Monday, November 8, 2010

Heroic Perseverence and Righteousness for the Bodhisattva and Superior Person

Heroic Perseverance and Righteousness
Virtue is the action of the superior person. When we talk of tranquility we talk of it not as some isolated state but as the essence of movement, the essence of virtuous action. Tranquility is the key to the vigorous uncorrupted action of the bodhisattva and the superior person. Here we again examine motivation for action. Heroic perseverance is the continuing action for the benefit of others, just as righteousness is virtuous action without regard to personal profit. Without selfish motivation, our heroes work tirelessly for the benefit of others. With ultimate, enduring tranquility the superior person can continue their work through difficulty and success without faltering.
When the superior person uses righteousness as their guide and asks ‘Will my action harm virtue or enhance it?’, then heroic perseverance immediately follows. This self examination and commitment to righteousness is essential for avoiding trouble. Shantideva also cautions that the bodhisattva be wary and guard against laziness, idleness and the pursuit of trivial activities. When we use righteousness as our guide we will surely avoid such trouble. One aspect of “I” (righteousness in english) is appropriateness. One should do everything at the right time, at the right place and with the right relationships. One should act according to these considerations making their action suitable to the situation. Shantideva calls for heroic perseverance, urging the bodhisattva,aware that even small transgressions can cause great harm to the goal of helping all beings become buddhas. This is the work of a practicing bodhisattva, establishing habits of righteousness:

“I will do this, myself, alone!”
These words define my pride of action.

Enfeebled by their minds afflictions,
Worldly folk are helpless to secure their happiness.
Compared to those who wander, I am able-
This indeed should be my chosen task.

When others give themselves to base activities,
How can I connive to as their companion?
But I should not refrain through pride or arrogance;
My best way is to give up such conceit.

…Therefore if I’m weak and feeble-hearted,
Even little faults will strike and injure me.

In Confucian terms the practice of the bodhisattva is to establish a personal standard for righteous action, avoiding the complacency of others to avoid injuring one’s virtue. Without arrogance the bodhisattva guards their virtue out of habit alone judging right and wrong taking right action as a happy accomplishment:

Thus in every time and place
I will not wander the wholesome path.

…The bodhisattva in their every deed
Will feel the greatest joy, exhilaration,
Pleasure that will never fade or pass.

No comments:

Post a Comment