The 10 Perfections

In Vipassana meditation, they teach you about the ten parami, or perfections. These are ten characteristics that all humans should strive towards in moral and ethical behavior.

Sadly, few of us have truly cultivated all ten of these…but the Fierce Gentleman perfects them.

Some of you may be thinking “There’s no such thing as perfect.” This is true. There is only continual renewal and striving to be one percent better, every day.

With that in mind, here are the 10 “perfections” and how they apply to your daily life.

1. GENEROSITY

Giving brings wealth, period — and more important than giving money is giving your time.

It’s easier to send $5 a month to a good cause than to actually see yourself giving some of your precious time to others — but if you aren’t doing the latter, you should at least do the former. We have suggestions for where you can start.

Give of your money, your time, your energy, your smiles, your good vibes, your positivity. Lend your strength to those who need it.

Concrete example: when you clean out your home and reduce your material possessions, and you know you could sell something for a few hundred bucks, give it away for free instead. Be that bright point in someone else’s life where they got an incredible deal. This plants good seeds for your future, so do it out of self-interest if you must.

Another useful practice: spend just one hour per week helping someone who can’t possibly help you back. If one hour is too much, spend 20 minutes. Even quiet listening helps other people. Take a coworker out to lunch, ask them how it’s been going, and just listen to them talk.

One of the best compliments I ever received was “You never seemed too busy to answer my questions,” and the person who gave me that compliment has remained loyal to me to this day.

Generosity brings wealth and wins loyalty. Make generosity a daily practice.

2. MORALITY

What does it mean to live a life of morality?

Ask yourself each day:

  • Did I strive today for the benefit of others?
  • Did I seek to help them, and not just myself?
  • Have I avoided harming anyone else?
  • Did I avoid taking what is not given?
  • Did I abstain from false speech, from sexual misconduct, and taking poisons into my body?
  • Did I take moral instruction from those I admire?
  • Did I reflect on my actions and their moral weight?

Morality is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves. Goodness, which the world requires, is in the head, and in the heart. By what you decide to do every day you will be a good man. Or not.

3. RENUNCIATION

It feels good to eliminate toxins from your life. Alcohol, pornography, fake food, gossip magazines websites & TV are all toxins.

Life is made anew when you train yourself to find your greatest joys in the simplest pleasures: a hand-brewed cup of coffee, or tea at just the right temperature, brewed with total attention and love. The acid snap of dark chocolate as it melts in you mouth. A mountain viewed in silence. The cosmos wheeling overhead as you lie on your back in the woods. The scratch of a wool blanket on bare skin. Clouds painting their shadows on red hills.

These things cost little and stand little chance of becoming life-destroying addictions. Renounce the intoxicants and renounce the practice of losing yourself in drugs. Look at the lives of aboriginal people everywhere: substances that induce altered states of consciousness are used for spiritual and personal growth, not recreation.

At higher levels you will renounce your need to judge others, to be right all the time, to win arguments, to be heard. You will be able to fill yourself with silence from the majesty of the abiding hills, and be content. And the men filled with the silence of nature will inherit the earth.

4. WISDOM

Solomon had it right when he chose wisdom, and riches of all types followed. He chose wisdom, and got 100 wives.

How do you get wisdom? Through study. Study the wisdom traditions of the world, all the sacred books that call to you, and spend time in deep reflection and meditation.

Only in the silence of meditation will the still, small voice of wisdom within you speak up and share the secrets of wisdom with you.

Wisdom can be developed but everything in this world conspires to drive it out of us. Our attention is fractured, our psyche is shattered, we are assaulted violently on all sides by consumerism, greed, lust, sloth, envy, celebrity gossip.

As the Buddhist say, “the world is as a burning house”. Do you strive to increase your ability to get along with the flames, or do you run out of the house?

Wisdom decides what truth really is. Wisdom brings freedom.

5. EFFORT

A man must constantly exceed his level. So what if it kills you; if it kills you, it kills you.Bruce Lee

You must make a heroic effort in order to escape the gravitational pull of this world, so steeped it is in illusions and mediocrity.

Most of us don’t understand what effort is. We think 10 hours at a desk job making calls and drinking coffee and attending useless meetings is effort. That is not effort.

Effort is putting in your 10 hours at a desk job, while there producing 4x more than the average worker with a smile on your face, and then going home to help your children with their homework for 1.5 hours before helping your spouse with the household chores for an hour and then spending an hour in concentrated attention with your spouse and then another hour of concentrated attention on a side hustle or learning a language or hobby.

And people do this. Why? Because they believe in the goals they have set for themselves.

Will Smith said, “I will outwork anyone . . . if we are getting on the treadmill together, I am going to die before I get off the treadmill before you.” Are you willing to die?

99.9% of your peers are not willing to die in the pursuit of their goals, so if you are, you will rise above them all.

A word about workaholism. More and more Wall Street interns are committing suicide each year because of 100 hour work weeks and endless meaningless stress. That’s not what we’re advocating. Does Will Smith look like he’s about to commit suicide? No, because he knows that real effort is “joy that increases all good.”

Work without joy is toil and leads to bad outcomes. Work with joy is effort, and effort brings eminence.

6. TOLERANCE

To refrain from judgment is a critical skill. If someone attacks you, you can choose to not react, to smile and thank them for their information. If someone blocks your pet project at work, you can forgive them and move on.

To be truly unruffled by anything other people do, because you have fully grasped that nothing others do is because of you, this is true freedom, this is tolerance.

When people oppose you or attack you, it is just them bumbling around in their own dreamworld. They are all asleep and they don’t mean you any harm, (even if they think they do).

Even your own parents can appear to you as little children, innocent but harmfully bumbling, but you can find tolerance for them, too. You can accept that harmful bumbling is part of their path. When you forgive them, this frees you to do so many great things.

You are in prison as long as you have not forgiven those who have wronged you. To forgive all is compassion, which is a high kind of intelligence, mixed with love for all beings.

We speak of this tolerance as love, which spontaneously forgives, allows, or tolerates outright macro-error or micro-deviation from exquisite exactitude.Bucky Fuller

7. TRUTH

You know what it means to tell the truth. Are you deliberate about it? Do you tell little white lies, or fudge numbers just a little bit to make yourself look better?

We are all tempted to do this, but that doesn’t make it moral. A moral man in an immoral time will stand up for truth & accuracy even if it hurts his prospects in the short run.

To really be truthful means to be exceedingly conscientious, in all your dealings, to never give anyone any impression other than the exact impression that is in your mind.

There is nothing so rare in the world right now as a truly honest man. Keep that in mind next time you are faced with the temptation to fudge a little.

All the world loves an honest man. He will not have to chase after money, money will chase after him.Unknown

8. STRONG DETERMINATION

Strong determination is the mental steel which underlies strong effort.

It is the attitude that nothing can stop you. There is no Plan B, there is no fallback. You have burned the ships and you are going to move forward no matter what.

It is an ironclad decision. You have decided — even if it takes the rest of your life, even if it kills you —  that you are going to get there.

This is the strong determination that is required to excel and reach the stratospheric success of which you are capable.

And as a mountain, a rock, stable and firmly based, does not tremble in rough winds but remains in precisely its own place, so you too must be constantly stable in resolute determination; going on to the perfection of Resolute Determination, you will attain Self-Awakening.Bodhisatta Sumedho

9. SELFLESS LOVE

Love has been painted as weak by our society, because our society is sick and directly backwards) but selfless love is the greatest strength there is.

Think of the battlefield soldier. What is it that keeps him marching through hell on earth? Loyalty to country, cause, God, fear for his own life, mindless grubbing self-preservation? No. It is love for his brother that keeps him fighting.

Face each day with selfless love for everyone you meet. Give them a big loving hug (real or imaginary) as you meet them. This will change your energy and the results you get in every interaction. Don’t take my word for it, try it. It will change your life.

“Selfless” love means you don’t just love people who profess to love you, a spouse and kids or sweetheart, you love everyone, even your worst enemy. Your worst enemies are your greatest teachers.

In defenselessness you are perfectly safe and in total selfless love you conquer all enemies.

Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?Abraham Lincoln

10. EQUANIMITY 

The monkey mind rules most of us. What about you? How capable are you of disciplining your thoughts, dismissing those that are not helping you and summoning beautiful and useful thoughts that buoy you into positivity?

Can you change your own mind? Can you summon that intense focus that allows you to concentrate for as long as necessary to complete the task? If you want to be a Fierce Gentleman you must get to the point where you can. Until that time you are a subject of either

  • Transitory moods
  • The influence of other people who can change your mind FOR you
  • Clumsy tools you use to change your own mind by proxy, such as eating a heavy meal, going into a trance watching a movie, or abusing mind-altering drugs.

You can also see this level of mental strength in high-level (top 1%) athletes, for example, who become completely immersed and focused on their craft, i.e. free climbing a 2,000 foot tall rock spire with no ropes.

Those who develop equanimity develop “gravity” and pull others into their orbit effortlessly. You want to be around them because they are solid as oak and their roots reach deep into the ground, and you can sense it. They spread peacefulness and calm wherever they go and can accomplish great deeds in the world thereby.

How does one develop equanimity? By training mental strength in the face of any circumstance. Some of the people with the greatest equanimity have been trained through hardship to develop resiliency.

 

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If you have a roof over your head, if you have enough food to eat, education and health care, you are truly blessed. It is your responsibility to not only help others attain the heights of material prosperity that you have reached, but also to work on yourself, a little each day, in the “10 perfections” listed above.

We all have a responsibility to make the world a better place, and that starts with making each one of our souls better, day by day.

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