It’s almost impossible for a day to go by without something disturbing us. From minor irritations to major problems, life lines us up with irritations and frustrations. It doesn’t have to be that way. When we know how valuable having patience is and when we have the tools to develop patience we can turn our life around.
Buddhism lists six perfections that are a bodhisattva’s actions, of which patience is the third. It’s more than just putting up with a long wait at a soggy bus stop. Within the perfection of patience is the art of dealing with problematic situations—seeing how we can turn those around and grow from them—and the skill of not retaliating against or feeling anger towards those who harm us but, instead, seeing how they provide us with the opportunity to profoundly transform our mind.
Using verses from the patience chapter of A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, by the wonderful fifth century master Shantideva, we will explore how important patience is and how we can begin to develop and perfect it.
“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?”
Shantideva, ‘A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’