Exploring the factor of enlightenment known as Viriya—our energetic capacity—Joseph Goldstein shares how we can cultivate courageous effort within our lives and daily practices.
Viriya: Energetic Capacity
Exploring the factor of enlightenment known, in Pali, as Viriya—loosely translated as our energetic capacity, vigor, perseverance, and vitality—Joseph Goldstein shares the various wholesome and unwholesome ways it manifests within our lives. Describing the necessary mindfulness and skillful application for harnessing such a powerful and variable factor of mind, Joseph shares how to link Viriya with other wholesome states—like wisdom, equanimity, and investigation—to more profoundly cultivate these qualities of being.
“The Buddha said, ‘When we practice the dharma, wisdom grows. And when we don’t practice, it wanes.’ This very important to understand. Wisdom is not something we get and then store someplace within ourselves. If wisdom is not continually growing and being supported, then the defilements begin to reassert themselves. This is the function, in our practice and our lives, of Viriya—it keeps the wholesome forces and the wisdom we have, growing.” – Joseph Goldstein
Join Joseph Goldstein as he illuminates the Buddha’s teachings on how to skillfully use energy, on Ep. 68 of the Insight Hour
Courage: Strength of Heart (9:02)
Elucidating Viriya’s manifestation as courage, Joseph explains the word courage is derived from the Latin word for heart. Regarding courage as a strength of heart, he describes it’s antithesis as sloth and torpor, exemplified in the uncourageous habit pattern of retreating away from one’s difficulties. The nature of Viriya faces difficulties head-on; however, as courage is energized by challenges, inspired by difficult tasks, and rises to the challenges on our path to accomplish what we most value.
“Courage doesn’t mean being free of fear, and it doesn’t mean being free of doubt. It means being willing to act in the face of fear, in the face of doubt.” – Joseph Goldstein
Writer, Anne Lamott, offers an honest, wise, and humorous conversation on courage, strength of heart, and revival, on Ep. 381 of Mindrolling
Openness: Energy & Effort (27:27)
What is effort? When is it balanced? When is it counterproductive? Describing effort as the expenditure of energy to accomplish a goal, Joseph explores the ways in which it can be applied skillfully to our lives. Effort becomes unskillful when there is a forcing of the mind, what Joseph calls effort-ing; which in regards to our practice looks like a mind full of expectation, wanting something to happen. Within Viriya’s manifestation of skillful, courageous effort; though, there is an openness and a receptivity to what is.
“It is not about having or getting any experience at all, no matter how pleasant or delightful it might be—that’s not what the practice is about. The practice is about letting go, it’s about settling back and opening to what’s there.” – Joseph Goldstein
Open yourself to the energy, strength, and courage of Viriya manifested in our lives and practice, with Joseph Goldstein, on Ep. 4 of the Insight Hour
Source images via Pixelvario and alphaspirit.it on Shutterstock