Despite being a Zen Master I strongly believe that perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order and yet every religion talks about perfections.
- What are they?
- How to achieve and maintain them?
- What will happen if you are unable to achieve them during your life?
Zen Buddhism is in the same wagon than other religions when it is talking about “ the 6 perfections” called paramitas a Pali word. Paramitas also means spiritual completeness and accumulation of virtues. In every Buddhist Temple around the world one of the evening chanting is dedicated to the 6 perfections and the vow is to achieve it during our present life or if not … during the next life.Our True Self is perfect (see picture above) but our ego-centered “little self” is not… far from it. This is why every Zen Buddhist practitioner vows to achieve and practice the 6 perfections.
This is a very difficult task!
Which are these 6 perfections?
Here is the list in non-specific order.
Ethical conduct / morality / discipline: This is not only toward others and toward our environment but also toward self. This means having a proper life style, respecting our body in maintaining it healthy (diet, exercise, health maintenance, etc.). (The 4th Noble Truth describes well this perfection.)
Generosity: Generosity toward others implies also love, compassion, forgiveness, respect, altruism, and kindness to all living beings. Generosity toward self implies respect, tolerance and self-development.
Patience: Includes resilience, acceptance, endurance, self-control and equanimity ( emotional stability).
Perseverance: Includes diligence, energy and effort.
- Includes being mindful (to focus, to be “awake”) to our body, to our mind, to what we do and to our surroundings (people, events, etc.).
- Includes daily practice of meditation.
- Contemplation is also included here since to contemplate is an act of concentration without an analytic mind.
Wisdom/ insight: Being able to differentiate realities from illusions. Please click on the link for more info.
Accepting that life and its components are what they are and not what we want them to be. Realizing that our ego mind so useful is also the main cause of our dissatisfactions. Recognizing that only the present moment NOW exists.
Now the obvious questions are:
“ How many persons are able to achieve all of them”?
“How often can anyone achieve any of them?”
I personally don’t know this person…yet.
The key here is to be mindful to these 6 perfections inside self and to try our best to reach some of them some of the time. Just find them inside yourself.
Remember this: IMPERFECT = I’M PERFECT
Thank you and don’t forget to breathe!
Ven. Ji Gong Sunim. 13th June 2015