I used to be totally intimidated by Sayadaw's books. They are all... very very complicated.
But this one, Sayadaw wrote to answer a layman's questions, and gauge for our standard. And since the questions were raised by layman, they are totally relevant.
On 10 paramis, Sayadaw singled out 2: Khanti (Patience) and Equanimity. He defined Equanimity is specifically meaning no emotional disturbance facing praise or blame....
Khanti: It has the characteristic of tolerance; its function is not to be moved by likes or dislikes; it is manifested as forbearance in the face of the gravest provocation; its proximate cause is seeing things as they really are.
Patience is tolerating others and bearing unpleasant experiences such as cold and heat. The Buddha says, "Bearing the severity of cold, or bearing the severity of heat, thus one has patience." The Buddha does on to explain patience ins various other ways. The underlying quality of patience is placidity in the face of internal or external unpleasant experiences, coupled with fortitude. A man of patience does not allow anyone or anything "to put the grit in the machine. "Come wind, come foul weather," he does about his meritorious routine, not with hedonistic indifference, but with an imperturbable heart, devoid of ill-will. The presence of such a tolerant frame of mind is patience.
Upekkha: It has the characteristic of equanimity in the face of praise and blame; its function is to neutralize one's emotions; it is manifested as impartiality; its proximate cause is ther reflective knowledge of one's own past actions.
Equanimity is the quality of being strictly impartial to both well-wishers and adversaries alike. One does not behave partially towards one's benefactors. Neither does one harbour any resentment towards one's detractors. This evenness of attitude toward both the kind and the unkind is essence of equanimity.
Two Types of Paramis:
1. Dependent perfection may be either dependent on craving or wrong view. A deed of merit done with a desire for existence in a higher plane or glorious existence is dependent on craving and is not development of perfections.
2. Only volitional activities of parami carried out with a pure mind and not bent towards a glorious existence hereafter, nor inspired by mistaken views, but aimed squarely at the "yonder shore" of enlightenment, as detached as the open sky, are merits that amount to fulfilling the perfections.
When you are doing some meritorious deed, do not let craving for future well-being enter your mind. If you allow it, your wishes are bound to become your shackles. For the greater your well-being, the stronger your craving is likely to be, so that you find yourself dilly-dallying when the opportunity for enlightenment comes.
Low, Medium, and Superior Grades of Merit
"A deed undertaken out of desire for fame is low. One undertaken with desire for the fruits of merit is moderate. One undertaken with the clear understanding that it is the custom of the Noble Ones is superior.
Of the above three grades, the first is done for vanity, all for show. It hardly brings any merit that could result in future well-being, let alone fulfill any perfections.
The second is motivated by desire for merit. Usually it is done with discrimination since the donor selects the most worthy recipient whenever possible to gain the greatest merit. This kind of deed brings ample results in the mundane spheres, but still does not amount to fulfilling a perfection.
The third case is where one sets one's mind on the deed alone, not on its consequences. The donor is guided by a true sense of charity. IN fact, one is prepared to share any of one's possessions with others, for one has no attachment ot them. One rightly follows the practice of the Noble Ones. One does not choose to whom to give. Let anyone come, whether good, bad, or average, one would make some kind of gift. This kind of giving is following the custom of Noble Ones. It is truly a practice for the perfection of giving. The same spirit of considering the deed alone, and not its rewards, governs the remaining perfections such as morality, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, etc....Continua