When I’m feeling uncertain, I reach for structure. (Twenty years ago, in the days immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, I cleaned my house. I realized after the fact that I was imposing order where I could on a disordered world.)

Recent health challenges have left me feeling uncertain and a bit bewildered. Looking for a way to restart my blog (ignored while I was in the hospital and during early recovery), I am reaching for the structure of the Buddhist paramitas.

Wonderful Buddhist scholars and teachers have considered the paramita’s and written about them. (My teacher is Susan Piver. She has influenced my thinking and guided my reading.)  It seems presumptuous to add my two cents (and it can only be pennies because I am only “allowed” to be up at my desk for a limited time each day [health challenges again]), but here I go…

Paramitas are those actions (sometimes called “transcendent actions”) that result in character qualities associated with enlightened beings. As I learned it, the word means to cross over to the other side. On that side is sanity and wisdom.

In your journal:

  • What character qualities would you expect to find in an enlightened being?
  • What actions and attitude help you be your “best self?”

The six paramitas are generosity, discipline, patience, exertion, meditation, and wisdom. My plan is to consider one each month, though I am already halfway through September. Stay tuned for a bit about generosity.