Pain is not a punishment; pleasure is not a reward.
In response to my last post Harold said:
A literal view of the particular kind of equanimity mentioned above leaves it open for the continued destruction of the earth, and thus ourselves.
Its an important and interesting objection, and a problem discussed in different ways in Buddhism. The simple answer to the objection is this:
Buddhism do not support a laissez-faire attitude towards life and being. The Buddhist concept of equanimity should not be confused with carelessness.
For the especially interested I’ll try to offer a more comprehensive remark:
Equanimity – in Buddhism – is one of four brahma-viharas (= heavenly or sublime abodes). Every brahma-vihara has a near and a far enemy. Near enemy is a quality that can masquerade as the original, but is not the original. Far enemy is the opposite quality.
The 4 brahma-viharas are:
- Lovingkindness, good-will (metta): Near enemy – attachment; far enemy – hatred
- Compassion (karuna): Near enemy – pity; far enemy – cruelty
- Sympathetic joy, Appreciation (mudita), joy at the good fortune of others: Near enemy – comparison, hypocrisy, insincerity, joy for others but tinged with identification (my team, my child); far enemy – envy
- Equanimity (upekkha): Near enemy – indifference; far enemy – anxiety, greed
Equanimity in Buddhism (- and therefore also in all mindfulness practices -) means to have a clear-minded tranquil state of mind – not being overpowered by delusions, mental dullness or agitation. A clear-minded tranquil state of mind is the best foundation for wise actions.