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    Modern version of the Eternal Knot by Charles Huttner
A View on Buddhism
Teksty w jezyku polskim     Deutsche Seiten

Quotations on:
Perseverance, Joyous Effort

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Milarepa turned his back to Gampopa and lifted his cotton cloth, thus revealing his buttocks, which were completely covered with hard calluses from all his extensive sitting on the stony grounds of caves. He said, "There is nothing more profound than meditating on this pith instruction. The qualities in my mind stream have arisen through my having meditated so persistently that my buttocks have become like this. You must also give rise to such heartfelt perseverance and meditate!" This final instruction remained in the depths of Gampopa's mind forever.
Karl Brunnhölzl fFrom: 'Straight from the heart: Buddhist Pith Instructions'  

The Buddha

Those who really seek the path to enlightenment dictate terms to their mind. They then proceed with strong determination.

Be urgent in good; hold your thoughts off evil. When one is slack in doing good the mind delights in evil.

Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.
The Dhammapada

Proper effort is not the effort to make something particular happen. It is the effort to be aware and awake each moment, the effort to overcome laziness and merit, the effort to make each activity of our day meditation.
Ajahn Chah

You will fall sick, experience pain, and encounter many adverse circumstances. At such times do not think, 'Although I am practicing the Dharma, I have nothing but trouble. The Dharma cannot be so great. I have followed a teacher and done so much practice, and yet hard times still befall me.' Such thoughts are wrong views. You should realize that through the blessing and power of the practice, by experiencing sickness and other difficulties now, you are purifying and ridding yourself of negative actions.... By purifying them while you have the chance, you will later go from bliss to bliss. So do not think, 'I don't deserve this illness, these obstacles, these negative influences.' Experience your difficulties as blessings...when you do experience such difficulties, you should be very happy and avoid having adverse thoughts like, 'Why are such terrible things happening to me.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, from The Power and the Pain: Transforming Spiritual Hardship into Joy by Dr. Andrew Holecek

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

We have a saying in Tibet that engaging in the practice of virtue is as hard as driving a donkey uphill, whereas engaging in destructive activities is as easy as rolling boulders downhill. It is also said that negative impulses arise as spontaneously as rain and gather momentum just like water following the course of gravity. What makes matters worse is our tendency to indulge negative thoughts and emotions even while agreeing that we should not. It is essential, therefore, to address directly our tendency to put things off and while away our time in meaningless activities and shrink from the challenge of transforming our habits on the grounds that it is too great a task. In particular, it is important not to allow ourselves to be put off by the magnitude of others' suffering. The misery of millions is not a cause for pity. Rather it is a cause for developing compassion.
We must also recognize that the failure to act when it is clear that action is required may itself be a negative action....inaction is attributable less to negative thoughts and emotions as to a lack of compassion. It is thus important that we are no less determined to overcome our habitual tendency to laziness than we are to exercise restraint in response to afflictive emotion.
Ethics for the New Millennium

Laziness comes in many forms, all of which result in procrastination, putting off practice to another time. Sometimes laziness is a matter of being distracted from meditation by morally neutral activities, like sewing or considering how to drive from one place to another; this type of laziness can be especially pernicious because these thoughts and activities are not usually recognized as problems.
At other times, laziness manifests as distraction to thinking about nonvirtuous activities, such as an object of lust or how to pay an enemy back. Another type of laziness is the sense that you are inadequate to the task of meditation, feeling inferior and discouraged: "How could someone like me ever achieve this!" In this case you are failing to recognize the great potential of the human mind and the power of gradual training.
All of these forms of laziness involve being unenthusiastic about meditation. How can they be overcome? Contemplation of the advantages of attaining mental and physical flexibility will generate enthusiasm for meditation and counteract laziness. Once you have developed the meditative joy and bliss of mental and physical flexibility, you will be able to stay in meditation for as long as you want. At that time your mind will be completely trained so you can direct it to any virtuous activity; all dysfunctions of body and mind will have been cleared away.
How to See Yourself As You Really Are

It is not good to begin many different works, saying 'This looks good; that looks good', touching this, touching that, and not succeeding in any of them. If you do not generate great desires but aim at what is fitting, you can actualise the corresponding potencies and become an expert in that. With success, the power or imprint of that practice is generated.
from 'Tantra in Tibet'

The Buddha's life exemplifies a very important principle--a certain amount of hardship is necessary in one's spiritual pursuit. We can also see this principle at work in the lives of other great religious teachers, such as Jesus Christ or the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Furthermore, I think that the followers of these teachers, if they wish to attain the highest spiritual realizations within their tradition, must themselves undergo a process of hardship, which they endure through dedicated perseverance. There is sometimes the tendency among the followers of the Buddha to imagine, perhaps only in the back of their minds, that "Although the Buddha went through all of those hardships to attain enlightenment they aren't really necessary for me. Surely, I can attain enlightenment without giving up life's comforts." Perhaps such people imagine that, because they are somehow more fortunate than the Buddha, they can attain the same spiritual state as he did without any particular hardships or renunciation. This is, I think, mistaken.
...While Buddhism has adapted to the culture of each new civilization it has encountered, it nonetheless retains its emphasis on morality and discipline as essential for spiritual maturation. If we ourselves want the attainments described by the Buddha--the deep concentration and the penetrating insights--then we too must endure some amount of hardship and observe ethical behavior.
Essence of the Heart Sutra: The Dalai Lama's Heart of Wisdom Teachings

Shakyamuni Buddha, even when he was a trainee on the path, was solely concerned in both thought and action with others' welfare. Whenever he found an opportunity to work for others, no matter what difficulties he faced, he was never discouraged. He never hated obstacles and hardships encountered on the way. Instead, the difficult situations facilitated his being more courageous and determined to accomplish others' welfare. Just because he was so determined to work for others in the past, even as a trainee on the path, it is needless to say how much more it is so with him now as a completely enlightened person. Generous Wisdom: Commentaries of His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV on the Jatakamala Garland of Birth Stories

Another necessary quality is determination. It's easy to gear oneself up for counting mantras or prostrations. For some, physical discipline is also easy. But the determination of the meditator is different. We must be determined to strive to purify our obscurations until they're completely gone--in other words, until our buddha-nature unobstructedly shines through. When we sit, we decide to do our best not to be swayed by our negativity. We should cultivate this attitude at the beginning of our session. Otherwise, no matter how much we practice, we will daydream a lot and our meditation will always be wishy-washy. I know this from experience--I may do my session of meditation, but it is tepid. Why? I don't have that inner strength to remain unmoved by the arising of the various mental contents.
Bruce Newman, A Beginner's Guide to Tibetan Buddhism

Self-discipline brings us into relationship with one of the six perfections of the bodhisattva, that of enthusiastic perseverance, which implies the willingness to engage in a process with effort and enthusiasm over a prolonged period. No material or spiritual qualities are gained without some degree of effort. Perseverance enables the practitioner to carry on and trust in the process, even when it feels hopeless. It makes it possible to face difficulties and obstacles in the path with confidence and courage, rather than giving up because it feels too hard. Self-discipline helps us remain in the vessel and not run away.
My Tibetan retreat guide described the maintenance of self-discipline over time like keeping a pot heating on a stove. If we continually remove it from the heat the pot never boils. Similarly he felt that when someone enters into the discipline of retreat, it should be maintained as rigorously as possible. In doing so the alchemical vessel will be maintained, and the "cooking" can take place. Transformation only occurs when the vessel is maintained in this way.
Rob Preece, The Psychology of Buddhist Tantra

The Buddhist notion of diligence is to delight in positive deeds. Its opposite, called le lo in Tibetan, has three aspects. Le lo is usually translated as "laziness," though only its first aspect refers to laziness as we usually understand it.
The first aspect is not doing something because of indolence, even though we know that it is good and ought to be done.
The second aspect is faintheartedness. This comes about when we underestimate our qualities and abilities, thinking, "I'm so incompetent and weak. It would be good to do that, but I could never accomplish it." Not having the confidence of thinking, "I can do it," we end up doing nothing.
The third aspect refers to being very busy and seeming diligent, but wasting time and energy on meaningless activities that will not accomplish anything in the long run. When we do many things for no real purpose, we fail to focus on what is truly worthwhile and our path has no clear direction.
When we refrain from these three aspects of laziness, we are diligent.
Ringu Tulku Rinpoche from 'Daring Steps Toward Fearlessness: The Three Vehicles of Buddhism'

Having committed yourself to certain practices, be steadfast and never transgress the promises you have made. Let go of everything that could tempt you to do so and devote yourself entirely and single-mindedly to the accomplishment of your aims. For six years the Buddha did not waver from his practice of the meditative stabilization known as "Pervading Space." This meditation focuses on the fundamental nature of phenomena, which is present wherever there is space. Everywhere throughout space there are suffering living beings on whom this meditation also focuses with the compassionate wish to relieve their suffering and the loving wish to give them happiness. Thus it combines essential wisdom and skillful means.
Geshe Sonam Rinchen The Three Principal Aspects of the Path: An Oral Teaching

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Last updated: December 11, 2016