As Buddhists, we have to be able to bear things. What kinds of things? The things that other people cannot bear. Sometimes people say, “I really can’t bear it.” If you can’t bear it, then you won’t be able to put an end to it. Put an end to what? To karmic obstacles. If you can’t get rid of your karmic obstacles and empty your emotions, then you have to undergo birth and death. As it’s said, “If one’s karma weren’t heavy, one wouldn’t be born in the Saha world. If love is not ended, one cannot be born in the Pure Land.” When you have exhausted your karma and emptied your emotions, you will have ended birth and death and will be truly liberated.
Cultivators should cultivate endurance. They should be able to endure hunger, thirst, wind, rain, heat, and cold, as well as beatings and scoldings. All these states are tests. I often say,
Everything’s a test
To see what you will do.
If you don’t recognize the state,
You’ll have to start anew.
No matter how bad the situation is, we should be able to smile at our troubles and accept them. We shouldn’t let adversity upset us, nor should we bow our heads and surrender to them. There’s an ancient saying, “If one cannot be patient with small issues, one will ruin a great plan.” Patience is a priceless jewel.
Be patient for a moment, and the storm
and waves will subside.
Take a step back, and you’ll see the
vastness of the sea and sky.
When Shakyamuni Buddha was in the world, one day he walked by a river and saw a wolf trying to eat a turtle. However, the turtle withdrew its head and legs into its shell and remained motionless for a long time. Eventually the wolf ran out of patience and left, and the patient turtle’s life was saved. The Buddha said to the Venerable Ananda, “That’s the way a cultivator should be.” A virtuous man once said, “Recently I learned the turtle’s trick, which is to withdraw one’s head when it’s time to do so.”
忍得一时之气，免得百日之忧。如果有人骂你，当做听流行曲来欣赏；如果有人打你，当做走路不小心，撞到门 柱上。如是观想，自然化干戈为玉帛。否则，无名火 三丈高，大发雷霆，大战一场，结果两败俱伤，不但伤了感情，又失去人格，受人批评没有涵养的功夫。所谓「受尽天下百般气，养就胸中一段春」，可以做为座右 铭，这是金玉良言。
If you can be patient through a moment of anger, you’ll avoid a hundred days of sorrow. If people scold you, imagine that they’re singing a popular song for your enjoyment. If they beat you, pretend you weren’t careful when walking and bumped into the door. If you contemplate in this way, you’ll naturally transform a hostile situation into a peaceful one. On the other hand, if the fire of ignorance is allowed to blaze up and tempers explode, there will be a war with the consequence that both sides are hurt, the relationship is ruined, your integrity is sabotaged, and you get criticized for lacking self-composure. As it’s said,
Having taken flak from everyone,
One discovers a joyful vitality of heart.
This can serve as a motto. It’s a valuable piece of advice.
A talk given on May 5, 1984