Joyful perseverance or diligence in Buddhism

Diligence is one of the six paramitas or perfections that is so important for everything we do. It is said to be the engine for all the other five perfections, the engine that makes everything work.

From this very moment on, I will use this precious human existence to attain realization of the ultimate truth for the sake of all beings, so that I may lead them away from suffering and all its causes.’

1.Diligence protects us from the power of laziness in all its forms. Otherwise laziness will pull us back, diminish our effort. First we have to learn what we should be doing and then we need to apply ourselves to the practices that we understand clearly, doing so with one-pointed concentration commitment and confidence.

2. Diligence of getting away from, any negative influence which arises. Joyful perseverance or diligence is not a physical thing, it’s a state of mind. It is a state of mind that takes joy in virtue; a state of mind that really happily engages in positive activity – that is diligence.

3.Diligence of doing whatever is beneficial for others, in either the temporary or eternal sense. We should never be satisfied with our positive accumulations, always recommencing our practice from the very beginning, from the tiniest, simplest things. Whenever we see something which could be done to bring benefit for others, no matter how small, then we should do it, take hold of the opportunity.

Three types of laziness

The laziness of idleness— when we are constantly putting things off, and we know we are putting things off. The antidote for the laziness of idleness is to reflect on impermanence, to remember that we don’t know how long we will be around. We keep planning activities that we feel are so important now but we have to leave them all when the time comes for us to leave our body.

The laziness of unwholesome tendencies or negative activity. The antidote: we should recognize that the Dharma is a real source of joy.

The laziness of defeatism — the attitude where we think: I cannot do it! We are feeling sorry for ourselves and finding excuses. The antidote: We should think that everybody’s capable. If we really believe in the Buddhist teachings, the Buddha said that everybody has Buddha Nature. So we all are capable. If we apply ourselves in the right way we can achieve whatever we put our mind to.

The four forces that create the right conditions for diligence are aspiration, self confidence, joyfulness, and relinquishment.

What is really important is relinquishment: learn to let go when it is the right time to let go. We don’t need to be obsessive! We should be balanced.

Relinquishment is also an attitude of never feeling we have done enough; if we are managing to accomplish something, then we should think: “Well, we’ve done that and that’s wonderful, but of course we need to do more because what we are doing is just so little.” We should have the enthusiasm to move on and do even better than before. That is relinquishing – not getting attached to the results of your previous actions.