The Paramita of Diligence

By Khentin Tai Situ Rinpoche
The three aspects of diligence are

  • the armour-like diligence;
  • the diligence of working with effort, applying our knowledge to our way of life and;
  • the diligence of never being satiated with our accumulation of the positive.
The first of these, the armour-like diligence, is based upon the thought or commitment, 'From this very moment on, I will use this precious human existence to attain realization of the ultimate truth for the sake of all beings, so that I may lead them away from suffering and all its causes.' That heartfelt thought is the beginning of the armour-like diligence. Just as armour protects us from the sharpness of weapons, diligence protects us from the power of laziness in all its forms. Otherwise laziness will pull us back, diminish our effort. First we have to learn what we should be doing and then we need to apply ourselves to the practices that we understand clearly, doing so with one-pointed concentration commitment and confidence. With that as our foundation, we can broaden and deepen our understanding of the unfamiliar practices systematically clarifying all our confusion concerning them.

The second aspect, diligent application, has several levels. The first is that in applying our understanding to everyday life, we must make an effort to steer clear of, or get away from, any negative influence which arises. The second is to accumulate whatever is positive and make that a living part of us. The third is to exert great effort in doing whatever is beneficial for others, in either the temporary or eternal sense. In all these practices we start with that which is easiest for us. For instance, it is very easy to start by never hurting anyone and then develop from there to the point where we can really help them.

The third aspect is the diligence of dissatisfaction. It means to have a constant longing to improve whatever we know or do which is positive and beneficial for others. The teachings tell us:

Even if you are going to die tomorrow morning
Still you should learn more,
Even if you have helped everybody,
Still you should help them once more.

If we consider friends and enemies, then to have one billion friends would not be enough and to have even one enemy would be to have too many. We should never be satisfied with our positive accumulations, always recommencing our practice from the very beginning, from the tiniest, simplest things. Whenever we see something which could be done to bring benefit for others, no matter how small, then we should do it, take hold of the opportunity. Whatever is harmful to others we must take any opportunity to stop. Just to avoid the issue and think it does not matter is not good enough. Say, for example, we see a piece of broken glass lying on the ground. It is so simple and easy; we just pick it up and put it in a waste bin. What we do not do is to think, "Oh, there are thousands of people who pass by here - none of them has picked it up so why should I?" Each of us has equal responsibilities. If we consider one drop as nothing, then the whole ocean is nothing because it is composed of drops. If, however, we can accumulate the individual drops one by one, this may one day make a whole ocean.
The Buddhist principle is to be everybody's friend, not to have any enemy.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Meditation means simple acceptance.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
Only the impossible is worth doing.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Whenever we see something which could be done to bring benefit to others, no matter how small, we should do it.
Chamgon Khentin Tai Situ Rinpoche
Freedom is not something you look for outside of yourself. Freedom is within you.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Hasten slowly, you will soon arrive.
Jetsun Milarepa
It doesn’t matter whatever comes, stop judging and it won’t bother you.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
Whatever obstacles arise, if you deal with them through kindness without trying to escape then you have real freedom.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
To tame ourselves is the only way we can change and improve the world.
Choje Lama Yeshe Losal Rinpoche
I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
In the practice of tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama
Strive always to be as kind, gentle and caring as possible towards all forms of sentient life.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Every sentient being is equal to the Buddha.
Chamgon Kentin Tai Situ Rinpoche
Wherever and whenever we can, we should develop compassion at once.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche
Reminding ourselves of how others suffer and mentally putting ourselves in their place, will help awaken our compassion.
Choje Akong Tulku Rinpoche