CHAPTER 6 * Patience.
All the good works gathered in a thousand ages, such as deeds of generosity, and offerings to the Blissful Ones -- a single flash of anger shatters them.
No evil is there similar to anger, no austerity to be compared with patience. Steep yourself, therefore, in patience, in various ways, insistently.
Those tormented by the pain of anger, never know tranquillity of mind -- strangers they will be to every pleasure; they will neither sleep nor feel secure.
Even those dependent on their lord for gracious gifts of honors and of wealth will rise against and slay a master who is filled with wrath and hate.
His family and friend he grieves, and is not served by those his gifts attract. No one is there, all in all, who, being angry, lives at ease.
All these ills are brought about by wrath, our sorrow-bearing enemy. But those who seize and crush their anger down will find their joy in this and future lives.
Getting what I do not want, and all that hinders my desire -- in discontent my anger finds its fuel. From this it grows and beats me down.
Therefore I will utterly destroy the sustenance of this my enemy, my foe who has no other purpose but to hurt and injure me.
So come what may, I’ll not upset my cheerful happiness of mind. Dejection never brings me what I want; my virtue will be warped and marred by it.
If there’s a remedy when trouble strikes, what reason is there for dejection? And if there is no help for it, what use is there in being glum?
Pain, humiliation, insults, or rebukes --we do not want them either for ourselves or these we love. For those we do not like, it’s the reverse!
The cause of happiness is rare, and many are the seeds of suffering! But if I have no pain, I’ll never long for freedom; therefore, O my mind, be steadfast!
The Karna folk and those devoted to the Goddess, endure the meaningless austerities of being cut and burned. So why am I so timid on the path of freedom?
There’s nothing that does not grow light through habit and familiarity. Putting up with little cares I’ll train myself to bear with great adversity!
Don’t I see that this is so with common irritations: bites and stings of snakes and flies, experiences of hunger and of thirst, and painful rashes n my skin?
Heat and cold, the wind and rain, sickness, prison, beatings -- I’ll not fret about such things. To do so only aggravates my trouble.
There are some whose bravery increases, at the sight of their own blood, while some lose all their strength and faint when it’s another’s blood they see!
This results from how the mind is set, in steadfastness or cowardice, and so I’ll scorn all injury, and hardships I will disregard!
When sorrows fall upon the wise, their minds should be serene and undisturbed. For in their war against defiled emotion, many are the hardships, as in every battle.
Thinking scorn of every pain, and vanquishing such foes as hatred: these are exploits of victorious warriors. The rest is slaying what is dead already!
Suffering also has its worth. Through sorrow, pride is driven out and pity felt for those wh wander in samsara; evil is avoided; goodness seems delightful.
I am not angry with my bile and other humors -- fertile source of suffering and pain! So why should living beings give offence, they likewise are impelled by circumstance?
Although they are unlooked for, undesired, these ill afflict us all the same. And likewise, though unwanted and unsought, defilements nonetheless insistently arise.
Never thinking, “Now I will be angry,” people are impulsively caught up in anger. Irritation, likewise, comes though never plans to be experienced!!
All defilements of whatever kind, the whole variety of evil deeds are brought about by circumstances: None is independent, none autonomous.
Conditions, once assembled, have no thought that they will now give rise to some result. Nor does that which is engendered think that it has been produced.
The primal substance, as they say, and that which has been called the self, do not arise designedly, and do not think, “I will become.”
For that which is not born does not exist, so what could want to come to be? And permanently drawn toward its object, it can never cease from being so.
Indeed! This self, if permanent, is certainly inert like space itself. And should it meet with other factors, how could they affect it, since it is unchanging?
If, when conditions act on it, it stays just as it was before, what influence have these conditions had? They say that these are agents of the self, but what connection could there be between them?
All things, then, depend n other things, and these likewise depend; they are not independent. Knowing this, we will not be annoyed at things that are like magical appearances.
“Resistance,” you may say, “is out of place, for what will be opposed by whom?” The stream of sorrow is cut through by patience; there is nothing out of place in our assertion!
Thus, when enemies or friends are seen to act improperly, remain serene and call to mind that everything arises from conditions.
If things could be according to their wish, no suffering would ever come to anyone of all embodied beings, for none of them wants pain of any kind.
Yet carelessly, all unaware, they tear themselves on thorns; and ardent in pursuit of wives and goods, they starve themselves of nourishment.
Some hang themselves or leap into the void, take poison or consume unhealthy food, or by their evil conduct bring destruction on themselves.
For when affliction seizes them, they even slay themselves, the selves they love so much. So how can they not be the cause of others’ bodily distress?
Although we almost never feel compassion for those who, through defilement, bring about their own perdition, what purpose does our anger serve?
If those who are like wanton children are by nature prone to injure others, there’s no reason for our rage; it’s like resenting fire for being hot.
And if their faults are fleeting, and contingent, if living beings are by nature mild, it’s likewise senseless to resent them -- as well be angry at the sky when it is full of smoke!
Although it is their sticks that hurt me, I am angry at the ones who wield them, striking me. But they in turn are driven by their hatred; therefore with their hatred I should take offence.
In just the same way in the past I it was who injured living beings. Therefore it is right that injury should come to me their torturer.
Their weapons and my body -- both are causes of my torment! They their weapons, I my body brandished; who then is more worthy of my rage?
This body -- running sore in human form -- merely touched, it cannot stand the pain! I’m the one who grasped it in my blind attachment, whom should I resent when pain occurs?
We who are like children shrink from pain, but love its cause. We hurt ourselves through our misdeeds! So why should others be the object of our rage?
And who indeed should I be angry with? This pain is all my own contriving -- likewise all the janitors of hell and all the groves of razor trees!
Those who harm me rise against me -- it’s my karma that has summoned them. And if through this these beings go to hell, is it not I who bring their ruin?
Because of them, and through my patience, all my many sins are cleansed and purified. But they will be the ones who, thanks to me, will have the long-drawn agonies of hell.
Therefore I am their tormentor! Therefore it is they who bring me benefit! Thus with what perversity, pernicious mind, will you be angry with your enemies?
If a patient quality of mind is mine, I shall avoid the pains of hell. But though indeed I save myself, what of my foes, what fate’s in store for them?
If I repay them harm for harm, indeed they’ll not be saved thereby. My conduct will in turn be marred, austerity of patience brought to nothing.
Because the mind is bodiless it cannot be destroyed by anyone. Because of mind’s attachment to the body this body is oppressed by pain.
Scorn and hostile words, and comments that I do not like to hear -- my body is not harmed by them. What reason do you have, O mind, for your resentment?
The enmity that others show me, since in this or future lives it cannot actually devour me, why should I be so averse to it?
Perhaps I turn from it because it hinders me from having what I want. But all my property I’ll leave behind, while sins will keep me steady company.
Better far for me to die today, than live a long and evil life. However long the days of those like me, the pain of dying will be all the same.
One man dreams he lives a hundred years of happiness, but then he wakes. Another dreams an instant’s joy, but then he likewise wakes.
And when they wake, the happiness of both is finished, never to return. Likewise, when the hour of death comes round, our lives are over, whether brief or long.
Though we be rich in worldly goods, delighting in our wealth for many years, despoiled and stripped as though by thieves, we must go naked and with empty hands.
Perhaps we’ll claim that by our wealth we live, and living, gather merit, dissipating evil. But if we are aggressive for the sake of profit, won’t our gains be evil, all our merits lost?
And if the aim for which we live is thereby wasted and undone, what use is there in living thus, when evil is the only consequence?
And if, when people slander us, we claim our anger is because they injure others, how it is we do not resent their slander when it’s aimed at someone else?
And if we bear with this antipathy because it’s due to other factors, why are we impatient when they slander us? Defilement, after all, has been the cause of it.
Even those who vilify and undermine The Sacred Doctrine, images, and stupas are not proper objects of our anger. Buddhas are themselves untouched thereby.
And even if our teachers, relatives, and friends are now the object of aggression, all derives from factors, as we have explained, this we should perceive and curb our wrath.
Beings suffer injury alike from lifeless things as well as living beings. So why be angry only with the latter? Rather let us simply bear with harm.
Some do evil things because of ignorance, some respond with anger, being ignorant. Which of them is faultless in such acts? To whom shall error be ascribed?
Instead, why did they act in times gone by that they are now so harmed at others’ hands? Since everything depends n karma, why should I be angry at such things?
This I see and therefore, come what may, I’ll hold fast to the virtuous path and foster in the hearts of all an attitude of mutual love.
Now when a building is ablaze and flames leap out from house to house, the wise course is to take and fling away the straw and anything that spreads the fire.
And so, in fear that merit might be all consumed, we should at once cast far away our mind’s attachments: Tinder for the fiery flames of hate.
Is it not a happy chance if when, condemned to death, a man is freed, his hand cut off in ransom for his life? And is it not a happy chance if now, to escape hell, I suffer only the misfortunes of the human state?
If even these, my present pains, are now beyond my strength to hear, why do I not cast off my anger, cause of future sorrows in infernal torment?
For sake of gaining all that I desired, a thousand times I underwent the tortures of the realms of hell -- achieving nothing for myself and others.
The present aches are nothing to compare with those, and yet great benefits will come from them, these troubles that dispel the pain of wanderers -- it’s only right that I rejoice in them.
When others take delight in giving praise to those endowed with talents, why, O mind, do you not find a joy likewise in praising them?
The pleasure that is gained therefrom itself gives rise to blameless happiness. It’s urged on us by all the holy ones, and is the perfect way of winning others.
“But they’re the ones who’ll have the happiness,” you say. If this then is a joy you would resent, abandon paying wages and returning favors. You will be the loser -- both in this life and the next!
When praise is heaped upon your qualities, you’re keen that others should be pleased thereby. But when the compliment is paid to others, you feel no inclination to rejoice as well.
You who want the happiness of beings have wished to be enlightened for their sake. So why should others irk you when they find some pleasure for themselves?
And if you claim to wish that beings be enlightened, honored by the triple world, when petty marks of favor come their way, why are you so discomforted?
When dependents who rely on you, to whom you are obliged to give support, find for themselves the means of livelihood, will you not be happy, will you once again be angry?
If even this you do not want for beings, how could you want Buddhahood for them? And how can anyone have bodhichitta who is angry when another prospers?
If someone else receives a gift, or if that gift stays in the benefactor’s house, in neither case will it be yours -- so, given or withheld, why is it your concern?
All your merit and the faith of others, all your sterling qualities -- why throw them all away? No holding onto what might bring you riches, tell me, why are you not angry at yourself?
Not only do you feel no sorrow for the evils you have done, you even wish to match yourself with those whose merit has been earned!
If unhappiness befalls your enemies, why should this be cause for your rejoicing? The wishes of your mind alone will not in fact contrive their injury.
And if your hostile wishes were to bring them harm, again, what cause of joy is that to you? “Why then I would be satisfied!” -- are these your thoughts? Is anything more ruinous than that?
Caught upon the book, unbearable and sharp, cast by the fisherman, my own defilements, I’ll be flung into the cauldrons of the pit, and surely boiled by all the janitors of hell!
Veneration, praise, and fame serve not to increase merit or my span of life, bestowing neither health nor strength and nothing for the body’s ease.
If I am wise in what is good for me, I’ll ask what benefit these bring. For if it’s entertainment I desire, I might as well resort to alcohol and cards!
I lose my life, my wealth I squander, all for reputations’ sake. What use are words, and whom will they delight when I am dead and in my grave?
Children can’t help crying when their sand castles come crumbling down. My mind is so like them when praise and reputation start to fail.
Short-lived sound, devoid of intellect, can never in itself intend to praise me, I say that it’s the joy that others take in me, it’s this that is the cause f my delight.
But what is it to me if others take delight in someone else, or even in my self? Their pleasure’s theirs and theirs alone. No part of it is felt by me.
If I am happy at the joy of those who take delight, then everyone should be a source of joy to me. When people take delight in others why am I not happy at their pleasure?
The satisfaction that is mind from thinking, “I am being praised,” is unacceptable to common sense and nothing but the antics of a silly child.
Praise and compliments distract me, sapping my revulsion with samsara, I start to envy others their good qualities and thus all excellence is ruined.
Those who stay close by me, then, to damage my good name and cut me down to size -- are surely there protecting me from falling into the realms of grief.
For I am one who strives for freedom. I must not be caught by wealth and honors. How could I be angry with the ones who work to free me from my fetters?
They, like Buddha’s very blessing, bar my way, determines as I am to plunge myself headlong in sorrow: how can I be angry with them?
I should not be irritated, saying, “they are obstacles to my good deeds.” For is not patience the supreme austerity, and should I not abide by this?
And if I fail to practice patience, hindered by my own shortcomings, I myself create impediments to merit’s causes, yet so close at hand.
If something does not come to be when something else is absent, and does arise, that factor being present, that factor is indeed its cause. How can it, then, be said to hinder it?
The beggars who arrive at proper times are not an obstacle to generosity. We cannot say that those who give the vows are hindrances to ordination!
The beggars in this world are numerous; assailants are comparatively few. For if I do no harm to others, others do no injury to me.
So, like a treasure found at home, that I have gained without fatigue, my enemies are helpers in my Bodhisattva work and therefore they should be a joy to me.
Since I have grown in patience thanks to them, to them its first fruits I should give, for of my patience they have been the cause.
And if I say my foes should not be honored since they did not mean to stimulate my patience, why do I revere the Sacred Dharma, cause indeed of my attainment?
“These enemies conspired to harm me,” I protest, “and therefore should receive no honors.” But had they worked to help me like a doctor, how could I have brought forth patience?
Thanks to those whose minds are full of malice I engender patience in myself. they therefore are the causes of my patience, fit for veneration, like the Dharma.
And so the mighty Sage has spoken of the field of beings as well as of the field of Conquerors. Many who brought happiness to beings, have passed beyond, attaining to perfection.
Thus the state of Buddhahood depends on beings and on Buddhas equally, what kind of practice is it then that honors only Buddhas but not beings?
Not in the qualities of their minds but in the fruits they give are they alike. In beings, too, such excellence resides, and therefore beings and Buddhas are the same.
Offerings made to those with loving minds reveal the eminence of living beings. Merit that accrues from faith in Buddha shows in turn the Buddha’s eminence.
Although not one of them in equal to the Buddhas, who are oceans of perfections, because they have a share in bringing forth enlightenment, beings may be likened to the Buddhas.
If of such a gathering of supreme excellence a tiny part appeared in certain beings, the three worlds made in offering to them would be a very little things.
Since there lies in beings a share in bringing forth the supreme and enlightened state, by virtue of this parity alone it’s right that I should reverence them.
The Buddhas are my true, unfailing friends boundless are the benefits they bring to me. How else may I repay their goodness but by making living beings happy?
By helping beings we repay the ones who sacrifice their lives for us and plunge into the hell of Unrelenting Pain. Should beings therefore do great harm to me, I’ll strive to bring them only benefit.
For those who have become my lords, at times, took care not even of their bodies. Why should I, a fool, behave with such conceit? Why should I not become the slave of others?
Buddhas are made happy by the joy of beings. They sorrow, they lament when beings suffer. By bringing joy to beings, then, I please the Buddhas also; by wounding them, I would the Buddhas too.
Just as there’s no sensual delight to please the mind of one whose body burns in fire, there is no way to please the great compassionate ones while we ourselves are causes of another’s pain.
The damage I have done to beings saddens all the Buddhas in their great compassion. Therefore, all these evils I confess today and pray that they will bear with my offences.
That I might rejoice the Buddhas’ hearts. Henceforth I will be master of myself, the servant of the world. I shall not seek revenge though crowds may trample on my head or kill me. Let the Guardians of the world rejoice!
The great compassionate lords consider as themselves all beings -- there’s no doubt of this. Those whom I perceive as beings are Buddhas in themselves; how can I not treat them with respect?
This very thing is pleasing to the Buddhas’ hearts and perfectly secures the welfare of myself. Ths will drive away the sorrows of the world, and therefore it will be my constant works.
Imagine that the steward of a king does injury to multitudes of people. Those with clear, farseeing eyes do not respond with violence even if they can.
For stewards, after all, are not alone. They are supported by the kingly power. Therefore I will not despise the feeble beings tormenting me.
Their allies are the guardians of hell and also the compassionate Buddhas. Therefore living beings all will gratify as subjects might placate a wrathful king.
And yet, the pains of hell to be endured through making living beings suffer -- could these ever be unleashed on me by all the ire of such a king?
And even if that king were pleased, enlightenment he could not give to me. For this will only be achieved by bringing happiness to beings.
No need to mention future Buddhahood, achieved through bringing happiness to beings. How can I not see that glory, fame, and pleasure even in this life will likewise come?
For patience in samsara brings such things as beauty, health, and good renown. Its fruit is great longevity, the vast contentment of a universal king.