Is letting go a passive attitude?

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Voice of Longquan     Time:2017-07-14 10:20:42
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Fate is influenced by our thoughts and deeds. So the secret of improving our fate is to create good karma in the present.

Q: Shifu, since a member of my family passed away recently, I have been thinking a lot about the meaning of life. I worry about my parents’ health and am a bit confused about the future. Master, please give me guidance. 

A: To confront life and death does not confuse us; rather it keeps us more aware of the present. Precisely because the inevitable death is waiting ahead, we need to think about the meaning of what we are doing right now. As is stated in Buddhist scriptures, “ We can take nothing but our karma along with us upon death.” Therefore, the most terrifying thing is not death itself, but that one does not create much good karma or do much good for the benefit of others or the society in his or her entire lifetime.


Q: Shifu, since the purpose of our Buddhist learning is to liberate all sentient beings, is it selfish if we wish for a rebirth in the World of Ultimate Bliss? How do I understand the relationship between the purpose and the wish?

A: To be reborn in the World of Ultimate Bliss is not the ultimate goal of Buddhist practice, but only an interim goal. In that World, we can learn and practice in a pure environment and with the company of excellent masters, teachings and fellow practitioners. When we have accomplished the learning, we are supposed to return to this Saha World and enlighten sentient beings.


Q: Shifu, is numerology reliable? How do we change our fate?

A: Fate observes certain rules, which is called numerology. Indefinite and changeable, fate is influenced by our thoughts and deeds. So the secret of improving our fate is to create good karma in the present. If we change our views, our thoughts will change, and our behavior will change accordingly, and eventually leads to changed fates. You may want to readLiao-fan’s Four Lessons for reference.


Q: Greetings to Ven. Master Xuecheng. If we let go of all attachments, we’ll become free of afflictions yet lose aspirations. How do we balance between letting go and striving forward?

A: What to let go of is afflictions, not aspirations; what to let go of is attachment, not undertakings. Buddhism believes that one should work on the cause and let the effect take its course, which requires we strive forward and not attach much importance on the outcome. They complement each other and either is indispensible. We can easily go to extremes, either extremely obsessed or extremely passive. 

Editor:Nina
Tags: passive attitude; meaning of life; purpose and wish

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