Patience

From A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life

Shantiveda

Whatever wholesome deeds,
Such as venerating the Buddhas, and generosity,
That have been amassed over a thousand aeons
Will all be destroyed in one moment of anger.

There is no evil like hatred,
And no fortitude like patience.
Thus I should strive in various ways
To meditate on patience.

My mind will not experience peace
If it fosters painful thoughts of hatred.
I shall find no joy or happiness,
Unable to sleep, I shall feel unsettled.

A master who has hatred
Is in danger of being killed
Even by those who for their wealth and happiness
Depend upon his kindness.

Hence the enemy, anger,
Creates sufferings such as these,
But whoever assiduously overcomes it
Finds happiness now and hereafter.

Therefore I should totally eradicate
The fuel of this enemy;
For this enemy has no other function
Than that of causing me harm.

Whatever befalls me
I shall not disturb my mental joy;
For having been made unhappy, I shall not accomplish
what I wish
And my virtues will decline.

Why be unhappy about something
If it can be remedied?
And what is the use of being unhappy about something
If it cannot be remedied?

For myself and for my friends
I want no suffering, no disrespect,
No harsh words and nothing unpleasant;
But for my enemies it is the opposite.

The causes of happiness sometimes occur
But the causes for suffering are very many.
Without suffering there is no renunciation.
Therefore, mind, you should stand firm.

There is nothing whatsoever
That is not made easier through acquaintance.
So through becoming acquainted with small harms
I should learn to patiently accept greater harms.

Who has not seen this to be so with trifling sufferings
Such as the bites of snakes and insects,
Feelings of hunger and thirst
And with such minor things as rashes?

I should not be impatient
With heat and cold, wind and rain,
Sickness, bondage and beatings;
For if I am, the harm they cause me will increase.

From A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, translated by Stephen Batchelor, published by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, Dharamsala, 1979.

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