THE PERFECTION OF PATIENCE (//Khanti-Parami//) Translation by Saya U Chit Tin, WKH Assista
*THE PERFECTION OF PATIENCE*
Translation by Saya U Chit Tin, WKH
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
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
P.O. Box 4951, Berkeley CA
*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
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
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
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.
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
8. The nine causes of anger
9. Irrational anger (//Atthana-kopa//)
10. Patience as a power of the Noble
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*
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
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
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
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
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
7. The distinction between freedom from anger (//Akkodha//) and patience
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//
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
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
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
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Contact address California: Linda H. Kemp-Combes, 1331 33rd Avenue, San
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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,
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BELGIUM: Address as for the Netherlands, Tel: +32 2414 1756
DENMARK: Contact Address: Mr. Peter Drost-Nissen, Strandboulevarden 117,
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JAPAN: Contact address: Mrs. Mindy Martin-Feng, 14-17-201, Aoki-cho,
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Published by the Sayagyi U Ba Khin Memorial Trust, United Kingdom
Address as above, registered charity no. 280134
* * * * *
TITLE OF WORK: The Perfection of Patience (//Khanti-Parami//)
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
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errata.txt) -- have been made to this electronic edition by DharmaNet
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