Patience or kshanti is the third of the six paramitas in Mahayana Buddhism. These “perfections” are qualities that a bodhisattva manifests and develops on the spiritual path, and as such, they are a profound means for practice and realization. Shantideva, an 8th century monk and author of the well-known The Way of the Bodhisattva, described patience as both the antidote for anger, and a great austerity. It’s an austerity because requires that we renounce our desire and anticipation in order to be fully present to the completeness of this moment.
In this retreat we’ll explore Shantideva’s teachings on anger, hatred, patience, and impatience, focusing particularly on the skillful means needed to work with strong emotions. We’ll study how zazen and the practice of patience paramita can be anchors to stabilize our body and mind through what can sometimes feel like powerful mental or physical storms. And we’ll discuss how when we “steep ourselves in patience, insistently and in various ways,” as Shantideva says, we simultaneously choose to turn towards the alleviation of our suffering.
Recommended reading: Chapter 6 in The Way of the Bodhisattva by Vesna A. Wallace and B. Alan Wallace, and “Working with Anger” and “Specific Situations for Practicing Patience” in No Time to Lose by Pema Chodron.