Viriya (also spelled vīriya) pāramī : energy, diligence, vigour, effort
Khanti pāramī : patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance
Sacca pāramī : truthfulness, honesty
Adhiṭṭhāna (adhitthana) pāramī : determination, resolution
By chance, I was given a short book called “The Natural Character of Awakening”, talks by Maha Jan Siricando (1856-1932), recently translated by Venerable Hasapanno. Here is a relevant excerpt:
Viriya, Khanti, Sacca, Adhitthana
These four natural characteristics are interdependent conditions, all supporting and relying on each other. Wherever heroic effort is present, patience, integrity and resolve will have to be there. When they are all present, they become the foundations of empowerment.
There is the proto-typical story of the day the Buddha was about to realize the unsurpassed knowledge of perfect awakening, on the evening of the full moon of Visakha. He sat down in the meditation posture on a pile of grass, at the base of the bodhi tree, turning to face into the eastern direction. He then made this mental resolve: “Until I have realized the Deathless, I will not get up from this seat at all. Should my flesh, blood, bones and sinews dry up and crumble to dust, so be it.”
He then stayed in that same posture all night, and when it was coming to dawn in the last watch of the night, he DID realize the unsurpassed knowledge of perfect awakening. He had succeeded in purifying the aggregates of his disposition.
The determined resolve that “if I haven’t realized the Deathless, I will not get up from this seat at all” was his resolve. Actually sitting there until he was enlightened was his integrity. The endurance that wouldn’t succumb to tiredness and exhaustion was his patience. And his courage in not becoming disheartened until he was able to succeed in his aim was his heroic effort…
I quote this story because it is the highest definition of determination or tenacity. This is not to imply that wishing can make anything so; this moment came about after lifetimes of determined effort to uproot greed, hatred and delusion in the Buddha’s own heart.
We need to understand fully whatever it is we set our hearts upon, what we set as our goals, before attempting this deep determination. We must choose something possible, if difficult, and something that in our heart of hearts we believe is important.
Here’s an opportunity to reflect on what, at this moment of our lives, it is most important to work on in ourselves. Is it patience? Truthfulness? Generosity? Letting go? I leave the question with you.