That is why those who are doing spiritual work for others tend to live away from others, doing the best that he can and letting his motivations be the guide, that is why they must be strong in spirit and dharma knowledge. He who is on this path must remain perfectly calm in the midst of crisis so that panic will not surface. Others are depending on him to be a source of strength and his own strength will depend on the faith that he has in his own Spiritual Guru. His work must be selfless and there must be no expectation of recognition or reward of any nature. Just that whosoever needs help and if he is able to give it, it shall be given. Success and failures should not disturb his mind. There is no need to be especially happy at good results and misery filled when things do not turn out right. The intention to help was there and sincere actions have been exercised, it will be up to good karmic energy to arise to neutralise all negative energy.
Patience is one great virtue that must be practised. Without it, Dharma practice will be impossible. There is no short cut to attainment and there is no attainment without struggles, and it is these struggles that make the attainment sweet and lasting! In the beginning a search is needed, to find the path that is suitable for practice. Having found it, one has to make the decision to enter the path which is his vehicle towards Enlightenment. To qualify being one who is on the path, there is much to learn and lots to practise which can be painstaking slow and difficult! The easy paths lead to nowhere or may even lead one to greater delusion, so one must not be tempted to take the easy way out. Dharma practice is self-purification of the body and mind of the immeasurable defilements that one has accumulated in the course of countless lifetimes of ignorant living. The awakened person who has found the path sets his mind to cleanse himself of all the defilements that he has inherited through his wrong actions.
One must expect more failures than success in order not to be disappointed otherwise he will take things for granted which may lead to all kinds of problems. When faced with a failure, continue to work harder, but do not give up after just a few times. No one in the world is able to find success in all things that he does. Failures should strengthen his spirit and motivate him to try harder. Success should remind him that with sufficient effort many problems can be solved.
Life is not to be taken for granted. Who can know what’s going to happen the next moment? Circumstances of daily life change every so often. It is best that one should be prepared for all eventualities and that is by right living. Any action that is unwholesome must be avoided because it will surely bring about bad effects.
If one is wary of pains then by not causing pains to others, a happy life shall be in store for him. Rewards of good deeds are to come later and may not be instantaneous. That is why most of the sufferings of this lifetime, or its happiness, are all effects of actions of past lifetimes. It explains why a person who is good and kind sometimes receive harm from others whom he does not hate or harm. It explains also why there are people whom you have just met and you do not feel too happy with their presence. It also explains why you care for some more than others. But he who is involved with spiritual work may not take preference of one over the other.
This cannot be forced upon him and that is why it is important that he must have Dharma knowledge if he is truly on the Path of Love and Compassion. In essence, Spiritual Work relates to the work of love of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. It is pure in spirit and beneficial to both server and those who receive his service. It then becomes Dharma activity. Not only help to relieve pain and sufferings but doubts and ignorance. The spiritual worker intends to bring others to the Path of Wisdom through Right Knowledge and Right Living. If the altruistic spirit is absent, then it cannot be said to be spiritual. It becomes work in the name of spirits, it is harmful and it breeds all kinds of mental distortions. In name it is spiritual, but it is hollow of spiritual value; it is harmful and it is unwholesome.
When one’s mind is beset by emotional feelings of fame, gain, pleasure or pride, and if he is fortunate enough to realise it, he must at once seek help from a compassionate being while there is such a chance. Otherwise he is committing all kinds of demerits that will bring sufferings not only to himself but those around him.
How does one check himself? If one is truthful, he will know it, his conscience will prick him if he is doing harmful work. It is easy to know whether one’s actions are selfish or selfless and that is why it is so important to be diligent in prayers and meditation. When one has attained a certain level of spiritual growth, he will welcome the challenge to face the world alone, not depending on assistance and ready to be tested if his past practice has been proper or not.
When one is weak in spirit, how can he be doing spiritual work? On the other hand, he is in need of the help of spiritual workers to guide him. Each person who is on this path will easily recognise a true spiritual guide whenever he sees one. Past associations will allow them to meet or to become friendly with one another. These karmic links will cause them to support each other and one will then become a useful companion. Some become excellent friends whilst others end up on a guru-disciple relationship. It does not mean that the guru is always the more important of the two. The disciple has his important role to play to enhance the guru’s life and work. Anyone who is able to find a kind guru is blessed indeed. It is also true of a guru having found a true disciple. Look around carefully and see how difficult it is to strike up a good relationship.
Be happy that you have a few disciples who are sincere in their practice and are committed to you. Those who have been sent to you have been tested. That is why it needs at least a full six years for one to become true disciple. The disciples test themselves. Those who are true in the spirit of disciple will become your benefactors in the future. Those who are directed to offer you “a certain ritual” during the rare get-together, especially during blessings in the Festivals, are actually giving you signs that you should accept them with full acceptance. Then it is the full guru-disciple relationship.
The day will come when you will have to receive these proven ones. Then they are as close to you as your own children because you shall then be playing the part of bringing them up spiritually. Their futures are in your hands, their life becomes yours!
Monday, 30th June 1986
5th Moon, 24th Day