Upekkhā (in devanagari: ऊपेक्खा), is the Buddhist concept of equanimity. As one of the Brahma Vihara (meditative states), it is a pure mental state cultivated on the Buddhist path to nirvāna.

Pali literary contexts

10 pāramī
 6 pāramitā 
Colored items are in both lists.

In the Pali Canon and post-canonical commentary, upekkha is identified as an important step in one's spiritual development in a number of places:

  • It is one of the Four Sublime States (brahmavihara), which are purifying mental states capable of counteracting the defilements of lust, avarice and ignorance. As a brahmavihara, it is also one of the forty traditionally identified subjects of Buddhist meditation (kammatthana).
  • To be unwavering or staying neutral in the face of the eight vicissitudes of life, loss and gain, good-repute and ill-repute, praise and censure, and sorrow and happiness (Attha Loka Dhamma), is to practice true upekkha.[1]
  • In the development of meditative concentration, upekkha arises as the quintessential factor of material absorption, present in the third and fourth jhana states.
  • In the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (bojjhanga), upekkha is the ultimate factor to be developed.
  • In the Theravada list of ten paramita (perfections), upekkha is the last-identified bodhisatta practice.

Similarity with non-Buddhist Concepts

Ataraxia and Apatheia are similar terms in Greek philosophy.

Contemporary exposition

American Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote:

“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.”[2]

See also



  • Retrieved January 15, 2007 from "Access to Insight"

External links

  • ) by the Venerable Nyanaponika Thera.
  • by Gil Fronsdal
  • Dharma Dictionary - RangjungYesheWiki - Btang Snyoms/Upeksa
  • Equanimity practiced as a part of a Ten day Vipassana course.
  • Writings on equanimity in yoga by Shy Sayar.
ko:불교 용어/ㅅ#사
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