Bodhisattvacharyavatara by Acharya Śāntideva

Chapter VI– verse 2i

Transglomeration: What is effort, vigour, endeavour?   It is taking delight in what is virtuous, it is putting energy to what is beneficial.

~~~ “BCA” ~~~

V. 1 without the wind of vīrya, nothing happens
↑ Stitch ↓
V. 2i vīrya – riding the understanding of karma to build benefit

Text-stitch: when in verse 1 it refers to there being no merit without effort, in verse 2i it makes the link in defining effort as delight in doing good, virtue, wholesomeness etc; merit can seem a bit boy-scouty, but working delightedly in benefit for self and others sounds … square-jawed heroic

Etymology: descriptors of effort: wholesome, enthusiastic, zestful, proper, delighting, joyful, endeavouring, courageous, vigorous, striving

Reflection: enthusiasm, excitement for goodness; not having done something good (‘what a good boy, Mark’), but delight in (the rightness) of so-doing; I do it because it is good, I am happy to do it because it is good; as with patience, it is not just the absence of laziness but the positive enthusiasm for virtue

Reflection: as Patrul Rinpoche points out, vīrya is a virtue of the mind which informs all other virtues (cf. of body and speech, vīrya is the cause of virtuous acts and word, acts and speech are not virtuous in themselves); this is a re-enforcement of the points made at the beginning of chapter 5 (all the Perfections are trainings of the mind), but it is a welcome reminder here: virtue is not defined by what you say or do, it is all about the mind first; because the practise of the Perfections is stepped (or, better, telescoped) then it should come as no surprise that virtue is first-of-all in the mind and that the engagement of the practice of vīrya begins once we have laid down clinging to good-acts or good-speech as an outer, quantifiable, objective form