Tag Archives: Noble Eightfold Path

12 Wise Habits: Viriya by Neil Amas

DSCF0295 Panyaden wise habit, viriya (pesevering)

DSC_1716 Neil Amas, Panyaden School DirectorViriya (pronounced wi‐ri‐ya) is a very important virtue in Buddhism, commonly translated as “perseverance”, or “diligent effort”. It can be defined as an attitude of gladly engaging in wholesome activities and staying with them in order to accomplish the desired results. It is the mind intent on being unshaken and not giving up. It supports the other Wise Habits, in that making progress is impossible without resolution, and is the virtue that follows chanda, for you first need self‐motivation to be able to put forth diligent effort.

Viriya originates from the Sanskrit vira which means ‘hero’ and, as such, we can see viriya as the act of conjuring forth the qualities of a hero. Viriya is identified in Buddhist teachings as a critical component of a number of qualities that lead to happiness and liberation of the mind, such as the five spiritual faculties (indriya) and the ten “perfections” (parami). It is also associated with Right Effort, one part of the Noble Eightfold Path, which identifies four types of right effort:

  • to prevent negative, unwholesome states of mind from arising
  • to abandon them if they have arisen
  • to generate positive, wholesome states not yet existing
  • to maintain them without lapse, causing them to develop and to reach full growth.

Viriya has to emerge from your heart, from a place of Right View and Right Intention and in balance with other Wise Habits, such as patience (khanti), concentration (samathi), awareness (sati) and wise reflection (yoniso-manasikara). If we put our energy and effort into actions without the right mind we will cause more harm than good. Venerable Ajahn Pasanno teaches, “while it is important to put forth effort it is also important to slacken off at times. If you are always pushing, the mind can get on edge, restless and unsettled. We need to gauge and reflect on what is appropriate effort.’’ When we fix our sights too firmly on the goal, willpower tends to take over and only gets us so far before we feel frustrated. Viriya is a relaxed energy, a peaceful vitality which continues to sustain us without irritation or despondency.

DSC_1404 Ven. Ajahn Jayasaro at Panyaden School in Chiang MaiVenerable Ajahn Jayasaro explains the role of viriya in education. ‘’While it is important to be relaxed when we are learning, we also have to teach perseverance and determination.  Enthusiasm (chanda) leads to perseverance (viriya) which leads to concentration (samathi) which leads to skilful use of the mind (yoniso-manasikara). If we have chanda we are eager to know, learn the truth and value what we do. From there viriya will occur and be followed by patience and tolerance towards any obstacles we find in our way.” When the mind is motivated yet patient, we are more able to make decisions calmly and with wisdom.

For children to understand viriya we can encourage them to reflect on their feelings after completing a task with perseverance. To encourage greater effort, we can try setting mini‐goals on the way to achieving a greater task, extending the distance between these steps as the child gets older or gets better at cultivating perseverance. We must also lead by example with our own displays of viriya. When we see others refusing to give up despite obstacles and setbacks, it can be very inspiring.

Having desire to do something is essential because it gets us going, but actually sustaining effort and energy is where a lot of the hard work is. We might have the desire to get off the sofa and get some exercise and even make a start, but in order to achieve the desired long term results such as weight loss or fitness, we need to keep at it!

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Read the Thai version here: Viriya _TH

Panyaden Wise Habit 2014: Sati

Mindfulness

‘Sati’ by Neil Amas, Panyaden School Director

Wise Habit Sati session at Panyaden School Chiang Mai
Sati is most commonly translated as presence of mind, awareness or mindfulness. It originates from the Sanskrit word smṛti, the root meaning of which is ‘to remember’ and as such an important aspect of sati is retention or recollection. To have sati is to be fully present, not lost in daydreams, anticipation or worry. It is being alert and attentive to everything as it is, not filtering things though our subjective opinions. It is also remembering to be aware of something or to do something at a designated time in the future.

In order to cultivate sati one needs to faithfully return back to refocus on an object whenever the mind wanders away from it. Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro explains, ‘’Mindfulness is not a floating, nebulous ‘awareness.’ You can’t just be mindful. You always have to be mindful of something.’’ The Buddha identified four objects for us to maintain calm awareness of in day-to-day life (satipatthana): our body and bodily functions (such as the breathing), sensations (feelings), state of mind (whether concentrated, scattered, discontented etc) and mental phenomena (such as the Four Noble Truths).

Sati is part of the Noble Eightfold Path. Practising Right Effort (samma vayamo), Right Awareness (samma sati) and Right Concentration (samma samadhi) together helps us to train the mind to be calm, balanced and, ultimately, freed from the dissatisfactions that cloud our thoughts. As unwholesome or negative thoughts arise in the mind, we apply sati to recognise them and prevent them from causing difficulty or unpleasantness. Sati is the moderating tool we use to assess our practice and progress in the other Wise Habits. For example, if we make a strong determination to avoid harming others (avihimsa), “we immediately illuminate, whenever it arises, the intention to harm. We become mindful of the intention to harm” (Venerable Jayasaro). Sati also helps us identify the right balance between the Wise Habits. We might become aware that although we have plenty of enthusiasm for a task (chandha), we lack sufficient patience to complete it (khanti). Sati is like a mental witness, a built in system of notes and reminders which helps us stay present, learn from past mistakes, do things better next time.

Ajahn Jayasaro, Panyaden School Chiang MaiVenerable Ajahn Jayasaro advises parents and teachers to realise clearly what we are doing at the present, what we are teaching now, what students are learning now and whether they are listening to us. This helps us to keep focusing on teaching or parenting, doing our best to teach and guide our children continuously without being distracted. There are times when we talk to our children with one eye on the computer, or with our minds thinking about what happened at work today or what chores we need to do later. And yet we also experience times when we give full attention to what we are doing with our children. This tends to result in a happier, healthier experience for everyone.

We need to encourage eye contact from our children, remind them to place their shoes neatly on the shoe rack, ask them to describe the taste of their food, have them check their bags routinely before school in the morning, encourage self-awareness of sensations and feelings when they get angry or upset and remind them of their home and classroom responsibilities. A child who kicks off his shoes, gulps down her food, forgets her school book or loses his temper easily does not have sati. We might encourage ourselves and our children to choose a particular activity such as preparing or eating a meal, washing the dishes, or taking a walk, and make an effort to be fully mindful of the task as we perform it. In time we will find ourselves paying more attention to everything.

Changing the mental habits and conditioning of a lifetime, no matter how short, is not easy. But as we develop sati the mind becomes lucid, the body alert and we are able to think with clarity and composure, to make wise choices, to know our responsibilities and improve ourselves. No matter how brief the moment that the mind is fully focused and attentive to the present, it is very powerful.

If we are unaware of our present actions we are condemned to repeating our mistakes from the past and never achieving our dreams for the future. It is said that if you miss the moment, you miss your life. How much of our lives have we missed? Be mindful!

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คลิกที่นี่ สำหรับภาษาไทย – คุณธรรม ๑๒ ประการ โรงเรียนปัญญาเด่น : สติ

Wise Habit, Viriya by Neil Amas, School Director

Panyaden students practise Viriya at school

Viriya (pronounced wi-ri-ya) is a very important virtue in Buddhism, commonly translated as “perseverance”, or “diligent effort”. It can be defined as an attitude of gladly engaging in wholesome activities and staying with them in order to accomplish the desired results. It is the mind intent on being unshaken and not giving up. It supports the other Wise Habits, in that making progress is impossible without resolution, and is the virtue that follows chanda, for you first need self-motivation to be able to put forth diligent effort.

Viriya originates from the Sanskrit vira which means ‘hero’ and, as such, we can see viriya as the act of conjuring forth the qualities of a hero. Viriya is identified in Buddhist teachings as a critical component of a number of qualities that lead to happiness and liberation of the mind, such as the five spiritual faculties (indriya) and the ten “perfections” (parami). It is also associated with Right Effort, one part of the Noble Eightfold Path, which identifies four types of right effort:

– to prevent negative, unwholesome states of mind from arising
– to abandon them if they have arisen
– to generate positive, wholesome states not yet existing
– to maintain them without lapse, causing them to develop and to reach full growth.

Viriya has to emerge from your heart, from a place of Right View and Right Intention and in balance with other Wise Habits, such as patience (khanti), concentration (samathi), awareness (sati) and wise reflection (yoniso manasikara). If we put our energy and effort into actions without the right mind we will cause more harm than good. Venerable Ajahn Pasanno teaches, “while it is important to put forth effort it is also important to slacken off at times. If you are always pushing, the mind can get on edge, restless and unsettled. We need to gauge and reflect on what is appropriate effort.’’ When we fix our sights too firmly on the goal, will power tends to take over and only gets us so far before we feel frustrated. Viriya is a relaxed energy, a peaceful vitality which continues to sustain us without irritation or despondency.

Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro explains the role of viriya ineducation. ‘’While it is important to be relaxed when we are learning, we also have to teach perseverance and determination. Enthusiasm (chanda) leads to perseverance (viriya) which leads to concentration (samathi) which leads to skilful use of the mind (yoniso manasikara). If we have chanda we are eager to know, learn the truth and value what we do. From there viriya will occur and be followed by patience and tolerance towards any obstacles we find in our way.” When the mind is motivated yet patient, we are more able to make decisions calmly and with wisdom.

For children to understand viriya we can encourage them to reflect on their feelings after completing a task with perseverance. To encourage greater effort, we can try setting mini-goals on the way to achieving a greater task, extending the distance between these steps as the child gets older or gets better at cultivating perseverance. We must also lead by example with our own displays of viriya. When we see others refusing to give up despite obstacles and setbacks, it can be very inspiring.

Having desire to do something is essential because it gets us going, but actually sustaining effort and energy is where a lot of the hard work is. We might have the desire to get off the sofa and get some exercise and even make a start, but in order to achieve the desired long term results such as weight loss or fitness, we need to keep at it!

lotus2 transparent

Click here for Thai translation: Viriya THAI pdf

Panyaden 12 wise habits: Viriya By Neil Amas, School Director

Our students have been learning about and practising the wise habit Viriya. Here is some information about Viriya which we hope you find useful. 

image_15
Panyaden teachers enact a story to illustrate wise habit, Viriya

Viriya (pronounced wi‐ri‐ya) is a very important virtue in Buddhism, commonly translated as “perseverance”, or “diligent effort”. It can be defined as an attitude of gladly engaging in wholesome activities and staying with them in order to accomplish the desired results. It is the mind intent on being unshaken and not giving up. It supports the otherwise habits, because making progress is impossible without resolution, and is the virtue that follows chanda, for you first need motivation to be able to put forth diligent effort.

Viriya originates from the Sanskrit vira which means ‘hero’ and, as such, we can see viriya as the act of conjuring forth the qualities of a hero. Viriya is identified in Buddhist teachings as a critical component of a number of qualities that lead to happiness and liberation of the mind, such as the five spiritual faculties (indriya) and the ten “perfections” (parami). It is also associated with Right Effort, one part of the Noble Eightfold Path, which identifies four types of right effort:
‐ to prevent negative, unwholesome states of mind from arising ‐ to abandon them if they have arisen ‐ to generate positive, wholesome states not yet existing ‐ to maintain them without lapse, causing them to develop and to reach full growth.

Viriya has to emerge from your heart, from a place of right intention and in balance with other wise habits, such as patience (khanti), concentration (samathi), awareness (sati) and wise reflection (yoniso manasikara). If we put our energy and effort into actions without the right mind we will cause more harm than good. As Venerable Ajahn Pasanno writes in A Dhamma Compass, “while it is important to put forth effort it is also important to slacken off at times. If you are always pushing, the mind can get on edge, restless and unsettled. We need to gauge and reflect on what is appropriate effort.’’

image_2
Panyaden wise habit, Viriya session at school

Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro explains the role of viriya in education. ‘’While it is important to be relaxed when we are learning, we also have to teach perseverance and determination. Enthusiasm (chanda) leads to perseverance (viriya) which leads to concentration (samathi) which leads to skilful use of the mind (yoniso manasikara). If we have chanda we are eager to know, learn the truth and value what we do. From there viriya will occur and be followed by patience and tolerance towards any obstacles we find in our way.” When the mind is motivated yet patient, we are more able to make decisions calmly and with wisdom.

We can encourage our children to reflect on how they feel after completing a task with perseverance. To encourage greater effort, we can try setting mini‐goals on the way to achieving a greater task, extending the distance between these steps as the child gets older or gets better at cultivating effort. And, of course, we must lead by example with our own displays of viriya. When we see others refusing to give up despite obstacles and setbacks, it can be very inspiring.

Having desire to do something is good because it gets us going, but actually sustaining effort and energy is where a lot of the hard work is. We might have the desire to get off the sofa and get some exercise and even make a start, but in order to achieve the desired long term results such as weight loss or fitness, we need to keep at it!

lotus2 transparent

Thai translation of above article: Viriya_TH

Panyaden Wise Habit, Sati

 

 

We have just finished practicing Sati, or presence of mind, awareness or mindfulness with our students.

Neil Amas, our School Director, shares further information on Sati that you may find useful.

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Sati is most commonly translated as presence of mind, awareness or mindfulness.  It originates from the Sanskrit word smṛti, the root meaning of which is ‘to remember’ and as such it further has the meaning of retention or recollection.  To have sati is to be fully present, not lost in daydreams, anticipation or worry. It is being alert and attentive to everything as it is, not filtering things though our subjective opinions.  It is also remembering to be aware of something or to do something at a designated time in the future.

Sati has the characteristic of faithfully returning back to refocus on an object whenever the mind wanders away from it. The Buddha advocated that one should establish sati in one’s day-to-day life, maintaining as much as possible a calm awareness of one’s bodily functions, sensations (feelings), objects of consciousness (thoughts and perceptions), and consciousness itself.

Sati
is part of the Noble Eightfold Path. Practising Right Effort (viriya), Right Awareness (sati) and Right Concentration (samadhi) together helps us to train the mind to be calm, balanced and, ultimately, freed from the dissatisfactions that cloud our thoughts. As unwholesome or negative thoughts arise in the mind, we apply sati to recognise them and prevent them from causing difficulty or unpleasantness.  Sati is the moderating tool we use to assess our practice and progress in the other wise habits and, importantly, to understand the right balance between them. For example, we might become aware that although we have plenty of enthusiasm for a task (chandha), we lack sufficient patience to complete it (khanti). It is like a mental witness, a built in system of notes and reminders which helps us stay present, learn from past mistakes, do things better next time.

Venerable Ajahn Jayasaro explains in 12 Ways to Happiness that when we are able to solve problems or make things better quickly, it means we have sati.  ‘’If we are able to use, adapt or apply what we learn from the past to fix the problem in the present, we have sati.’’ He advises parents and teachers that we need to realise clearly what we are doing at the present, what we are teaching now, what students are learning and whether they are listening to us. This helps us to keep focusing on teaching or parenting, doing our best to teach and guide our children continuously without being distracted. There are times when we talk to our children with one eye on the computer, or with our minds thinking about what happened at work today or what chores we need to do later. And yet we also experience times when we give full attention to what we are doing with our children. This tends to result in a happier, healthier experience for both us and our children.

We need to encourage eye contact from our children, remind them to place their shoes neatly on the shoe rack, ask them to describe the taste of their food, have them check their bags routinely before school in the morning, encourage self-awareness of sensations and feelings when they get angry or upset and remind them of their home and classroom responsibilities. A child who kicks off his shoes, gulps down her food, forgets her school book or loses his temper easily does not have sati.

Changing the mental habits and conditioning of a lifetime, no matter how short, is not easy. We might encourage ourselves and our children to choose a particular activity such as preparing or eating a meal, washing the dishes, or taking a walk, and make an effort to be fully mindful of the task as we perform it. In time we will find ourselves paying more attention to everything. No matter how brief the moment that the mind is fully focused on the here and now, it is very powerful. As we develop sati the mind becomes lucid, the body alert and we are able to think with clarity and composure, to make wise choices, to know our responsibilities and improve ourselves.

If we are unaware of our present actions, we are condemned to repeating our mistakes from the past and never achieving our dreams for the future. It is said that if you miss the moment, you miss your life. How much of our lives have we missed? Be mindful!

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