Patient Acceptance of the Path
Discussion led by David C. Clark, Co-Chair Program Committee
We’ve titled the exploration of the Third Dimension of Patience as “Patient Acceptance of the Path”, but it could also be referred to Patience with Dharma, or Patience with the Truth. To me, I believe this Patience with Ourselves means:
1. Being Patient with the Dharma;
2. Being Compassionate with Ourselves;
3. Being Persistent on the path (i.e. even when our practice becomes stale and stagnant we keep at it).
Perfection of Patience: Three Dimensions of Patience by Barbara O’Brien:
The Six Paramitas: Perfection of the Bodhisattva Path by Chan Master Sheng Yen:
Patience with Dharma:
“World-transcending patience goes beyond the experiences of pleasure, pain, fatigue, etc. It is forbearance in integrating the Dharma into one’s life, in accepting the difficulties that come with exertion in practice, and in using one’s time wisely and fully.”
~ Chan Master Sheng Yen.
Lacking Patience in our practice may come from the hindrance of Doubt and obstacles of Uncertainty; or on the other extreme it can result in Spiritual Bypassing.
Doubt & Uncertainty:
Vicāra: Rubbing or Continous Attention is the antidote to doubt:
“Continuous attention is the opposite of doubt, for doubt is indecision. The doubting mind cannot fix itself on any particular object; instead it runs here and there considering possiblities. Obviously, when vicara is present the mind cannot slip from the object and behave in this manner.”
~ Sayadaw U Pandita
“Spiritual bypassing, a term first coined by psychologist John Welwood in 1984, is the use of spiritual practices and beliefs to avoid dealing with our painful feelings, unresolved wounds, and developmental needs. It is much more common than we might think and, in fact, is so pervasive as to go largely unnoticed, except in its more obvious extremes.”
~ Robert Augustus Masters, PhD
Expectation is often the cause of these spiritual dilemmas:
“Do not depend on the hope of results. You may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results, but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. You gradually struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationship that saves everything.”
What does it mean to be Patient on the Path or Patient with the Dharma? Or, without making “truth claims”, what does it mean to Patiently Accept the Truth?
Is Doubt, or Uncertainty, an obstruction to Patience Acceptance on the Path? What is the role of expectation?
If not what prevents you from finding accepting of the Path? How do we cultivate Patience Acceptance of the Dharma?