The energy of Viriya

This Sunday, Mike B led the discussion on the topic of the third Factor of Enlightenment, Viriya, usually translated as “Energy”, “Diligence”, or “Effort”.

Here is a talk he played by Joseph Goldstein:

The Pali word Viriya means “courageous energy”

Some translations: strength, courage, vigor, vitality, perseverance, effort… Joseph suggested we ”put all of these meanings together”.

Basic translation: energy, the capacity to be engaged, to do things, to accomplish things.

Buddha said: “When we practice, wisdom grows. When we don’t practice, wisdom wanes.”

Joseph says: “Wisdom is not something that we get, and then we have….if wisdom is not cultivated through practice, it becomes a memory, and it’s not particularly alive within us.”

When wisdom is not alive for us, it is easy for old habit patterns to reemerge.

“Beginless habit energies are extremely difficult to remove suddenly. Hindrances are formidable, and habits are deeply ingrained.” – Chinul, founder of Korean tradition of Zen

“It is not difficult to be aware of mindful, it is difficult to maintain it continuously. For this you need right effort, which is simply perseverance.” – Joseph