the desire to leave) is the bearing with
indifference all opposites (such as pleasure and
pain, heat and cold, &c.). Otherwise, it is the
showing of forbearance to a person one is capable of
punishing." from Mohini Chatterji's translation of
is the bearing of all pains without rebelling
against them, unconcerned and unlamenting." from
Charles Johnston's translation of Sankara's
Crest-Jewel of Wisdom.
That idea of forbearance towards someone you are capable
of punishing seems to have a strong element of mercy in
it, in addition to the obvious injunction to bear the
opposites. I wonder how those two ideas go together.....
I love the Cervantes quote,"Patience and shuffle the
cards", it reminds me of the Judge idea of Higher
Carelessness. Tamiko's letting go idea is a good one too
but maybe we could add letting go of personal desires.
It seems to me that duty is the key here. The more we
adhere to an ethic of duty the more we let go of what we
want, or think we need for ourselves and look at the
Thanks Grace. This raises a new approach in my mind.
When we have the idea of endurance or forbearance, I
suppose we need to ask right from the start: why is
forbearance necessary? What in our human experience
makes this virtue such an important thing to cultivate?
And maybe you've struck the nail on the head with
"personal desires". That seems to, in some way, go to
the heart of it.
So, in our daily lives, what is it that we're trying to
It would seem that the sage's reply is: pain and
pleasure, or the "opposites" in general.
If that's the case, then I suppose we need to ask: why
is it necessary or important to endure pain and
It seems to me that the mind often acts as a radio with
an antenna. There is a multitude of signals to pick up.
When we let down our guard (passivity), or perhaps due
to past thoughts and desires (magnets), we pick up
negative signals (unworthy or undesirable) thoughts we
must "change the channel". This requires patience and
forbearance don't you think?
Good points. Do you think that dealing with these
"signals" requires other virtues in addition to
patience/forbearance? I sometimes feel that patience is
enough, to just allow ourselves to move through life
without reacting to those "signals" we pick up. So in
that sense we wouldn't be trying to change anything, but
merely to "let it be", or "change the channel" as you
say. But other times I feel that, in addition to
patience/forbearance, we may need to apply some kind of
will to change things: i.e. maybe instead of changing
the channel in some instances, it's upon us to receive
the unworthy/undesireable thoughts and somehow transmute
them. But then I wonder, does this run counter to the
idea of "indifference" that seems to always be included
in the definition of forbearance/patience? What do you
I hear that saying from Marcus Aurelius quite often.
Most of the time people seem to take it as a kind of
self-evident truth and it strikes me that way sometimes
too. But I wonder... What about cases where people seem
to buckle under the pressure of some intense stress?
even to the point of "insanity". Or what about PTSD? It
does seem that, at least some things are too much for us
to bear... or too much, at least, for our personal self
What about the warnings given by HPB and others about
those who take on chelaship, for instance, only to fail
and fall into horribleness, seemingly consumed by the
darkness that was unleashed within them when they
applied sincerely to the vow of discipleship?