India ch 1, no. 4
- India Ch 1, no 4.
Acharn Sujin reminded us also time and again to have patience (khantí). She
remarked that people may be able to be patient when they have lack of sleep
or when they have to sit for a long time, but that it is most difficult to
be patient with regard to the development of right understanding. Usually
people wish for the arising of mindfulness and right understanding and they
are impatient when they do not notice any progress. Acharn Sujin often
recited the text of the ³Dhammapada²(vs. 184) about patience which is the
highest form of ascetism:
Forbearing patience is the highest asceticism, nibbåna is supreme say the
Buddhas; he verily, is not a recluse who harms another; nor is he an ascetic
who oppresses others.
Patience is the highest ascetism (tapo). We read in the Commentary to the
Cariyåpiìaka, about the perfection of patience the Bodhisatta developed 5 .
It is defined as follows:
Patience has the characteristic of acceptance; its function is to endure the
desirable and undesirable; its manifestation is tolerance or non-opposition;
seeing things as they really are is its proximate cause.
We can have patience with regard to the desirable and the undesirable when
there is no attachment to a pleasant object nor aversion towards an
unpleasant object. When there is more understanding we can see that whatever
arises is conditioned, no matter it is pleasant or unpleasant, and then
there are conditions for patience. As we read, ³seeing things as they really
are is the proximate cause of patience². The Dhamma can be our refuge when
we have patience while listening to the Dhamma, while studying and
considering it. Then there will be conditions for mindfulness of realities
and the development of right understanding. Time and again Acharn Sujin said
that understanding very gradually develops. During this journey we listened
to the Dhamma and heard things that we had heard before, but do we have the
patience to really consider what we hear? We are still able to listen to the
Dhamma, but the Dhamma will not last forever. Therefore, we should not waste
time but develop more understanding now.
We are reminded to be aware of the realities that appear by the following
text in the ³Gradual Sayings² (Book of the Ones, Ch X):
Monks, I know not of any other single thing that conduces to the confusion,
to the disappearance of true Dhamma as does negligence. Negligence indeed
conduces to the confusion and disappearance of true Dhamma.
Monks, I know not of any single thing so conducive to the establishment, to
the non-disappearnace of true Dhamma as earnestness 6 . Earnestness indeed
conduces to the establishment, to the non-disappearance of true Dhamma.
1. This has also been explained in the Commentary to the ³Dialogues of the
Buddha², the ³Sumangala Vilåsiní² (III, no. 28, the Faith that satisfied).
2. The Abhidhamma and the Suttanta.
3. The five aggregates or khandhas are: rúpakkhandha, all physical
phenomena; vedanåkkhandha, feelings; saññåkkhandha, remembrance or
perception; sankhårakkhandha, formations or activities, including all
cetasikas other than feeling and perception; viññånakkhandha, consciousness,
including all cittas.
4. At the final passing away of the Buddha there was the extinction of the
khandhas; they would not arise again because there were no more conditions
5. Translated by Ven. Bodhi. See the All-Embracing Net of Views, B.P.S.
6. Earnestness is a translation of the Påli appamåda, non-negligence. It
means non-forgetfulness, mindfulness.