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Episode 116 - Right Effort

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Release Date: 10/05/2021

Episode 148 - Mindfulness for a Happy Life show art Episode 148 - Mindfulness for a Happy Life

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Mindfulness can be used to train the mind: to make the mind more peaceful and see your world differently. Mindfulness, in this way, is used to remember things we’ve learned and intend to put into practice. For example, we may have heard the teaching to gather all blame into one--our mental afflictions. We might agree that there are no external problems or enemies; our problems come from our mental afflictions, such as anger, attachment, ignorance, pride, or greed. To practice mindfulness, we could then determine to recall this wisdom when we start to get angry or upset. Mindfulness is used...

Episode 147 - Be Grateful To Everyone show art Episode 147 - Be Grateful To Everyone

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

The practice of Lojong has the literal translation of “mind training.” The great Buddhist master Atisha taught mind training over 1,000 years ago in the form of slogans. These 59 slogans are designed to be practiced in the hustle and bustle of daily life to retrain our minds in the ways of peace, compassion, wisdom, and bodhicitta (the wish to attain enlightenment for the sake of all living beings.) In this episode, JoAnn Fox focuses on the 13th slogan, “Be grateful to everyone.”   Be grateful to everyone. Who does everyone include?  Grateful to those who lift us up Grateful...

Episode 146 - Caring For Our Parents show art Episode 146 - Caring For Our Parents

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

The Buddha taught that certain factors strengthen the karmic results of our actions. One example is that the effects of actions we do toward certain types of people are intensified because of their special relationship to us and the benefits we receive from them. Our parents are one of these types of people, since we have received so much help from them in the past. Buddha, therefore, advised that we try to take care of our parents and cherish them as much as we can. In this episode, JoAnn Fox relates the teachings on this subject in a way that can also begin to heal our experience of our...

Episode 145 - The Nature of The Mind show art Episode 145 - The Nature of The Mind

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

The word enlightenment is a translation of two Pali words that mean “awakened” and “freed from all fetters.” To become enlightened then means we wake to the true nature of reality, and we free our mind from all the shackles of the delusions, like ignorance, anger, and attachment. The basic nature of the mind is purity. No matter how troubled or deluded someone’s mind is currently, their basic nature is purity. In this episode, we try to get an understanding and an experience of the basic nature of the mind: purity, clarity, and awareness.    “The deep, peaceful clarity of...

Episode 144 - How To Turn The Other Cheek show art Episode 144 - How To Turn The Other Cheek

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Many of the great religious leaders have asked us to practice non-retaliation, to turn the other cheek, and practice nonviolence. The Buddha explained that non-retaliation is not only important for the person who harms us, but for the protection of our self. Buddha once said that if you throw burning coal at someone, you will definitely get burnt. In the same way, when we retaliate in our mind by harboring resentment, we experience that harm by drawing out the suffering we experience. If we retaliate verbally or physically, we create negative karma that will cause us to suffer again in the...

Episode 143 - Right Thinking show art Episode 143 - Right Thinking

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

This episode is the last of a three part series on the ten nonvirtuous actions, and the focus is on actions of mind. Actions of mind you say! Yes, actions of mind do create karma. In fact, mental actions are continuously creating our reality. Our mind can create a heaven or a hell right on earth. Our mind can also create a happy life—or at least 80% happier.   Nonvirtuous actions of mind: covetousness ill will Wrong view   Finding fault in what’s not at fault  And seeing no fault in what is,  Those who take up wrong views  Go to a bad rebirth. (318)   ...

Episode 142 - Mindful Speech show art Episode 142 - Mindful Speech

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

  When the Buddha explained the ten nonvirtuous actions to abandon, four are devoted to our speech. Our words are an incredibly powerful tool; they can build ourselves and others up. Or they can tear ourselves and others down. In a sentence they can destroy a relationship, friendship, or employment; such is the power of our speech. In fact, a mindfulness practice of purifying our speech is one that can change our lives completely.    The Four Nonvirtous Action of Speech Lying Divisive speech Harsh speech  Idle chatter    5 Factors of Right Speech: Is it true?...

Episode 141 - Body Karma show art Episode 141 - Body Karma

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Buddha explained the Ten Nonvirtuous Actions as a way to guide our actions of body, speech, and mind. "Nonvirtuous" means that it brings suffering to us in the future by way of negative karmic results. Yet it is easy to be confused about what is nonvirtuous if everyone around us is doing it or if our society sanctions it. That is why we are encouraged in Buddhism to bring the light of awareness to our actions. To see, in the light of our own wisdom, if our actions are helpful or harmful. The daily mindfulness practice JoAnn Fox suggests begins by contemplating what unskillful actions of body...

Episode 140 - Happiness Training show art Episode 140 - Happiness Training

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Where we place our thoughts is how we produce happiness, calm, and peace. The real trap we're all in is believing that we will be happy when_______. Think about how many times we've said this: "I'll be happy when I get my own room. I'll be happy when I can drive. I'll be happy when I can move out. I'll be happy when I can move back in. When I graduate college, I'll be happy, and when I get that great job. I'll be happy when I get married. I'll be happy when I get divorced. I'll be happy when I have kids. I'll be happy when these kids finally leave. I'll be happy when I retire." We're always...

Episode 139 - How To Purify Bad Karma show art Episode 139 - How To Purify Bad Karma

Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

There is a way to purify negative karma! Phew. Buddha taught the Four Powers of Purification. The first power is healthy regret. This type of regret stands in contrast to guilt. Healthy regrets teaches us that we should try to not be angry or unkind to ourselves when we experience regret. Regret makes us naturally desire not to repeat that action and the harm we caused. The second power of purification is applying remedies. In this episode, JoAnn Fox shares a traditional method for applying remedies, reciting the mantra of Vajrasattva, Buddha of Purification (see the mantra below.) The third...

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This episode focuses on Right Effort, one part of the Noble Eightfold Path. Buddha repeatedly taught the importance of effort, for realizing the rest of the eightfold spiritual path depends on effort. In this context effort means energy directed toward cultivating the mind. The path begins with an impure mind and a wish to change; the liberated mind is the culmination of the path.what comes between is unrelenting effort. Here we focus on the four powers of effort, which teaches us how to make positive change unstoppable. 


Time and again the Buddha has stressed the need for effort, for diligence, exertion, and unflagging perseverance. The reason why effort is so crucial is that each person has to work out his or her own deliverance. The Buddha does what he can by point- ing out the path to liberation; the rest involves putting the path into practice, a task that demands energy. This energy is to be applied to the cultivation of the mind, which forms the focus of the entire path. The starting point is the defiled mind, afflicted and deluded; the goal is the liberated mind, purified and illumi- nated by wisdom. What comes in between is the unremitting effort to transform the defiled mind into the liberated mind.

The work of self-cultivation is not easy — there is no one who can do it for us but ourselves — but it is not impossible.


Buddha himself and his accomplished disciples provide the liv- ing proof that the task is not beyond our reach. They assure us, too, that anyone who follows the path can accomplish the same goal. But what is needed is effort,


4 powers of effort 

  1. Aspiration. Dream. Wish. You have to develop a strong wish to accomplish an important goal or personal change. Visualize yourself having accomplished it. In your imagination, feel how wonderful it is. Imagine what your life is like having attained this goal/change.
  2. Steadfastness. Steadfastly put these planned steps into action. Accomplish your daily goals. Decide what has to be done to accomplish this goal--according to your capacity. Very clearly identify the first step (what you will do tomorrow.) Plan what the steps will be the following day toward realizing your goal. Create a step-by-step plan.
  3. Joy. Your plan to change must be a joyful one. We won’t do what makes us suffer for very long! The path toward change will be challenging, but it cannot be very unpleasant. The Buddhist path should always be a joyful one if we are practicing correctly.
  4. Rest. Rest is a power of effort. Plan to take rest and have a break. Also, when we have an unexpected rest (when we diverge from our plan), don’t feel that you have failed. Steadfastness means we are going in the trajectory of our dreams, not that we are perfect.

Through the steadfast accomplishment of daily actions toward your goal or personal change, confidence will naturally arise. Eventually, you will be familiar with this new way of being. You will have become a new person, with new habits and a new life!


3 Lazinesses (obstacles to effort)

  1. procrastination 
  2. attachment to what is meaningless or non-virtuous 
  3. discouragement 


The eight practices of the Eightfold Path are 

Right View, 

Right Intention, 

Right Speech, 

Right Action, 

Right Livelihood, 

Right Effort, 

Right Mindfulness

Right Concentration. 


Right Effort 

Inactive when one should be active, 

Lazy [though] young and strong, 

Disheartened in one’s resolves,

Such an indolent, lethargic person 

Doesn’t find the path of insight. (280)* 

—Buddha, The Dhammapada


References and Links


Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 72 (Link)


Je Tsongkhapa. Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 2. (Kindle.)Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor, pp 187-197.