Never let suffering go to waste

From:Voice of Longquan     Author:Voice of Longquan     Time:2018-01-28 07:35:55
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A first-class horse knows his riders’ intention immediately at the sight of the shadow of a whip; a second-class horse learns it at the slight touch of the whip on its skin; a less superior horse comes to know it until whipped; and a fourth-class horse learns it only when its skin is split and flesh torn by a merciless whip. The same is true with Buddhist practitioners. Those of sharp capacities become enlightened instantly at the sight or hearing of suffering; a second-class practitioner become alert only when people close by suffer; a third-class practitioners remain numb till his family and friends suffer; a fourth-class practitioner grows from nowhere but his own frustration and suffering. No matter which category you belong to, it is good to grow and learn from experience. Never let suffering go to waste.

Q: Master, what is true love? Does it surpass our most basic emotions, such as lust, fear, anxiety and pleasure? Does suffering cease where there is love?

A: True love has no attachment and is about compassion and loving-kindness. The root affliction for human beings is self-attachment. Self is delighted when it is agreed with; self is unhappy when it is defied; self fears in face of things that may hurt it. The more one loves with attachment, the more one suffers from loss; love with attachment may even turn into hatred. Only if we transcend the barrier of self-attachment, can we sublimate our love.  


Q: Master, lately I had an awful experience and learned the truth of something which perplexed me for long. Had it not been for that incident, I would be living in my small world as before. Despite huge pain and a high price I paid, I’ve realized my own problems and determined to change. Must we grow from nowhere but pain and loss? Will great hardships we are destined to encounter be offset by many a small frustrations? 

A: A first-class horse knows his riders’ intention immediately at the sight of the shadow of a whip; a second-class horse learns it at the slight touch of the whip on its skin; a less superior horse comes to know it until whipped; and a fourth-class horse learns it only when its skin is split and flesh torn by a merciless whip. The same is true with Buddhist practitioners. Those of sharp capacities become enlightened instantly at the sight or hearing of suffering; a second-class practitioner become alert only when people close by suffer; a third-class practitioners remain numb till his family and friends suffer; a fourth-class practitioner grows from nowhere but his own frustration and suffering. No matter which category you belong to, it is good to grow and learn from experience. Never let suffering go to waste. 

Q: Most humble greetings Master! I detest my current working environment very much and am tired of people’s deceiving and scheming against each other. What should I do?

A: More often than not, it is for lack of noble aspiration (to make the world a better place) that people get sick of, reject, or stand aloof from others or things. They feel self-righteous and find fault with the external circumstances; various problems, such as unhealthy phenomena at work or in some professions, social evil, and worldwide environmental pollution, have fed them up, yet they fail to evade, which upsets them a great deal. 

As a matter of fact, their suffering is caused by their narrow mind: they are only concerned with their own joy and misery and feel independent of the environment, ignorant of interconnected relationship between themselves and the environment, and relationship between collective karma and individual karma. 
From the Buddhist viewpoint, we and other beings share the same Buddha nature, and we and the environment share the same destiny. We cannot create good karma or live happily without favorable external environment. Improvement in our own life is closely correlated to our devotion to others. People of smaller capability can take the initiative in bettering the small environment around; people of greater capability may even make a difference in the society. If we take part in the movement, we can benefit others and realize the utmost value of our own life, thus the external difficulties do not cause our suffering but become a driving force to spur us on. 


Q: Master, do Buddhist practitioners have to be immune to affection, desires, love and hatred? I feel very confused. Please instruct me.

A: You’ve misunderstood Buddhist practice. It is indeed about enhancing our mental intelligence and purifying our minds. A practitioner is not deprived of senses, desires, emotions, or guts; rather, he has profound feelings, noble aspirations, great compassion and loving-kindness, tremendous wisdom and courage.

Editor:Bella Liu
Tags: true love, suffering, noble aspiration

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