DILIGENCE, EFFORT, ENERGY    [brtson 'grus]
What is diligence? It is the mind intent on being ever active, devoted, unshaken, not turning back and being indefatigable. It perfects and realizes what is conducive to the positive.
The mind ever intent on the wholesome is diligence. Therefore, Vasubandhu says,
What is diligence? It is the antidote against indolence and is that which makes the mind move out towards the positive.
What is diligence? It is the inclination towards the wholesome.
Nowadays, in society, there are those who claim that every endeavor is a case of diligence, but striving for this life here is not diligence. Diligence means going out to the positive, but the attempt to shun what one must do in this life means to cling to evils contrary to diligence.

In classifying diligence, the byang-chub lam-rim chen-mo gives three:

1.    Diligence which is ever ready
2.    Diligence which collects wholesome things
3.    Diligence done for the sake of sentient beings
But the Abhidharmasamuccaya explains five:
1.    Diligence which is ever ready
2.    Diligence which is applied to work
3.    Diligence which is not to lose heart
4.    Diligence which does not turn back
5.    Diligence which is never satisfied
The first to put on the heavy armor in view of the fact that, before one embarks on positive action, the mind must first be made to go out in that direction. Regarding that, the Paramitasamasanama states:
If one, indefatigably, with a mind bent on the wholesome,
Is compelled to act properly as regards to oneself and others
In a manner which is likened to the one-pointedness of mind
Of the Supreme Enlightenment whose vastness is like the ocean which is
Made up of infinite numbers of water drops, and
If determination is of long duration in the manner that a year
Consists of the coming together of those days and nights
Of a great expanse in which a day and a night
Is likened to the termination and equanimity of the
Endless rounds of birth, then he will attain
The Supreme Enlightenment which is ever active.
When the mind, having been released from the frustrations of
One's round of samsara, becomes ever active,
Immovable and infinite, that (mind) becomes possessed of
The capacity towards the wholesome which is a brave mode of action,
And is said to be the first of the pure things to be grasped.
The second ('diligence which is applied work') is twofold:
1.    Steady engagement
2.    Enthusiastic engagement
when by application the mind goes out to make a real experience,

The third ('diligence which does not lose heart') is todevelop this outgoing of the mind without weakening it by thinking "How is this possible by me?"  It is just as the Jatakamala states:

To be released on account of faintheartedness is useless
Therefore, don't be afflicted by misery
But rely on a knowledgeable person who has gained the meaning of the teaching.
Then even the most difficult will be easily attained.

Therefore, one should not be afraid nor be unhappy
To do what is necessary, but as circumstances should warrant,
He should be encouraged by the splendor of the Wise
And go out to attain all those (positive) values.

The fourth ('diligence which does not turn back') is to make the mind go to its limit without letting it ever be changed by conditions. Regarding this, the venerable teacher (Tsong-kha-pa) says,
When diligence which does not turn back wears its armor,
The virtue of intuitive understanding increases like the crescent moon.
All activities of experiencing the path become meaningful, and
Whatever is begun will result in the manner that one wishes.
From understanding it thus, the Sons of the Victorious One
Begin with diligence, the big wave which sweeps away all indolence.
The fifth ('diligence which is never satisfied') is an effort to seek more than the previous and not to be conteneted with just a little. Moreover, to take a small portion of the path as the most important one and to reject all others is a great hindrance to implanting the inclinations regarding the path in total; therefore, it is very important to have a clear understanding of the entire path. The lam-rim chen-mo states:
Arya Asanga had stated over and over again that even if one knows properly the way of how to strive after the wide and great, it is very important to have two qualities: 1. one must not despair, and 2. one must not be satisfied with merely some triviality. To think that a great portion of the path is established if only one aspect of it arises, whether it be an apparent quality or the real quality, and to be content with attending to it habitually, even though it has been taken from the teachings and represents logical forms to those who know the essence of the path -- this may be acceptable as part of virtue. But to understand that one cannot proceed anywhere by that alone, to leave despair behind, to seek indefatigably the specific positive value of a higher level with a total commitment, and to learn whatever one must learn without ever failing in one's efforts -- this is indeed a wonderful thing.
That this activity is said to function as the realization and completion of all positive values means that all positive values depend on diligence. Therefore, the Adhyasayasamcodanasutra states:
What is to be done in this world, and
What is to be done in the world beyond
Is not difficult for one who exerts diligence.
The positive values of the wise result through
the power of diligence

Those who have entered the Enlightenment of the Buddha,
Having seen the detriment that comes from indolence and sleepiness,
Always make diligence the basis of endeavor.
This I have always told them to do.

The Mahayanasutralamkara states:
Of the positive values, diligence is supreme.
Therefore, he who relies on this truly attains the real.
By diligence, one instantly gains the sublime states
Of the mundane and transcendental.

By diligence one attains the desired mode of life.
By diligence one also becomes tranformed.
By diligence one becomes free by standing above worldly things.
By diligence the Supreme Enlightenment unfolds completely.

Since all positive qualities come in the wake of diligence, it is very important to initiate assiduous striving. When one deeply studies and knows the works that have been mentioned before, there are very effective means of initiating diligence. For people with low intelligence like myself, it is difficult to understand these things merely by dealing with these works. Although Tsong-kha-pa has stated in his lam-rim,
It is very important to know the way to end idleness which is not conducive to diligence in view of the profit that comes from making a beginning of assiduous striving and the disaster that comes from not doing it. It is important to know how to realize the powers of 1. active implementation of devoted interest, 2. active implementation of steadfastness, 3. active implementation of joy, and 4. active implementation of rejection.

* Heavy armor refers to the armor of strenuousness. The armor [go cha] has been explained in the Collected Works of Gampopa as follows: One must pursue the paths wearing two armors, the external armor of seeing and the internal which is the armor of discriminative awareness. Also, Longchenpa, in his Zob mo yan thig speaks of four armors. In putting on the armor of trust, one will endure hardship. In putting on the armor of learning, one will destroy external and internal postulates. In putting on the armor of assiduous striving, one will experience realization. And by putting on the armor of humility, one will not cling to fame.