Thoughts During Chinese New Year
There is a common Chinese saying: An inch of time is an inch of gold, but you can’t buy that inch of time with an inch of gold. When I was a child I often heard the grown up say, ”Time really goes by quickly, it’s already been a year!” I didn’t agree with them. I always felt that the days passed by so slowly. I always wished that time would go faster, so that the holidays could be closer to me. I especially couldn’t wait for the Chinese New Year, and it seems that it would take so long for the Spring Festival to come. I would look forward to the delicious food and delicacies Candy. Sometimes I even got new clothes, a truly wonderful new year presents. I could play with my friends all day long, we shared holiday treats and exchanged the beautiful candy wraps ( those were our treasure collections)……
Time seems to get shorter and shorter with age. Now I am already in my fifties, and it feels like several decades have passed in the blink of an eye. Looking back, everything seems just like a dream, I can’t go back to those time anymore. The past will never come back, and all I have left are fragmented memories. My grandparents, my father, my older and younger relatives, passed away one by one. They could never come back to the world again.
Through the years, I have gradually begun to understand what the Buddha said in the Diamond Sutra: All events are like a dream, an illusion, as fleeting as morning dew….. It took me so long to understand the truth of impermanence.
I remember once reading a story about Master Qinluan. He was a famous Japanese Zen master. At the age of nine, he made up his mind to become a monk and asked Zen Master Cizhen to shave his ordination for him. Zen Master Cizhen asked him, “Why do you want to become a monk when you are so young?” Qinluan said: “Although I am only nine years old, my parents have both died. I don’t understand why people must die. Why must I be separated from my parents? Therefore, I must become a monk and explore these truths.” Zen Master Cizhen said: “Very well. I’m willing to accept you as a disciple. However, it’s too late today, so I’ll shave you tomorrow morning.” Qin Luan said, “Master! Although you said that you will shave me early tomorrow morning, I am still young and ignorant. I can’t guarantee whether my determination to become a monk will last until tomorrow. Besides, Master, you are so old, you can’t guarantee that you will even wake up tomorrow morning!” After listening this words, Zen Master Cizhen was surprisingly happy, and said joyfully, “Yes! What you said is absolutely right. Now I will shave for you!”
I really admire the wisdom Master Qinluan’s displayed at age 9. Transcending the cycle of life and death is the most difficult thing in the world. It requires tremendous effort and unshakable determination.
Master Milarepa was a man of great accomplishment within Tibetan Buddhism. His Master – Great Venerable Marpa made him went through all the torture and abusive testing. In the end, Master Milarepa became a person within Vajrayana Buddhism who attained enlightenment by truly undergoing hardship and suffering.
One time as complying with the instructions given to him by Vajrayogini, Master Milarepa traveled from the Himalayan mountains to the interior of Tibet to save living beings. On the way, he met a husband and wife who were unable to conceive a male offspring. This couple heard that Master Milarepa was Great Accomplished One who had learned tantra. They thus showed him great respect and had great confidence in him.
They invited the Venerable One, Master Milarepa, to their home. They asked the Venerable One not to continue his life of wandering in all directions, a life in which the basic necessities could not even be guaranteed. They asked him to stay with them and be their son. They said that they would provide him with a vast amount of wealth for his use and enjoyment. They said that they would find him a beautiful, virtuous, wise, warm and tender women to marry. He and this wife would then live in the most opulent and beautiful house, which would be tall and large. They would have much fertile land, which they could never use up. This couple hoped that Master Milarepa would, together with his future close family members, share in the joys of family life. They hoped that he would lead a harmonious, stable, and happy life.
Hearing the promises of this extremely kind couple, Master Milarepa remained totally unmoved. He told them that he could not renounce all of those things soon enough, let alone embrace them. The Venerable One imparted his teachings to them by way of songs. Master Milarepa taught them the truly disadvantageous effects one’s worldly family members have on one’s cultivation and worldly life. He taught them the suffering involved with worldly things, how worldly things are impermanent, and how they are like dreamy illusions and empty bubbles. He taught them how all conditioned phenomena preempt and how such phenomena are ultimately subject to the law of cause and effect.
After hearing these teachings, this husband and wife each gave rise to a resolute mind. They became disenchanted with impermanent things and worldly life. They understood that all of the different kinds of worldly emotions and love must ultimately vanish into emptiness, like smoke or clouds that pass before one’s eyes. They therefore gave up all their worldly possessions and wealth. They cut off their attachment to the concept of self and diligently cultivated themselves. In the end, they realized the state of enlightenment.
At this Dharma ending age, it is extremely difficult to find a Dharma Master as Master Milarepa. However the living Buddha Namo H.H. Dorje Chang III has promised: As long as you thoroughly learn either The Xiaman Most Excellent Oceanic Mind Essence (暇滿殊勝海心髓) or The Ultimate Bodhicitta for Attaining Dharma-Nature True-Thusness Oceanic Mind Essence (最勝菩提空行海心髓) in The Supreme and Unsurpassable Mahamudra of Liberation and have put into actual practice what you learn, you can be assured that the highest, holiest great Dharma will be available to you for achieving perfect good fortune and wisdom, liberation, and accomplishment!
Thoughts During Chinese New Year
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