Would you believe that whenever we feel desperate, as long as we hold on to the great aspiration of our life, there are always steps to take, always a way out of a seemingly desperate situation, and not only that, the way out is a path full of hope?
Would you also believe that even when we are faced with challenges from work, peers, life or family, we will still be in good hands, as long as we have the great aspiration of our life also happening amidst our challenges?
And to add on, would you believe that, as long as we have the great aspiration of our life, we can help others and through helping others, we are able to free ourselves from our “self-grasping” attitude that keeps us ever-entangled in our unhappiness?
What is this great aspiration?
It is the study and practice of the dharma that guides us to work on our inner-self again and again. With a comprehensive understanding of the entire teaching of the Buddha, we will ultimately establish the proper goal of life. Then with the proper goal in mind, we will take a very accurate step in life.
A little voice inside us might squeak out, “I am not sure about the goal in my life now, or I am still trying to establish my goal. What should I do?”
If that’s the case, then continue to listen to the teaching and contemplate. Listen every day, continuously listen, and start contemplating, followed by applying what we have learnt into practice into our daily lives. Over time, we will develop the habit of studying, contemplating, and practicing the teaching with each breath that we take.
We will then desire for more to be learnt, we will want to read more and more scriptures – the Array of Stalks Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, the Surangama Sutra, many other sutras and commentaries – and each time we learn, we develop the habit of contemplation.
But what should be done when we lack the ability now?
It is fine! Just begin by taking the next step in front of us. Taking this step in front of us, will we eventually become stronger? YES! We will!
It is like training our legs – our contemplation will get clearer and clearer, more and more powerful through rigorous and thorough training. Why? It is because our mind lacks the inherent nature, and all phenomena are based on the concept of suchness.
Whatever direction that we are heading to, apply effort to repeatedly cultivate our minds, and the corresponding effect will arise accordingly. A suffering cause brings us a suffering effect. Likewise, a happy cause will lead to a happy effect.
Step forward in the right direction now.
Pay attention to the step we are taking at the present moment, recognize the direction of our step at this very present moment. How to make certain it is the right direction? It is by listening to the teaching of the Buddha every day. Listening to the teaching is a cause of happiness, reflect on it, and refrain from planting any suffering cause in our daily routine. Through our continuous listening and contemplating the teaching, we can ensure that the present step we are taking is the right one.
As long as we hold on to the great aspiration of our life
If problems arise, solve them; don’t easily give up or run away because that’s not the way to solve problems. Why bother? Karmic forces can’t be resolved by taking flight. After all, where can we escape to? As long as we hold on to the great aspiration of our life, we will have the courage to brave on and counter karmic forces with confession, we will be taught the remedies and to constantly engage in virtuous karmic deeds.
As long as we have the great aspiration of our life, as far as our minds are concerned, there is always a path available leading to the most perfect direction.
Keep advancing on it! Advance with firm steps and confidence! Step forward!
If dharma teachings interest you, catch more snippets at BW Monastery – https://bwmonastery.org.sg/discourses/