Upekkhā

Renderings

upekkhindriyaṃ: the faculty of physical-plus-psychological neutral experience

gehasitā upekkhā: laypersons’ neutral attitude

upekkhā nekkhammasitā ti: ascetics’ neutral attitude

sāmisā upekkhā: worldly neutral attitude

nirāmisā upekkhā: unworldly neutral attitude

upekkhāsambojjhaṅgo: enlightenment factor of detached awareness

upekkhā brahmavihāra: divine abiding of (unlimited) detached awareness

upekkhako: serene

upekkhā: indifference

Introduction

Upekkhā: not equanimity

DOP calls upekkhā:

• disinterestedness, unaffectedness, lack of involvement or reaction.

PED calls it:

• looking on, hedonic neutrality or indifference, zero point between joy and sorrow, disinterestedness, neutral feeling, equanimity.

Equanimity is not prominent here. Equanimity means ‘steadiness of mind under stress’ (WordWeb), which is not the meaning of upekkhā. For example, in both fourth jhāna and the divine abiding, upekkhā occurs in conditions of absolute serenity, not stress.

Upekkhā: neutral attitude

When PED calls upekkhā ‘zero point between joy and sorrow,’ it shows that English lacks a word for it. We call it ‘neutral attitude.’

Enlightenment factor of upekkhā: carefully, passively observing

The nature of upekkhā is effectively revealed in the descriptions of the seven enlightenment factors of the Sīla Sutta. For the sake of comparison, let us first see how some of the other factors are also revealed. The sutta says:

• Whenever the body becomes tranquil and the mind becomes tranquil in a bhikkhu whose mind is rapturous, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of tranquillity is aroused in the bhikkhu
Yasmiṃ samaye bhikkhave bhikkhuno pītimanassa kāyopi passambhati cittampi passambhati passaddhisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti

• Whenever his mind becomes collected in a bhikkhu whose body is tranquil and joyful, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of inward collectedness is aroused in the bhikkhu
Yasmiṃ samaye bhikkhave bhikkhuno passaddhakāyassa sukhino cittaṃ samādhiyati samādhisambojjhaṅgo tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti.

• When a bhikkhu carefully, passively observes the mind thus collected, on that occasion the enlightenment factor of upekkhā is aroused in the bhikkhu.
Yasmiṃ samaye bhikkhave bhikkhu tathā samāhitaṃ cittaṃ sādhukaṃ ajjhupekkhitā hoti. Upekkhāsambojjhaṅgo tasmiṃ samaye bhikkhuno āraddho hoti (S.5.67-69).

Thus the nature of the enlightenment factors is found in their means of cultivation:

• The enlightenment factor of tranquillity equals the bhikkhu’s body and mind becoming tranquil.

• The enlightenment factor of inward collectedness equals the bhikkhu’s mind becoming collected.

• The enlightenment factor of upekkhā equals the bhikkhu carefully, passively observing.

The PED calls upekkhā ‘looking on,’ close to our term: ‘detached awareness.’

Upekkhako of third jhāna: serenity not equanimity

The formula for third jhāna is:

• With the fading away of rapture, he abides serene, mindful, and fully conscious, experiencing physical pleasure. He enters and abides in third jhāna in which the Noble Ones declare that he abides serene, mindful, and in physical pleasure
pītiyā ca virāgā upekkhako ca viharati sato sampajāno sukhañca kāyena paṭisaṃvedeti yaṃ taṃ ariyā ācikkhanti upekkhako satimā sukhavihārīti taṃ tatiyajjhānaṃ upasampajja viharati (S.4.236).

Thus the upekkhako of third jhāna is related to the fading away of rapture, for which we use the word ‘serene,’ not ‘equanimous’ because, unlike fourth jhāna, third jhāna is not stable:

• Third jhāna, I declare, is within the unstable. What there is within the unstable? The serenity with physical pleasure that is unended.
tatiyaṃ jhānaṃ… iñjitasmiṃ vadāmi kiñca tattha iñjitasmiṃ yadeva tattha upekkhāsukhaṃ aniruddhaṃ hoti

• Fourth jhāna, I declare, is within the not-unstable.
catutthaṃ jhānaṃ… aniñjitasmiṃ vadāmi (M.1.454-5).

If equanimity means ‘steadiness of mind under stress,’ then the upekkhako of unstable third jhāna cannot rationally be called equanimous.

Upekkhāsatipārisuddhiṃ: upekkhā and sati are purified in fourth jhāna

The formula for fourth jhāna is:

• With the abandonment of physical pleasure and pain, and following the vanishing of psychological pleasure and pain, a bhikkhu enters and abides in fourth jhāna, which is free of pleasure and pain, and (is imbued with) purified detached awareness and mindfulness.
☸ idha bhikkhave bhikkhu sukhassa ca pahānā dukkhassa ca pahānā pubbeva somanassadomanassānaṃ atthaṅgamā adukkhamasukhaṃ upekkhāsatipārisuddhiṃ catutthaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati (S.4.236-7).

In the term upekkhāsatipārisuddhiṃ, the relationship between fourth jhāna, upekkhā, and sati is unsettled. It has been translated as follows:

• Horner (1): fourth jhāna ‘is entirely purified by equanimity and mindfulness’ (M.3.36).

• Horner (2): fourth jhāna ‘consists of purity of mindfulness and even-mindedness’ (Vin.3.4).

• Bodhi (1): fourth jhāna has ‘purity of mindfulness due to equanimity’ (M.3.252).

• Bodhi (2): fourth jhāna ‘includes the purification of mindfulness by equanimity’ (A.5.31).

Thus Horner (1) says upekkhā and sati purify fourth jhāna, whereas Horner (2) says upekkhā and sati are simply part of fourth jhāna. Bodhi (1&2) says sati is purified by upekkhā.

For us, we treat upekkhā and sati as near synonyms, and do not accept that fourth jhāna is purified by these factors, but rather that these two factors are purified in fourth jhāna. The situation is comparable to the meditation on the four great material phenomena, where one detaches the mind from these Elements (cittaṃ virājeti). This leads to the following statement:

• Then there remains only consciousness, purified and refined.
Athāparaṃ viññāṇaṃ yeva avasissati parisuddhaṃ pariyodātaṃ

What does one know with that consciousness? One knows what is pleasant, one knows what is unpleasant, one knows what is neutral.
☸ Tena ca viññāṇena kiṃ vijānāti: sukhan ti pi vijānāti dukkhan ti pi vijānāti adukkhamasukhan ti pi vijānāti (M.3.244).

In this meditation, by detaching the mind from the four great material phenomena, consciousness is purified and refined, and then one knows what is pleasant, unpleasant, and neutral. Likewise, in fourth jhāna, with the abandonment of pleasure and pain, detached awareness and mindfulness are purified, and are then stable bases for contemplation:

• With his mind thus collected, purified, cleansed, unblemished, free of defilement, pliable, wieldy, stable, and attained to imperturbability, the bhikkhu directs and inclines it to the knowledge of the destruction of perceptually obscuring states.
So evaṃ samāhite citte parisuddhe pariyodāte anaṅgaṇe vigatūpakkilese mudubhūte kammaniye ṭhite āneñjappatte āsavānaṃ khayañāṇāya cittaṃ abhinīharati abhininnāmeti (D.1.79-86).

Upekkhindriya: the faculty of physical-plus-psychological neutral experience

The five faculties of sense impression are:

1) the faculty of physical pleasure: pleasure born of bodily sensation
sukhindriyaṃ: kāyasamphassajaṃ sukhaṃ

2) the faculty of physical pain: pain born of bodily sensation
dukkhindriyaṃ: kāyasamphassajaṃ dukkhaṃ

3)the faculty of psychological pleasure: pleasure born of mental sensation:
somanassindriyaṃ: manosamphassajaṃ sukhaṃ

4) the faculty of psychological pain: pain born of mental sensation.
domanassindriyaṃ: manosamphassajaṃ dukkhaṃ

5) the faculty of physical-plus-psychological neutral experience: whatever sense impression there is, physical or psychological, that is neither pleasing nor displeasing
yaṃ kho bhikkhave kāyikaṃ vā cetasikaṃ vā neva sātaṃ nāsātaṃ vedayitaṃ idaṃ vuccati bhikkhave upekkhindriyaṃ (S.5.211).

Thus the faculty of physical-plus-psychological neutral experience (upekkhindriya) includes

1) physical neutral experience

2) psychological neutral experience

We call it ‘physical experience’ not ‘bodily experience’ because it is the experience of all five of the external senses, not just the sense of touch. The terms ‘sense impression born of bodily sensation’ are likewise not restricted to physical touch because the five faculties of sense impression are a comprehensive model, where the physical senses are considered part of the body, giving rise to physical sense impressions.

Neutral attitude: counterpoint of joy and dejection

Neutral attitude is the counterpoint of joy and dejection. For example:

• In seeing a visible object via the visual sense
cakkhunā rūpaṃ disvā

… one ponders a visible object which is the basis for joy
somanassaṭṭhāniyaṃ rūpaṃ upavicarati

… one ponders a visible object which is the basis for dejection,
domanassaṭṭhāniyaṃ rūpaṃ upavicarati

… one ponders a visible object which is the basis for a neutral attitude.
upekkhaṭṭhāniyaṃ rūpaṃ upavicarati (M.3.217).

Neutral attitude: diversified and undiversified

Neutral attitude is either diversified or undiversified:

• What is the neutral attitude that is diversified, associated with diversity?
upekkhā nānattā nānattasitā

… There is a neutral attitude associated with visible objects, audible objects… mentally known objects.
☸ atthi bhikkhave upekkhā rūpesu atthi saddesu atthi gandhesu atthi rasesu atthi phoṭṭhabbesu.

… What is the neutral attitude that is undiversified, associated with undiversity?
upekkhā ekattā ekattasitā

… There is a neutral attitude associated with the state of awareness of boundless space, associated with the state of awareness of boundless consciousness, associated with the state of awareness of nonexistence, associated with the state of awareness neither having nor lacking perception.
☸ atthi bhikkhave upekkhā ākāsānañcāyatananissitā atthi viññāṇañcāyatananissitā atthi ākiñcaññāyatananissitā atthi nevasaññānāsaññāyatananissitā

… In this regard, with the help of and by means of the neutral attitude that is undiversified, associated with undiversity, abandon and transcend the neutral attitude that is diversified, associated with diversity
Tatra bhikkhave yā’yaṃ upekkhā ekattā ekattasitā taṃ nissāya taṃ āgamma yā’yaṃ upekkhā nānattā nānattasitā taṃ pajahatha taṃ samatikkamatha.

… With the help of and by means of the perception that “It is void of personal qualities” abandon and transcend the neutral attitude that is undiversified, associated with undiversity.
Atammayataṃ bhikkhave nissāya atammayataṃ āgamma yā’yaṃ upekkhā ekattā ekattasitā taṃ pajahatha taṃ samatikkamatha (M.3.220).

The power of detached awareness

Detached awareness can be used in the battle against attachment, against pleasure and pain, and against impossible comrades:

• If the liberation (from perceptually obscuring states) through (unlimited) detached awareness is developed and cultivated… it is impossible, out of the question, that attachment would plague your mind. There is no such possibility.
yaṃ upekkhāya cetovimuttiyā bhāvitāya… rāgo cittaṃ pariyādāya ṭhassatī ti netaṃ ṭhānaṃ vijjati (D.3.248-250).

• When touched by a tangible object do not be elated by pleasure. Do not tremble when touched by pain. Maintain detached awareness towards physical sensation, both pleasant and painful, not attracted or repelled by anything.
Phassena phuṭṭho na sukhena majje
Dukkhena phuṭṭhopi na sampavedhe
Phassadvayaṃ sukhadukkhe upekkhe
Anānuruddho aviruddha kenaci
(S.4.71).

• If a bhikkhu thinks ‘I am not able to make that person emerge from what is spiritually unwholesomeand establish him in what is spiritually wholesome’ he should not spurn detached awareness towards such a person.
☸ Na cāhaṃ sakkomi etaṃ puggalaṃ akusalā vuṭṭhāpetvā kusale patiṭṭhāpetun ti. Evarūpe bhikkhave puggale upekkhā nātimaññitabbā
(M.2.242).

Further examples are in the Illustrations below.

Upekkhā brahmavihāra: (unlimited) detached awareness

The practices of mettā, karuṇā, muditā and upekkhā are sometimes called the four divine abidings (cattāro brahmavihārā, D.2.196)and sometimes the four unlimited states (catasso appamaññā, D.3.223). Practising them together is called the ‘unlimited liberation (from perceptually obscuring states)’ (appamāṇā cetovimutti, S.4.296). The Mahāvedalla Sutta (M.1.298) and Godatta Sutta (S.4.296) say the ‘makers of limitation’ (pamāṇakaraṇo) are rāgo doso and moho (rāgo kho āvuso pamāṇakaraṇo doso pamāṇakaraṇo moho pamāṇakaraṇo). Therefore the four brahmavihāras should be practised unlimited by rāgo doso and moho. We call upekkhā brahmavihārā ‘(unlimited) detached awareness.’ It is for overcoming attachment, ill will, vexation, disgust, and repugnance (N.B. Upekkhā in both these quotes occurs in the context of the divine abidings):

1) For this is the liberation from attachment, namely the liberation (from perceptually obscuring states) through (unlimited) detached awareness.
nissaraṇaṃ hetaṃ āvuso rāgassa yadidaṃ upekkhā cetovimutti (D.3.248-250).

2) ‘The Blessed One abides in a state of (unlimited) detached awareness.’ ‘Jīvaka, any attachment, hatred, or undiscernment of reality whereby ill will, vexation, disgust, or repugnance might arise have been abandoned by the Perfect One… If what you said referred to that, then I allow it to you.’
☸ bhagavā hi bhante upekkhāvihārī ti… vyāpādavā vihesavā assa assa arati vā assa paṭighavā assa so rāgo so doso so moho tathāgatassa pahīno… (M.1.369-371).

Illustrations

Illustration: sāmisā upekkhā, worldly neutral attitude

And what is the worldly neutral attitude?
sāmisā upekkhā

There are these five varieties of sensuous pleasure. What five?

• Visible objects known via the visual sense…
cakkhuviññeyyā rūpā…

• Tangible objects known via the tactile sense
kāyaviññeyyā phoṭṭhabbā

… that are likeable, loveable, pleasing, agreeable, connected with sensuous pleasure, and charming
iṭṭhā kantā manāpā piyarūpā kāmūpasaṃhitā rajanīyā

… The neutral attitude that arises on account of the five varieties of sensuous pleasure is called the worldly neutral attitude.
Yā kho bhikkhave ime pañcakāmaguṇe paṭicca uppajjati upekkhā ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave sāmisā upekkhā (S.4.237).

Illustration: nirāmisā upekkhā, unworldly neutral attitude

And what is the unworldly neutral attitude?
nirāmisā upekkhā

‘With the abandonment of physical pleasure and pain, and following the vanishing of psychological pleasure and pain, a bhikkhu enters and abides in fourth jhāna, which is free of pleasure and pain, and (is imbued with) purified detached awareness and mindfulness.
sukhassa ca pahānā dukkhassa ca pahānā pubbeva somanassadomanassānaṃ atthaṅgamā adukkhamasukhaṃ upekkhāsatipārisuddhiṃ catutthaṃ jhānaṃ upasampajja viharati

This is called the unworldly neutral attitude.
ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave nirāmisā upekkhā (S.4.237).

Illustration: nirāmisā nirāmisatarā upekkhā, neutral attitude more than unworldly

And what is the neutral attitude more than unworldly?
Katamā ca bhikkhave nirāmisā nirāmisatarā upekkhā

When a bhikkhu whose āsavas are destroyed reviews his mind liberated from attachment, liberated from hatred, liberated from undiscernment of reality, there arises a neutral attitude. This is called the neutral attitude more than unworldly.
yā kho bhikkhave khīṇāsavassa bhikkhuno rāgā cittaṃ vimuttaṃ paccavekkhato dosā cittaṃ vimuttaṃ paccavokkhato mohā cittaṃ vimuttaṃ paccavekkhato uppajjati upekkhā ayaṃ vuccati bhikkhave nirāmisā nirāmisatarā upekkhā (S.4.237).

Illustration: upekkhā gehasitā, laypersons’ neutral attitude

The ignorant Everyman experiences laypersons’ joy when he attains objects of desire (gehasitaṃ somanassaṃ), laypersons’ displeasure when he fails to attain them (gehasitaṃ domanassaṃ), and a third emotional reaction, laypersons’ neutral attitude, gehasitā upekkhā. This is not associated with attaining or not attaining. It is simply an emotional reaction to objects, either physical or mental. For example:

• In seeing a visible object via the visual sense, there arises in him the neutral attitude of the foolish Everyman who is undiscerning of reality. The neutral attitude such as this does not transcend the visible object. Therefore it is called the laypersons’ neutral attitude.
cakkhunā rūpaṃ disvā uppajjati upekkhā bālassa mūḷhassa puthujjanassa… Yā evarūpā upekkhā rūpaṃ sā nātivattati. Tasmā sā upekkhā gehasitā ti vuccati.

• On knowing a mentally known object via the mental sense, there arises in him the neutral attitude of the foolish Everyman who is undiscerning of reality. The neutral attitude such as this does not transcend the mental object. Therefore it is called the laypersons’ neutral attitude.
Manasā dhammaṃ viññāya uppajjati upekkhā bālassa mūḷhassa puthujjanassa… Yā evarūpā upekkhā dhammaṃ sā nātivattati. Tasmā sā upekkhā gehasitā ti vuccati (M.3.218).

Illustration: nekkhammasitā upekkhā, ascetics’ neutral attitude

What are the six types of ascetics’ neutral attitude?
cha nekkhammasitā upekkhā

When one realises the unlastingness of visible objects… of mentally known objects, their changeableness, passing away and ending, and thinks, ‘Formerly as well as now all these visible objects… mentally known objects are unlasting, intrinsically unsatisfactory, and destined to change,’ from seeing this thus according to reality with perfect penetrative discernment, detached awareness arises.
rūpānaṃ… dhammā tveva aniccataṃ viditvā vipariṇāmavirāganirodhaṃ pubbe ceva rūpā etarahi ca sabbe te rūpā… dhammā aniccā dukkhā vipariṇāmadhammā ti evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya passato uppajjati upekkhā

Neutral attitude such as this transcends the visible objects… mentally known objects.
yā evarūpā upekkhā rūpaṃ sā ativattati… dhammaṃ sā ativattati.

Therefore it is called the ascetics’ neutral attitude.
tasmā sā upekkhā nekkhammasitā ti vuccati

These are the six types of ascetics’ neutral attitude.
☸ Imā cha nekkhammasitā upekkhā
(M.3.219).

Comment:

This transcendent neutral attitude seems equivalent to detached awareness.

Illustration: upekkhindriyaṃ, faculty of physical-plus-psychological neutral experience; upekkhako, indifferent

Bhikkhus, there are these five faculties of sense impression. What five? The faculty of physical pleasure, the faculty of psychological pleasure, the faculty of physical pain, the faculty of psychological pain, the faculty of physical-plus-psychological neutral experience.
sukhindriyaṃ somanassindriyaṃ dukkhindriyaṃ domanassindriyaṃ upekkhindriyaṃ.

Dependent on a sensation to be experienced as physically pleasant, the faculty of physical pleasure arises. Being physically pleased, he knows that: ‘I am physically pleased.’
Sukhavedanīyaṃ bhikkhave phassaṃ paṭicca uppajjati sukhindriyaṃ. So sukhito va samāno sukhitosmi ti pajānāti

Dependent on a sensation to be experienced as physically unpleasant, the faculty of physical pain arises. Being physically hurt, he knows that: ‘I am physically hurt.’
Dukkhavedanīyaṃ bhikkhave phassaṃ paṭiccauppajjati dukkhindriyaṃ. So dukkhito va samāno dukkhitosmī ti pajānāti.

Dependent on a sensation to be experienced as psychologically pleasant, the faculty of psychological pleasure arises. Being psychologically pleased he discerns: ‘I am psychologically pleased.’
Somanassavedanīyaṃ bhikkhave phassaṃ paṭicca uppajjati somanassindriyaṃ. So sumano va samāno sumanosmī ti pajānāti.

Dependent on a sensation to be experienced as psychologically unpleasant, the faculty of psychological pain arises. Being psychologically hurt, he discerns: ‘I am psychologically hurt.’
Domanassavedanīyaṃ bhikkhave phassaṃ paṭicca uppajjati domanassindriyaṃ. So dummano va samāno dummanosmī ti pajānāti.

Dependent on a sensation to be experienced as neutral, the faculty of physical-plus-psychological neutral experience arises. Being indifferent, he knows that: ‘I am indifferent.’
Upekkhāvedanīyaṃ bhikkhave phassaṃ paṭicca uppajjati upekkhindriyaṃ. So upekkhako va samāno upekkhakosmī ti pajānāti (S.5.211-2).

Illustration: upekkhindriyaṃ, faculty of physical-plus-psychological neutral experience

And where does the arisen faculty of physical-plus-psychological neutral experience cease without remainder?
Kattha cuppannaṃ upekkhindriyaṃ aparisesaṃ nirujjhati

In this regard, having completely transcended the state of awareness neither having nor lacking perception, a bhikkhu enters and abides in the ending of perception and sense impression. And it is here that the arisen faculty of physical-plus-psychological neutral experience ceases without remainder.
idha bhikkhave bhikkhu sabbaso nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṃ samatikkamma saññāvedayitanirodhaṃ upasampajja viharati. Ettha cuppannaṃ upekkhindriyaṃ aparisesaṃ nirujjhati (S.5.215).

Illustration: neutral attitude

Sensuous pleasures have been compared by the Blessed One to a skeleton (of meatless bones smeared with blood which leaves a hungry dog unsatisfied, fatigued, and full of vexation). They are full of suffering and vexation, while the danger in them is great.
aṭṭhikaṅkalūpamā kāmā vuttā bhagavatā bahudukkhā bahūpāyāsā ādīnavo ettha bhiyyo ti

Having seen this thus according to reality with perfect penetrative discernment, having avoided the neutral attitude that is diversified, associated with diversity, one develops the neutral attitude that is undiversified, associated with undiversity, where grasping of worldly pleasures ceases without remainder.
Evametaṃ yathābhūtaṃ sammappaññāya disvā yāyaṃ upekkhā nānattā nānattasitā taṃ abhinivajjetvā yāyaṃ upekkhā ekattā ekattasitā yattha sabbaso lokāmisūpādānā aparisesā nirujjhanti tamevupekkhaṃ bhāveti (M.1.364).

COMMENT

For notes on diversified and undiversified, see introduction.

Illustration: upekkhā, indifference

If a bhikkhu’s mind is imbued with the perception of the unloveliness (of the body), his mind draws back, bends back, turns away from involvement in sexual intercourse and is not attracted to it, and either indifference or loathing is established in him.
Asubhasaññā paricitena bhikkhave bhikkhūno cetasā bahulaṃ viharato methunadhammasamāpattiyā cittaṃ patilīyati patikuṭati pativaṭṭati na sampasārīyati. Upekkhā vā paṭikkūlyatā vā saṇṭhāti.

If a bhikkhu’s mind is imbued with the perception of (the ever-present possibility of) death, his mind draws back, bends back, and turns away from the hankering for life, and is not attracted to it, and either indifference or loathing is established in him.
Maraṇasaññā paricitena bhikkhave bhikkhuno cetasā bahulaṃ viharato jīvitanikantiyā cittaṃ patilīyati patikuṭati pativaṭṭati na sampasārīyati. Upekkhā vā paṭikkūlyatā vā saṇṭhāti.

If a bhikkhu’s mind is imbued with the perception of the loathsome nature of digestion, his mind draws back, bends back, turns away from craving for flavours and is not attracted to them, and either indifference or loathing is established in him.
Āhāre paṭikkūlasaññā paricitena bhikkhave bhikkhuno cetasā bahulaṃ viharato rasataṇhāya cittaṃ patilīyati patikuṭati pativaṭṭati na sampasārīyati upekkhā vā paṭikkūlyatā vā saṇṭhāti

If a bhikkhu’s mind is imbued with the perception of disgust for the whole world (of phenomena), his mind shrinks from worldly intentions and is not attracted to them and either indifference or loathing is established in him.
Sabbaloke anabhiratasaññā paricitena bhikkhave bhikkhuno cetasā bahulaṃ viharato lokacittesu cittaṃ patilīyati patikūṭati pativaṭṭati na sampasārīyati. Upekkhā vā paṭikkūlyatā vā saṇṭhāti.

If a bhikkhu’s mind is imbued with the perception of the unlastingness (of the five aggregates), his mind draws back, bends back, turns away from gains, honour, and renown and is not attracted to it, and either indifference or loathing is established in him.
Aniccasaññā paricitena bhikkhave bhikkhuno cetasā bahulaṃ viharato lābhasakkārasiloke cittaṃ patilīyati patikuṭati pativaṭṭati na sampasārīyati upekkhā vā paṭikkūlyatā vā saṇṭhāti (A.4.47).

Illustration: upekkhā, detached awareness

In this regard, in seeing a visible object via the visual sense, there arises in a bhikkhu pleasure, or displeasure, or pleasure plus displeasure.
☸ cakkhunā rūpaṃ disvā uppajjati manāpaṃ uppajjati amanāpaṃ uppajjati manāpāmanāpaṃ.

He knows that ‘This pleasure has arisen in me, this displeasure… this pleasure plus displeasure has arisen in me.’
☸ uppannaṃ kho me idaṃ manāpaṃ uppannaṃ amanāpaṃ uppannaṃ manāpāmanāpaṃ

And that is originated, self-evident, dependently arisen.
☸ tañca kho saṅkhataṃ oḷārikaṃ paṭiccasamuppannaṃ

But this is peaceful, this is sublime, namely, detached awareness.
☸ Etaṃ santaṃ etaṃ paṇītaṃ yadidaṃ upekkhā ti.

With that, the arisen pleasure… displeasure… pleasure plus displeasure ceases, and detached awareness is established.
☸ Tassa taṃ uppannaṃ manāpaṃ uppannaṃ amanāpaṃ uppannaṃ manāpāmanāpaṃ nirujjhati upekkhā saṇṭhāti.

Just as a man with good eyes, having closed them, might open them; or having opened them, might close them, that is how quickly, how rapidly, how easily, no matter what it refers to, the pleasure… displeasure… pleasure plus displeasure ceases, and detached awareness is established (M.3.299).

Illustration: upekkhā, detached awareness

It is a loss for me, not a gain; it is unfortunate for me, not fortunate, that when I recollect the Buddha, the teaching, and the community of the Blessed One’s disciples in this way, detached awareness based on what is spiritually wholesome is not established within me.
alābhā vata me na vata me lābhā dulladdhaṃ vata me na vata me suladdhaṃ yassa me evaṃ buddhaṃ anussarato evaṃ dhammaṃ anussarato evaṃ saṅghaṃ anussarato upekkhā kusalanissitā na saṇṭhātī ti (M.1.186).

Illustration: upekkhā, detached awareness

A bhikkhu practises thus: ‘Had it not been, it would not have been “mine.” It will be not; not “mine” will it be. That which is, that which is brought about, that I abandon.’
no c’assa no ca me siyā na bhavissati na me bhavissati. Yadatthi yaṃ bhūtaṃ taṃ pajahāmī ti

In this way he attains detached awareness.
evaṃ upekkhaṃ paṭilabhati (M.2.265).

Illustration: upekkhā, detached awareness

A meditator must apply three ways of practice (tīṇi nimittāni) not exclusively, but from time to time: inward collectedness, effort, and detached awareness.
kālena kālaṃ samādhinimittaṃ manasikātabbaṃ; kālena kālaṃ paggahanimittaṃ manasikātabbaṃ; kālena kālaṃ upekkhānimittaṃ manasikātabbaṃ.

• If he focuses exclusively on the practice of detached awareness it is likely that his mind will be not properly collected for the destruction of perceptually obscuring states
ekantaṃ upekkhānimittaññeva manasikareyya ṭhānaṃ taṃ cittaṃ na sammā samādhiyetha āsavānaṃ khayāya (A.1.256).

Illustration: upekkhaṃ, detached awareness

He discerns thus:
So evaṃ pajānāti

‘When I confront the source of this suffering with effort, by confronting it with effort (the suffering) fades away.
imassa kho me dukkhanidānassa saṅkhāraṃ padahato saṅkhārappadhānā virāgo hoti

When the source of this suffering is passively observed, through developing detached awareness, (the suffering) fades away.’
imassa pana me dukkhanidānassa ajjhupekkhato upekkhaṃ bhāvayato virāgo hotī ti (M.2.223).

Illustration: upekkhā brahmavihāra, (unlimited) detached awareness

A bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind of (unlimited) detached awareness, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, in all directions, everywhere, he abides pervading the whole world (of beings) with a mind of (unlimited) detached awareness, vast, exalted, unlimited, free of unfriendliness and hostility.’
upekkhāsahagatena cetasā ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā viharati tathā dutiyaṃ tathā tatiyaṃ tathā catutthiṃ iti uddhamadho tiriyaṃ sabbadhi sabbatthatāya sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ upekkhāsahagatena cetasā vipulena mahaggatena appamāṇena averena avyāpajjhena pharitvā viharati (D.3.223).

Illustration: upekkhako, serene

There are five noble psychic powers that are free of perceptually obscuring states and attachment (iddhi yā anāsavā anupadhikā ariyā ti). These are where a bhikkhu, if he wishes (sace ākaṅkhati) can abide:

• perceiving the unloathsomeness of what is loathsome
☸ paṭikkūle appaṭikkūlasaññī

• perceiving the loathsomeness of what is attractive
☸ appaṭikkūle paṭikkūlasaññī

• perceiving the unloathsomeness of what is loathsome and what is attractive
☸ paṭikkūle ca appaṭikkūle ca appaṭikkūlasaññī

• perceiving the loathsomeness of what is attractive and what is loathsome
☸ appaṭikkūle ca paṭikkūle ca paṭikkūlasaññī vihareyyanti

• Or, by rejecting both what is attractive and loathsome can abide serene, mindful, and fully conscious.
☸ appaṭikkūlañca paṭikkūlañca tadubhayaṃ abhinivajjetvā upekkhako vihareyyaṃ sato sampajāno ti (D.3.112-3; A.3.169-170).

Illustration: upekkhako, serene

He, seeing an object via the visual sense, is neither elated nor depressed, but abides serene, mindful, and fully conscious.
So cakkhunā rūpaṃ disvā neva sumano hoti na dummano upekkhako viharati sato sampajāno (A.2.196-7).