Tenth Perfection: Equanimity.
During the Kaya-panidhana kala the Bodhisatta, who was still a worldling, committed many unwholesome deeds of which twelve were serious enough for the results to be felt even as the Buddha. Four of these pertained to the insulting of a Pacceka Buddha. (A Pacceka Buddha or a Silent Buddha realized the Truth on His own, but unlike a Supreme Buddha, does not have the ability to teach the Dhamma that He realized to others. A Pacceka Buddha completes the virtues up to about 50% of the level required by a Supreme Buddha and only appears to a world at a time when the teachings of a Supreme Buddha are not present.) The Bodhisatta who was struggling for perfection and Buddhahood, had talked down to, or insulted, Pacceka Buddhas through jealousy. The text did not specify to which of the four incidents this related. But as a result of one of these unwholesome deeds, our Bodhisatta was born as an ascetic who practiced an extreme form of asceticism. The ascetics in this sect slept in cemeteries among the bones and skulls of dead bodies that had been left to rot, and wore hardly any clothing.
The Bodhisatta, who during this period believed in this extreme form of asceticism, practiced these beliefs to the fullest so that the followers of this sect praised Him and honoured Him for His perseverance and dedication. Many others, who did not believe in such extreme forms of asceticism, ridiculed Him for His practice of austerity.
Throughout this period, the Bodhisatta, who was trying to perfect the virtue of equanimity, retained a balanced mind by not reacting to either the praise or insults that He received every day. With equanimity He observed the sensations that arose within Him when He was praised, and forestalled the reaction of craving or attachment to the pleasurable sensation by reflecting on impermanence. Similarly, with equanimity, He observed the sensations that arose when He was ridiculed and insulted, and forestalled the aversion or repulsion to the unpleasant sensation by reflecting on impermenance. In so doing the Bodhisatta, who had practiced equanimity in many, many former births, achieved perfection in equanminity and stated thus:
“I laid me down among the dead
A pillow of their bones I made
While from the village all around
Some came to mock, and some came to praise.”
Later the Bodhisatta realized that this form of asceticism was not conducive to His quest for enlightenment. He left this sect and took to the asceticism practiced by more moderate sects, where meditation and spiritual development were the goal.
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