For me, one of the biggest struggles in life has been controlling my patience, or actually having any patience at all to control. It is probably one of the biggest fights I will ever have in my life, I am even struggling right now because I am inpatient to finish this blog post.
Patience and compassion are often considered some of the most essential virtues for happiness. Without them, it is quite impossible for one to be happy. What I mean by happy here, is the ability to go through life dealing “patiently” with obstacles and situations, not allowing them to alter your state of mind. You are basically able to keep your cool.
Compassion, particularly in Buddhism, is related to the ability to realize that just as you are suffering and want happiness, so does everyone else. It is related to the realization that we all have similar goals and wishes and that by being compassionate to each other, we are compassionate to ourselves.
Back to Patience
For those of you who struggle with patience like me, I want to discuss some verses from Bodhicaryavatara (The Chapter on Patience) which have been particularly helpful to me for finding it within me to be more patient.
The first verse
Whatever wholesome deeds,
Such as venerating the Buddhas and [practicing] generosity,
That have been amassed over a thousand eons,
Will all be destroyed in one moment of anger.
What that means to me personally is that no matter how great you have been to others and yourself, no matter how patient you have been, no matter what amazing great deeds you’ve done – it can all apart in seconds if you give in to anger.
Being rude to someone even for a second because of anger can sabotage your whole relationship. Being angry at anyone at all, will actually not allow you to have peace of mind anymore, ruining your whole mindset.
Thus, it is important not to give in to the momentary feelings of anger and try to rise above them.
The second verse
There is no evil like hatred,
And no fortitude like patience.
Thus I should strive in various ways
To meditate on patience.
The greatest evil is sometimes considered hatred, it is the feeling you never want to feel as it can lead to horrible disruption of the mind, sleepless night and make it hard for you to get back to peace.
Thus, this verse notes the importance on focusing on patience rather than giving into the idea and temptation of hatred. Focus your mind on being patient.
The third verse
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.
This further notes what I mentioned earlier – that if you give into anger or hatred, you will be unable to experience peace, which will generate even further negativity into your life. That negativity will stop you from experiencing joy or happiness, give you sleepless nights and an unsettled mind that will take a while to be put back in peace. You would have exited your state of peace to a rocky state of unsettleness.
Repeat the verse when you need it
It is easy for us to forget the costs of letting our anger lose or giving into hatred. Write this verse down and whenever you feel you are giving into anger you can read it and be remembered of the consequences. We often forget how important keeping peace of mind is and how unworthy it is to give into anger and hatred and lose all we have built so far.