- the force of aspiration or devoted interest (mos pa'i dpung)
- the force of steadfastness, or firmness (which here means self-confidence) (brtan pa'i dpung)
- the force of joyfulness (dga' ba'i dpung) and
- the force of moderation or taking a break (dor ba'i dpung).
Applying the Four Forces
Thubten Chökyi Drakpa says:
- "Just as the great kings and rulers of the world deploy their armies with their four divisions in order to defeat their enemies and accomplish their objectives, the bodhisattvas develop the strength of their diligence, complete with the four forces, as an antidote to overcome all the factors that are incompatible with diligence and accomplish the aims of sentient beings."
Patrul Rinpoche says:
- 1. The preparation, which is the force of aspiration, is an aspiration to practise the Dharma that comes from reflecting on the benefits of virtue and the faults of harmful actions.
- 2. The main part, which is the force of self-confidence, is the stable commitment, born of strength of heart, ensuring that once a virtuous act is begun, it will reach completion. This has three aspects:
Finally, as in the example of the sun shining its light on the whole world, having been blessed by the wisdom, compassion and aspirations of the bodhisattvas, we ourselves can sustain the lives of beings.
- 3. The force of special joy means practising virtue with joyful enthusiasm, but without any expectation of a positive result, celebrating all the good things that we do.
- 4. The force of moderation means to clear away hindrances by resting for a while whenever we are physically tired or disheartened, in order to continue with renewed vigour shortly afterwards.
Sometimes six forces are mentioned, with the addition of wholehearted practice (lhur len pa) and mastery, (dbang bsgyur ba), which can also be counted separately as the two strengths (stobs gnyis). Patrul Rinpoche says:
- 5. The force of wholehearted practice means to overcome what is to be abandoned, devoting ourselves to the vanquishing of the disturbing emotions by employing mindfulness and vigilance.
- 6. The force of mastery means to train ourselves in all disciplines, remembering the advice about conscientiousness, and maintaining control over our own body, speech and mind.