FIFTH PRE-REQUISITE FOR BUDDHA-HOOD
Viriya is the fifth of the Ten Pre-requisite for Buddha-hood. "Viriya" literally means 'energy'. This energy is combined with great kind compassion on all living beings and is selfless spirited in every mental activity, which must undoubtedly be supported by physical strength of the individual. The energetic person of this description does not stop half-way through fatigue or laziness, in his undertaking, or with the idea of a postponement for reason of sun or rain, or heat or cold, etc., but continues it until success is attained.
As this energy helped Bodhisatta to reap the real benefit of his Panna, Viriya is placed next to Panna in order of the Pre-requisites.
The following preliminaries are essential for the development of Viriya : -
Laziness, both physical and mental together with a spirit of pride tends Viriya to become impure. Bodhisatva did not allow his Viriya Paramita to become impure or to fall down in strength by recalling to memory the good he had done for the benefit of others, and thereby regularly adding strength to it.
The teachings of all Buddhas say, "You must exercise your energy." Out of great compassion on humanity they preach to the world the way to gain freedom. This freedom is not a thing one could gain for the other. One's freedom has to be sought out by oneself. So the Lord has said "Man is the master of his own destiny". No man can be saved by a Buddha, a Deva, a Mara, a Brahmin, a Vishnu, a Maheswara or anybody. Therefore, the Lord said "Direct your energy in the proper way and you will gain freedom, or salvation".
As a man whose head or clothes on the body had caught fire would leave no energy unexercised to get it extinguished, so man must endeavor night and day to add virtue to his lot of merits. Buddhist metaphysics teaches us that this is the only way to overcome sorrow in this existence and bring eternal happiness hereafter.
Utterance such as "no" and "cannot" are the bitterest in our experience. But our Bodhisatva firmly instated on the Pre-requisite of Viriya, in many a birth sacrificed his life in preference to the utterance of such a bitter term, in being totally devoted in the welfare of the others.
Therefore, let us all take the sword of "Panna" in our hands of "Viriya" and clear the path of Nirvana by cutting down the overgrown jungle of passion that putrefies virtue in man.
"Do not associate with evil companions, nor seek the fellowship of the vile. Associate with good friends and seek the fellowship of noble man."
Dhammapada, Panditavagga Verse 3