Teaching of the month - Oct 2019

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 28 Ma Lang Fu Guan Yin

- Learn to live in harmony with one’s life situations in the unfolding of the causes and effects, and conditions and circumstances of life, through the right understanding and acceptance instead of resistance and craving, with skillful actions are the causes of one’s spiritual development to gaining the ultimate/supreme perfection of wisdom


The world cannot be what one wishes it to be. This is the reality that all must accept. To have taken birth in this world, there is no choice but to accept the conditions and environment that one is exposed to, and learn how to live in harmony with them. Every being in this world has a specific purpose of existence, but each must strive hard to discover this ‘purpose of life’ and then, the full meaning of existence will be before him. Then there is no more resistance to this and craving for that! Knowing what must be done, one will appreciate all such conditions and environment of life, for they become the ‘causes’ of their spiritual development.

What is it that one should seek? Wisdom! Through wisdom the mind perceives and advances up the ladder of Life. As one learns, one practises that which move him forward and avoids that what hold him back or cause him to move backward. The sights of the world remind one of the need to move forward, to attain the happiness that one craves for, and one becomes more resolute in living in accord with Life! The sky and sea are two of the best sights to meditate upon. It helps one to develop calmness and wisdom. Through looking with an undistracted mind at the sea, one is able to understand life much more clearer. Looking at it, one sees its vastness. How deep is the ocean? How can one tell? And so with life, one sees only the surface but has no idea of what is below it!

The sea is like the mind - vast, unfathomable! But just as efforts expanded will help one to discover the secrets of the seas, so too the mind be discovered! But it requires concentrated effort to arrive at the state of calmness through which one may see thing clearly. The silent mind is what one hopes to achieve just as the calmness is what all those who traverse it wish for. But the sea is always in activity as with the mind! The waves are in constant motion and no one may know when the turbulent storm may arise. How ugly is the violent sea is how ugly the angry mind. So why should anyone entertain anger within his mind? Why not seek to be cool and calm and restful? To be angry with the world is to be angry with existence. Who can live meaningfully with an angry mind? What harm the turbulent waters of the sea can do to life?

Fortunately, the sea cannot remain violent forever, for calm must preside when the force is spent! So too will the force of anger within one’s mind be spent in due course, if not through the tiredness of the physical body that must rest each night. In this way one may gain a greater understanding about life through contemplation on the sea. The sea is teemed with life, which represents mental activities, it embraces all forms of life without discrimination, so should one learn to accept all circumstances of life!

When one has arrived at calm mind and then knowledge, life becomes so meaningful that one will long for life in order to fulfil one’s sacred duty towards Life! Then this lifetime is precious to both oneself and others! One has awakened towards the realities of life - there are no more complaints or fears, there is no time to waste, no thought of causing harm to others but the desire to help them to the path of wisdom and happiness. Helping them towards this path will help them to extinguish themselves from samsara. This is also an idea of emptiness. Understanding emptiness is actually the highest aim of practice! Ultimate Wisdom is the perfect understanding of Emptiness. But how is one to gain this Supreme Wisdom when he is still so unwise to the realities of existence? Wishing for the world to become what one wants is like wishing to own the Wish-filling Gem. This (life as a human being) is the wonderful opportunity that one has wished for, a chance to gain the wisdom to overcome suffering and attaining happiness for all eternity. It is not by the force of conflict but to learn how to live in harmony, that one begins his journey of this lifetime. Since the world is what it is today and one is faced with a particular pattern of living, direct resistance to the unfavourable will not bring about immediate changes. One should learn how to live rightly with patience and perseverance, striving to understand the causes of all dissatisfactoriness and performing skillful actions to uproot such causes. The road to Buddhahood is a very long one but the journey which has begun in the distant past must be completed.

Among the sentient beings, who may walk this path purposefully and with success? It’s this very precious human existence which provides all the necessary conditions and circumstances that urge one onwards, from the ‘sea of misery’ to perfect calmness which is Nirvana! The crossing of the sea must be done while one is able to do so. How long will it be to have such a golden opportunity of being a human being who has Dharma knowledge? Let not the turbulent waters frighten you. They are meant to instruct you how to get hold of yourself and to develop the right spirit. With faith, confidence and patience, even the most outraging storms can be subdued. That is why you find many depictions of Kuan Yin on top of waters which are seen as waves! How many lives are under the sea will be how many beings that She would like to save! And She stands on top of the lotus flower, meaning having attained the Enlightened Mind, She will not be ruffled by the vastness of Her task!

What is a tiny human figure atop the great expanse of the sea? But this does not trouble Kuan Yin. She is still calm despite of being atop the raging waters; She is undeterred by the greatness of the sea that She has to traverse in order to help the infinite number of beings; this She does by maintaining a calm mind and bearing the great Compassionate Spirit! The uncountable is limited and vastness is not without boundary for one who has realised Voidness! Every human being has this great potential of developing the mind to this status. Choosing to remain undeveloped, they become mere sentient beings who have countless sufferings; by developing the mind, the status of a Buddha is attainable. Then there is no more suffering, no more birth and death and all the accompanied sufferings! If this very precious opportunity is not made use of, life will be meaningless indeed for upon death there will be sufferings!

Wednesday, 11th June 1986
5th Moon, 5th Day

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