THE PERFECTION OF PATIENCE (//Khanti-Parami//) Translation by Saya U Chit Tin, WKH Assista

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*THE PERFECTION OF PATIENCE* (//Khanti-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/d 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 ---------------------------------- *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. --------------------------------------------- *Contents* Introduction 1. The meaning of patience 2. Patience and the mental formations 3. The example of the Ven. Punna 4. The questions of Sakka 5. Sakkas patience 6. The Bodhisatta as a teacher of patience (//Khanti-vadin//) 7. The distinction between freedom from anger (//Akkhoda//) and patience (//Khanti//) 8. The nine causes of anger 9. Irrational anger (//Atthana-kopa//) 10. Patience as a power of the Noble --------------------------------------------- *INTRODUCTION* The perfection of patience means even-mindedness: not getting carried away when praised and not being dejected when criticized. Another aspect of patience is mentioned in the "Treatise." This is patience with regards to understanding the Buddha's Teachings (//Dhamma-nijhana-khanti//). This means "the intellectual acceptance of doctrines which are not yet completely clear to the understanding,... a willingness to acquiesce... in the confidence that the growth of wisdom will transform this acquiescence into clear and certain knowledge." Being patient with regards to one's own degree of understanding would be the intermediate stage between acquiring faith in the Dhamma and "fully grasping it by immediate insight." As with effort, we can see the importance of mental attitude in patience. If we are not spontaneously patient, we can at least make the effort to restrain physical and verbal expressions of impatience. If we observe ourselves closely, however, we will probably find that if we are not yet mentally patient, subtle expression of our dissatisfaction will escape before we can control ourselves. As Sayagyi U Ba Khin pointed out to one of his American students, impatience means that anger is present. As we learn to observe ourselves and see what happens in our minds objectively, we will better understand what true patience entails. When it is not present, we will experience discomfort, and understanding can aid us to let go the harmful mental attitudes that cause this discomfort in us. Saya U Chit Tin Heddington, January 19, 1986 //Namo tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammasambuddhassa// --------------------------------------------- *THE PERFECTION OF PATIENCE* *(//KHANTI PARAMI//)* 1. The meaning of patience. Patience (//Khanti//) is generally shown in the Pali texts to mean that one should not be elated when one is praised or upset if criticized. In the first discourse in the Suttas (//Brahmajala-sutta//), the Buddha tells the bhikkhus, "If others speak in dispraise of me, or in dispraise of the Dhamma, or in dispraise of the Sangha, you should not give way to resentment, displeasure, or animosity against them in your heart.... And if others speak in praise of me, or in praise of the Dhamma, or in praise of the Sangha, you should not give way to jubilation, joy, and exultation in your heart." The commentary points out that this means developing equipoise when faced with dispraise or praise. (The commentary makes it clear that rapture and joy connected with renunciation are not included here. The type of enjoyment condemned here by the Buddha is rapture associated with greed. It is worldly joy leading to possessiveness.) In more general circumstances, patience should be developed in order to experience favorable circumstances in life without greed and unfavorable circumstances without hate. Only when we can do this are we truly patient. "A Treatise on the Paramis" says, "The perfection of patience is the endurance of harm imposed by beings and formations (//Sankhara//), or the act of consciousness occurred in such a mode, predominated by non-aversion and accompanied by compassion and skilful means." In "The Expositor", patience is defined as "the state of forbearance in a patient person." Later in the same commentary, it is given as one of five restraints (virtue, mindfulness, knowledge, patience and effort) which helps discipline the average, untrained man. In that context, patience is mentioned as involving endurance of cold and heat. Some scholars prefer to reserve the term patience for situations in which one remains calm and does not become angry. They do not wish to include remaining calm when one is praised, as they feel this belongs better under the Perfection of Equanimity (//Upekkha//). This viewpoint is not inconsistent with the commentaries. On the other hand, patience may be considered to mean tolerance of others and whatever happens in life, whereas equanimity may be considered to mean being indifferent towards them -- without love or hate. As the Venerable Ledi Sayadaw said in his //Mangala-sutta-nissaya//, "Patience means one does not fall prey to anger when one encounters hardships. 2. Patience and the mental formations. Effort (//Viriya//) and wisdom (//Panna//), the preceding perfections, are part of the group of mental formations (//Sankhara-khanda//) in the five groups (//Khanda//) of existence. Effort is one of the secondary, general formations which are part of all consciousness. Wisdom (as non-delusion, //Amoha//) is a secondary lofty (moral) formation, not in all moral consciousness. Patience (//Khanti//), when it is present, comes in under the mental concomitant of lack of ill will or hate (//Adosa//), which is in all lofty consciousness. Its characteristic is not being angry. But all lack of ill will is not patience. Lack of ill will is associated with all moral or neutral consciousness. Patience is only present when a moral or neutral consciousness arises due to an action that could arouse anger. 3. The example of the Venerable Punna. The attitude of Venerable Punna is a good example of the type of patience one should develop. He asked the Buddha for a brief discourse to serve him in his efforts. After teaching him, the Buddha asked him where he was going to live. Punna answered that he would live in the Sunaparanta district. The Buddha then pointed out to him that the people in that district were hotheaded and rough. What would he do if the people reviled and abused him? Punna answered that he would be glad that they did not strike him a blow with their hands. If they did that, then he would be glad they did not strike him with clods of earth. If they did that, then he would be glad they did not strike him with a knife. But if they killed him with a knife, he would think of those who were so disgusted with the misery of life they committed suicide. And he would think of the people as ending the misery of his life without his having to do it himself. After hearing the answers, the Buddha approved of them and said, "Possessed of such self-control as this, you will be well able to dwell in the district of the people of Sunaparanta." 4. The questions of Sakka. In the //Sarabhanga Jataka// (no 552), Sakka, the king of the deva realm of the Thirty-three, asks the Bodhisatta Sarabhanga several questions. The first three questions have to do with patience. "What can one slay without repenting later?" he asks. "What can one throw away with everyone's approval? Whose harsh speech should one put up with?" The Bodhisatta answered: "One may slay anger without repenting later. Everyone approves of throwing away hypocrisy. One should put up with harsh speech from everyone, for wise men call this the highest degree of patience." Sakka then says that it is clear that one should hear with patience whatever those who are superior or one's equal say, but why should one tolerate rude speech coming from one's inferiors? The Bodhisatta answers: "One may put up with rude speech from those superior to oneself through fear, or rude speech from those who are equal in order to avoid a quarrel. But wise men teach that putting up with rude words coming from inferiors is perfect patience." 5. Sakka's patience. The Buddha told the story of how Sakka was patient with his enemy, the Asura Vepacitti. In a battle between the devas of the realm of the Thirty- three (//Tavatimsa//) and the Asuras, the Devas captured Vepacitti, bound him and took him to their king, Sakka. Vepacitti reviled Sakka with harsh words, but Sakka calmly endured the insults. After Vepacitti was taken away, Sakka's chariot-driver, Matali, asked him why he did not respond to the insults. Vepacitti might think that Sakka did not reply because he was afraid. Sakka answered Matali with the following verses: If he likes, let him think it is due to fear or not that I endure this. A higher good than the supreme ideal of patience cannot be found. Indeed, whoever is strong is calm and endures the weak. They say this patience is the highest: to always be forbearing of the weak. Those who say the strength of the ignorant is (true) strength will call the strong man weak. It cannot be that one who observes the Teachings (//Dhamma//) will regress in strength. Therefore, he who returns anger with anger is the more wicked. He wins the difficult victory who conquers in the battle by not returning anger with anger. He acts in the interests of both himself and others. Knowing another to be enraged, he who is mindful becomes calm. He cures both himself and the other person. People who consider him to be ignorant are themselves ignorant of true wisdom (//Dhamma//). 6. The Bodhisatta as a teacher of patience (//Khanti-vadin//). The above examples show us the sort of patience that should be exercised when faced with verbal and physical abuse. In the //Khantivadi Jataka// (no. 313) there is an example of the patience of the Bodhisatta even when tortured to death. The Bodhisatta Kundakakumara resided as an ascetic in a royal park. One day, King Kalabu went to the park with a group of dancers. When he went to sleep, a group of women went to listen to a discourse given by the Bodhisatta. When the king woke up and saw them he was angry. "What doctrine are you preaching?" he asked. And the Bodhisatta said he was preaching the doctrine of patience, not being angry when men abuse you and strike you and revile you. The king decided to test his patience and called in his executioner. The king had him scourged with a lash of thorns and then asked again what doctrine he preached. "The doctrine of patience, your highness," the Bodhisatta replied. "You imagine that my patience is only skin deep. It is not skin deep, but is fixed deep within my heart where it cannot be seen by you, sire.." And the king got the same answer to his question when he had the Bodhisatta's hands, feet, nose and ears cut off. 7. The distinction between freedom from anger (//Akkodha//) and patience (//Khanti//). As we have seen, patience is not becoming angry when others abuse one verbally or physically. //Akkodha// (freedom from anger, meekness, conciliation), on the other hand, refers to not being angry with others in general situations. For example, if a man employs others to do a specific job, but they are not able to do it satisfactorily even though they do their best, he should not be angry with them. Both terms are included in the ten kinds of virtuous conduct of kings in the //Maha-Hamsa Jataka// (no. 534). 8. The nine causes of anger. We can see in the nine causes of strife or quarrelling how anger arises. The nine causes include anger which arises in relation to oneself, to loved ones, or to enemies regarding actions in the past, present, or future: 1 - 3 One is angry in relation to oneself, thinking, "He has harmed me... is harming me... or will harm me." 4 - 6 One is angry in relation to loved ones, thinking, "He has harmed my loved ones... is harming them... or will harm them." 7 - 9 One is angry in relation to enemies, thinking, "He has helped my enemies... is helping them... or will help them." The way to suppress this anger is to remind oneself in each case that another person's wrong actions will not benefit him. Venerable Buddhaghosa points out that we should review the fact that each person inherits the results of his own deeds. We should remember with regards to ourselves, "Now what is the point of your getting angry with him?... By doing this you are like a man who wants to hit another and picks up a burning ember or excrement in his hand and so first burns himself or makes himself stink." Regarding the other person we should remember, "And what is the point of his getting angry with you? Will it not lead to his own harm? For that venerable one is owner of his deeds, heir to his deeds... By doing this he is like a man who wants to throw dust at another against the wind and only covers himself with it." 9. Irrational anger (//Atthana-kopa//). A person can also become angry over impersonal situations. For example, a person may be angry because it is raining or windy or too hot. This irrational anger generally arises for those who are unable to think or reason correctly. Restraining such anger will lead to freedom from anger (//Akkodha//). 10. Patience as a power of the Noble. In a list of eight types of power (//Bala//), patience is given as the power of Samanas and Brahmans: 1) children are strong in crying, 2) women in being angry, 3) robbers in weapons, 4) kings in governing, 5) fools in discontent and taking offense, 6) wise men in understanding, 7) the very learned in discrimination, and 8) Samanas and Brahmans in patience. In conclusion, let us end with a quotation from the "Treatise": "Patience is an ocean on account of its depth; a shore bounding the great ocean of hatred; a panel closing off the door to the plane of misery; a staircase ascending to the worlds of the Devas and Brahmas; the ground for the habitation of all noble qualities; the supreme purification of body, speech and mind." ------------------------------------------------------------ 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: International Meditation Centre, 446 Bankard Road, Westminster MD 21158, USA; Tel: +1 410 346 7889, Fax: +1 410 346 7282 Email: CIS, IMC- USA, 74163,2452 Contact address California: Linda H. Kemp-Combes, 1331 33rd Avenue, San Francisco, California 94122, USA. WESTERN AUSTRALIA: International Meditation Centre, Lot 78 Jacoby Street, Mahogany Creek WA 6072, Australia; Tel: +61 9 295 2644, Fax: +61 9 295 3435 GERMANY: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Gesellschaft, Christaweg 16, 79114 Freiburg, Germany, Tel: +49 761 465 42, Fax: +49 761 465 92 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, 10 Anson Road #24-04A, International Plaza, Singapore 0207, Tel: +65 281 3381, Fax: +65 225 4021 SWITZERLAND: Sayagyi U Ba Khin Gesellschaft, Greyerzstrasse 35, 3013 Bern, Switzerland; Tel: +41 31 415 233, Fax: +41 61 691 8049 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 JAPAN: Contact address: Mrs. Mindy Martin-Feng, 14-17-201, Aoki-cho, Akedia 21, Nishinomiya-Shi,Hyogo - 662, Japan. Tel: 0798-74-4769 ITALY: Contact address: Mr. Renzo Fedele, Via Euganea 94, 35033 Bresseo PD, Italy. Tel: +39 55 603 333 -------------------------------------------------- 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 Patience (//Khanti-Parami//) FILENAME: PARAMI-6.ZIP AUTHOR: Ven. Ngarkhon Sayadaw (1935), et al. 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 * Berkeley CA 510/836-4717 DharmaNet (96:101/33.0) [Note: The text was written as an appendix to a Burmese work called "Mahabuddhavamsa" based on the Buddhavamsa and its commentary. The text was written by Venerable Ngarkhon Sayadaw and was first published in 1935 by the Zambumeikswe Pitaka Press and Publishing House. For the 1960 edition, additional material was added by a layman, Aggamaha-pandita Sayagyi U Lin, M.A., Venerable Tipitakadhara Dhammabhandagarika Sayadaw (Ashin Vicittasarabhivamsa, Aggamaha-pandita) was responsible for polishing the text and using an up-todate vocabulary in Burmese. The Burmese translation has been adapted for western readers and at times more details have been given so people without prior knowledge of Buddhism could also read the text. The responsibility for the English version lies entirely with IMC-UK. Some changes -- reformatting and corrections (see errata.txt) -- have been made to this electronic edition by DharmaNet International.] 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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