The Perfection of Patience - It takes an endlessly long time



People may believe that it is too difficult to have patience to listen and to read the Tiptaka, but one needs patience and endurance in all respects and in all situations. When we think of the past lives of the disciples, we see that before they developed patience to a high degree, they had attachment (lobha), aversion (dosa) and ignorance (moha). They had a great deal of akusala, just as people today. However, they had developed panna and they understood the benefit of patience and of wholesome qualities. Therefore, they could with patience develop all kinds of kusala so that finally the perfections could reach fulfilment through the realization of the four noble Truths. Before we can reach fulfilment of the perfections, we should continue to develop them with patience and endurance, life after life, and this is “cira kala bhavana”, a development which takes a long time (cira kala). It takes a long time to develop panna to the degree that it can eradicate defilements. When we see the extent of the defilements we still have, it is evident that the development of panna must take an endlessly long time. Defilements cannot be eradicated if we do not listen to the Dhamma and do not contemplate it. All the teachings we listen to deal with the development of panna and the eradication of defilements.

If we have patience with the development of the perfections they will reach fulfilment, we do not develop them in vain: eventually they will reach maturity and that means that the four noble Truths can be realized. The perfections of the Exalted One, the Sammasambuddha, reached maturity and fulfilment so that he could attain Buddhahood at the foot of the Bodhi-tree in Bodhgaya.

The buddhist followers who are full of confidence in the Buddha wish to pay respect at the holy places where the most important events in the cycle of birth and death took place. However, when we pay respect at the holy places, we should also consider the Buddha’s teachings with wise attention. Reflection on the patience of the Buddha’s disciples in different lives can inspire us also to develop patience and endurance even with regard to ordinary events of daily life.


Topic 282