Sometimes, it becomes difficult to handle things, and it gets more difficult to handle people. Then how do we go about? ‘Patience’ is the word.
There are three categories of patience. The first one is to tolerate the injuries of the physical and verbal abuses. To be patient is not a sign of your weakness, it is a virtue. With patience, we will have a quiet and pure mind. In such a state, it will be easier to attain deep concentration and achievement. When we successfully practise patience, we will gain the greatest good fortune.
Secondly, we would do well to be patient with variations of the natural elements, hot and cold, summer and winter, hunger and thirst, as well as unnatural disasters.
And third, be patient in the ardous course of your practice. Before attaining the joy of cultivation, and before your cultivation becomes strong, you may encounter many obstacles. However, once we get through this phase, we attain happiness. Why? Because we are on the right path. This is like the thrill of driving on an expressway after going around through difficult ways to get an entrance.
The Chinese word for ‘diligence’ consists of two characters, meaning perseverance in a specialised field and progress. The two need to work together. And there is the saying,” Once we achieve in one, we achieve in all.”
That is to say, if we try to practise many methods before we are enlightened, they will become obstacles. Therefore, one has to stay put with one method of practice until one is excellent in it. Once that stage is over, then it would be good to advance to the next method.
Some people are fortunate that they have to spend only a few years to get to the right method. Others are not so fortunate, and may have to take 10 to 20 years or even a lifetime in their attempt. Even then it is worth it.
(Edited extracts from the author’s book, ‘Buddhism: The Awakening of Compassion and Wisdom’)