Character & Courage: The Development of Virtue

Character & Courage: The Development of Virtue
Theme: Energy

Discussion led by Phil Brown, President

Character and Courage: The Development of Virtue

The practice of the Virtues necessary for the attainment of truth too often takes second place to the intellectual acquisition of facts, and more and more facts — an avenue that leads to spiritual sterility.

-James A. Long


A Review: Virtue in Buddhism


The Paramitas or Paramis (perfections): Dāna (generosity), Sīla (proper conduct), Nekkhamma (renunciation), Paññā (wisdom), Viriya (energy), Khanti (patience), Sacca (honesty), Adhiṭṭhāna (determination), Mettā (Good-Will), Upekkhā (equanimity). Practicing these creates an atmosphere of trust, respect, and security.

The Four divine abidings (Brahmaviharas) are seen as central virtues and intentions in Buddhist ethics, psychology and meditation. The four divine abidings are good will (also translated as loving kindness), compassion, empathetic joy, and equanimity. Developing these virtues through meditation and right action promotes happiness, generates good merit and trains the mind for ethical action.

The Five Precepts (taking refuge): to abstain from taking life; from taking what is not given; from sensual misconduct; from false speech; from intoxicants, which are the basis for heedlessness. These are not commands but a set of voluntary commitments or guidelines to help one live a life in which one is happy, without worries, and able to meditate well. The precepts are supposed to prevent suffering and to weaken the effects of greed, hatred and delusion. (Adapted from Wikipedia)

The Parami of Viriya — Energy


May I be energetic, vigorous and persevering! May I strive diligently until I achieve my goal! May I be fearless in facing dangers and courageously surmount all obstacles! May I be able to serve others to the best of my ability! (Buddhism in a Nutshell)


Energy, from which spring persistence and determination for the seeing of the truly real, (Practical Advice for Meditators)

Two examples:

  • Sound is not a thing that dwells inside the conch-shell and comes out from time to time, but due to both, the conch-shell and the man that blows it, sound comes to arise: Just so, due to the presence of vitality, heat and consciousness, this body may execute the acts of going, standing, sitting and lying down, and the 5 sense-organs and the mind may perform their various functions.


  • Just as a wooden puppet though unsubstantial, lifeless and inactive may by means of pulling strings be made to move about, stand up, and appear full of life and activity; just so are mind and body, as such, something empty, lifeless and inactive; but by means of their mutual working together, this mental and bodily combination may move about, stand up, and appear full of life and activity. Damma Wiki

For discussion:

  • What are the core ethical values that are important to you and drive your life?
  • What does it take to engage these values in different situations?
  • What is the relationship between energy and living one’s core ethical values?


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