Sunday, April 28, 2013

"How to Become a Powerful Person"

Wisdom Quarterly; American monk Bhikkhu Bodhi poem Jan. 2013 (
Buddha standing and reclining into final-nirvana, Gal Vihara, Sri Lanka (
Bhikkhu Bodhi
...The source lies hidden deep within ourselves,
But to find it we must use the appropriate tools.
The first key to success is the power of faith,
Trust in a supreme wisdom that points us to the good.
Faith settles the mind and inspires us with courage,
Inciting us to deeds of joyful self-transcendence.
Ready to spring their traps when our vigilance slackens.
To stem their attacks and sustain our self-respect
The power of shame keeps us firmly on the path.

Contemplate deeply our relatedness to others,
Consider the value of esteem in others’ eyes.
Let the power of moral dread hold us back from the abyss.
The path to liberation is not for the weak,
Nor for those given to self-pity and despair.
It is only by the invigorating power of energy
That we can become heroes, true masters of our minds.
Traveling by night, enveloped in dense mist,
We have wandered pointlessly in the maze of birth and death.
Now use the power of wisdom as the light
To guide our steps to the shore of final freedom.
Equipped with these five powers taught by the Great Sage
We rise up as conquerors stronger than any foes.
Masters of ourselves, examples for the nation,
We illuminate the world like the blazing noontime sun.

Lifting Ourselves Up
Breathing meditation in full lotus pose (
Bodhi tree mural (Romila Barryman/flickr)
It is not necessary to look without for power and success. It  is to be found within. The Buddha, in a commentarial enumeration of the Requisites or Constituent-Factors of Enlightenment (Bodhipakkaya-dhamma, "Things Pertaining to Enlightenment"), lists Four Bases of Power (iddhipada -- will, energy, consciousness, discriminative power) and Five Powers (bala -- confidence, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom), which are also listed as the Five Faculties (indriya,  from indo as in Indra, king of kings and lord of lords and India, that lord's own great land).

Four Bases of Power (iddhipada)
  1. Will (chanda)
  2. Energy (viriya)
  3. Consciousness (citta)
  4. Discrimination (vimamsa, vīmaŋsā, mimāṃsā)
Five Faculties and Powers (indriya and bala)
  1. Confidence/faith (saddha)
  2. Energy (viriya)
  3. Mindfulness (sati, smṛti)
  4. Concentration (samadhi)
  5. Wisdom (panna, prajñā)

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