The Future Buddha’s Gambatte Spirit Under The Bodhi Tree

If the goal is worth it,
and possible to reach it,
rest if you must,
but you must never give up.

— Shilashanti

The story of Siddhartha Gautama is well known; he left his family and the pleasures of courtly life to dedicate his life to one thing only – finding an end to suffering. To do that, he traveled the roads for many years, mistreating his body with all manner of hardships until he found the Middle Way. But besides his encounter on his travels, the key moment when his ganbatte (i.e. ‘Do your best! Keep going and never give up!’) was put to the test came with the Bodhi tree.

With any important project you set your mind to doing, there comes a time when you have to decide how much you really want the thing you are looking for. Here are a few examples:

  • The student about to earn a doctorate who devotes the final months to tenaciously putting the finishing touches to their thesis before handling it in to the academic committee.
  • The runner who steps up their training for a marathon they have spent a whole year training for.
  • The final preparations for launching a start-up that may end up being something big.

Two and a half millennia ago, Siddhartha Gautama decided that his touchstone would be the aforementioned fig tree in the north of present-day India. He began to meditate under what would later be called the Bodhi tree, determined not to get up until he achieved enlightenment… In the midst of his endeavor, a violent storm broke out, but that did not make him desist.

He devoted himself… never giving up, until he achieved Enlightenment. He then transformed into the Buddha, which means ‘the one who is awake.’… Any great project, whether it is spiritual or of any other nature, requires a constant effort to bring it to fruition, especially when we are facing the final stretch of the challenge.

Ganbatte! : The Japanese Art Of Always Moving Forward
Albert Liebermann

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