The Virtue of Joyful Let Go

Living with human conflicts in this impure mundane world, if one still clings to hatred or ignorance, he/she could never get away from suffering. To liberate from suffering and to attain happiness, you have to destroy all hatred in you. This is a way to purify your mind. This method of unleashing yourself and purifying the mind is called "the virtue of joyful let go."

Joyful let go is an act of being happy to forgive all wrong doings that others have done to us. It's also a joyful giving up of fame, wealth, beauty, and even our own life if it brings benefits to other beings. Having forgiveness, our mind is carefree. Our heart would beat in the same rhythm as other people's heart. The joyful let go would give us the pleasantness and serenity.

The darkest and most painful life on this earth is the life of the person who's always cranky and resentful. His/her eyes are frowned and the face is always covered with wrinkles to reflect the uneasy going personality. Whoever still holds resentment inside would have his/her heart and lungs burned out. What could be worse than having your heart and lungs burned? What could be uglier than having a face that is always grouchy or pessimistic? If we get mad on every unwanted matter in this life, then for sure our life is full of resentment and hatred. For example, Ty curses at Than. Than tries to revenge by using uglier language to curse at Ty. At first, they exchange their anger through words. Later, it becomes a fist fight. Finally, they revenge each other by using sharp weapons. The hatred started between the two. Then, it becomes the hatred between two families and even the relatives of both sides. As it grows, when will it ever end? The Buddha had said, "Repay hatred with hatred, the hatred will elevate. But repay hatred with compassion, the hatred will be terminated." One, who carries hatred, tends to think that others would hurt him/her. Therefore, he/she always lives in fear. Only the one who uses compassion to repay the hatred could terminate the mind of hatred in others. Like the story of Ting Zhang of Liang dynasty. His neighbor was jealous to destroy his crops. He "revenged" it by exertively taking care of his neighbor's crops. This act had ended the neighbor's hatred. What could be happier when one has a generous heart to forgive others' mistakes? When our mind and heart have no more question and hatred, we truly live in happiness. A pleasant person would have these traits: the delighted face, nice speech, pleasant acts, respectful and adorable appearance. He/she could hardly be unhappy, therefore, he/she stays young and lives longer. There's an old quote: "The hatred and resentment are like viruses that invade humans to make them look uglier, older, and short-lived. On the other hand, love and compassion are the stream of holy water falling into the people's heart to make them prettier, younger, and live longer."

Fame, wealth, and beauty in this life are the traps waiting to hurt people. They're capable of attracting people to lead them from enthralling to suffering. It's like the eels getting trapped because of a good decoy. Most people think that chasing after fame, wealth, and beauty is a happiness. But they don't realize that the more they chase, the more suffering they will get. Here, a young man is sitting under a big tree. Is it because he just fell from the ladder of fame? There, a young lady is standing sadly next to the river. Is it because she is suffered with an uneasy loving relationship? The point is people suffer much in life because of their indulgence in fame, wealth, and beauty.

It's not easy to terminate indulgence. It's even harder to joyfully let it go. Whoever is unattracted to good forms or good sounds is a superman. Zen master Fu Yun had said, "...hearing good sounds or seeing good forms is like a rose growing from a stone. Seeing fame or wealth is like the dusts get in the eyes." Anyone attains this concept would truly attain the happiness. On the statue of Maitreya Buddha, we could see five kids disturbing him in different ways... But he still pleasantly smiles. This image represents the person who could fully let go the five aggregates. Why shouldn't he smile when he is unattracted to external forms? His mind is always pleasant, therefore, his face should always reflect the joy.

Wealth, beauty, and fame are external factors, therefore, it's not that hard to let them go. However, it's much harder to let go this body, which people adore the most. Because they adore it so much, they have committed many sinful acts. Conversely, "Because of sentient beings, Bodhisattvas could let go of their body. They could do it easier than a greedy person who's willing to let go a handful of rice" (described in "Discourse of a Great Man"). People who could risk their life for sentient beings would be careless about the existence of their body. This perception would make them liberate from the suffering of the body. Lao Tzu had said, "All disasters are caused by the existence of the body. No body means no disasters." It's true because if we are not self centered, what kind of disasters could make us suffer? The joyful let go of the body in saving sentient beings is the virtue of the upmost joyful let go.

In conclusion, we need to joyfully let go all resentment and hatred so that our heart is lighter. This is a joy for typical humans. The joyful let go of wealth, beauty, and fame for a tame mind is the joy of liberated individuals. The joyful let go of the body to relieve sentient beings and bring them the happiness is the joy of Bodhissattvas. The Buddhists, who are determined to terminate suffering and seek for happiness, should practice the virtue of joyful let go in the specified order. A bit that you could let go is a bit of happiness you could gain. When you could completely let everything go, you could attain the full happiness. Obviously, suffering and happiness are not blessed or giving by anyone. We create them by ourselves.