Patience (kshanti), the Third of the Six Paramitas or Transcendent Perfections
As I have gotten older, I find myself more impatient! It is getting harder to have patience, and I will be the first to admit it. The old sayings patience is a virtue and haste makes waste come to mind, and I realize that their meaning has more merit to me right now, as well as to the reality of our current situation. Our world has been turned upside down by the global pandemic, and there are many, many people who simply cannot wait until we get back to the way things used to be. Unfortunately that is unlikely to happen very soon. It is going to take time, and a great deal of patience!
During this past Sunday Service I spoke about the Six Paramitas, the six transcendent perfections of bodhisattvas which are essential to the practice of attaining enlightenment. Patience is the third of the paramitas. The other five are generosity, morality, vigor/diligence, concentration/meditation, and finally wisdom, which brings them all together and leads to full Buddhahood. Each cannot do without the other, and they are all interconnected, with an emphasis on wisdom.
What comes from being impatient? Ignorance, foolishness, and negativity, that cast dark clouds over our thoughts, speech, and actions. What comes from being patient? Wisdom, a deeper understanding, and positivity that shed new light on what we can and should be doing. In Buddhism, wisdom includes compassion, and I also spoke on Sunday about how important it is to constantly think of others as we personally, and thoughtfully, consider next moves during this uncertain and unsettling time.
I tend to agree with our governor who has stated that the outcome of Covid-19 is not about me, it is about we. So true. As New York Buddhist Church carefully contemplates when and how we will reopen, we will assuredly follow city and state guidelines, with the health and safety of our Sangha and others always first and foremost in our minds. Please stay tuned!
Meanwhile, for over two months now and despite the disruptions, I feel that we continue to pull together as a strong spiritual community. Thank you! I am deeply grateful and profoundly encouraged. I believe that out of these difficulties can come an awakening, brought about by wisdom, that will give us the hope, strength, and courage to endure whatever changes we will face going forward.
On Memorial Day, we traditionally honor those in the military who died while serving our country, and I believe now we should also pay tribute to the heroes who are risking their lives so that we can preserve the American way of life, however different that may be in the future. Let us not forget also the nearly 100,000 lives of those taken by the virus. In Jodo Shinshu, they return back into our world as enlightened beings to guide us and make us aware of our realities and responsibilities. We must never take for granted the sacrifices that were made, and the lives of our loved ones who were lost. We should think about them every day with reverence, gratitude. . . and patience.
Namo Amida Butsu.