Diligence is zeal or enthusiasm for the path. It is finding joy in practicing what is wholesome and skillful. Diligence is the sustained capacity to ‘do the needful’, regardless of temporary moods or conditions.
Shantideva said in the Bodhicharyavatara:
Having patience, I should develop diligence,
for Awakening will dwell only in those who exert themselves.
Just as there is no movement without wind,
merit does not occur without diligence.
Four methods of diligence
- Avoid unskillful acts or states that have not yet arisen.
- Abandon unskillful acts or states that have already arisen.
- Initiate skillful acts or states that have not yet arisen.
- Increase skillful acts and states that have already arisen.