‘Upekkha’ is equanimity, impartiality or keeping a well-balance mind. This is the most difficult one among the ten perfection to be practiced by a worldly being. But the Bodhisattas observe this perfection without a slightest feeling of favour or disfavour, attachment or detachment, towards anyone. Particularly, they keep their mind in balance, without being moved or influenced by the ‘Attha Loka Dhamma’ -the Eight Vicissitudes of Life.

Labho Alabho Ayaso Yasoca

Ninda Pasamsa Ca Sukham Ca Dukkham

Gain and loss, fame and ill-fame, praise and blame, and happiness and sorrow.

All these Eight Worldly Conditions rotate like a wheel on everybody’s life. If we meet the first four conditions of these four pairs of vicissitude, we shall be extremely happy and overjoyed. But it is natural and unavoidable, one day or another, we shall have to face the last four conditions. Then, what will happen?

We shall be extremely sorrowful and disheartened and perhaps some people will become crazy. A worldly person who has no right understanding of thc Dhamma cannot stand on his feet or keep his mind well-balanced when he is faced with the vicissitudes of life. On such occasions ‘Upekkha’ is the only remedy that can assist a man to stand up like a firm rock, unmoved or unshakable by the wind.

Our Bodhisatta - Sumedha Pandit, firmly resolved in ‘Upekkha’ advising himself thus:

“O, Sumedha, from now onward you must fulfil the perfection of equanimity as well. Be unperturbed in both prosperity and adversity. As the earth remains indifferent when both pure and impure matter is thrown upon it, you too must remain unperturbed in both prosperity and adversity until you become a Buddha.”


Illustration from LOMAHAMSA IATAKA.

Once the Bodhisatta was born in a rich and noble family. His name was Lomahamsa. Having come of age, ht realized the vanity of worldly pleasure. He thought that if he were to become an ascetic, people who knew him well, would pay him great respect and shower him with various gifts an offerings. He, therefore, decided to leave home and wand from place to place practising equanimity.

With only a cloth to cover his body, he left his home and wandered as an ascetic, seeking opportunities to practise equanimity. He preferred to stay long in those places where he was likely to be ridiculed and abused. His object was maintain a balanced mind amidst gain and loss, praise and blame, honour and dishonour, happiness and pain.  He succeeded in his noble effort.

In the course of his wanderings, he came to a place where there were mischievous children who found pleasure in abusing and making fun of others, especially old people. The Bodhisatta thought it was the place for him to practise equanimity.

The children were delighted as they had found a suitable person for their amusement. So they made fun of him and Lomahamsa pretended to be displeased with their mischievous doings. As a result, these naughty children ridiculed him more and more. As if greatly offended, he went to a cemetery and slept there, using some bones for his pillow.  Taking full advantage of his indifference, these urchins now surrounded him and subjected him to all kinds of insults.  But elderly men and women who appreciated the goodness and holiness of the Bodhisatta, came and paid him great respect.

Under all circumstances the Bodhisatta practised perfect equanimity without any change of mind whatsoever.  “Equally balanced was I at all times; amidst pain and happiness, praise and blame. This is my Perfection of Equanimity.”