(D) Unwavering Perseverance
In whatever undertaking one is engaged, it is only by perseverance that he may meet and overcome numerous difficulties in his way, without fear and submission, and carry on his work strivingly till it is successfully done. On the other hand, if he is easily discouraged with frustrations and setbacks, he can hardly make success in anything, let alone some task of major importance. From knowledge, which gives courage, and from culture, which gives patience, we can acquire perseverance; thus knowledge and culture are two components of unflinching perseverance that enables us to shoulder great responsibilities without fear and, to exert great effort without fail. Because it is attained by knowledge and culture, perseverance is fundamentally different from stubbornness; through sheer lack of knowledge and culture, one becomes stubborn, for without adequate knowledge, he cannot perceive and understand truth clearly, and without adequate culture, he is apt to be unruly and refractory. It is a grave mistake to take stubbornness for perseverance; in effect, a stubborn person is as unreasonable as he is unyielding, for despite his knowing his wrong, not only he would not feel repentant with it but would repeat doing it again and again. This, a man of perseverance would never do.

In Buddhism, patience is advocated in lieu of perseverance because, in its sense, is more comprehensive and more profound than perseverance. Not only in coping with adverse circumstances is the power of endurance urgently needed, but in favorable situations, it also plays a tremendously important role, as we can see, a man of patience would neither be carried away by heaps of compliments, nor would be swept off his feet by the powerful impact of the “Eight Winds” (profit and loss, defamation and fame, praise and blame, pleasure and pain), and if he remains totally indifferent to those things, he may be said to have developed patience to perfection. In Buddhism, patience is classified meticulously into different categories, such as Patience in discipline, Patience in Meditation, Formless Patience, Uncreated Patience, etc., and so forth. Patience, the third of the six Paramitas, is a cure for self-conceit and arrogance. That patience is of prime importance for cultivating Buddhism cannot be too strongly streesed here. No doubt, if one is not free from egoism, he would not be free from self-conceit. Unfortunately, it is generally true that the more educated, the more arrogant one is. It seems to be quite a common practice with some hot-headed, gifted speakers at a meeting, who, in arguing over an issue with their opponents, resort to the tactics of attacking them personally. Not even for a Buddhist Cause, would a Buddhist do this, for Buddhism exhorts us that we should be aware of our thoughts at all times, not only to stop the arising of self-pride, but more important still, to restrain ourselves from anger and other evil thoughts. Only by patience, one may remove various impediments in his way and free oneself from craving and selfish desires, then and only then, in his work, he would make good progress in walking the Path of Enlightenment.