PARAMIS: The Ten Perfections 1. Dana: Generosity May I be generous and helpful 2. Sila: Mo

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*PARAMIS:* The Ten Perfections 1. *Dana*: Generosity May I be generous and helpful 2. *Sila*: Morality May I be well-disciplined and refined in manners. May I be pure and clean in all my dealings. May my thoughts, words and deeds be pure. 3. *Nekkhama*: Renunciation May I not be selfish and self-possessive, but selfless and disinterested. May I be able to sacrifice my pleasure for the sake of others. 4. *Panna*: Wisdom May I be wise and able to see things as they truly are. May I see the light of truth and lead others from darkness to light. May I be enlightened and be able to enlighten others. 5. *Viriya*: Energy May I be energetic, vigorous and persevering. May I strive diligently until I achieve my goal. May I be fearless in facing dangers and courageously surmount all obstacles. May I be able to serve others to the best of my ability. 6. *Khanti*: Patience May I ever be patient. May I be able to bear and forbear the wrongs of others. May I ever be tolerant and see the good and beautiful in all. 7. *Sacca*: Truthfulness May I ever be truthful and honest. May I not swerve from the path of truth. 8. *Adhitthana*: Determination May I be firm and resolute and have an iron will. May I be soft as a flower and firm as a rock. May I ever be high-principled. 9. *Metta*: Loving Kindness May I ever be kind, friendly and compassionate. May I be able to regard all as my brothers and sisters and be one with all. 10. *Upekkha*: Equanimity May I ever be calm, serene, unruffled and peaceful. May I gain a balanced mind. May I have perfect equanimity. May I serve to be perfect. May I be perfect to serve. Sadhu Sadhu Sadhu. --------------------------------------------- *THE PERFECTION OF EFFORT* (Viriya-Parami) Translation by Saya U Chit Tin, WKH Assistants U San Myint Aung, B.A. Published and Copyright by The Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, U.K. Heddington,Calne,Great Britain, 1987 Dhammadana Series 5/c Dedicated to our much revered teacher the late Sayagyi U Ba Khin (Thray Sithu) First printed 1987 in France ---------------------------------------- DharmaNet Edition 1994 This electronic edition is offered for free distribution via DharmaNet by arrangement with the publisher. Electronic format: Barry Kapke DharmaNet International P.O. Box 4951, Berkeley CA 94704-4951 ---------------------------------- *Contents* Introduction 1. The effort made by the Bodhisatta 2. Effort as a mental concomitant 3. Effort through right exertion 4. Eleven factors which result in making effort 5. A sense of urgency as the main foundation 6. Effort no associated with wholesome volitional actions 7. The effort of the Bodhisatta Mahosadha 8. Why the Buddha allowed Devadatta to ordain 9. The importance of energy --------------------------------------------- *INTRODUCTION* The type of effort or energy to be developed is given in the "Treatise" with reference to the Bodhisatta. Each day he asks himself, "Have I accumulated any requisites of merit and of knowledge today? What have I done for the welfare of others?" Energy is necessary at every step along the way. The most striking feature of the discussion here is the emphasis on mental effort. In fact, very little is said concerning physical effort -- for it is the mind which is more important. If balanced effort can be produced mentally, the resulting physical effort will be correct. In the Pali canon there are stories of people who made resolutions to strive to the utmost for Awakening. This is to be done once a certain level of development has been reached. If the mind is disturbed by such an effort, the person is not ready yet. This is why Sayagyi U Ba Khin, who was capable of long hours of steady work, encouraged students of his who had only progressed to a certain stage in controlling their minds to work with what he called "zestful ease." By this he meant making a full effort for the meditation period and relaxing their mental effort at other times. This, of course, did not mean relaxing as far as the fundamentals -- such as Sila -- were concerned. Saya U Chit Tin Heddington, January 19, 1986 //Namo tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhassa// *THE PERFECTION OF EFFORT* *(VIRIYA PARAMI)* 1. The effort made by the Bodhisatta A Bodhisatta puts forth the maximum required effort, no matter what his task is. He does not make less effort for ordinary tasks and more effort for more difficult tasks. He is like a maned lion that makes as much effort in hunting a rabbit as in hunting an elephant. As a result of the even effort made in past lives, when the Bodhisatta becomes a Buddha he always makes the same effort giving discourses. He does not talk softer when addressing one person and louder when addressing a larger audience. His voice is carried equally to all who listen. If there is only one person listening to him, only that person hears the discourse. When there are many people, no matter how far away they are from the Buddha, each person hears him clearly. When the chief disciple, Venerable Sariputta, gave the Samacitta Sutta, he had to first develop the special powers (Iddhi-vidha) in order to be heard by his large audience. It was not necessary for the Buddha to do this. In addition to practising the perfection of effort in lives before the one in which he reaches Buddhahood, a Bodhisatta practises the arduous exercises (Dukkara-cariya) for at least seven days after making the renunciation. He does not take food for some time during these exercises, and is very nearly reduced to skin, tendons and bones. Later, on the eve of attaining the great Awakening, he sits on a grass mat under the Bodhi tree and makes the determination not to get up until he has attained the Knowledge of Omniscience (Sabbannuta-nana), even if only skin and tendons and bones remain after his blood and flesh dry up. Through this effort he is able to realize through the Knowledge of Insight (Vipassana-nana) Dependent Origination and the three salient features of impermanence (Anicca), unsatisfactoriness (Dukkha), and lack of self (Anicca), unsatisfactoriness (Dukkha), and lack of self (Anatta) in all material and mental phenomena. And thus he attains Buddhahood. 2. Effort as a mental concomitant. Like wisdom (Panna), effort is a mental concomitant; but whereas wisdom is always associated with wholesome mental states, effort is associated with both wholesome and unwholesome mental states. Effort which is good and which should be cultivated as a perfection is known as Right Effort (Samma-vayama). Striving which is bad is known as Wrong Effort (Miccha-vayama). 3. Effort through right exertion. Right effort (Sammavayama) is also known as right exertion (Samma- ppadhana). There are four kinds of effort through right exertion: 1) the effort to avoid unwholesome states (Samvara-padhana), 2) the effort to overcome existing unwholesome states (Pahana-padhana), 3) the effort to develop wholesome states (Bhavana-padhana), and 4) the effort to maintain existing wholesome state (Anurakkhana-padhana). 4. Eleven factors which result in making effort. In the Mahasatipatthana Sutta commentary, eleven factors are given which result in making effort: 1) Reviewing the fearfulness of the lower realms of misery (Apaya- bhaya-paccavekkhanata). Effort will be made by a person who reminds himself of the following: "If I am idle, I may be reborn in the lower realms of misery. In the hells, I would not be able to develop the perfection of effort as I would be too distracted by the pain resulting from the tortures there. Or if I am reborn in the animal world I may be the prey of human beings. Or if I am reborn in the ghost realm (Peta-loka) I will be tormented by hunger for a whole world cycle. Or if I am reborn in the demon world (Asura-loka) with a huge body of bones and skin, I will suffer from heat or cold winds. This life is my only opportunity for developing effort." 2) Perceiving the advantage (in effort) (Anisamsa-dassavita). Effort will be made by a person who thinks to himself, "A person who is idle will never attain the supramundane stages of the Paths and Fruition States. Only those who are industrious can attain them. Making effort can result in attaining the supramundane stages which are so rarely realized by those who aspire to them. 3) Reviewing how to strive on the way (Gamena-vithi- paccavekkhanata). Effort will be made by a person who thinks to himself, "All Buddhas, Pacceka Buddhas and disciples of Buddhas make their way along the path to release through effort. The right path cannot be trod by those who are idle. Only the industrious can walk along this path." 4) Honouring alms food (Pindapatapacayanata). This factor is specifically for bhikkhus. Effort will be made by a bhikkhu to use food offered by laymen respectfully, thinking, "Be mindful! These people do not give you food because you are a member of their family or because they make their living by giving alms. They give food because great merit is acquired in giving to the Sangha. The Buddha does not allow us to eat in a lazy or careless fashion. He permitted the eating of alms food only to those practising the Teachings in order to be liberated from future births. Only those who make an effort and who cultivate the Teachings are worthy of eating food given to the Sangha." 5) Reviewing the nobility of the inheritance (Dayajja-mahatta- paccavekkhanata). Effort will be made by those who think to themselves, "Disciples of the Buddha inherit the seven types of property of those who are moral: faith (Saddha), virtue (Sila), learning (Suta), liberality (Caga), wisdom (Panna), conscience (Hiri) and moral dread (Ottappa). Just as children who are disowned by their parents cannot inherit from them, those who are idle cannot receive this legacy from the Buddha. Only those who are industrious can receive it." 6) Reviewing the nobility of the Teacher (Satthu-mahatta- paccavekkhanata). Effort will be made by a person who thinks to himself, "My Teacher, the Buddha, is so noble the ten-thousand- world universe shook when he was conceived as a Bodhisatta for his last life, when he renounced the world, when he attained Buddhahood, when he delivered the first discourse, when he defeated the heretics by performing the Twin Marvel, when he descended from the Tavatimsa deva world after teaching the Abhidhamma, when he renounced the life principle (Ayu-sankhara), and when he passed into final release (Maha-pari-nibbana). If I wish to be a deserving son (or daughter) of such a noble man's Teaching, I cannot be idle and careless in the way I live." 7) Reviewing the nobility of one's race (Jati-mahatta- paccavekkhanata). Effort will be made by the bhikkhu who thinks to himself, "Be mindful! You are a member of a noble race descended from the first king, Mahasammata. You are the brother of Rahula, the Buddha's son, the grandson of King Suddhodana and queen Mahamaya who are the descendants of King okkaka, one of the successors of Mahasammata. Members of such a noble race should not live carelessly but should live cultivating the Buddha's Teachings." 8) Reviewing the nobility of comrades in the life of purity (Sa- brahmacari-mahatta-paccavekkhanata). Effort will be made by the bhikkhu who thinks to himself, "I am a fellow disciple of people like the chief disciples Venerable Sariputta and Venerable Maha- moggalana who attained the Paths and Fruition States. I should follow the example of such noble disciples." 9) Avoiding people who are indolent (Kusita-puggala-parivajjanata). Effort can be made if one avoids those who are idle, who, like a python that has eaten its fill, delight in lying down and sleeping. 10) Associating with people who are energetic (Araddha-viriya- puggala-sevanata). Effort can be made if one associates with and seeks advice from those who are diligent, of resolute will (Pahitatta). Being of resolute will means being determined not to stop making an effort when doing worthwhile work until it is finished, even at the cost of losing one's life. Those who do not have a resolute will will hesitate before beginning, thinking, "Will I suceed or not?" And they will shrink back from making an effort. And if they begin to work, they will be pessimistic if the goal is not easily or immediately achieved, and stop making an effort. 11) Begin intent on it (i.e., effort) (Tad-adhi-muttata). Effort will grow if it is cultivated in the four postures -- lying down, sitting, standing and walking. 5. A sense of urgency as the main foundation of effort. Three types of sense of urgency (Samvega), the main foundation of effort, can be distinguished: 1) A sense of urgency through mental terror (Cittutrasa-samvega). This means a sense of urgency due to fear of the dangers of elephants, tigers, weapons, etc. The main mental concomitant associated with it is hatred (Dosa). "When hatred is weak, fear arises; when hatred is strong, harshness arises." 2) A sense of urgency through shrinking back from doing wrong (Ottappa- samvega). This is one of the moral mental concomitants associated with lofty consciousness (Sobhana-cetasika). 3) A sense of urgency through knowledge (Nana-samvega). This is the sense of urgency that comes through reflecting on cause and effect -- seeing, for example, the suffering entailed in future lives. It is also described in Buddhist texts as the arising of wisdom accompanied by shrinking from doing wrong. A fourth type of sense of urgency also exists, a sense of urgency with regards to conditioned phenomena (Dhamma-samvega). But as this is a sense of urgency that arises in Arahats, it is not realized by those working on the perfections. A sense of urgency through knowledge is the main foundation for effort for those still working for Enlightenment. It is through reflecting on the dangers inherent in future lives that one becomes anxious to work for liberation. Without such knowledge, one will not practise the Dhamma. This applies also to the affairs of our daily lives for such mundane considerations as wishing to avoid being poverty stricken in future lives. The knowledge that we must work now in order to avoid that will motivate us to make an effort. Those who do not possess such knowledge will not make the effort, nor will those who are afraid to make an effort when it is difficult to do so. A sense of urgency through knowledge is the basis for making effort in the case of Bodhisattas as they fulfil the perfection of effort. A sense of urgency through mental terror does not always lead to making effort of the sort found in the perfection of effort. Terror, rather, can lead to doing unwholesome acts. For example, a person who is poor and who does not have thorough method in his thoughts (Yoniso-manasikara) will steal in order to have more property. A person who cannot pay proper attention will do unwholesome acts out of fear of potential dangers. But a person who thinks constructively will strive to be free of guilt in all his actions. The key element in having a sense of urgency through mental terror is having thorough method in one's thoughts, being able to think constructively. 6. Effort not associated with wholesome volitional actions. The perfection of effort does not include efforts involving unwholesome volitional actions. It would seem that effort through right exertion would mean that the perfection of effort would only include wholesome volitional actions. But any effort should be included as long as unwholesome volitional actions are not involved. An example is to be found in the Maha-Janaka Jataka (no539). In this life, the Bodhisatta, Prince Maha-Janaka, swam for seven days when the ship he was on sank. His motive in swimming was not to develop wholesome volitional acts of generosity, virtue or mental development. Nor was he motivated by developing unwholesome volitional acts through greed, hatred or ignorance. The effort made by Prince Maha-Janaka is free of immorality and is part of developing the perfection of effort. The crew of the boat was in despair, wept and lamented and invoked their gods, but the Bodhisatta did none of this. Unafraid, he did his best to save himself. As he explained to the devi who eventually rescued him, "Knowing my duty in the world, to strive, o goddess, while I can,/Here in mid-ocean far from land I do my utmost like a man./...He who thinks there is nought to win and will not battle while he may, -- / Be his the blame whate'er the loss, -- taws his faint heart that lost the day./... So I will ever do my best to fight through ocean to the shore;/ While strength holds out I still will strive, nor yield till I can strive no more." Thus we can see that as his motive was noble, so too his effort was noble. Bodhisatta always perform what they have to do bravely and without shrinking back. Even when he was born as a bull the Bodhisatta was brave. In the Kanha Jataka (no29), the Bodhisatta as the bull Kanha pulled five hundred carts across a ford. Even as an animal the Bodhisatta developed the perfection of effort. And the effort so developed remained acquired when he was born as a human. As Prince Kusa, for example, he went through many hardships in order to regain his wife, the Princess Pabhavati (Jataka no531). 7. The effort of the Bodhisatta Mahosadha. The life of Mahosadha is given as one of the lives in which the Bodhisatta perfected wisdom. But this is also a life during which he developed effort. It is through making continual effort that he was able to gain wisdom. He also made efforts motivated by the desire to provide for the well-being of others. These efforts, even though they were not made to develop generosity, virtue or mental development, should be considered as part of the perfection of effort. Some of Mahosadha's actions caused suffering to others. For example, when his country was besieged by King Culani-Brahmadatta's army, Mahosadha humiliated that king's adviser, the Brahman Kevatta. His motive, however, was not to make the enemy suffer but rather to protect the people of his own country. It is like the example of freeing a frog that is about to be eaten by a snake. If one does so in order to make the snake go hungry and thereby cause it suffering, then one acts out of a bad volition. But if one frees the frog in order to protect it, then the motive is good. In scaring away the army of the enemy, Mahosadha prevented them from destroying his own country, Mithila. And he defeated the enemy in a manner that did not do great harm to them. So we can see that Mahosadha acted in the best interest of both countries. 8. Why the Buddha allowed Devadatta to ordain. In "The Questions of King Milinda", the king asks Venerable Nagasena why the Buddha allowed Devadatta to become a bhikkhu if the Buddha knew in advance that Devadatta would create a schism, an act that would result in the worst sort of suffering for an entire world cycle. Venerable Nagasena replies that the Buddha knew that if Davadatta remained a layman he would be destined through his unwholesome volitional actions to unlimited suffering in future lives. But if he ordained as a bhikkhu, he would perform enough wholesome volitional actions to put a limit on that suffering, and would eventually attain release through becoming a Pacceka Buddha. Thus we can see that actions may have good results, but that does not mean there will be no suffering. 9. The importance of energy. Energy plays an important role in connection with other elements leading to concentration, mundane purity and supramundane purity. Its role in leading to supramundane purity is outside the domain of the perfections, however. When one is working for concentration, energy is one of the four mental states of predominance (Adhipati). When it is strong, it can lead on the other three. As a faculty (Indriya) it is one of the twenty-two material and mental faculties and can govern the other faculties accompanying it. In terms of the perfections, this only applies to mundane moral consciousness. It is also one of the five controlling faculties that are part of the thirty-seven Requisites of Enlightenment (Bodhi-pakkhiya-dhamma). As one controlling faculty or as part of the other Requisites of Enlightenment contributes to developing mundane purity. It is also involved in the following Requisites of Enlightenment: the four Right Efforts (Samma-ppadhana), one of the five Mental Powers (Bala), one of the four Bases of Success (Iddhi-pada), one of the seven Factors of Enlightenment (Sambojjhanga), and in the Eightfold Noble Path as Right Exertion (Samma-vayama). Thus we can see the importance of effort as one of the perfections, leading to mundane purity and preparing the way for eventually attaining supramundane purity, Nibbana. ------------------------------------ Worldwide Contact Addresses in the Tradition of Sayagyi U Ba Khin ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ *AUSTRIA*: International Meditation Centre, A-9064 St. Michael/Gurk 6, Austria;Tel: +43 4224 2820, Fax: +43 4224 28204 *EASTERN AUSTRALIA*: International Meditation Centre, Lot 2 Cessnock Road, Sunshine NSW 2264, Australia; Tel: +61 49 705 433, Fax: +61 49 705 749 *UNITED KINGDOM*: International Meditation Centre, Splatts House, Heddington, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 OPE, England; Tel: +44 380 850 238, Fax: +44 380 850 833, Email: CIS, IMC-UK,100330,3304 *USA (East Coast)*: International Meditation Centre, 438 Bankard Road, Westminster MD 21158, USA; Tel: +1 410 346 7889, Fax: +1 410 346 7133; Email: CIS, IMC-USA, 74163,2452 *WESTERN AUSTRALIA*: International Meditation Centre, Lot 78 Jacoby Street, Mahogany Creek WA 6072, Australia; Tel: +61 9 295 2644, Fax: +61 9 295 3435 *CANADA*: IMC-Canada, 336 Sandowne Drive, Waterloo, Ontario, N2K 1V8, Canada; Tel: +1 519 747 4762, Fax: +1 519 725 2781 *GERMANY*: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Gesellschaft, Christaweg 16, 79114 Freiburg, Germany, Tel: +49 761 465 42, Fax: +49 761 465 92 *JAPAN*: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, Komatsuri-Cho 923, Kishiwada-Shi, Osaka-Fu, 596 Japan, Tel: +81 724 45 0057 *THE NETHERLANDS*: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Stichting, Oudegracht 124, 3511 AW Utrecht, The Netherlands, Tel: +31 30 311 445, Fax: +31 30 340 612 *SINGAPORE*: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Association, 9 Penang Road #07-12, Park Mall, Singapore 0923 Tel: +65 338 6911, Fax: +65 336 7211 *SWITZERLAND*: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Gesellschaft, Greyerzstrasse 35, 3013 Bern, Switzerland;Tel: +41 31 415 233, Fax: +41 61 691 8049; Email: CIS, 100256,3576 *USA (West Coast)*: IMC-USA, 77 Kensington Rd., San Anselmo, CA 94960. Tel: +1 415 459 3117, Fax: +1 415 346 7133 *BELGIUM*: Address as for the Netherlands, Tel: +32 2414 1756 *DENMARK*: Contact Address: Mr. Peter Drost-Nissen, Strandboulevarden 117, 3th, 2100 Kopenhagen, Denmark. Tel: 031 425 636 *ITALY*: Contact address: Mr. Renzo Fedele, Via Euganea 94, 35033 Bresseo PD, Italy. Tel: +39 49 9900 752 -------------------------------------------------- Published by the Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, United Kingdom Address as above, registered charity no. 280134 -------------------------------------------------- DISTRIBUTION AGREEMENT TITLE OF WORK: The Perfection of Effort FILENAME: PARAMI-5.ZIP AUTHOR: Saya U Chit Tin, trans. AUTHOR'S ADDRESS: n/a PUBLISHER'S ADDRESS: International Meditation Centre, Splatts House, Heddington, Calne, Wiltshire SN11 OPE, England COPYRIGHT HOLDER: The Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, U.K. DATE OF PUBLICATION: 1987 DATE OF DHARMANET DISTRIBUTION: 1994 ORIGIN SITE: BODY DHARMA * Richmond CA 510/234-9431 DharmaNet (96:101/33) The copyright holder retains all rights to this work and hereby grants electronic distribution rights to DharmaNet International. This work may be freely copied and redistributed electronically, provided that the file contents (including this Agreement) are not altered in any way and that it is distributed at no cost to the recipient. You may make printed copies of this work for your personal use; further distribution of printed copies requires permission from the copyright holder. If this work is used by a teacher in a class, or is quoted in a review, the publisher shall be notified of such use. 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