The qualities we have been exploring are not alien to us. They are intrinsic to our nature. To the degree we believe them to be something to attain from an external source we misunderstand them and suffer. Whether they are firmly established in our lives or seedlings waiting to be nourished, we are always able to cultivate the qualities of the Ten Paramitas more fully.
As we review the list below, notice your thoughts and emotions about each Paramita. Some qualities will speak to you more than others. Some will feel familiar, others perhaps a little foreign. One might stand out as being in dire need of more attention. Just notice.
One way to incorporate a Paramita into your life is to use it in your metta practice:
‘May I be well. May I be at ease. May I cultivate my natural generosity. May I be happy.’ See how I slipped the Paramita of Generosity in there? You can do metta (lovingkindness) practice at any time during the day, and at the end of your meditation practice.
Another way to work with your chosen Paramita is to notice when you are struggling, upset or conflicted. Once you notice you are in that state, instead of trying to change anything, see if you can cultivate your chosen Paramita to help you face your challenge. You might be surprised how well it applies and how it provides some spacious loving solution. If it doesn’t, then perhaps the Paramita you’ve chosen is not the one you most need to cultivate. Choose another!
Okay, let’s review the Ten Paramitas we have been exploring over the past several months. I have provided a link to more in depth exploration for each one.
Recognizing our innate generosity, we can also compassionately explore any fear of scarcity that arises from past experience and a false sense of separation from all being. [READ MORE.]
Virtue | Ethics
Ethical conduct arises out of our innate sense of fairness and connection. Only when we contract in fear, believing ourselves to be isolated and separate, do we think up unethical solutions to the challenges we face. It is skillful to make note how these unethical solutions ricochet in our lives, causing pain and confusion. This reminds us to choose the simpler, clearer and more compassionate path of ethical conduct. [READ MORE]
Renunciation | Letting Go
We are naturally fluid in our nature. But we can get rigid and clingy when we vest our identity in our attachment to people, roles, habits and objects. Our clinging makes us rigid and even more fearful. Then we believe that this fearfulness is who we are and the only way to remedy it is to cling harder, making ourselves and others miserable. But it is not our true nature to cling. It is our true nature to dance the fluid dance of life, a celebration of coming together and falling away, all of a piece. [READ MORE]
While wisdom is carved into us from life’s ‘teachable moments’, increasing our compassion and understanding, it is inherent in our nature to be open enough to acknowledge that we don’t know everything, and to have insights that awaken us to our true nature. [READ MORE]
Energy | Strength
We come into the world with a natural understanding of the need to be active, the need to rest, the need to nourish. This understanding cultivates our innate balanced energy and strength. When we lose that understanding, striving or shirking, then we forget that we are strong and have the energy to do whatever we need to do in life, if it is wise, ethical, loving, generous.[READ MORE]
We get impatient when we are trying to escape from our current experience. We want to escape when we are not open to seeing life as it is. We become blind to beauty of every moment unfolding. We become more patient through being fully present, aware of all life’s gifts, and through compassion.[READ MORE]
Again, as with ethics, we are innately truthful, and only lie when we are fearful and misperceive the situation. [READ MORE]
Determination | Resolve
When we find our true intention, we are innately able to stay true to it. We recognize and respect any dissenting voices within our patterns of thoughts and emotions, and find means to skillfully resolve the dissension within us so that our resolution rings true.[READ MORE]
If we recognize the infinite nature of loving-kindness, we attune to it and allow it to flow through us. It is our true nature when we are not caught up in believing ourselves to be separate isolated objects in a finite situation. [READ MORE]
Our true nature is spacious and holds life in an open embrace. If we feel out of balance, coming home to our true nature allows us to rediscover that sense of being able to be in wholesome relationship with all that arises in our spacious field of awareness. [READ MORE]
And finally, for anyone interested in learning the Pali names and meanings,click on the artwork above and it will take you to another blog with what seems like a very good explanation.
Exploring any one of these Paramitas could be a life’s practice! They work together to bring about awakening to our true Buddha nature.