Devotional prayers that are prepared by others are wonderful and help to inspire love, faith and devotion, but they are not the best. Still, for those who have not yet developed the ability to offer prayers spontaneously, such prayers will be of great help and inspiration.
Within these few days of this year, you have met several people of differing faiths. The way they speak and behave, what have you learned from them? If you find their ways pleasant, adopt them, if you find them unpleasant make sure that you are not acting in like manners.
This is a period of learning - from books and people. After each encounter you should sit and reflect and then you will realise that the world exists to give teaching to those who are aware of its happenings. There is much to learn and one must feel humble at all times if he is truly hoping to learn. Life is actually for learning so that in subsequent lifetimes, one will slowly move forward towards the all-knowing state which is ultimate wisdom.
Many who know little will try to speak with authority so as to gain respect and followings. Some of the things that they say will be reasonable or even brilliant, but you must learn to distinguish the true persons that they are. In order to do so, always refrain from speaking too much or you may end up doing more talking then learning. Even in listening, there is an art. If you wish to benefit by such meetings, remember to be a good listener.
It must not disturb your mind by what others say even though they seem to know so much. Whatever troubles your mind, you should verify by offering incense before you seek the answers. As long as you sincerely ask, you will get the answers rightly. This means the mind must be free from conception and the heart be filled with faith. Patience is required. The hour of learning is not fixed and you must adopt the habit of developing communion at all times. You are fortunate to have such a wonderful place to develop yourself that you must take every opportunity to learn.
It is difficult to be sitting where you are. The responsibility is too great and there will be times when you can become frightened at the thought of being what you are and doing what you are asked to do. It calls for deep faith and great patience, it requires calmness of mind and the readiness to be tested. Expectations are the very pitfalls of a cultivation, so that rewards of any kind must be far from the mind whenever a good deed is performed. Therefore, those who expect only blessing just because they are spending some part of their time in prayers and good work will be landed with all kinds of disappointments and this is because of their ignorant mind.
This is your centre. It helps you to develop your wisdom. It will require much mental control and through the determined effort of practice, life will be very meaningful. Do not be easily agitated by the actions of others. Each occasion is an opportunity to learn so that happiness and sadness must not rule the mind. They complement each other to make existence the whole so that you must not cling to one and fear the other. The force of mental delusion is extremely great, your being on this path is to help you to develop wisdom to shatter it. This calls for fearlessness and a great fighting spirit. Let not the mind be weakened, set your goals and do your best to achieve them, and then the Ultimate Goal can be reached.
Your decision to place your entire practice single-mindedly is right. Even though you are led by circumstances to the various methods of practice, always remember that it was the simple and whole-hearted practice that led you to the present! Your most powerful force is the compassionate-heart. Develop it well and accept the little sufferings that come along with it. It is the duty of one who calls Kuan Shih Yin his Guru to accept the pains of others. More exposures to suffering beings provide one’s compassionate-nature the opportunity to grow. Through it the Noble Truths will be clearly perceived which makes commitment to help sentient beings firm. You are not chosen to perform your duties for pleasantness and self-satisfaction, but to bring joy to others!
Monday, 13th January 1986
12th Moon, 4th Day