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Everyday Zen: Patience

All moments are pregnant while gestation periods may differ. In Zen we speak about unfolding of conditions, a particular set of which I'll reference called paramitas. Also known as perfections they suggest an uncovering of hidden capabilities masked through karmic-clinging. One of these six paramitas is ksanti (patience).

"Ksanti is patience, tolerance, forbearance, endurance, or composure. It literally means "able to withstand." It is said there are three dimensions to ksanti: the ability to endure personal hardship; patience with others; and acceptance of truth. The perfection of ksanti begins with acceptance of the Four Noble Truths, including the truth of suffering (dukkha). Through practice, our attention turns away from our own suffering and toward the suffering of others. Accepting truth refers to accepting difficult truths about ourselves--that we are greedy, that we are mortal--and also accepting the truth of the illusory nature of our existence."

Everyday our awareness of the moment can be deepened and seemingly extended as ksanti unfolds as part of the variables within the condition of the time at hand. We are "Zen-ing" when this happens. That is, life becomes our practice which is our true being. Sometimes I am asked how long does it take to become a Zen Buddhist Priest, my current reply is all the time in the world.

Ah, but there is a secret to this answer, one takes the time in good use while measure becomes less important. I recall Charlton Heston when playing Michelangelo in a movie where the artist was painting the ceiling of Sistine Chapel being asked by the Pope when it would be done...when it is finished was the reply. We are always in between then and when.

Patience is resting in unsettledness...

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