Finding Patience

How to survive a traffic jam—on the road, or in the heart

Michele McDonald

Shantideva on Patience

All the virtuous deeds and merit,
Such as giving and making offerings,
That we have accumulated over thousands of aeons
Can be destroyed by just one moment of anger.

There is no evil greater than anger,
And no virtue greater than patience.
Therefore, I should strive in various ways
To become familiar with the practice of patience.

If I harbor painful thoughts of anger,
I shall not experience mental peace,
I shall find no joy or happiness,
And I shall be unsettled and unable to sleep.

—Shantideva (687-763 C.E.)

Those who cause me suffering
Are like Buddhas bestowing their blessings.
Since they lead me to liberating paths,
Why should I get angry with them?

Don’t they obstruct your virtuous practice?”
No! There is no virtuous practice greater than patience;
Therefore, I will never get angry
With those who cause me suffering.

If, because of my own shortcomings,
I do not practice patience with my enemy,
It is not he, but I, who prevents me from practicing patience,
The cause of accumulating merit.

—Shantideva

Even while I remain in samsara,
Through patience, I shall attain beautiful forms,
Good health, reputation, very long lives,
And even the extensive happiness of a
chakravatin king [a universal monarch]!

—Shantideva

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