In ancient times, practitioners believed they had to go through ascetic cultivation to achieve enlightenment. In modern time, it is good if practitioners can do that, but is it the only way? As the saying goes, “All roads lead to Rome”. Does the same apply to the road to enlightenment? Grandmaster JinBodhi says that having a good grasp of the six perfections, or even mastering one of them, can promote enlightenment.

What are the six perfections and how can you put them into practice? Please follow Grandmaster JinBodhi as he explains the six perfections and seize this important method that leads to enlightenment!

【You will learn】

  • The six perfections
  • Diligence and its related practices

【Featured aphorisms】

  • To achieve success, you must be disciplined.
  • As parents, you must control your behavior and avoid harmful actions because Heaven and Earth will know.
  • Tolerance can train your fortitude.
  • When you are wronged, learn to accept, endure and digest it.
  • There are many things you can’t change in life. Learn to see through them and go with the flow.
  • The top priorities for practitioners to cultivate are virtue, fortitude and endurance.
  • Only when the responsibilities and reasons are clear can you control the situation successfully.
  • Every task you’ve done well in the meditation center is also a process of cultivating your mind.


In early time, one couldn’t achieve enlightenment without ascetic practice. The earliest Buddhism spread to Burma, Thailand and India. Many Southeast Asian Buddhist practitioners believe that they can’t achieve enlightenment without meditation. They must go through the stages of 4 dhyanas and 8 samadhis. From age 48 and on, Buddha enriched his teachings. They were indeed better. What was added? The 6 perfections. Many aspects can lead us to enlightenment. Sometimes doing well in one aspect suffices, as Buddha indicated in a sutra. The first is generosity. It means giving to the needy.

For example, I have money, so when I see poor people going hungry or without medical care, I give financial and physical support, and teach them skills, or give them food. Or as a doctor, I treat the poor free of charge. These are all examples of generosity. The second one is following precepts. In order to achieve, we must follow precepts. There are 5 commonly known precepts. No killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, etc. Doing these harms goes against reason and Nature. Harm others, and you’ll be harmed. Kill pigs, and you’ll be tortured by their souls, even though they can’t kill you. For those in certain positions, such as those licensed to kill by law, if they kill unlawfully or quasi-legally, say, a policeman sees two people fighting, if he shoots them even though they have raised hands in surrender, is it lawful? No, it’s law enforcement violating the law. But through clever argument that they were trying to kill him with a knife, so he shot them in self-defense, he may escape punishment. But the unseen Heavenly law enforces justice, since all the deities are watching. The one on duty would say, this brute is plain evil and deserves to be punished. He won’t be the only one affected, his children or parents will be too. This god will unleash disasters onto them.

“You kill one person? I’ll torture 3 or 5 of your family. You’ll suffer greatly.”

So it’s true that parental evil karma brings suffering to the children, i.e., a son pays his father’s debt. We have to be wary of it. As parents, we must exercise restraint in our conduct. That is to say, following precepts. Do not do harmful deeds. Do not think no one sees it. Heaven and Earth know. What does that mean? It may seem no one is watching you, but Heaven sees you. You ask where the eyes of Heaven are. They are omnipresent, thus you don’t see them. Causality is to be feared. Thus we should do nothing against reason or Nature. This is known as “following precepts”.

Patient endurance trains our willpower. Others laugh at, humiliate and insult you even though you did nothing wrong. He suspects you of stealing his stuff because you are poor, but you didn’t. However the accuser calls you bad names, spreads rumors about you, and gossips with others, and makes all kinds of wrongful accusations. We must learn to accept, endure and dissolve it. Lots of things are beyond our control. Learn to see through it, then it won’t matter to you. As ordinary people, do we get wronged or insulted sometimes? Yes. It happens to everyone. A Buddhist firstly cultivates his self-restraint, willpower and endurance. Even if you’re wronged and humiliated, what is there to fear if you haven’t done anything wrong? No need to declare your innocence, nor fight to clear your name. Your innocence will shine through with the test of time. It’s fine being misunderstood at the beginning. Eventually, people will know your compassion and goodness. The next of the 6 perfections is dedicated practice. I think that there are several ways to perform dedicated practice.

Firstly, practice the main meditation methods. For Bodhi Meditation, the main method is The Meditation of Greater Illumination. This is the principal method. Secondly, it’s chanting. What’s the third one? I almost forgot. It’s prostration. It helps one to lose weight and enhance beauty. It activates meridians, energy channels and opens wisdom, which is especially beneficial. The second part of dedicated practice is using supplementary methods. Firstly, do more good deeds. Some may not know how to. Just come to our centers to help. We realize our goal and belief at our centers by serving all sentient beings through volunteering. We’ve built this center, and with it, Master has a place to teach all sentient beings to learn dharma, for you to practice and achieve enlightenment, and most importantly, for you to break free from suffering. Not sure whether you’ll gain happiness, but you’ll suffer less, definitely. At such a place, serving others is practicing self-cultivation. Merits and virtues come with your practice. Thus, only when we are clear about our roles and reasons can we conduct ourselves appropriately and never fail. That’s why when working at our centers, we must understand that we are earning merits and virtues for ourselves. So, when we serve people at the centers, in anything we do, we are actually cultivating our heart and mind. Some claim that they’re rich; their maids do all the household chores, grocery shopping, even their hair. They’re like those ladies described in the Chinese classical novel The Dreams of the Red Mansion. She had maids to comb her hair, wash her face, brush her teeth, and put on her glasses. Even her foot binding was put on by her maids. They all lived like that. But here at the centers, you are Buddha’s servant, and that’s your honor. Thus, cleaning floors and bathrooms, and serving food, are honorable activities here. Actually, doing these chores prompts your transformation.

So the dharma teaching is to help us cultivate our mind. Cultivate to perceive things the right way. With our mental condition balanced, our physical health will be balanced as well. I hope you practice diligently. The fifth of the 6 perfections is meditation. Meditation is our main practice. Thus we should practice every day whenever we have time. If there isn’t time, take time away from sleeping. Even with one hour of practice, we’ll feel comfortable. You may feel very tired after 10 days of hard work. But with 1 hour of sitting meditation, your fatigue will go away. Some want to spend more money, so they go for a foot massage. It works a bit, but it’s far inferior to practicing meditation. After one hour of meditation, you’ll feel comfortable and happy. Your fatigue will be all gone.

The 6th perfection is prajna or wisdom. The grand concept of wisdom is learning about compassion and morals. That’s my understanding. Prajna is a strange word that’s hard to understand. I can only just reach this level of understanding. It’s learning the wisdom of compassion and kindness, and drawing close to the wise and the kind. In choosing friends, choose the kind ones. If you are not strong-willed, stay away from bad people who do drugs, gamble or fight, and value money over people. It’s better not to have such friends. Because when we are with bad friends, it’s easy for us to go astray. If we are with bad people, we become bad if we are not careful. Thus we should stay close to the kind, and learn compassion and true dharma. The 6 perfections are key factors to achieve enlightenment.