Monday, January 25, 2016

Never Bow Down to Hardship

A Page from the Heart, Part II

Q: What is the greatest quality of the human character?
A: In my experience, the majority of practitioners have this one quality in common: the more difficult the way, the more brave they become, never bowing down to hardship.
Certainly the obstacles and slander I encountered in the past are insignificant compared to the great disciples of the Buddha. However, on this path of practice and helping sentient beings, it’s inevitable that we will meet all kinds of people. Some who are two-faced. Others who are needy when times get rough and disappear when things are in the clear. I’ve had my share of mocking and ridicule, even atrocious slander and defamation. I may help an entire family, only to be treated afterwards as a passing stranger. Some make vows, promises and guarantees, but in the end are full of excuses and rationalizations and even prevent others from studying Buddhism. There is a sarcastic quip, “When rich, hide yourself away; down on your luck, call for a reunion.” This tendency is a part of human nature. Since I started making connections with people, I was very clear that I was going down a path of no return, a path that must be walked without expectations and bereft of selfish concerns. I could only constantly remind myself, “If I am Buddha’s disciple, I must always try to follow in his footsteps as best as I can until the end of my life.”
So you ask me about the greatest quality a human can possess? From all the people I’ve seen and read about, the bravest and most virtuous of them all is Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of our religion, the king of Dharma. The spirit he manifested so brilliantly in every aspect of his life - standing tall and unwavering in his fortitude to seek and spread the truth for all sentient beings - is something I shall be learning for lifetimes.

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