'effort.' The 4 right efforts (samma-padhāna), forming the 6th stage of the 8-fold Path (i.e. sammā-vāyāma, s. magga) are: (1) the effort to avoid (samvara-padhāna), (2) to overcome (pahāna-padhāna), (3) to develop (bhāvanā-padhāna), (4) to maintain (anurakkhana-padhāna), i.e. (1) the effort to avoid unwholesome (akusala) states, such as evil thoughts, etc. (2) to overcome unwholesome states, (3) to develop wholesome (kusala) states, such as the 7 elements of enlightenment (bojjhanga, q.v.), (4) to maintain the wholesome states.
"The monk rouses his will to avoid the arising of evil, unwholesome things not yet arisen ... to overcome them ... to develop wholesome things not yet arisen ... to maintain them, and not to let them disappear, but to bring them to growth, to maturity and to the full perfection of development. And he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives" (A. IV, 13).
(1) "What now, o monks, is the effort to avoid? Perceiving a form, or a sound, or an odour, or a taste, or a bodily or mental impression, the monk neither adheres to the whole nor to its parts. And he strives to ward off that through which evil and unwholesome things might arise, such as greed and sorrow, if he remained with unguarded senses; and he watches over his senses, restrains his senses. This is called the effort to avoid.
(2) "What now is the effort to overcome? The monk does not retain any thought of sensual lust, or any other evil, unwholesome states that may have arisen; he abandons them, dispels them, destroys them, causes them to disappear. This is called the effort to overcome.
(3) "What now is the effort to develop? The monk develops the factors of enlightenment, bent on solitude, on detachment, on extinction, and ending in deliverance, namely: mindfulness (sati), investigation of the law (dhamma-vicaya), energy (viriya), rapture (pīti), tranquillity (passaddhi), concentraton (samādhi), equanimity (upekkhā). This is called the effort to develop.
(4) "What now is the effort to maintain? The monk keeps firmly in his mind a favourable object of concentration, such as the mental image of a skeleton, a corpse infested by worms, a corpse blueblack in colour, a festering corpse, a corpse riddled with holes, a corpse swollen up. This is called the effort to maintain" (A. IV, 14).