The Parami of Khanti: Patience

The topic this week was the parami of patience – in Pali, khanti.

Here are a few of the quotes I used that weren’t included in the Patience Quotes that were handed out:

From Shantideva’s The Way of the Bodhisattva (translated by the Padmakara Translation Group):

“Good works gathered in a thousand ages,
Such as deeds of generosity,
Or offerings to the blissful ones–
A single flash of anger shatters them.

No evil is there similar to anger,
No austerity to be compared with patience.
Steep yourself, therefore, in patience–
In all ways, urgently, with zeal.”


“If those who are like wanton children
Are by nature prone to injure others,
What point is there in being angry–
Like resenting fire for its heat?

And if their faults are fleeting and contingent,
If living beings are by nature wholesome,
It’s likewise senseless to resent them–
As well be angry at the sky for having clouds!”

From Parker Palmer’s book A Hidden Wholeness, The Journey Toward an Undivided Life:

“The insight at the heart of nonviolence is that we live in a tragic gap–a gap between the way things are and the way we know they might be…. If we want to live nonviolent lives, we must learn to stand in the tragic gap, faithfully holding the tension between reality and possibility in hopes of being opened to a third way….

Ultimately what drives us to resolve tension as quickly as we possibly can is the fear that if we hold it too long, it will break our hearts….

There are at least two ways to understand what it means to have our hearts broken. One is to imagine the heart broken into shards and scattered about…The other is to imagine the heart broken open into new capacity–a process that is not without pain but one that many of us would welcome. As I stand in the tragic gap between reality and possibility, this small, tight fist of a thing called my heart can break open into greater capacity to hold more of my own and the world’s suffering and joy, despair and hope.”

The Guest House from Rumi:

This being human is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

Some talks to listen to on Patience:

Paramis Series #4 Patience; The Enduring Heart – Myoshin Kelley

Patience, The Highest Virtue – Kamala Masters

Patience – Gil Fronsdal

and readings:

Notes on Patience and Patience Quotes – Gil Fronsdal

A Treatise on the Paramis: From the Commentary to the Cariyapitaka by Acariya Dhammapala – (translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi)

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