Just like a person who has never smoked all his life, when others try to get him to smoke,he will naturally refuse. On the contrary, if you often crave for a cigarette or you’re an occasional smoker who smokes now and then, as soon as someone offers you a cigarette, you will immediately accept it. When we are selfless, heaven and earth becomes vast, and no evil forces are able to penetrate from the outside.

As Buddhist practitioners, we should actively practice composure. What is composure? No matter what sufferings and tragedy we are faced with, we need to remain calm. Do not be confused and troubled by what you see. In other words, what you see today may not be real.  When others tell you, “This is good and that is bad”, even if you see it with your own eyes, it may not be real.  Instead, you should use the wisdom in you to discern the true meaning of this matter.

For example, someone told you about some wrong doings of your mum and dad, then you went back home and saw your dad, and thought “Gosh, why did he do such things?” And you were wondering,”Why did dad do that?” Others were saying, “Gee, your dad is picking up rubbish that others threw away outside, because your family is poor.” When you returned home and you saw your dad taking out what he had collected, then you were disgusted.  “Dad, why did you humiliate me like this?” “Why did you go scavenging outside?” “Others saw you and it was so disgraceful.” In reality, the father was being frugal. He thought of salvaging some recyclables for sale, so there will a bit more money to support you.  The love of a father and a mother is limitless.  What we see with our eyes may not be the truth. The evil we see may not be true either. Thus, Bodhisattvas want us to use our wisdom to comprehend what you are doing today.

I wish to tell you that,no matter what happens, it is through composure that wisdom arises.  If you are able to keep your composure today, you will have wisdom. Failing which, you won’t have wisdom whatsoever. Buddhist practitioners should have fearless spirit. What is fearless spirit? It’s the willingness to give our time, our effort and money, no matter how meagre it is. It also includes the giving of dharma and wealth, as well as  the giving of fearlessness. It is through these that we shall understand the spirit that propels us in our propagation of the dharma and to instil the kindness in our mind.

This is something you should know. Many parents have made a lot of sacrifices for us, especially when we were little. Just like me now, as your Master, thinking about how I could give more to my disciples.  Unfortunately, many of them don’t even feel it. Just like many of you, since young, your parents have been making so many sacrifices for you, but you don’t even feel it. Only after practising Buddhism you understand that it’s not easy being parents.

In practising Buddhism it is important not to be swayed by external circumstances. No matter what other people say, you must remain sincere and resolute. Our mind should not be swayed by the changes in the external circumstances. Many people are gullible. At this moment, they are nice to a person, but the next moment, they give that person the cold shoulder, just because others say something bad about the person. You decide not to be kind to that person anymore. This will cause hurt to that person. Just because someone says something, you change your attitude.

Therefore, I hope that you will change your mindset. Whenever something bad happens, it’s difficult for ordinary people to control themselves and avoid their predestined disaster. As for us Buddhist practitioners, no matter what we are faced with, we should have the firm conviction that Guan Yin Bodhisattva will protect and bless us with Her compassion. We are good people, we are kind-hearted people, Bodhisattva will surely protect and bless us. We are willing to work for the benefit of sentient beings. We will definitely be able to ward off calamities and troubles. We have the Three Golden Buddhist Practices with us and the compassion to help other sentient beings. Through this, we are able to have the inner peace within us.

We should learn to contemplate the mind. To contemplate means to perceive with equanimity. Just how Guan Yin Bodhisattva perceives the world. To contemplate the mind is to pay attention, observe and reflect on the inner workings of our own mind. ”Am I a kind person? Or am I an evil person?” Be mindful and keep an eye on yourself for all the things you do. Do not let yourself be tempted by gains, that may instantly make you forget what compassion means. Just as fame makes one forget about morality.

Never let your inner mind be moved by external circumstances. This is the motto I live by. Regardless of how many temptations are out there, you must be free of desires. To follow nature is to act in accordance with conditions, keep your mind as calm as water. No matter what happens, water will continue to flow. A heart free of desires is as still as water.

Let there be serenity in us regardless of whom we deal with. Be composed. At times, there may be grievances, hate or envy. These are the toxins engendered from the body. We need to manage and control them. When you let loose your guard, these toxins begin to invade your body. Instead, if you draw on the positive energy in your mind, these toxins will not able to attack your body. When you allow jealousy, hatred and worries to engulf you, you become another person. Therefore you should learn to tune your body, mind and mood.  To practice patience and the Paramita (The Perfection). All things shall come to pass like the fleeting clouds, like the footprints in the sand. When you walk along the beach, you leave behind your footprints. But when you look back, the waves have washed them away.  Hence, we have to be broad-minded in life, wash away the toxins in us with wisdom everyday. Do not allow these toxins to pollute our soul. Allow the compassion of Guan Yin Bodhisattva to save our souls everyday, so that our souls will remain pure.

You must know, to become a disciple of a master doesn’t mean worshipping the master. It is to revere the great compassion and wisdom of the Buddha’s path. The Bodhisattva wants you to observe the precepts. We also need to understand that practising Buddhism needs to exercise self-respect: “I need to change myself, I can’t allow myself to continue to be decadent like before, I mustn’t give up on myself.” If you want to gain respect from others, you need to have self-respect first.  As a Buddhist practitioner, you need to leave yourself some space. Do not deviate from the right path, be sure to walk with your head held high. You have a master now, you’d better follow the master and march ahead. It’s because everything in this world is unobtainable. The truth of the universe will never change, that is suffering, emptiness and impermanence.

BHFF 12: Being tolerant is virtuous, being calm is a form of blessing (1/3)