In life there are always some unforeseen things that happen and disrupt our arrangements. We planned to go back to my country to see my mom, after my younger son finished high school. The new coronavirus that suddenly swept the world prevented us from traveling. I had not seen my mom for almost 7 years. However, thanks to new digital technologies, we can use video call to chat and see each other. That bring us much closer, the vast distance between us not feeling that far apart. The best part is that she can talk to her grandchildren. Whenever she talks to my sons, she opens her eyes wide and has the happiest smile on her face. She seems to get energy and joy from the youngsters. My mom always says to them, “ Oh my, you guys grew up so big now, more handsome, when you will come to visit me, I miss you guys……”. All the grandma’s style talk.
That reminds me my grandmother, who used to talk to me exactly like that. My grandmother was my childhood best friend in the family. She lived with us since I was in elementary school until I went to high school. Grandma and I lived in the same one room, slept in the same one bed, and I had so many secret talks with her. She taught me how to sew, how to cook, how to clean the house, and told me the best bedtime stories…. She is a very strong and gentle lady. My grandma lived a very hard life. My grandfather, her husband, died when she was only 28 years old. She never married again, and raised up their two kids by herself.
That hard life hurt her health. She got chronic bronchitis. When the weather got cold especially in winter, she coughed severely. Sometimes at night she couldn’t lay down to sleep. She had to roll up and with her face on the pillow to prevent the choking cough. When I saw this I felt so painful and helpless. How I wished my grandma could live happily, healthily and never die. Grandma told me: when you get old you will understand, everyone will get old and sick and die. When I heard this, my heart generated great fear; someday I will be as old as grandma and as sick as grandma and die? I will follow the same life path as my grandma?
I want to know why we come to this world, just to suffer, get old, and die. Is that true what Buddhism says, that life is a cycle of death and birth? Sometimes I went to the temple to burn incense and bow to the Buddha Statues, just wanting to be blessed and protected. At that time I didn’t know what was Buddhism about, didn’t know what cultivation was or what the goal of cultivation was. To me Buddhism was more like myth, and the Buddha and Bodhisattva are wizards, with magical powers. The only thing I knew was the name of Amitaba Buddha and Guanshiyin Bodhisattva, so I just prayed to them, wishing they will somehow grant me a long and healthy life.
It is very fortunate that I then encountered the correct Buddha Dharma about fifteen years ago. I understand everything is following the law of the cause and effects. We live in the web of reincarnation of life and death woven by our own karma. One can get out of the birth and death cycle through practicing the true Buddha Dharma. The goal of believing in and learning Buddhism is for attaining liberation, accomplishment and becoming a holy one.
How lucky I am to be able to listen to the Dharma discourses imparted by the living Buddha H.H. Dojre Chang III. I feel so grateful that H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha came to this world again, bringing us the original supreme Buddha Dharma with great compassion.
Now my mom is a grandma, and I can feel the trace of aging of myself. H.H Dorje Chang Buddha III told us the very truth about life in “What is Cultivation”: “My body is impermanent, is changing every nanosecond, and is moving toward decline, old age, and death. I compare why my face has aged over a ten-year period, over a forty-year period, or over a seventy-year period. The degree of agedness of my skin has changed. I will soon enter old age, sickness, and death and continue revolving in the cycle of reincarnation, where I will experience suffering. I also contemplate that joyfully innocent, newborn, fresh, and lively look I had when I was a small child. I contemplate how I no longer have that childlike appearance. My face and skin have aged. My energy has declined. I often fall ill. That quality of youth is gone. The power of impermanence will end my life. My relatives and old friends will all die one after another. Like a dream, it will soon be all over. …….”
How I wished that I could learn about Buddhism earlier; maybe then I could help my dearest grandma to rebirth in the happiest Pure Land.
I hope that I can slow down the steps of impermanence, so I can have time to share the benefits and merits I got from practicing the correct Dharma with my mom. Even though my mom believes in Buddhism, her belief is superstitious and she dose’t truly understand the goal of cultivation. She just wants the Buddha to bless her and her family living healthy and peacefully. I often tell her, you need to vow to re-birth in the Amitaba western paradise; in that world you can have everything that you want to, you will live happiest life and never die; don’t worry about other stuff and don’t be attached to material things you have in this world. I hope I can soon visit her, and listen to the dharma discourse by H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III together.
All the Buddha and Bodhisattva in the ten directions, please beseech my mom to encounter the true Dharma, and lead her to the Western Paradise when she is at the end of her life. Please beseech my grandma and me as well so we can all live in the western pure land altogether and forever.
Namo Amitabha Buddha!
Namo GuanShiYin Bodhisattva!
By Peace Lily