Oakville Zen Meditation

#406 Happiness, serenity, and equanimity July 17th 22

                                                   Happiness, serenity, and equanimity

                                        Equanimity: the key to happiness: A Zen perspective

Let us start with a definition:


     The intermittent positive emotional feeling of joy and pleasure is triggered by an external source.


    State of mind combining calmness, contentment, composure..... only when everything is OK.


    Permanent even-tempered state of mind while facing the ups and downs of life.

    Also called inner peace by the Dalai Lama, and Zen-Buddhist literature.

1) Happiness:

Being happy, and the search for happiness is fundamental for our well-being.

We cannot live w/o it, and no one will deny happiness.

We are searching for sources of happiness continuously, and these sources are infinite such as material goods, relationships, money, work, health, achievements, traveling, and many more including unfortunate addictions to alcohol, drugs, gaming, etc.

As far Zen is concerned, the limitations, if not, the problem of happiness is the fact that is dependent on its source.

Sources of happiness are:

    External w/o exception. Therefore, happiness is always secondary, and dependent of its source,

         and.... w/o its source, happiness cannot exist.

    Sources are usually w/o our control in terms of frequency, and duration. When the source is gone

    or we cannot get it ( a new car, a trip, etc..) sadness, anger, and frustration may occur.

This is why, after being happy with A, we start looking for B to get the next happiness, and so on.

The search never ended and may create a restless, unsettled, and frustrated mind if happiness is not found.

2) Serenity:

The transient or permanent positive state of mind combinening calmness, contentment, and composure when everything is OK. But, when struggling with ups and downs, serenity is difficult to maintain.

This fluctuation of serenity differentiates this state of mind from equanimity.

3) Equanimity also called Inner peace, also called genuine, and permanent serenity.

Equanimity is an even-tempered state of mind that enables us to ride life’s challenges with calmness and serenity, instead of being tossed about like a ship in a storm.

It means that you feel OK about your life, no matter what’s happening.

Equanimity is independent of external Up and Down emotional triggers like happiness

     Does that include losing a loved one? or a job? Yes.

Equanimity comes from making the effort to see life in a mindful way as it is:

   Joyful, and sorrowful times come and go. They are unpredictable and out of our control.                  Understanding, and accepting them as integral facts of being alive prepares us to achieve equanimity.

Equanimity is balancing evenly positive and negative feelings like the pole of the tightrope walker.

Does equanimity prevent us from happiness and joy.?

   On the contrary, we enjoy it more because we know that this episode of happiness

  is transient.

Is there a difference between equanimity and passivity or indifference?

Sometimes equanimity is mistaken for passivity or indifference, but it’s not the same.

Equanimity calls for engaging with life and accepting its ups and downs w/o being toasted.

Passivity and indifference are forms of giving up or “I don’t care”

I highly recommend — Alan Watts, The Wisdom of Insecurity  Thanks you.