As we reflect upon the goals to which we aspire in this precious human life, we consider the Buddha’s teachings on diligence, the virtue of making effort for the benefit of others without laziness or negligence.
This Dharma talk is Part Four in a six-part series delivered via Zoom Meeting exploring the core Mahayana Buddhist teaching of the Six Paramitas: giving, discipline, patience, diligence, concentration, and wisdom. The Six Paramitas describe the characteristics of a well-lived Buddhist life, and endeavoring to practice them in everyday situations is a lifelong journey.
As we welcome the arrival of autumn, we will be observing our Autumn Ohigan Service on Sunday, September 21 at 9:30 a.m. The Japanese Buddhist observance of Ohigan traditionally focuses on study and reflection on the Six Paramitas, a set of Buddhist virtues that, when perfected, lead us to cross over from “this shore” in the deluded world of birth and death to arrive at the “other shore” of liberation in Nirvana.
The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word paramita is “Crossing over to the Other Shore.” In Chinese and Japanese translation, the term paramita is sometimes rendered as tōhigan到彼岸 “arriving at the other shore.” This imagery of crossing over to the other shore is the basis for Japanese Buddhist celebrations of Ohigan observed at the Spring and Autumn Equinoxes. In many Buddhist communities, it is customary to hold seven-day observances of Ohigan, with the middle day dedicated to gratitude towards one’s ancestors and each of the remaining six days dedicated to one of the Six Paramitas.
The Six Paramitas are listed below along with a brief explanation of the meaning of each: