Saturday Kinfonet Topic: Meditative Indifference

Hello Everyone,

During this week’s Saturday Kinfonet Dialogue can we look at the topic of “indifference”? And can we look by not only examining what K said about indifference, which is different from the ordinary sense, but by looking at what it means to us, and by further questioning this sense of indifference ? To get started, we’ll read the attached quote from a talk K gave in Bombay in 1962.

K was talking about indifference in a sense other than the dictionary senses. For perspective, here are a couple of relevant senses from the dictionary:


  • not caring, not concerned, uninterested, apathetic.

  • having no preference or bias, being impartial

The Zoom link for the dialogue can be found on your Kinfonet account page once you have registered for the Saturday Dialogue meetings.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know @jmelo .

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday,

Kinfonet Dialogue Co-ordinator

Dialogue format:

1. Opening comments
2. Reading of the quote 
3. 5 minutes of silence
4. Check-in
5. Dialogue
6. Check-out


In the following quote, K uses the word, indifferent, in more than one sense. I’ve pointed this out in brackets for clarification.

A mind that is indifferent, is aware of the shoddiness of our civilization, the shoddiness of our thoughts, the ugly relationships; it is aware of the street, of the beauty of a tree, or of a lovely face, a smile; and it neither denies it nor accepts it, but merely observes - not intellectually, not coldly, but with that warm affectionate indifference. Observation is not detachment, because there is no attachment. It is only when the mind is attached - to your house, to the family, to some job - , that you talk about detachment. But, you know, when you are indifferent, there is a sweetness to it, there is a perfume to it, there is a quality of tremendous energy. This [indifference] may not be the meaning of that word in the dictionary.

One has to be indifferent - to health, to loneliness, to what people say or do not say; indifferent whether you succeed or do not succeed; indifferent to authority. Now, if you observe, you hear somebody is shooting, making a lot of noise with a gun. You can very easily get used to it; probably you have already got used to it, and you turn a deaf ear - that is not indifference [in the sense K is talking about]. Indifference comes into being when you listen to that noise with no resistance, go with that noise, ride on that noise infinitely. Then that noise does not affect you, does not pervert you, does not make you indifferent [in the dictionary sense]. Then you listen to every noise in the world - the noise of your children, of your wife, of the birds, the noise of the chatter the politicians make - , you listen to it completely with indifference and therefore with understanding.

J. Krishnamurti Bombay 6th Public Talk 7th March 1962

Date: 1st and 3rd Saturdays of each month Time: 5 PM Greenwich Mean Time (7 AM HST, 9 AM PST, 11 AM CST, 12 PM EST, 5 PM GMT, 6 PM CET, 10:30 PM IST)* Duration: 2 1/2 hours

*If you want to double check the time of the dialogue, the Kinfonet website is programmed so that announced meeting times are converted to the time zone where your computer is located.


Wouldn’t “equanimity” be a better word than “indifference” for what K is saying here?

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Perhaps, better is not better in this regard. Makes it easier for the reader to assume understanding. The word “indifference” is more incongruous and prompts a more careful reading of the qualifying statements.

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…for those who need prompting…

We are all being prompted, aren’t we? By fear, if nothing else. Which is no doubt why “warm and affectionate” indifference continues to elude.

I’ve never felt indifferent to anyone, and I feel warm and affectionate toward those who are neither harmful nor resentful, but I can’t feel warm and affectionate to everyone as a rule.

The phrase “warm and affectionate” is used a lot by prominent members of the K-world. I remember when Mark Lee, who led our discussion group, told us that feeling warm and affectionate toward all members of a discussion group was essential, and then feeling like a jerk for finding some of them annoying, boring, exasperating.

Indifference - the “entry & exit doors” of the space of the mind are never closed. No experience is superior then another, no experience is rejected, nor it remains.
This breeze and openness of the mind to experience, is indifference.

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Who’s definition is this?

Without the ‘indifferent’ part, it seems to me that selective pruning is going on.

In my reading of the OP, K uses the phrase “warm and affectionate” to describe a highly engaged yet impersonal activity of observation - strange choice of words, I agree - that has little if anything to do with the object of that observation (content of consciousness), whether it be people sitting in a circle or a car accident one is witnessing. That seems pretty cold and robot-like but then he goes on to say it isn’t, leaving a lot of us scratching our heads as to his intended meaning.

Regardless, all this analysis is of limited value unless one has an insight - whatever that means, for as we are all too familiar with, mere understanding and agreement is circular and leads back to itself - into the importance/relevance of such a way of being.

The non-willful, undramatic ending of the demand that things be other than they are is (logically) the beginning of unemotional indifference. I imagine that one’s life circumstances would have to be relatively stable to even begin playing with such an approach to life.

From today’s quote of the day:

K; To be free of demand and satisfaction necessitates investigation into oneself; it necessitates understanding the whole nature of demand. Demand is born out of duality. ‘I am unhappy and I must be happy.’ The demand that I must be happy, in that very thing is unhappiness. The opposite always contains its own opposite. So when one makes an effort to be good, decides to be good, in that very goodness is its opposite, which is evil. If one could only understand this and therefore that any demand of life, any demand that you must experience the truth, reality, that very demand is born out of your discontent with ‘what is’, and therefore that demand creates the opposite.

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If my life is stable, from whence comes the energy to question it?

Is it possible that questioning is but another form of control? Not that much different from its opposite, callousness?

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I don’t know what you mean - but my question wasn’t very good anyway - as soon as we can talk we are able to ask questions.

I should have said : from whence comes the energy for change?

Even the most stable / comfortable life can’t totally extinguish the “flame of discontent”? We don’t perceive the world directly because of the intrusion of thought /self with its memories and comparisons. It is a ‘conflict’, like a skunk at the garden party!?

That’s an involved question, @macdougdoug, sorta like “to be or not to be”. You should raise it in the dialogue meeting.

I feel that I should apologise for hurting anyone - which seems to happen regularly as questions and answers are often tied to identity and knowing - questioning may be a form of control as discussion is often a meeting of egos.

PS. Regarding the dialogue about Indifference, I liked the statement about indifference arising from awareness, and differentiation arising from the brain.

Which prompted the thought that for there to be no I, the I must be seen.

Why must the I be seen?

Because when I am not seen, I am all powerful, I am all there is.

When the I is seen, it is caught in the light, and has no more power than a shadow, a projection.

And because I is merely concerned with building the foundations of our misfortune.


Perfect! I’m reminded of the JK metaphor of the “snake” lurking in the corner that always had to be watched…

Be aware of the snake or be the snake?

And the “energy” necessary to be aware comes from the realization of the danger of getting too close to it. Wasn’t he using the danger of getting too close to the “precipice” in the same way?

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Like the Wizard of Oz…

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