoise, sustained presence of mind and confidence to meet all of life’s incessantly changing circumstances with increasing poise and acceptance. Equanimity dissolves away the tensions in the mind associated with the struggle between light and dark. Here in the middle-ness is an all-inclusive stance that graciously works with each juncture of the awakening process.
from Daeja Napier (

With many of the Buddhist “lists”, the first and last items form a special framework; they become a sort of shorthand for the whole list. If we perfected generosity and equanimity, we could see the other perfections as parts of the whole formed by those two qualities.

It’s easy to see how developing the quality of equanimity could make all the other perfections fall into place. Truthfulness, patience, ethical behaviour, etc. – the rightness of these choices becomes apparent if we look through a wide-angle lens at what’s happening and what our role in it should be.

About lynnjkelly

Australian/American. Practicing Buddhist.
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