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by Venerable Master Hsing Yun (1927 - , Fo Guang Shan)
English translation: Zhi Yue and Stephanie Mei Gaw

Every one of us should have a plan for life. For Confucius, he once said, “At fifteen, I had my mind bent on learning. At thirty, I stood firm. At forty, I had no doubts. At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven. At sixty, my ear was an obedient organ for the reception of truth. At seventy, I could follow what my heart desired, without transgressing what was right.”

Likewise, I have thus divided my life into eight phases of ten years from “growing up, learning, learning from different masters, literature, history, philosophy, ethics, to Buddhist Studies.” Ultimately, everything in my life is traced back to the Dharma, because it is only within “the dharma realm of one reality” can life be perfectly complete.

Of course, there are no definite plans in life; everything has causes and conditions. However, there are times when we cannot help but make decisions for ourselves. The best plans for life involve self-awareness, self-liberation, and benefiting others. In addition, the most meaningful plans involve purifying our emotions, putting money to good use, and conducting ourselves with virtue. In this way, our lives become more substantial and valuable.

── from Mi Wu Zhijian (Between Ignorance and Enlightenment)