Today, we are going to discuss the 2nd of the 6 paramitas (or “transcendent actions) which is called discipline.
As you may recall, in a previous newsletter, we discussed the first paramita, generosity. That talk is [here](http://susanpiver.com/?p=5915).
If you’re like me, you may think of discipline of something onerous, a punishment, an activity in which you force yourself to do stuff you’d really rather not. It feels heavy. Shameful. Punishing.
The Buddhist view of discipline is quite different, although, let’s face it, at some point we all have to just make ourselves do things–get to the cushion, put on your running shoes, and so forth. I’m not implying that there is some magic way to get ourselves to do our own bidding. But viewing discipline as something other than a test we either pass or fail can help.
I would like to suggest 3 possible definitions.
First, all discipline really means is the ability (and willingness) to _come back_. That is all. Period. And of course our meditation practice teaches us exactly how to do this through letting go of thought to come back to breath. It’s that simple. (Although not easy…)
Second, you could view discipline as the continual awareness of what to accept and what to reject. I don’t mean you should reject Republicans and accept Democrats (or vice versa), I’m saying it’s more like knowing from moment to moment which mental or emotional direction to go in. This is a very profound and subtle skill; a discipline.
Third, there is the discipline of letting go. This may be the most profound skill of all. Can you let go of a moment once it has passed? Your fear of something or your hope for another thing? Can you let go of your thoughts in order to attend instead to the present moment. Of course you can. This is exactly what you are practicing on the cushion.
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