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12/05/2024 | Words of Wisdom    
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Master Jun Hong Lu: Why are the monastics able to preach by example?

They instill a sense of dignity in others. Wherever they go, people around them would lower their volume and behave in a dignified manner. In the presence of the monastics, people will abstain from frivolous behaviour and cracking jokes. This influence is a form of emotional contagion. At times, this emotional impact can be even more pronounced. How? Many eminent monks are able to touch the hearts of listeners whenever they speak, as their raw emotions resonate with others. Why is it that they are able to speak so well?

This has nothing to do with the technique, but rather, it is driven by their real emotions – the sense of urgency that they exude when they speak. Deep down, they hope that everyone can practise Buddhism, because they understand how great Buddhism is and how chanting sutras and mantras can transform lives. Such kind of genuine and positive energy has the ability to influence others.

In times of trouble, we may choose not to speak our mind in order to keep our loved ones from worrying. In some cases, there may be other considerations at play.

You may justify it as, “I mustn’t let him know about my family matter so that he does not feel bad about it”. For that, you may fake being happy by saying, “Not at all! In fact, everything is going well”. Frankly speaking, such pretence will have hardly any effect on others because they can sense it and are unlikely to buy into those few words you say. This will work against you as you will not be able to transmit positive energy to them.

I want all of you to speak the truth when you help others. You should strike a chord with others through personal experience that comes from the depths of your heart so that your deepest gratitude to the Buddha can truly be felt by them.

Some people display insincere shows of affection. Do you think they can truly bring joy and happiness to others? In an attempt to flatter, one might say, “You are really doing well. I can see that you look younger every day. What is your secret?” Deep down, the recipient of such a flattery knows, “I am not getting younger no matter what comment is made”. Such insincere compliments will not have any positive influence because they are not words spoken out of sincerity. In fact, only the truth has genuine impact.

Some people may say, “We are all getting older – you and me. But, we are in good spirits – a reflection of our Buddhist practice”. Can you now see the impact of such words? Unless the happiness and joy come from deep down within your heart, you would never be able to strike a chord with others. See it for yourself, many speakers deliver lengthy speeches only to have the participants fall asleep. Why? This is because the speaker only speaks about issues that matter to him instead of what others want to hear.

A person who is good at helping others is a kind and compassionate person. A person who is good at promoting the teachings of Buddhism never speaks from his own perspective. More importantly, he touches on the inner voice of others. Clearly, his mind is preoccupied with thoughts for sentient beings, and it is never about his selfish desires. Instead of saying, “I want to sell this idea or I want to make myself crystal clear,” he will weigh the issue from the perspective of others, and what these people hope to take away. He will then tailor his speech accordingly, as only then would he be able to resonate with others.

From the perspective of psychology, if you are troubled by something, it is best that you speak up your negative emotions. Just be direct and tell someone, “Hey, I am troubled by something today. It’s bothering me”. For all you know, someone may be able to help you.

But, you may insist on putting up a tough front, faking smiles and pretending to be in high spirits when in reality, it is hurting you so badly. You may even tell your friends and relatives, “I am fine. Something happened, but I am cool about it”, but others will be able to tell right away that you are faking happiness, and they will not feel a single tinge of joy from you.

Source: Master Jun Hong Lu’s Buddhism In Plain Terms, Episode 27, 28 March 2020

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