Dharma Discussion: Kṣānti (July 26, 2020)

Click here to read about the Buddhist Virtue of Patience

How is patience defined in Mahayana Buddhism?

Three aspects[i]

(1) not giving rise to anger or annoyance—not getting angry in the first place

(2) not clinging to hatred and grudges—if you get angry, not holding onto it

(3) not harboring ill will

—if anger lingers in your mind, not allowing it to change your intentions toward others.

—Not letting anger change your mind, such that you start to dislike someone who annoys you.

How does my mind need to change in order to overcome anger and annoyance?

The perfection of patience/forbearance requires one to transcend the discriminating mind that separates self from other and good from bad.[ii]

What do I need to be able to do in order to practice patience?

Three things[iii]

(1) tolerating anger and injury committed by others toward oneself

(2) calmly accepting all suffering that befalls oneself

(3) discerning the truth in contemplating all phenomena.

In order to realize awakening and liberation from suffering, I need to let go of my attachment to my self and perfect the practice of patience.

[i] Discourse on the Stages of Concentration Practice (Skt. Yogâcārabhūmi-śāstra Ch. Yuqie shidi lun 瑜伽師地論)

[ii] The Sutra on the Mahayana Principle of the Six Paramitas (Ch. Dasheng liqu liu boluomiduo jing 大乘理趣六波羅蜜多經)

[iii] The Sūtra on Understanding Profound and Esoteric Doctrine (Skt. Saṃdhinirmocana-sūtra. Ch. Jie shenmi jing 解深密經)

From the True Teaching, Practice and Realization (Kyōgyōshinshō), Chapter on Shinjin, Section 31

“Buddha-nature is great shinjin. Why? Because through shinjin the bodhisattva-mahasattva has acquired all the paramitas from charity to wisdom. All sentient beings will without fail ultimately realize great shinjin. Therefore it is taught, “All sentient beings are possessed of Buddha-nature.” Great shinjin is none other than Buddha-nature. Buddha-nature is Tathagata.”

(Shinran quoting from the Nirvana Sutra)

Discussion Questions

  1. When have you struggled to be patient?
  2. Have you learned to be patient with a person or situation in your life? What helps you to be more patient?
  3. What are some strategies that have worked for you in cultivating patience in the moment?
  4. How does Buddhist mindfulness and saying the Nembutsu help you to be more patient?