The Great Chariot

by Longchenpa | 268,580 words

A Commentary on Great Perfection: The Nature of Mind, Easer of Weariness In Sanskrit the title is ‘Mahāsandhi-cittā-visranta-vṛtti-mahāratha-nāma’. In Tibetan ‘rDzogs pa chen po sems nyid ngal gso’i shing rta chen po shes bya ba ’...

Part 10b.3) The six perfections: Patience

3.a) The general teaching on the divisions Then as for the perfection of patience:

Three kinds of patience also need to be established:
We give no thought to how much suffering is involved
In various kinds of outer and inner injuries.
Because of compassion we have a wish to practice Dharma.
Third, there is that of compassion that has no reference point.

Not getting angry at harm or injuries produced by external things is the patience of fortitude. Enduring hardships in liberation and in establishing the Dharma for oneself and others, this patience does not care how much suffering is involved.

Compassionate patience is tireless in benefiting others.

Not being afraid of the profound meaning of emptiness is the patience of compassion having no reference point of nature. Acout the meaning of these, the Mahayanasutralankara says:

As for Fortitude, it pays no heed
As for compassion, it supports the Dharma.
Thus, in the true explanation of the five benefits,
They are the producers of the two benefits.

With ascetic practice the chief and every thing,
Within it, it is maintained to have three different aspects316
When patience such as that is completely known,
The wise have said that it is truly established.

The essence is fortitude that is not angry with others and bears adversity. The cause is compassion. The five benefits are the fruition. Regarding those, the sutras say:

There is not much resentment and discord.
There is much happy and blissful mind.
There is no regret at the time of death,
The body abides in peace,
There is rebirth in the bliss of the celestial realms.

The action is to produce benefit and happiness for both oneself and others. The Particular Sayings (ched du brjod pa’i tshoms, Udanavarga) says:

Whoever knowing others to be disturbed
Causes them to be completely peaceful,
By such people benefit is done
For themselves, for others and for both.

The Mahayanasutralankara says:

The Buddha’s children bear all the harms of human beings, which is very hard to do. Since they cannot care for the heavenly realms, they are unafraid of failing to go there, having no concern for personal benefit.

By that same patience, they establish all sentient beings in enlightenment.

By the wisdom of patience being completely accomplished, they establish beings inexhaustibly in the pure realms.

3.b) The way of meditation

As for the brief teaching of meditating on patience:

Just as no greater evils exist than those of aggression,
No merits are so difficult as those of patience.
By strenuous efforts in these various kinds of patience,
Let us strive to extinguish the great fires of aggression.

The supreme good is enlightenment. Moreover, the merit established by patience is greater than others. The greatest suffering is Hell. This is produced by aggression. Since there are no greater evil deeds than those resulting from that, by various means, aggression should be joined to the difficult meditations on patience. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

Just as there is no evil that is so bad as aggression,
There is no austerity so hard as that of patience.
Therefore it is proper that we should strive very hard
Meditating on patience in various different ways.

The Friendly Letter says:

There is no austerity like that of patience.
Though you cannot keep yourself from occasions of anger
By abandoning the anger, you are irreversible.
Buddhahood is promised by this having been attained.

3.c) Many objects are tamed by taming mind alone

If each of the many objects of anger had to be dealt with one by one, we would never be finished, and they would not be pacified. As for the means of bearing them:

The uncontrolled harm of things is entirely limitless.
We could never pacify them one by one.
When mind alone is tamed, then everything is tamed.
So guard the diligence of keeping mind subdued.

The Bodhicharyavatara says:

Unruly sentient beings are as limitless as space
It will never be that all of them are subdued;
But if thoughts of aggression alone are overcome,
That will be like conquering all our enemies.

3.d) How harm is a condition of establishing patience:

The good of patience comes about depending on harm.
Such qualities as kindness and compassion rise.
Enemies, like teachers, are friends to enlightenment.
Rely on them patiently, feeling respect and joy.

Just as masters and preceptors are beneficial to renunciation, if we have no enemies, patience will not arise, and therefore we should put up with enemies. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

If we do not endure them in a patient way,
The cause of gaining merit will thereby be prevented.
It is only ourselves who are our own obstruction,
Hindering what is the cause of our gaining merit.

That which, when it is there, another comes to be,
That is the very thing which is called the other’s cause.
That on whose occurrence something comes to be,
How can that be called a hindrance of that thing?

The timely appearance of a beggar seeking alms
Does not produce a hindrance to generosity.
Calling those who are givers of renunciation
Obstructions to it is equally unsuitable.

Times of harm, conditioned by minor suffering of unhappy mind and so forth condition the arising of compassion, sadness and so forth, and therefore we should bear them. The same text says:

Moreover, as for the virtues arising from suffering,
Sadness clears away all arrogant haughtiness.
For those within samsara compassion will arise.
Evil is avoided, and we rejoice in virtue.


By meditating on bearing angry thoughts, there is great merit. Therefore, feel joy in them and be devoted to them like the teacher. The Uttaratantra says:

With a joy and devotion like that we have for the teacher. Also it says there:

Therefore if we have a very angry mind,
And patience arises only in dependence on that,
Since that is the very thing that is the cause of patience,
It is worthy of homage like holy Dharma itself.

3.e) The thought that the condition of anger arises from ourselves.

As for the way of this:

This will never be accomplished without ourselves,
Just as an echo arises from mutual dependence.
This mass of terrible harms that we have turned to evil,
Proliferates due to our karma and incidental conditions;
So it is to be expected that this would come about.
The only means by which this karma can be exhausted
Is to tame the mind, and so we should strive for this.

If we were not there, our anger and contention with others would not arise. Anger and contention mutually depend on each other. If we do not harm others, no harm to ourselves will arise. Therefore it is useless to do harm, and certainly proper to bear it. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

Thus if I do no harm to any other persons,
There will then be no one will do harm to me.

Therefore, not established with work and weariness,
This is like a treasure appearing in my house.
As they are friends to enlightened activity,
Then I should rejoice that I have enemies.

When some little condition of harm to me is produced, that arises from my own former karma, and so it is proper to bear it. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

By me formerly to other sentient beings
Such harm as this which now is done to me was done.
Therefore, that these sentient beings who are doers of harm
Arise to do me harm is completely reasonable.

If I am angry, with what actually harms me, that anger should properly be directed at material objects like sticks and so forth or at unpleasant words. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

Though actually it is done by the stick that he is using,
If it is to the user that I address my anger,
As he as well as I is motivated by anger,
It is all the fault of anger--I should be angry at that.

In particular, if we are angry when unpleasant words are spoken by other people, not being angry at the inner source, our own ears, but being angry at the external speaker is illogical, because it produces suffering. If we think like that, fame and praise are harmful, and drive us to the lower realms. Patience is the opposite. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

As for me who am devoted to liberation,
I should not be bound by possessions and social position.
Why should I be angry at the very persons
Who are producing my liberation from this bondage?

When they wish for me to be in suffering,
It is actually like a blessing by the Buddha,
I will go by that to the level without outflows.
Why should I be angry at the occurrence of that?


If it is merely because of obstruction by my faults
That I will not be patient with this enemy,
It is only I who will be hindering
That which is an occasion for and cause of merit

If harm is a prerequisite for patience, anger is not the right response. If harm comes from our own karma, it is not the enemy that is harming us. If harm is nonexistent, even generosity will be of no help with it. When we have let it all go, everything becomes like waking from a dream. The limitless schemes of beings and the limitless evils of wealth are bondage. Again it says there:

Since worldly possessions are producers of hindrance,
If I do not want these hindering blockages,
I should throw away these troublesome possessions
Lest the evil of my deeds be stabilized.

It is even better if I die right now.
There is no profit to living long in wrong livelihood.
Even if I should live for a very long space of time,
There will always be the suffering of death.

Supposing that one person wakes up from a dream
Having experienced happiness for a hundred years,
And another person wakes up from a dream
Having experienced happiness only for an instant.

For both these persons who have awakened from their dreams,
The happiness they dreamed about will not return.
Likewise, whether life is either long or short,
At the time of death, it is over just the same.

Having great possessions, and abundantly great wealth
Though I may live in happiness for a very long time,
As if I had been ravished by a conqueror
I shall go forth in nakedness with empty hands.

Being angry about being disparaged and insulted makes no sense. Fame is just words. Such words are mere physical things without the least benefit. The same text says:

As for veneration and honor, praise and fame,
Coming from these there is no merit and no life.
There will be no more strength, and sickness will not be absent.
Nor will the body be better off than it was before.

If we truly know what is our benefit,
What is the benefit of things that are such as these?
If we want only a little nominal happiness,
Let us rely on such things as liquor and gambling.

The benefit of fame will take away one’s wealth.
Or if we should be killed as we are pursuing honor,
How will anything be gained by such mere words?
If we die, then who will have that happiness?

If their castles of sand collapse and fall to pieces,
Children start to cry, hurt by the pain of that.
Thus when there is damage to my praise and fame,
My own mind is like the mind of a little child.

Some think that there is anger because of unpleasantness. Then if we become angry and say unpleasant words, why not be angry at our own words? We may wish to say these words, but nothing requires us to be angry because others are arrogant. Since we are making ourselves unhappy, anger that our own mind is angry is what is suitable. We are just being unhappy with ourselves. Others’ words are formless and do not transfer to us, but we eagerly assimilate them and, therefore, make ourselves unhappy.

If we were not unhappy, there would be neither harm nor benefit. All happiness and unhappiness of the preceding instant have ceased, like the definite appearances of yesterday morning. As last night’s dream will not return, is not perceived, and is without nature, equally there are no feelings to be the ground of anger. The appearances of today, and the dream of last night are similar. Neither is worthy of attachment with joy and sorrow as truly existing.

3.f) The thought about fabrications existing or not:

If sudden unwished-for events unpleasantly occur,
If such fabrications exist, what use is being unhappy?
If they do not exist, why be concerned with them?
Therefore let us try to be patient with conditions.

When undesirable things arise, if these fabricated things are really there, even in an effort of upaya there will still be unhappiness, so skillful means are no use. If these things are not there, they are gone, and nothing is either producing or not producing unhappiness. Nor is there anything to be eliminated. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

If, for such fabrications, the fabrications exist,
What use is being unhappy because of such an existence?
If those fabrications are actually non-existent,
What is the sense if we are made unhappy by them?

Thus, sentient beings each performing their own actions, know relationships of mother, father, and so on.

Just for the benefits of samsara and so forth these should not be put up with. But for the sake of the master, preceptor, guru, and the three jewels, we should not be angry with others. If there is harmful misfortune, it cannot be reversed. If there is not, none will not be produced. Therefore, no great benefit or harm can result from the praise and blame of others.

3.g) The nature of anger as emptiness.

What is the nature of these situations of unpleasantness and harm?

If examined, they have a nature like empty space.
Joy and sorrow, loss and destruction, good and evil,
Dualistic grasping of these has neither use nor meaning.
Try to see everything with equanimity.

As harm-producing forms and one’s own form are without a particle of difference, harming and being harmed do not exist. Also because the minds of both are not perceived at all either externally or internally, harmer and harmed do not exist. Their words too, if examined have no established nature at all. The one who harms, harm and the harmed are empty of nature. Joy and non-joy, good and bad, and loss and destruction do not exist at all. Even for the appearance of harm, no essence is established. These phantoms and mirages etc. are like the eight examples of the confused relative. In the absolute, meditate on patience like space.

The Bodhicharyavatara says:

If thus we know these emanations as phantom-like,
There will be no anger at anything at all.

Also, if we consider primordially unborn emptiness, as the same text says:

Thus for things like that, which are completely empty,
What is there to gain, and what is there to lose?

And also:

What joy is there to be found, and also what lack of joy?
If we try to examine these and look for them...


Everything is similar to the space of the sky
It should be grasped as being completely like the self.[1]

Thus, if we meditate with many skillful means, patience will be established without hindrance. The Bodhicharyavatara says:

If we are thirsty, they will not easily be at hand.
These things do not exist in any way at all.

By familiarity with that, in this life we are on friendly terms with everything, and by things being pleasant we are happy. Later we attain the special celestial realms and enlightenment. The same text says:

Arising from the cause of rejoicing by sentient beings,
May we see in future attainment of buddhahood.
Why do we not see that in this very life
There could be great splendor, glory, and happiness?

By patient appreciation of samsaric life,
There are lack of sickness, as well as beauty and splendor.
There is support of life that lasts a very long time
As well as the bliss of becoming a universal monarch.

Footnotes and references:


Which does not exist according to Buddhism.

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