This article begins our series on Shantideva’s ‘A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ translated by Stephen Batchelor (ISBN: 8185102597). This text is frequently quoted from by HH Dalai Lama as a source to develop universal compassion and loving kindness for both ourselves and all others. You can follow the series on this text under the category #Bodhicaryavatara.
Chapter VI Patience – 1-5
Chapter VI focuses on patience in the face of anger. Anger is a negative emotion, in the same way as jealousy and greed. In verses 1 to 5, Shantideva explains that anger is not just any negative emotion but anger is the worst negative emotion. Shantideva provides these reasons:
- Anger destroys the positive virtuous qualities that we have worked so hard to develop.
- Anger leaves us with no space to develop other positive virtuous qualities.
- Anger breaks our sense of calm, allowing us no joy and no happiness.
- Anger isolates ourselves from our friends, family, even work colleagues will give us a wide birth to avoid the reach of our anger.
The antidote to anger is patience – the soothing balm that takes away the emotional heat and aggression of anger. With patience we can be the calm center, even when faced with our anger or the anger of other people. For these reasons, patience is the most important positive virtuous quality that we should seek to develop within ourselves.