Patience is the highest austerity

Hello. :slight_smile:

I’ve heard it quoted, “Patience is the highest austerity.” I’m wondering what sutta this is taken from and how it should be interpreted.




Dhp 184 Khantī paramaṃ tapo titikkhā

Using the dictionary, titikkhā is said to mean ‘endurance, forgiveness, forbearance’.

Tapo is said to mean ‘penance; religious austerity; morality’.

However, I did hear ‘tapo’ originally meant ‘to burn’ or ‘burn up’.

Tapas is based on the root Tap (तप्) meaning “to heat, to give out warmth, to shine, to burn”. The term evolves to also mean “to suffer, to mortify the body, undergo penance” in order to “burn away past karma” and liberate oneself. The term Tapas means “warmth, heat, fire”. Wikipedia

Therefore, I assume ‘khantī paramaṃ tapo titikkhā’ means ‘patient endurance is the supreme way to burn-out or extinguish any burning of defilements (kilesa) that may arise or potentially arise’.

Bhikkhus, all is burning (ādittaṃ). And what, bhikkhus, is the all that is burning? The eye is burning, forms are burning, eye-consciousness is burning, eye-contact is burning, and whatever feeling arises with eye-contact as condition—whether pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant—that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hatred, with the fire of delusion; burning with birth, aging, and death; with sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair, I say. SN 35.28 image :mindblown: :meditation::lotus::mudra:


+1 for excellence in giffage.



I would say this is a perfect description of what the following phrases are pointing to:

“do nothing”

“leave it alone”

“let it be”

These are some favourite “Dhamma-phrases” and I feel it would be wrong of me not to give credit where it’s due; over many years of listening to Ajahn Brahm, this is the sort of thing I feel, according to my perception any way, he often points to.

I often find that, in my own Practice, it’s about remembering not to think or over-think, analyse, judge or even try to understand! Just to feel and to be. Weirdly, emotions and difficulties seem to have a life of their own and seem to disappear; but only if I’ve really hit the “letting go button” (another AB quote) properly. :slight_smile:

Thanks for this lovely question @Jhanarato and for the equally lovely answer @Deeele.

Such questions and comments just gladden and make the heart feel good. Thank you. :anjal:


Great, thanks for your answers. (And gifs!)