Last Saturday, on June 1, 2019, we returned to the third of The Ten Paramitas of Mahayana Buddhism — Kshanti (Patience / Forbearance).
Following the wonderful talk on Patience by visiting teacher, Rev. Eishin Nancy Easton a couple of weeks ago, we realize what a profound topic it is. Thus, we devoted another session to it this past Saturday. The continuity manifests in another way, in that we listened to parts of two Dharma talks by Roshi Norman Fischer — a teacher in the same lineage as Eishin (the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi).
The Ten Paramitas of Mahayana Buddhism : Patience / Forbearance
RECAP: Pāramitā (Sanskrit) or Parami (Pāli): “Perfection” or “Transcendent”. In Buddhism, the Paramitas refer to the perfection or culmination of certain practices. These practices are cultivated by Bodhisattvas for crossing from sensuous life (Samsara) to Enlightenment (Nirvana).
Patience / Forbearance (Kshanti):
Kshanti or Kṣānti in Sanskrit, khanti in Pali, roughly translated as: patience; forbearance; endurance.
Three Types of Patience:
If you Google “three types of patience in Buddhism”, you will not find a simple, universal list of three items. Instead you will be presented with articles and teachings from various teachers, in various Buddhist lineages, using different terms and descriptions to help us understand how to put Patience into practice. No matter the labels or definitions used to define “Three Types of Patience”, they all aimed to identify, either the type of situations where patience is needed; or the intrinsic nature of reality we should focus on in order to disrupt our habitual tendency to act impatiently.
For our Dharma Learning session, we have selected the following two sets of definitions to share:
3 Types of Patience – per Śāntideva*
In Śikṣāsamuccaya (Compendium of Precepts) – the text that detailed the conduct bodhisattvas should always embrace — Śāntideva divided patient endurance (kṣānti) into three major varieties:
- enduring suffering (duṣkhādhivāsanakṣānti);
- dharmic patience, endurance that comes from reflecting on the Dharma (dharmanidhyānakṣānti);
- patience toward others’ wrongdoing (parāpakāramarṣanakṣānti, Śikṣāsamuccaya 179).
* Shantideva (Sanskrit: Śāntideva) was an 8th-century Indian Buddhist monk and scholar in India. Shantideva’s writting on the topic of Patience were cited several times by Roshi Fischer in his Dharma Talks listed below.
3 Types of Patience – per Roshi Norman Fischer**
In his talk “Crucible of Character”, Roshi Fischer outlined the three types of Patience as:
- enduring suffering – personal pain & hardship;
- forbearing suffering caused by interaction with others;
- accepting the truth of life.
“The Time-Being Arises as Love (The Six Perfections Part 6a)” — Dharma talk by Roshi Norman Fischer **
We listened to the ending segment during our session, from 30:00 to 36:10
“Kshanti Paramita: Crucible of Character (The Six Perfections Part 6b)” ” — Dharma talk by Roshi Norman Fischer **
During our session, we listened from 12:04 to 54:00
** Roshi Zoketsu Norman Fischer is a poet and Zen Buddhist priest. For many years he has taught at the San Francisco Zen Center, where he served as Co-abbot from 1995-2000. He is presently the spiritual director of the Everyday Zen Foundation, an organization dedicated to adapting Zen Buddhist teachings to Western culture.
We did not have time to share this article during our session. We still hope that you can find time to read through it on your own. It presents, yet another way to look at the “three types of Patience” and more quotes from Śāntideva at the end!
*** Michele McDonald has practiced Vipassana and metta meditation since 1975 and has been teaching meditation worldwide since 1982. She is the guiding teacher of Vipassana Hawaii.
- Finish listening to the rest of the two Dharma talks listed above… OR…
Read the article: Finding Patience by Michele McDonald listed above
- Identify a recurring “annoyance” in your daily life and try to turn it into your personal “patience practice project”, then come back next week to share your approach & experience with us!