Jan 4, 2020
1,200 years ago, the Buddhist
Master Shantideva offered a Buddhist approach to lasting change in
his Guide to the
Bodhisattva’s Way of Life. The four powers of effort can be used as
steps to making a specific change reaching a goal.
The Four Powers of
- Aspiration. A strong wish (aspiration) is a
fundamental basis to accomplish an important goal. The most
powerful wishes comes when the outcome is meaningful to us and is
an expression of our values. Living in accordance with our values
is a path toward happiness and is a type of success that can
reliably bring us satisfaction. External success may or may not be
achieved or even deliver the happiness we believed it would. But
acting in accordance with our values will bring us
- Steadfastness. What is the smallest, most
manageable step you can take in the next 24 hours to move in the
direction of your goal? Very clearly identify the first step,
according to your capacity. Plan the step for the following day.
Try to make one step toward your goal each day. If we diligently
put these planned steps into action, from this steadfastness will
come a newfound confidence. The Buddha said that “with effort we
have all attainments”.
Try to make the plan for change a joyful one. We won’t do what
makes us suffer for very long! Adopting new habits will be
challenging, but the experience can’t be very unpleasant. The spiritual path should be a
joyful one if we are practicing correctly.
Rest is a power of effort. Plan to take rest and have a break.
Also, when we have an unexpected rest (when we diverge from our
plan or slip-up), don’t feel that you have failed. Steadfastness
means we are going in the direction of our dreams, not that we are
The verses from
we studied in this episode
Ah, so happily we live,
We who have no attachment,
We shall feast on joy,
As do the radiant gods.
Victory gives birth to hate,
The defeated sleep in anguish.
Giving up both victory and
Those who have attained peace sleep
The Dhammapada, translated by Gil Fronsdale. (2011).
Shambala, pp. 54.
Esposito, C. (2015). The Calm Living
Blueprint. [podcast] Episodes 10-11.
Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to
Enlightenment, Volume 2. Translated by the Lamrim
Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and
Guy Newlan, Editor. Pages 181-208.