In Practising Buddhism in a Pandemic this week, Geshe Tashi Tsering continues his commentary on verse 19 of Maitreya’s Prayer of Love, and the Perfection of Patience. Quoting from Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, Geshe Tashi addresses that underlying reluctance we might have to train our minds through meditation or study. At some level we may be thinking ‘Not now’; ‘I’m too busy’; or even, ‘Why bother?’ Bizarrely we tend to consider it easier to try and control the uncertain conditions around us, or to manage those people that cause us difficulties. Geshe la reminds us that this is impossible, like trying to cover the world with leather. Just as a good pair of shoes delivers the same result, we can have the same protection by training our minds.
Once again Geshe Tashi kindly sends us in the direction of Lama Tsongkhapa’s Lam Rim Chenmo volume 2, p.152 – p.179 for further reading. Here we can find the great Tsongkhapa’s top picks from Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. Why does Geshe la encourage us to read further afield? Cultivating patience requires a deeper analysis and a broader perspective on what patience actually is. It is much more than just an acceptance of suffering. It is also determined by the scope of our practice. Seeking various therapies is fine, but it is better to have a long-term solution.
Commenting on Verse 20, Geshe Tashi highlights the importance of joy in the Perfection of Joyous Effort. When it comes to sports or hobbies, we can find joy in hardship and adversity, even when flirting with death. We can bring this enthusiasm into our practice and intentionally cultivate a sense of joy around our dharma studies, practices, and meditations.
Geshe la goes on to discuss the three types of laziness, noting that for the westerners among us, the laziness of busy-ness around sense pleasures and superficial concerns is probably the one to watch. When it comes to the laziness around low self-esteem, Geshe la reminds us that whoever we are, we all have the potential to experience love, compassion, and all those other wonderful qualities. These days we can draw inspiration from the many doctors and nurses around the world who are voluntarily working without a break, out of care and concern for their patients. Instead of dwelling on the negative stories in the media, perhaps we can focus more on the good news.
Finally, after the 21 Tara and dedication verses, Geshe la answers a question put to him in the comments section of this blog. Thank you for your question, Brian, and thank you all for being active members of our community.
With best wishes,
The Admin Team
Maitreya’s Prayer of Love (Verses 19 & 20)
**Patience must be as steady as earth or water,
Not changeable like the wind.
Knowing that both patience and anger do not exist,
I wish to accomplish the perfection of patience.
It is by effort that I must practice the perfection of effort
**Without enjoying laziness.
By the power of mind and body
I wish to accomplish the perfection of effort.
FPMT, translator unknown
** Please check Geshe Tashi’s translation before relying on the one printed here.
Khen Rinpoche Geshe Tashi Tsering taught in London for over 25 years and is currently Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery in Karnataka State, India.