Perseverance means to be assiduous in advancing ourselves to the positive direction that brings us the benefits, brightness, and joy. A Buddhist practitioner who practices the virtue of perseverance is the person who keeps moving on the long path of compassion and in the light of enlightenment shined by the sun. The virtue of perseverance is like a power of determination that could clear all obstacles and help us to reach to the goal of gaining self-benefits as well as bringing benefits to others. Lacking of this virtue would make us like water-ferns floating in the sea or the falling leaves follow the wind’s flow!
The virtue of perseverance is needed in humans
You are a student. One night, you have to work on a difficult homework. After reading the book five times, you still can’t remember it. Being discouraged, you stretch, then yawn! So, the “lazy spirit” already possessed you. At this moment, if you don’t use the rod of “perseverance” to expel it, you would close the book, then go to sleep. In the next morning, you would be scolded by your teacher and teased by your peers. Once you’re relented to the “lazy spirit,” there will be more times. This means that your life is ruined!
You’re a Buddhist. Today is Sunday. At 7 o’ clock, you’re supposed to attend the temple. But thinking of the time that you have to bow to the Buddha, stand seriously, and learn dharmas, you feel bored. Suddenly, Hy from next door appears to ask you to see a movie. He said that there’s a special new and funny movie that shows at 8 a.m. this morning. If you don’t know how to apply the virtue of perseverance at this moment, you would go with your friend to the movie. This means that you have been possessed and controlled by the spirit of “wildness.” This Sunday you goof off. Next Sunday, you would find an excuse to stay home. Thus, you gradually depart yourself from the light of morality and get closer to the shadow of depravation!
With the same behavior, an unexertive farmer could abandon his farming tasks, an unexertive worker could be fired by his/her boss, an unexertive industrialist could head to an unsuccessful career, and so forth…
The spirit of “Laziness” and the spirit of “Wildness” are the enemies of perseverance
When the spirit of “laziness” possesses someone, that person will turn from good to bad, excellent to poor, gentle to harsh, bright to dull, etc…On the other hand, when perseverance possesses someone, it makes the person from immoral to moral, bad to good, etc… Thus, laziness and perseverance oppose each other like dark and light, or white and black. If perseverance exists, laziness vanishes. It’s the same in reverse. Thus, when the spirit of “laziness” possesses us, we should immediately use the rod of “perseverance” to discipline it. Once it sees the rod, it would run fast.
The spirit of “wildness” is even more dangerous. It drags people into the hole of indulgence, makes them run amuck in the forest of Five sensual pleasures, and finally, drowns them forever in the sea of suffering. On the other hand, perseverance is the hook that could pull people out of the hole of indulgence. It is like a compass that could lead people to the bright direction and out of the forest of Five sensual pleasures. It’s also a boat that could rescue people from the sea of suffering and bring them to the shore of liberation. Thus, because they oppose each other, wildness and perseverance would never meet. Anyone who welcomes the “saint of perseverance” would chase the “ghost of wildness” away. In reverse, it works the same way.
Why should we have perseverance?
As humans, we want to land our boat at the human port and reach farther to the port of sagehood. However, it’s been swept by the strong waves of laziness and blown away by the wind of wildness. It floats quite close to the sea of immorality. If we are not exertive to row the boat to the right destiny, it will float forever. Until one day, the nails are loose and the woods are worn out, it drowns in the deep sea. Alas! What could be more painful than a life with no intention! We need to exert and exert forever! Every time we view Cuu Long river and see the boatmen rowing against the current, we have to remember the virtue of perseverance and vow to advance without resting.
Perseverance is a strength
The road of morality isn’t always full with flowers and butterflies, but contains many abysses and traps. If people don’t have determination to strive forward, they could fall easily. For years that you have lived in the family, you have seen all types of obstacles in religious practices. However, if you are a true Buddhist, you should always practice the virtue of perseverance. Those obstacles should become less important to you. After ten years of searching for the Way, the Buddha still felt unsatisfied. So one day, under the Bodhi tree, he pointed at it and said, “By all means I vow to sit under this tree to search for enlightenment, even if this body is disintegrated.” Because of that virtue of perseverance (or determination), he was enlightened after 48 days. Each time the spirit of “laziness” or “wildness” entices you, you should follow the Buddha’s footstep by being determined to say “In practicing religion and morality, I would never back off even if I have to give up this body!” Such determination would make those spirits of “laziness” and “wildness” be real fear to run away. By practicing this virtue of perseverance each day, you will see nothing is difficult in life. You “get what you want and accomplish what you are determined to achieve.” You will have extraordinary power in your life. You won’t be weak, creepy, or doubtful like you used to be.
The effect of perseverance
Normally, when there’s a departure, there is an arrival. Since perseverance means to accelerate toward the positive direction that leads to benefits and joy, its outcome should also be filled with goodness and joy. You are successful by being a diligent student. A workman could become a specialist if he’s diligent. The Buddhists with perseverance would have all virtues, blessing, and wisdom. In other words, all successes in the process of self-practicing and performing good deeds are determined by perseverance. Many sages and enlightened individuals are formed by the furnace of perseverance.
In summary, all Buddhists should by now realize that perseverance is the key of practicing compassion and becoming good men. Perseverance is a strength that would determine people’s life to progress on the path of glory with full scent of purification.