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PAST AND PRESENT LIFE
by Venerable Master Hsing Yun (1927 - , Fo Guang Shan)
English translation: Fo Guang Shan International Translation Center and Zhi Yue

In Buddhism, there is a very profound saying that “Bodhisattvas fear causes, while sentient beings fear effects.” Bodhisattvas refrain from creating ill causes, for they know an ill cause will bring an ill effect.

Sentient beings, on the other hand, are impulsive and often act without thinking through the consequences. While we do not show any fear of creating ill causes, we dread the ill effects they bear on us.

While there are numerous Buddhist texts, spanning over nine thousand sutras, they all teach us to refrain from doing unwholesome deeds, to do all that is wholesome, and how to dispel disasters in order to live a peaceful life.

Live in the present, without unnecessary thought about the past or the future. At every moment, we can choose to be compassionate like the Bodhisattvas, or to succumb to insatiable greed. Ultimately, it is up to us to decide whether our lives are like heaven or hell.

── from Rensheng De Jieti (The Stairway of Life)


TURNING
by Venerable Master Hsing Yun (1927 - )
English translation: Miao Guang

We struggle in the gray zone of clouded judgment,
Blending in with this world’s confusions of black and white;
Hold onto that true nature of yours,
Let your mind stay clear as water.
Turn,
Like water that bends around mountains,
Like water that channels around rocks,
Like water that veers around embankments,
Like water that ripples around boats.

In the journey of life,
In times when we are wronged or cannot speak our voice,
Turn towards yourself,
Turn towards your true nature,
Turn towards that ocean called life.

Turn,
Like water that bends around mountains,
Like water that channels around rocks,
Like water that veers around embankments,
Like water that ripples around boats.

── from Renjian Yinyuan (Sounds of the Human World)


SELF-AFFIRMATION
English translation: Zhi Yue and Siew-Hsiang Chow

You are yourself. Even though there are millions of people in this world, you are still who you are. Sadly, most people are unable to affirm themselves and are incapable of mastering their own futures.

The mind is our master; everything in this world, whether good or bad, all arise from the mind. When the mind arises, all dharmas arise. When the mind ceases, all dharmas cease. While we are unable to control the changes in the outside world, if we are able to affirm ourselves, we can become our own masters.
If we are able to affirm ourselves, we will not be led astray
by fame, power, desire, and delusions; even if the world turned
upside down, we will still be at ease when our minds are at peace.

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