Author Topic: Footprints on the Journey: Heroic Perseverance - Khenpo Sodargye  (Read 444 times)

Offline UK Bodhi Association

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Heroic Perseverance

Scores of sutras and shastras state that patience, or heroic perseverance, is the most difficult to accomplish among the Six Perfections. Thus A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life says:

There is no evil similar to anger and no austerity equal to forbearance.
Thus I should strive in all ways to develop forbearance, with great effort.

It’s also common to say: “The Chinese ideogram ‘patience’ is epitomized by having a knife dangling over your head.” When being insulted unjustifiably or slandered for no reason, hardly anyone, many spiritual practitioners included, can remain undisturbed while seeing the attacks as insubstantial rainbows.

Buddha Shakyamuni was once reborn as a rishi named Patience Power who had vowed never to get angry at any beings. Mara, intending to destroy the quality Patience Power had attained, manifested one thousand beings who knew exactly how to demolish the perseverance quality of others. They cursed him with malicious mantras, defamed him recklessly with false accusations, and humiliated him in public with unspeakable sordid words. They inflicted harm on him in all his activities of walking, sitting, standing, and sleeping; these kinds of horrendous attacks continued for 84,000 years.

When rishi Patience Power went to town, these unruly assailants sprayed putrid feces over his head, into his begging bowl, and onto his clothes, and even hit his head forcefully with brooms. But Patience Power never had a trace of anger arise in him, nor did he have the slightest intention of revenge. No matter what assault was afflicted upon him, he never thought of avenging an eye for an eye, nor did he cast furious glares or use harsh words. Questions such as: “What have I done wrong?” were not heard from him either. Instead, he made his wishes silently: “For benefiting these recalcitrant beings, I vow to practice the Dharma to attain supreme enlightenment. Thereafter, my top priority will be to lead these beings to Buddhahood.”

Zen Master Bai Yin of Japan is noted for his accomplishment in patience. There was once a young maiden who gave birth to a baby sired by her boyfriend. To avoid being punished by her parents who were devout Buddhists, she lied to them that the baby’s father was the Zen master. As her parents had high respect for the master, the maiden thought she could be vindicated. Little did she know that her account brought tremendous hardship for Master Bai Yin. Her parents, ignorant of the facts and believing their daughter, brought the newborn infant to the master and said, “You fake monk, you have transgressed the precepts of the Buddha; we had been blind to your ugliness and were deceived by you. You are worse than a beast to commit such a dirty deal. Here is your son, take him!” The master responded gently: “Ah, is that so!” and received the baby without saying another word. The parents took his silence as a justification to their accusation, and scattered the news all around. Everyone came to know of Master Bai Yin’s “repulsive behavior,” and they all looked down on him.

Holding the feeble infant, Master Bai Yin trudged to households where newborns lived with their families and begged for milk. They said scornfully: “Humph, were it not for the sake of the poor baby, we would not give anything to you!”

As time passed, the young maiden’s conscience was tortured severely; she no longer could bear to see the unjust public treatment of Master Bai Yin and confessed to her parents. Master Bai Yin, when receiving the extremely repentant parents begging for forgiveness, responded gently in the same way: “Ah, is that so!”

What a plain sentence is this one! However, to say it calmly is not possible for any ordinary person who has not been tempered through thick and thin. The extraordinary quality of forbearance as demonstrated by the sages of the past is truly remarkable. When will it truly permeate my mind?

11th of February, Year of RenWu
March 25, 2002

Offline stillpointdancer

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Re: Footprints on the Journey: Heroic Perseverance - Khenpo Sodargye
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2016, 03:22:48 am »
Yep. Great stories. I think 'righteous indignation' is another thing I have to work on!
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

 


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