Energy as a Path to Success (Iddhipada)

Energy as a Path to Success (Iddhipāda)

Mae Chi Meditating at Wat Nong Pah Pong

Energy (viriya): courage, bravery, perseverance, pressing forward, fighting spirit; not getting discouraged or intimidated by obstacles and difficulties. When a person recognizes something as valuable and worthy of attainment, if energy has been roused, even if he hears that this thing can only be achieved with extreme difficulty, the path to its fulfilment is fraught with obstacles, or it will require months or years to realize, he is not disheartened; rather, he sees victory and success in this task as a challenge. There are many stories in the scriptures of renunciants in the Buddha’s time who belonged to other sects and who asked for ordination as a bhikkhu after gaining faith in the Buddha’s teachings. When they discovered that a candidate who has previously been ordained in another religious tradition must undergo a form of initiation or test (to live under ‘probation’—titthiya-parivāsa) for four months, they were not discouraged. On the contrary, some of them valiantly submitted themselves to this examination for four years! People who lack energy also want to achieve success, but when they hear that such success may take years to achieve, they are already exhausted and retreat; it is difficult for their spiritual practice to bear fruit and they tend to be restless and agitated. Energetic people possess a special force; whether they are working or engaged in Dhamma practice, their mind is unified and stable, intent upon the goal. There is concentration arising from energy (viriya-samādhi), accompanied by supportive effort.

(An excerpt from Chapter 16 of Venerable Phra Payutto’s book Buddhadhamma)

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