Thirdly, to be able to “Take-on (responsibility)”. It means to conduct yourself responsibly. I always tell my disciples that it is all right to make mistakes. One who admits his mistakes is a person of integrity.  It’s a character favoured by Bodhisattvas. One who is capable of admitting one’s mistakes is a courageous person. There is no need to evade or tell lies. The person who acknowledges their mistakes would win the appreciation from others. ”With regard to this matter, since I have given my word, I am responsible for it”. “Today, I made a mistake, I need to apologise for it”. You face life straight up and you are able to rectify whatever wrong you have done. However, if you are thinking of covering it up by lying and breaking the precepts, you are destroying your integrity.

Fourthly, be able to “Let-go”. What is there to let-go? It is not as simple as owning an item and letting it go afterwards. It is not about letting-go an item such as a refrigerator which you were contending with someone. You thought, “This thing is great!” but then you tell yourself “Let it go!”. It is about letting go of your prejudice if you have a few issues with a person, you should learn to let it go. “I don’t wish to see this person, because he has treated me badly”, “I can’t take it, I can’t stand the sight of him”. But can you let it all go?

From now on,could you focus on the good side of this person instead? Maybe they are also changing. Like many of our staff here, you may not like this person every time you see them but think about it under my guidance. They are gradually changing, you should see that they have changed for the better, then you begin to see their good qualities. They are making an effort to change. They are gradually cultivating fine qualities. At this time, you need to change your perception too. You should let go of your prejudice. Erase those memories that hurt you before. Learn to forget. Learn to set it aside. Disregard the shortcoming of others. Forget about the harm they have inflicted upon you and you will be the biggest beneficiary as a result. Look beyond the shortcomings of others. Forget the harm they have done to you. In the end, you will be the biggest beneficiary, Instead, if you cling on to the past you will be unable to leave those vexations and melancholy behind.

You must also learn to reconcile. I knew a businessman who went bankrupt. Then he travelled to a place far away. People asked him to come back: “There are many of us here who can help you”. He said, “I won’t return if I cannot bounce back”. “If I fail to make a fortune, I won’t come back.” In the end, he died where he was.

This demonstrates refusal to accept the fate and stubbornness of human beings. Just because you were once rich, it doesn’t mean that you will be wealthy forever. If only this person knew what impermanence was. He probably would not lose his life just like that. Therefore it is important to know that we need to let go of our desires and live a plain and simple life. A mind free of desires is as still as water. It is important for us to learn this, only then can we gradually achieve transcendence.

As humans, firstly, we should avoid any karmic offence. Secondly, repent at once when you have committed karmic offences. The advice you received from others may give you a new lease on life at times. Therefore you are indeed blessed if you are receptive to criticism and advice. Today, if you are still ignorant about how this world works, the fact that it is filled with sufferings, then, you shall sink deeper and deeper into such sufferings.

Lastly, let me touch on the Four Sufferings of human beings.

The first suffering is the inability to see the reality. We are blind to the true nature of things. In fact, all these conflicts and complex interpersonal relationships entail invisible wounds. What do we mean by invisible wounds?  They will leave unseen scars on you after you have a row with someone. You might say: “Hey, I am cool about it” “We were just joking, forget it”.  But it would still leave behind unseen and hidden anguish. Hence, we must learn, no matter what happens, we must learn to take things easy and to understand that when there are disputes and conflicts, you will suffer from its after-effect. That’s why a wise person seeks tranquillity.

The second suffering is our reluctance to part with what we possess. There are many people who can’t bear to part with what they once owned including fame, fortune and honour. They let their past glories remain etched in their memories. “You should have seen me in those years”. This is a kind of vanity. Your reluctance to let go makes you sink deeper into frustration,  and you get more and more dispirited. This is what we call “to immerse yourself in your past glories.” You are unable to put the past behind you. Your reluctance to let go of your past glories and fortune will even have adverse effects on your health.

The third one is being unable to accept defeat. This is a problem with many people but why is that so? With each defeat we encounter, our feelings get hurt, we feel our entire life is a failure. In fact, as long as you manage to pick yourself up again after you fall, you haven’t really fallen. Meanwhile, true failure is that you refuse to or you’re unable to pick yourself up after you fall.   Then that is a real defeat.

The fourth suffering is not being able to let go. We can’t let go of the people and things already in the distant memory. We used to have many good friends, knowing many good people, and have lifetime memories. Just as we reminisce about our maternal grandparents, grandparents, parents. When we fail to let go of these memories, it causes us more sufferings. Therefore, we need to learn to let go. By letting it go, you are able to stay out of trouble. On the other hand, those who can’t let go will always be embroiled in worldly concerns.

A Buddhist practitioner, a wise person ought to know how to eliminate all our mental obstructions and free our mind from all concern.  “Because the mind is free of hindrances, it is fearless”. We must understand, with wisdom we will surely be able to overcome the many worldly vexations. Buddhist practitioners will always be able to see the future and its prospects. They will always see the light. This is our wisdom. When you see difficulties, troubles, sadness and jealousy,  then your mind is filled with negative energy which cannot be effaced for a long time. This causes you to live a miserable life. 

Therefore, a person who is able to eliminate sufferings and countless troubles in life will possess the wisdom to strive and the power of endurance. He will know what is meant by observing the precepts,  as such, he is able to walk out of the darkness into the light.

This is the end of my talk for “Buddhism in Plain Terms” today. Thank you everyone.

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