4 Bases of Power (part of the 7 Sets series!)

Nirvana

Nirvana (Photo credit: Dunechaser)

The 4 Bases of Power are the fundamentals of proper motivation toward right action. (7 sets index) This is not only the “motivation” of getting in gear, but motivation coupled with a confidence in progressive attainment and a knowledge of what one needs to do from moment to moment to take the next good step.

Develop the base of power endowed with concentration founded on:

1. Desire and the products of exertion
2. Persistence and the products of exertion
3. Intent and the products of exertion
4. Discrimination and the products of exertion

These things make you powerful in your development. They properly motivate right action. To develop desire for enlightenment (*or salvation, if that’s your thing), endowed with concentration, founded on desire and the products of effort, powerfully motivates you toward right action.

Most people understand what these things mean, but let’s consider them a little more deeply.

DESIRE — To develop desire, vividly consider the benefits of the rewards and what they mean to you. If it is Nirvana you most dearly value, contemplate what Nirvana means to you. If it is heaven you are after, visualize heaven and what being there is like. If you want most to help sentient beings, imagine in detailed and nuanced forms how you will help them and the benefits you will secure them.

PERSISTENCE — To develop persistence, which is the behavior caused by motivation, use being and becoming. Consider the possibility now of taking meaningful steps toward the desired reward, and imagine how glad you will be when those rewards are fully realized.

Regarding good work you have done already, consider how it brought you further along the path to realizing those rewards. If mistakes you have made come to mind, consider them in the context of the right exertions, and resolve to do better.

INTENT — Develop intent by picturing the reward, realizing its possibility, and deciding to do what is needed to attain that reward. Especially consider the costs and sacrifices of doing the work, compare them against other things you could be doing instead, and decide whether it is worth it.

Keep in mind that it is an article of faith to most Buddhists that anyone can become enlightened in this life, just as it is an article of faith to most Christians that anyone can reach salvation.

DISCRIMINATION — Know when you are making progress, and foreknow with regard to the fruits of a considered effort whether or not the endeavor constitutes progress. Put yourself into the future in which you have, in real terms, succeeded in the effort, and look at what you gained and lost. Look at what direction it sent you in. Look at where it put you with regard to your goal and your values.

In short, consider everything you need to consider in order to make the right decision whether or not to pursue the project. Know when you are moving closer and further away from the goal, and resolve to move closer to the reward.

To develop with concentration your desire, persistence, intent and discrimination with regard to enlightenment give you great power in your practice.

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