Practice the paramitas or perfections
Paramitas are essential attitudes or virtues that are cultivated in Buddhism. Here we include some remarks by the great Tibetan teacher Tsongkhapa, a scholar and yogi with extensive training and practice in different schools of Buddhism, from his work Abbreviated Notes of the Gradual Path to Enlightenment. Shantideva explained in detail the paramitas in his influential text The Way of the Boddhidattva.
- Generosity. It must be spontaneous (clear and determined), wise (to apply it properly), carried out with joy and satisfaction, universal and not only for friends and pure, that is, without expecting anything as reward. Tsongkhapa says that it is the best jewel to cut the ties of self-centeredness and greed. The wise one always follows the path of detachment and renunciation, even of the rewards for his good deeds.
As Shantideva says, the great beneficiary of generosity is the one who gives, not the one who receives.
- Ethical behavior. It is the basis of the path of liberation. It starts with non-violence towards other beings and towards oneself, it continues with respect and kindness and reaches the ideal of living with the four sublime states (brahmaviharas). According to Tsongkhapa, generosity is what makes humans as great as mountains, without using force; and the wise keep the rules of ethical discipline as they do with their eyes.
- Patience. With it, the reaction of anger towards others and towards oneself is avoided. For Tsongkhapa patience and his friend tolerance are the best ornaments for those who have power and the best way to endure the torment of failures. It must be like a bird stalking its enemy, who is the serpent of hatred and anger, and the best armor to protect itself from harmful actions from others. The wise one wears the armor of supreme patience and practices it in every possible way. Shantideva says that, as in the case of generosity, the most affected by anger is oneself. In a moment of anger, what has been built for years can be destroyed.
- Enthusiasm and energy. It is perseverance and diligence on the path of improvement, on the path of Dharma. Tsongkhapa says that if you put on the armor of tireless vigor, your understanding and good qualities will grow to be like the moon, and your actions will have results and you will be able to achieve what you start and desire. Having understood this, the wise one perseveres and eliminates laziness.
- Concentration. It provides calmness to act serenely and to see clearly, so that we are able to avoid blind reactions and, therefore, keep our values in mind to apply them in our actions, renouncing the most mundane in favor of the most important. Tsongkhapa affirms that it is what allows supreme power over the mind.
- Wisdom. Tsongkhapa says that with the eyes of wisdom you can see things as they really are and that it is the best quality transmitted by Buddha. It is known as the ultimate lamp to dispel the darkness of illusion. He says that the wise one who aspires to liberation or awakening strives to develop wisdom, to understand reality and transform the mind so that it is not fooled by the conventional and apparent, and thus carried away by greed and aversion. It includes knowing how to discern when to apply compassion and energy, as well as the basic skills of knowing how to live.