|For Pali tradition, see ten paramis|
vīrya-pāramitā (P. viriyapāramī; T. brtson 'grus kyi pha rol tu phyin pa བརྩོན་འགྲུས་ཀྱི་ཕ་རོལ་ཏུ་ཕྱིན་པ་; C. jingjin boluomiduo), aka "perfection of spiritual diligence," "perfection of energy," etc., is one the "perfections" (paramitas) that are cultivated on the bodhisattva path.
This paramita is identified as:
- the fourth of the six paramitas of the ordinary path in the Sanskrit tradition
- the fourth of the ten paramitas of the transcendental path of the five paths and ten bhumis in the Sanskrit tradition, which is mastered on the fourth bodhisattva ground (arciṣmatī-bhūmi)
- the fifth of the ten paramis of the Pali tradition
One Teacher, Many Traditions states:
- Joyous effort is an attitude that takes delight in virtue. Without it, actualizing our spiritual aspirations is impossible. But with joyous effort we happily practice the path for our own and others’ welfare, without discouragement or exhaustion. With indefatigable effort, we will not give up when we undertake to fulfill the collections of merit and wisdom and liberate all sentient beings from saṃsāra. Thus joyous effort is said to be the source of all auspicious attainments.
- The texts mention three types of joyous effort:
- 1. Armor-like joyous effort is enthusiasm for practice. It enables us to continue without falling prey to the laziness of procrastination, pursuing meaningless activities, or discouragement. With it, bodhisattvas vow, “I shall dedicate myself for eons to benefit even one sentient being.”
- 2. Joyous effort of acting constructively is supported by a deep aspiration to benefit sentient beings, making our mind energetic and delighted to practice.
- 3. Joyous effort of benefiting sentient beings reaches out to help the same groups of sentient beings mentioned in the ethical conduct of benefiting others.
- The Abhisamayālaṃkāra speaks of three types of joyous effort that counteract the three types of laziness:
- 1. Joyous effort of not being attached to frivolous actions counteracts the laziness of attachment to the eight worldly concerns. Remembering the disadvantages of cyclic existence jolts us out of our complacent distraction.
- 2 Joyous effort of not becoming fatigued opposes the laziness of sleep, lethargy, and procrastination. Contemplating death helps us appreciate the opportunity our present precious human life affords and dispels procrastination.
- 3 Joyous effort of thoroughly upholding the path opposes the laziness of discouragement that thinks, “I am incapable of practicing the Dharma,” “The path is too difficult,” or “The goal of awakening is too high.”
- Sometimes we want to develop a certain skill or to help others, but our work does not turn out as we wished and we feel discouraged. This happens to me too. But when I examine my motivation, my confidence returns. I began with a sincere desire to benefit. Regardless of what others may say, knowing that my motivation was genuine gives me courage and inner strength. Even though I may not be outwardly successful, I still feel satisfied. On the other hand, if my motivation is not sincere, then even if others praise me and I become famous, discomfort and self-doubt plague me.
- It’s important to counteract the laziness of discouragement. Do this by reflecting on the fact that you have the potential for liberation and full awakening. Reflect on the marvelous situation of freedom and fortune that you have with your precious human life. Recall that the Buddha was once a limited sentient being like you, but through his diligent practice, he attained full awakening.
Practical Ethics states:
- When we delight in virtue, joyous effort spurs us to create virtue we didn’t have before and makes us happy to increase the virtue we already have.