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Diligence (Skt. vīrya; Tib. བརྩོན་འགྲུས་, tsöndrü, Wyl. brtson ‘grus) — one of the fifty-one mental states defined in Abhidharma literature. According to the Compendium of Abhidharma, it belongs to the subgroup of the eleven virtuous states. It is also the fourth of the six paramitas and the fifth of the six powers through which the nine stages of resting the mind are accomplished. The Bodhicharyavatara explains the four forces which support the practice of diligence.


In the Khenjuk, Mipham Rinpoche says:

  • Tib. ཚོར་བ་ནི་ཉམས་སུ་མྱོང་བའི་མཚན་ཉིད་ཅན་ནོ།
  • Diligence is taking joy in what is virtuous, positive or wholesome, and then engaging with it. It makes one fully accomplish what is virtuous. (Rigpa Translations)
  • Diligence is the attitude of gladly engaging in what is virtuous. It makes one fully accomplish what is virtuous. (Erik Pema Kunsang)

Diligence is defined as: taking joy in what is virtuous, positive or wholesome. "Taking joy" means that diligence is concerned with the positive actions of the mind, rather than the body and speech. And the word "wholesome", distinguishes diligence from its opposite, laziness, which is taking joy in unwholesome, worldly pursuits.


There are three subdivisions:

  1. armour-like diligence
  2. diligence in action
  3. insatiable (or unstoppable) diligence

Chökyi Drakpa says:

"Diligence is divided into armour-like diligence; diligence in action, which means exerting yourself to practice the Dharma and fearing laziness with as much energy as someone who discovers a poisonous snake in his or her lap; and insatiable diligence. Insatiable diligence is never being satisfied by a little, or a few months, or even a few years of virtuous practice, and instead exerting yourself to practise throughout your entire life."

Alternative Translations

  • Perseverance (Gyurme Dorje, Tony Duff)
  • Endeavour
  • Enthusiastic effort
  • Heroic perseverance or joyful diligence (Padmakara Translation Group)
  • Joyful effort
  • Strenuousness
  • Vigour
  • Zeal

Further Reading

Internal Links