The arising of compassion should be instantaneous, reacting to that moment of call, it should be the same with wisdom. One who is pure at heart does not stop and think and then render help. The moment of needs does not wait, even the mind of the one who appeals will change. Then he asks someone for help, his faith is with him and when the help is rendered to him, even for a moment’s deliberation, his faith will be shaken, even though gratitude may be shown later on. Reflect on this deeply!
The love that one deserves is not through what one does for others but how pure one is at heart. Love cannot be bought although it may be influenced by scheming. Those who yearn for love hardly ever receive it while those who are not too concerned with love will most likely earn it. This is the way of life and one too should reflect deeply in this paradox. Life is therefore difficult to understand by most people. But they are those who are caught in this world of passion, they have lost the true sight and so they are intrigued by false values. Only those who are on the wisdom path will earn the realisation and will be able to see the falsity of all worldly attractions which are nothing but fetters which bind the heart. That is why the world is so appealing to the majority of the people and that is why this is called the ‘World of Desire’. Trapped by desires, one promotes clinging, even though the result is suffering, and one will then lose sight of the true goal. What is the purpose of this daily writing? It is not of much value if it becomes a habit, it will not benefit you much if you feel that it is an obligation.
Whatever your mind may rationalise, it will depend on the mood of that day and so you will receive varied impressions. But the true value is in keeping you committed to the daily practice which is important, for it cleanses your mind and develops the compassionate nature. Left to yourself to practise whenever necessary, you may soon lose heart and then the practice is lost. This is the same for the disciples and it is your duty to be around to give them strength whenever they are disheartened by worldly troubles and feel that daily practice is rather unnecessary.
This applies also for those who join in the evening prayers for the unfortunate ones. Each one of you is subject to the mood prevailing at that time, that will either encourage or discourage practice. Once the mood is in control of the mind, they will be reduced to their original ignorant state so that whatever effort that has been expanded is lost.
Daily one must persistently sit and reflect the purpose and value of life. Daily one should renew vigour to face life’s problems, knowing that they are there out of necessity, to awaken them to the state of realisation that ‘this indeed is life, it is filled with pains and dissatisfaction, and that such dissatisfactoriness have been self-caused,’ and then there will arise the great thought of freeing oneself from this world of pain. Out of this simple practice, great ones have surfaced and they become those who exist to teach and save them. This, then, is the noble goal of life. To free oneself from all sufferings and their causes, to free others too from being bound by ignorance, to live for the sake of the myriad suffering beings!
What can one really do when faced with suffering? One can fight it or accept it, or one can fight it while accepting it. Fighting it is to become greatly angered that life has turned sour for oneself and then one becomes angry with oneself and the world. Fighting it with understanding its true cause will in turn bring about other related sufferings. Accepting it without understanding is to generate more sufferings, without any will to look into its cause. Accepting it will make one a slave to life and the chances of uplifting oneself will be slim. Those who fight it while accepting it are the ones who have understood suffering and they will live their lives creating good causes so that evil karma which has not yet arisen can be quelled. And they have understood what life is, the causes of happiness and woes, so that when suffering arise, they willing accept it as the effects of past cause. With this understandings, their minds are not greatly troubled for they may yet be magnanimous and wise enough to turn this suffering into cause of happiness in the future. But only those who have understood the great truths and have a path will be able to profit by sufferings and they will be the ones who will ‘fight while accepting sufferings’ which confront them.
What should one do when the suffering ones come to them for help? Many will ask why they have been approached and they become angry at such situations. These have no path, no knowledge, no wisdom, no values in life, and for them, it will be difficult to walk the Great Compassionate Path. But those who have good roots, have cultivated, have put efforts in religious practices, will react instantly. Reacting instantly does not mean always to positively render help to any call. Even a definite ‘NO’ can be a right act, and it all depends on the particular situation, for even the act of turning down someone can be appreciated. “How one reacts at that moment determines who he is, what he is.” Reflecting on this, you will arrive at the true meanings behind this simple sentence. The mind must not be lazy and one should not seek easy and quick answers. Human mind must be developed, and he who develops it with patience and effort will eventually reach enlightenment! What then is your practice? The easy and lazy way with the hope for convenient blessings for a happy life or one which relies on your own effort and wisdom? Having a human body and mind, you have earned the opportunity to become enlightened, do not waste it, do not sit and wait for the good things to come and do not expect wisdom to arise. You must set the causes, you must do all that you can to deserve what you wish to be.
Do you hate suffering? Then do not desire for what is unattainable through human effort. Desire is not necessary always evil. Use wisdom, and then only desires which are noble and benefitting to spiritual advancement will be developed, otherwise bodhisattvahood and enlightenment will be far from the mind. Do you wish for happiness? Think then, of what you have done in this lifetime, whether your past acts have happiness for others in mind, whether you have a selfish or selfless mind, and whether you are deserving of it or not. Life is therefore an opportunity to create happiness or sadness for oneself and others. While there is still life, one must not create anymore evil acts of thoughts, words and body, once this truth has been discovered. If in the past you have indeed been unkind to others, have been selfish and greedy, it is still not too late to repent, to change over and to begin a new life.
Repentance has a great power to reduce former karma which is evil, it can purify you instantaneously but you must decide firmly that, from this day onwards, whatever evil, you will no longer commit, and henceforth live a life which is in accord with the teachings of the Buddha. In this way, evil karma may be reduced, even suppressed, so that only the beneficial and fruitful karma of the past will have the opportunity to arise. This, then, is the way to happiness!
And just as you wish happiness for yourself, you should easily recognise the fact that all others too, including the tiniest living beings, also desire the same. If this is truly transcended, then you cannot be happy by yourself and will wish that all others too should have whatever you are wishing for. Then your heart becomes all-embracing and pure; you are one with all and your compassionate nature will be felt. It is through realising this compassionate nature, that true happiness can be found and then life will take a new direction. You care, and you will no longer habour selfishness, you will act in secret, to do things which will bring happiness to others and your prayers will no longer be the same. Only at this point of development will you find meaning in praying, will devotion to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas arise, will respect and reverence be given to the cultivators. Then you can understand the meaning of humbleness and charity. Your prayers will then be laden with love and compassion, and every prayer that you utter will be from your heart. Only when this is attained will Kuan Yin be able to reach your mind, only when Kuan Yin is in your mind will you be able to be of some real help to others. How difficult to attract the great Mother of Compassion and Mercy to your heart, how sinful to waste such a rare opportunity to develop yourself! Remove from yourself then, all traces of non-virtues and become a son of the Great One, reacting to the calls of help and being able to reach out and lead others to the Path!
Monday, 9th September 1985
7th Moon, 25th Day