Western Resolution meets Eastern Resolve

Resolve, according to Mirriam Webster is an act of determination; synonym is courage.
Courage: from Anglo-French curage, from coer heart, from Latin cormore at Heart: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
Heart: the emotional or moral as distinguished from the intellectual nature: as
a: Generous disposition: Compassion (a leader with heart)
b: Love, Affection (won her heart)
c: Courage, Ardor (never lost heart).

As I listen to friends and family making their New-Years Resolutions I’m encouraged to re-establish my own (and much in process) resolve. Like Calvin to Hobbes I’ve found help from wiser folks than myself. Ahhhh the web, how do I thank thee?

Resolve or Determination as a Western habit is most often emphasized during the season of the New Year . . . speaking from my own experience, my Western mind-set can barely manage even this much frequency. Ah but take heart,  is also one of the Ten Perfections listed in the Pali Canon, the scriptures of the Theravadin teachings. In the Pali language the perfection of resolve/determination is “Adhitthana Parami”.

Ajahn Sucitto and Ajahn Thanissaro both offer guidance when exploring or undertaking these virtues. They describe in detail how Adhitthana is nurtured and applied. Given that a study shows a pathetic 12% likelihood of success rate for new resolutions to last even one year, it seems most of us could use a bit of help from our friends . . . might as well listen to some wise ones.

Ajahn Sucitto’s mp3 Dhamma talk “Adhitthana Parami

Ajahn Thanisarro’s study guide on “The Ten Perfections

Cheers to keeping your New or Old resolutions! And just for fun, here’s a hint to my re-Newed Years resolution: (not a pretty picture but certainly familiar.


Click here to enlarge Comic Strip

3 Responses to "Western Resolution meets Eastern Resolve"

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  1. Alistair

    January 30, 2009 at 11:25 am

    A benefit of resolve for me is that it doesn’t seem to need a significant start date like I feel a resolution should have.

    So it’s 10:18 on the Jan 30 and I can tap into resolve, once my resolutions have fallen by the wayside (and they do), they languish “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” till the next significant date (my birthday, May day, Jan 1st) revives them.

    Right now I resolve to note every time I re-summon my courage to return to whatever wholesome state I had resolved to be in.

    Thanks for the encouragement, Sakula and Ajahns

  2. jkhines

    January 4, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    My experience was a resolve to make resolutions, some of which I’ve already forgotten. Instead I’m going to focus on a single thing and stick with it.

    Or not.

  3. Paul

    January 2, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    As the end of the year approached, I felt an overall decline in resolve (in the Eastern sense). It was as though I went into mental hibernation, and making effort has been more difficult than usual. Now I feel it’s time to stir the embers of determination and once again apply effort where needed.

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