Patience is a virtue

Below is an email I received from a person who attended my book signing at the Boulder Book Store on August 22nd in Boulder, Colorado.

In my book, The Misleading Mind, I speak about a rather well known story from 11th century Tibet. During that time there was a renaissance of Tibetan Buddhism after a period of cultural and religious destruction.  Many teachers were invited from India to help reestablish Buddhism and Lama Atisha, a renowned Buddhist scholar and practitioner was among those invited.

On the long journey from India to Tibet Lama Atisha was accompanied by an entourage of Tibetans and his own personal Indian cook. The cook was known for his especially bad temper and abrasive manner and the Tibetans had little patience or understanding of the cook’s style.  The cook was even cranky when dealing with his own employer, Lama Atisha.  The Tibetans were dumbfounded as to why Lama Atisha kept the cook in his company and finally asked Lama Atisha why kept the cook around since there were plenty of more agreeable cooks in the entourage.  Lama Atisha advised them that his cook was actually one of his closest “friends”.  Why? Because as a spiritual practitioner Atisha understood that patience and tolerance is one of the key mental virtues to develop for a happy and balanced mind. And, Atisha understood that one cannot train the mind without working with problems. That problems actually are our “friends” because it is only through problems that we can truly develop a balanced, healthy mental attitude.  However, in Lama Atisha’s case, once they arrived in Tibet he sent the cook packing and back to India. The Tibetans were curious why Atisha had decided to get rid of his “friend”.  When they inquired Lama Atisha said, “Oh! You Tibetans are providing me with more than enough opportunities to practice patience so I don’t really need him around anymore!”

The email:

Karuna, thanks for presenting a talk at the Boulder Book Store on your book, “The Misleading Mind”, on Wed, 22 Aug.  I really enjoyed what you had to say and appreciated you taking the time to share your ideas with the group.  If you recall, I was the second person who came up to you to autograph your book and mentioned I had just left the Carmel, CA area and moved to Boulder.

I also mentioned to you a short vignette to you about a person who was about to give up a client out of frustration until I relayed the story from your book about Lama Atisha’s cook and how he approached the situation as an opportunity to learn patience.  To follow up, turns out that the person had the perfect opportunity to let this client go a few days after I relayed the story, but she decided to maintain the relationship as a learning opportunity, which will, no doubt, be really helpful to this ‘difficult’ person.

So, you can see, by one person reading your book and spreading your ideas, more than just the reader has benefitted.

If you are coming to Boulder for any follow-up classes as you said you might, please keep me informed.  Also, let me know how I can help spread your message.   By the way, noticed you live in Capitola, what a nice place!

Best Regards, Allen.



  1. I love your book. I discover all that you wrote by my own, I learn to read the emotion one day, coming home from work. I close my eyes and I saw fire everywhere, i imagine i fight the fire. Soon I was in the winter snow. I let go off all my aversion. Now i read all that in this book. can i get more of it. Sometimes I just have to believe that the negative emotion will just leave me when i am mindful, it works. Thank you.

Speak Your Mind