About Spiritual Cultivation


18/05/2024 | About Spiritual Cultivation    
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Caller: Master, could you enlighten us on how we can stay rooted to our original aspiration in our Buddhist practice and cultivation? If we lose touch with it, how can it be regained?

Master Jun Hong Lu: If one loses touch with his original aspirations, obviously for him ‘the pain is forgotten where gain follows’. A person’s initial aspiration generally arises when he is going through a lot of suffering in life.

For example, when life throws him a curveball or when he becomes a target of incessant condemnation which includes problems with family, marriage, health, bankruptcy, disobedient children etc, in the wake of these challenges, out of a sudden, he realises, “I must seek the blessings and protection from Bodhisattva. I must make vows, perform life liberation and recitation”.

This is when one’s conviction is the strongest and he is determined to find the path to liberation. This is also a time when one is the most pious. However, when things start to turn for the better and everything is slightly back on track, he may gradually take things lightly again. Recitation becomes optional, so is praying to the Buddha as his original aspiration starts to fade.

How do we regain this conviction? We must often look back and ponder this ancient Chinese saying, ‘Reminisce the bitter, cherish the sweet’. Essentially, it means that we must always recollect our past troubles and struggles, all the more so if we are currently leading a happy life. We must always look back on the past and think about the pain we have been through.

Caller: That is to ‘be prepared for danger in times of peace’.

Master Jun Hong Lu: Yes, be prepared for danger in times of peace. In fact, you must always stay rooted to a ‘normal state’. What does that mean? No matter what the circumstances are, be it good or bad, we must think that they are part and parcel of life and you adopt the attitude where you stand aloof from what is happening. As far as you are concerned, regardless of the gravity of any given situation, it wouldn’t result in any major emotional upheaval in you.

Seize control of your state of emotion so that it stays on a middle path and is kept in a state of neutrality. In times of suffering, you must look forward to the sweetness that is to come and during those times of happiness highs, you should know that suffering will follow. By doing so, you would be able to maintain the original mentality which essentially means in times of happiness, there is actually nothing to be joyful about because all the joy will eventually come to pass. Similarly, when you are suffering, you should not feel too bitter about it, because it, too, will be forgotten and come to pass. If you are able to remain in such a state, in reality, your emotion will go into a state of equilibrium and this is when an equanimous mind is attained, as known in the Buddha’s teachings. Those who possess such equanimity would be able to sustain their initial aspirations.

Caller: I see. Thank you, Master.

Source: Wenda20141212 00:53, Master Jun Hong Lu’s call-in radio program

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