Dale S. Wright

‘The word “energy” [for the perfection of energy] translates the Sanskrit virya, a very important and much evolved concept in the history of Indian culture. Virya derives from early Aryan roots, where its warrior heritage can be clearly seen. In earlier epochs, virya pointed to the power and virility of the warrior, the one noted for physical strength and courage, the hero of epoch battles. Evolving through the history of brahmanical culture, it came to signify prowess of other kinds, the energy and exertion necessary to make extraordinary accomplishments possible. Early Buddhist texts refer to the Buddha himself as a vira, a great hero, the one who was victorious over the forces of evil – Mara – and whose spiritual achievements would transform the world. For Buddhists, therefore, virya meant the energy of accomplishment, the effort, courage, and power to see spiritual endeavour through to its completion. Virya-paramita is the perfection of this energy, the power of unyielding commitment to the ultimate goal of universal awakenening.’ (The Six Perfections)

It’s good to remember the roots of words, and how they come to us. I appreciate this kind of study in the works of Shohaku Okumura as well, and have written before about the different translations of this paramita.

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