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Nondual Highlights Issue #2726, Saturday, February 10, 2007, editor: mark

The sovereign soul of he who lives self-governed and at peace is centred in itself, taking alike pleasure and pain; heat, cold; glory and shame. He is the Yogi, he is Yukta, glad with joy of light and truth; dwelling apart upon a peak, with senses subjugate whereto the clod, the rock, the glistering gold show all as one. By this sign is he known being of equal grace to comrades, friends, chance-comers, strangers, lovers, enemies, aliens and kinsmen; loving all alike, evil or good.

- The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter VI

- balanced rocks by Bill Dan

As a solid mass of rock
Is not stirred by the wind,
So a sage is not moved
By praise and blame.
As a deep lake
Is clear and undisturbed,
So a sage becomes clear
Upon hearing the Dharma.
Virtuous people always let go.
They don't prattle about pleasures and desires.
Touched by happiness and then by suffering,
The sage shows no sign of being elated or depressed.

- Siddhartha Gautama, Dhammapada 81-83


- balanced rocks by Bill Dan

Equanimity (upekkha)

The second insight on which equanimity should be based is the Buddha's teaching of no-self (anatta). This doctrine shows that in the ultimate sense deeds are not performed by any self, nor do their results affect any self. Further, it shows that if there is no self, we cannot speak of "my own". It is the delusion of a self that creates suffering and hinders or disturbs equanimity. If this or that quality of ours is blamed, one thinks: "I am blamed" and equanimity is shaken. If this or that work does not succeed, one thinks: "My work has failed" and equanimity is shaken. If wealth or loved ones are lost, one thinks: "What is mine has gone" and equanimity is shaken.

To establish equanimity as an unshakable state of mind, one has to give up all possessive thoughts of "mine," beginning with little things from which it is easy to detach oneself, and gradually working up to possessions and aims to which one's whole heart clings. One also has to give up the counterpart to such thoughts, all egoistic thoughts of "self," beginning with a small section of one's personality, with qualities of minor importance, with small weaknesses one clearly sees, and gradually working up to those emotions and aversions which one regards as the centre of one's being. Thus detachment should be practised.

To the degree we forsake thoughts of "mine" or "self"' equanimity will enter our hearts. For how can anything we realize to be foreign and void of a self cause us agitation due to lust, hatred or grief? Thus the teaching of non-self will be our guide on the path to deliverance, to perfect equanimity.

Equanimity is the crown and culmination of the four sublime states. But this should not be understood to mean that equanimity is the negation of love, compassion, and sympathetic joy, or that it leaves them behind as inferior. Far from that, equanimity includes and pervades them fully, just as they fully pervade perfect equanimity.

- Ven. Nyanaponika Thera

- balanced rocks by Bill Dan

You see an endless vista of mountain tops poking through the clouds. Hypnotized by belief that you are only the top of the mountain, you hardly even suspect your own depth. From this height it's no wonder you feel isolated.

All it takes is to stop believing that limitation, and you begin to notice breaks in the cloud. When you stop living from the mind (just from the summit of the mountain), the cloud vanishes to reveal you are something far more vast.

Gradually you realize that the other mountain tops are like you, and eventually that all are connected, just ripples in one ground. Through acceptance of what is, acceptance of non-specialness, our true nature is revealed; To the mountain, the mountain top is just another rock.

- Tomas Stubbs

- balanced rocks by Bill Dan

When Death Comes

When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox;

when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,

and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,

and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,

and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.

When it's over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom; taking the world into my arms.

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

- Mary Oliver, from New and Selected Poems

And since equanimity and balance are not static, but dynamic:

And rather joyous:

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