Posted inHenry's Messages

Message from Henry: Virya, the Fourth Paramita

April 25, 2017

All we could ever find, need or want, is right here, closer than the nose on our face.


Virya, the fourth paramita: determination, diligence, constancy. It connotes both not giving up, and diligent attentiveness.

If we keep our eyes on practice, we are keeping them on the present moment. Then in a sense linear time loses any interest for us, so why would we not just keep going? To give up on practice implies some sense of time. But practice can occur only in the here and now, where we are less concerned with linear time.

In fact, of course, everything is occurring in the here and now only. All we could ever find, need or want, is right here, closer than the nose on our face.

To find this, become this, to live out this universal intimacy – it takes keeping going, with diligence and care and determination.

Interestingly, the word virya is cognate with the Latin vir – man – and also with the word virtue. Under centuries of questionable patriarchal authority in the West, we might find this etymology unsettling. But on the other hand, we could take from it that whatever goodness may be, it’s hard to achieve without constancy and resolve. It has nothing to do with masculinity, of course, but it does take repeated resolve, a strong determination to keep returning to the practice.

We might even take it as commitment – commitment to what is good, non-harmful, beneficial to life, and to the search for that.

Message from Henry is from our April 25, 2017 Newsletter.
Image: Determination by Larry and Teddy Page, cc by 2.0, from

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