kṣānti-pāramitā (P. khantipāramī; T. bzod pa'i kyi pha rol tu phyin pa བཟོ་པའི་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་; C. renru boluomiduo), aka "perfection of fortitude," "perfection of patience," etc., is one the "perfections" (paramitas) that is cultivated on the bodhisattva path.
This paramita is identified as:
- the third of the six paramitas of the ordinary path in the Sanskrit tradition
- the third of the ten paramitas of the transcendental path of the five paths and ten bhumis in the Sanskrit tradition, which is mastered on the third bodhisattva ground (prabhākarī-bhūmi)
- the sixth of the ten paramis of the Pali tradition
One Teacher, Many Traditions states:
- Fortitude or patience is the ability to remain resolute and calm in the face of hardship or suffering. Remembering the disadvantages of anger as explained earlier inspires us to practice fortitude. Since we cannot identify who is a bodhisattva and who is not, it is better to restrain our anger toward all beings. Cultivating fortitude brings many benefits. Others find us attractive, we are close to holy beings, our discriminating wisdom is keen, our future rebirths will be fortunate, and our nonvirtues decrease. Fortitude is the basis for a good reputation, enabling us to benefit others. The perfection of fortitude is of three kinds:
- 1) The fortitude undisturbed by harm from others involves not retaliating when others harm us, those dear to us, or our possessions. Here are some themes for reflection to avoid anger, resentment, and spite when others harm us:
- Anger is the real enemy because it destroys all that is good, perpetrates harm, and spreads negativity.
- Enemies are the result of angry thoughts and preconceptions. To free myself from enemies, I must relinquish anger.
- Anger destroys my virtue and merit. Without these I cannot fulfill my bodhisatta aspiration. Until I do that, all sentient beings will be immersed in dukkha.
- No good comes from anger. Due to it, my good qualities and reputation decline. I cannot sleep or eat well.
- This suffering will consume that karma, no longer enabling it to obscure my mind.
- Although this suffering arises from the harmful deeds of others, this body of mine is the field for that suffering, and the karma that made me take this body was created by me alone. There is no reason to blame others for my misery.
- The person harming me is my teacher, enabling me to cultivate fortitude.
- Although this person is harming me now, in the past he has been my friend and someone who has helped.
- All beings are like my children. How can I become angry at their misdeeds done through unknowing?
- This harm is showing me the suffering nature of saṃsāra. I must work to end the dukkha of myself and others.
- It is the nature of the cognitive faculties to encounter pleasant and unpleasant objects.
- The harmer, harmful action, and recipient of harm have ceased at this very moment. They are past. With whom shall I be angry, and who is becoming angry? Since all phenomena are selfless, who can harm whom?
- The Buddha looks at all these beings as dear ones. How can I hate someone the Buddha holds dear?
- Mere phenomena alone exist, devoid of being I or mine. Arising and disintegrating due to causes and conditions, they do not come from anywhere, they do not go anywhere, they are not established anywhere. There is no self-sufficient agency in anything whatsoever.
- The person and the action are different. While an action may be harmful or wrong, the person who does it is not evil. He has the potential to become a buddha. The real troublemaker is his afflictions that make him act in detrimental ways.
- The Pāli tradition explains that bodhisattas dissect the experiences of harm and anger into their parts and see that each factor arises dependent on other ones and is transient, arising and passing away in the briefest moment. What is there to cling to? Being impermanent, these factors are unsatisfactory, and being both impermanent and unsatisfactory, they are not suitable to be considered mine, I, or my self. There is no person being criticized and no person feeling hurt due to it.
- The Sanskrit tradition explains that after meditating on emptiness, bodhisattvas view all elements of the harm—the harmer, the harmed, and the act of harming—as deceptive, similar to reflections and illusions in that they deceptively appear to exist inherently although they do not. This wisdom enables bodhisattvas to bear suffering without physical or mental anguish and, thus, without anger.
- Practicing fortitude and being compassionate do not mean our physical and verbal actions are always passive and pleasing. While calm behavior is appropriate in some situations, in others we may need to act forcefully or assertively to stop one person from harming another. Yet even in such a situation, we act without anger.
- When someone harms us and then, realizing his error, sincerely apologizes, it is crucial that we forgive him and do not hold a grudge. Continuing to remind the person of his error or secretly wishing for harm to befall him runs counter to the bodhisattva spirit.
- 2) The fortitude of voluntarily accepting suffering is the ability to endure physical or mental suffering and hardship with calm. There are times in our lives when we willingly bear suffering. A woman in labor willingly bears the pain of childbirth. Similarly, we cultivate the capacity to bear suffering without becoming upset, because doing so will prevent future suffering and enable us to progress on the path to awakening.
- When experiencing physical pain from illness or injury or mental pain from injustice or betrayal, we remember that this pain is the result of our own destructive actions. We can reflect, “It is better that this karmic seed ripens now as present suffering than in a horrible rebirth in the future.” Or we can think, “May my suffering suffice for the misery of all sentient beings.” We contemplate that enduring suffering with a calm mind dispels conceit, strengthens renunciation, fortifies our refuge in the Three Jewels, and increases our compassion.
- 3) The fortitude of practicing the Dharma enables us to happily continue to learn and practice for however long it takes to fathom the Dharma’s deep and detailed meanings. Fear and resistance may arise along the path because the Dharma challenges our dearly held but afflictive preconceptions and prejudices. It takes fortitude not to retreat to the habitual emotions and behavior that are the very source of our misery and instead to arouse courage and continue practicing. Meditating on emptiness challenges the very root of innate self-grasping ignorance, so great fortitude and courage are required to dismantle it.
- This fortitude includes accepting Dharma concepts that our wisdom has not yet completely penetrated by trusting the Buddha’s word on the basis of the teachings we have already understood or experienced. This enables us to continue to investigate the teachings, knowing that time is needed to fully understand them. As we gain the fortitude born from reflecting on the Dharma, we become able to tolerate things that previously seemed intolerable.
Practical Ethics states:
- Fortitude prevents us from destroying our virtue through anger, and it helps us avoid creating new nonvirtue by getting angry.