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An enlightened being is said to respond correctly to all situations without having to consult a list of rules. In the practice of sila paramita, we develop selfless compassion. Along the way, we practice renunciation and gain an appreciation for karma. Ksanti is patience, tolerance, forbearance, endurance, or composure.

It literally means "able to withstand. The perfection of ksanti begins with acceptance of the Four Noble Truths, including the truth of suffering dukkha. Through practice, our attention turns away from our own suffering and toward the suffering of others. Accepting truth refers to accepting difficult truths about ourselves--that we are greedy, that we are mortal--and also accepting the truth of the illusory nature of our existence.

Virya is energy or zeal. It comes from an ancient Indian-Iranian word that means "hero," and it is also the root of the English word "virile. To practice virya paramita , we first develop our own character and courage. We engage in spiritual training, and then we dedicate our fearless efforts to the benefit of others. Dhyana, Buddhist meditation is a discipline intended to cultivate the mind.

Dhyana also means "concentration," and in this case, great concentration is applied to achieve clarity and insight. A word closely related to dhyana is samadhi , which also means "concentration. Dhyana and samadhi are said to be the foundations of wisdom, which is the next perfection. In Mahayana Buddhism, wisdom is the direct and intimate realization of sunyata , or emptiness.

Very simply, this is the teaching that all phenomena are without self-essence or independent existence. Prajna is the ultimate perfection that includes all other perfections. The late Robert Aitken Roshi wrote:. That all phenomena are without self-essence may not strike you as especially wise, but as you work with prajna teachings the significance of sunyata becomes more and more evident, and the importance of sunyata to Mahayana Buddhism cannot be overstated.

However, this wisdom cannot be understood by intellect alone. So how do we understand it? Through the practice of the other perfections--generosity, morality, patience, energy. Share Flipboard Email. Kraft, Kenneth. Kraft, Kenneth, ed.

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