No Hardship Could Discourage Us

You and I are wearing the same color of clothes and carrying the same ideal. We haven't met to exchange ideas for a long time. Today, the good time is come. My heart is moved as I think about you and would like to share a few things with you in a way of harmonizing our views like the teaching that our Loving Father (the Buddha) had taught us.

My friend! The path of learning Buddhism is quite long. As we progress, we have encountered numerous spike traps, seen many far deep abysses, and been stopped by many high mountains. In these moments, what should we do? Make a detour or keep moving forward? You probably should agree with me that we couldn't make a detour, but be brave to move forward because it's the goal that we have aimed for. The fortress of success is already shown in front of us. Thus, even if we have to give up our life to get there, we're happy to do it because the death would elevate our value and take us one step higher in the ladder of virtue.

Let's think about high school and college students, who're undergoing many ordeals of taking examinations. Sometimes, they have to sweep the tears or even wanted to kill themselves. Do exam preparers like to hinder them? Of course, not. These are the challenges to encourage them to exert more, the rulers to measure their level and ability, and the ways to elevate their value. Would smart students give up their study just because of their fear in difficult examinations? Would they hate those who question them? Maybe not. They should be grateful to those examiners because these people have made them advance further.

A soldier, because of his duty to protect and bring the fame to the nation, is careless about his life to get into danger. What should you call a soldier who's in shinny outfit, rides a cute white horse, and only eats and sleeps all his life? Could you call him a "soldier"? Indeed, a soldier who wants a triumphal return, a medal on his chest, and the cheering of his people, should be ready to get into the war zone and weigh his life lightly. He doesn't see the hardships, but only achievements.

My friend! We are those who are rowing the boat against the current in the stream of life. Thus, how could we be pleasant so easily? If it's doable, then what we aim for is no longer valuable because everyone can reach it. Let's imagine a Buddhist monk who always eats, sleeps, and lives in sufficiency and pleasantness. He becomes Buddha. Will people bow to him? Maybe not. Because it's so easy for him to become Buddha, there's nothing special for them to respect him for. The reason that we respect the Buddha so much is because he had done things that we could not yet do. Thus, the true value in practitioners is the ability to overcome all dangerous obstacles and maintain a pure mind while living in impure conditions.

Are you practicing the virtue of endurance? If no one has insulted you to test your limit, then your endurance is just a lip talk. To prove your level of endurance, you need someone to insult you. It is like the fire that is used to test the gold. When practicing the virtue of endurance, as a saint, the Buddha had King Kalinga tested his endurance by cutting his arms, nose, etc...This helped him attain one of the Ten Paramitas: Endurance.

Are you practicing the virtue of giving? If so, the beggars are your benefactors. Without them, you would not able to complete the practice. Although knowing that a few people would ask for impossible things, you shouldn't be upset about it. Instead, you should blame yourself for not giving enough. The Brahman who Prince Suddanna gave his son to was the person who helped him attain the virtue of giving. All virtues requires the same conditions.

All challenges are the ways to prove our true attainment. Whether from humans or conditions, they are the benefactors and the opportunities to help us to elevate to the level of sagehood. Therefore, in Lotus suttra, the Buddha had said, "Devadatta is my best friend ever. Because of him, I soon could attain the fruition of Supreme Enlightenment."

Thus, from what had said, you should see that "difficulty" is not a factor that weakens our mind. Actually, it's a way to attest our practicing life. The more difficult and challenging it is, and we could overcome it, the more value and greater establishment we would gain. That's why all Bodhisattvas have given up Nirvana to get into hell to rescue sentient beings.

As practitioners, we already bear the sufferings and take challenges as a way of training our heart in relieving sentient beings. Therefore, we would never sight or frown when facing with danger...Instead, we should be delightful and eager to progress toward our goal. This is the path that you and I both are walking on to the same direction. Let's set a date that we will meet that this location shall we?