Follow Your Dreams
Youth Forum With Grandmaster JinBodhi
We must follow our dreams faithfully. Only when we have a dream, then do we have the willpower to follow through with it; only then do we develop confidence, tenacity and patience.
Host: Just like what Grandmaster JinBodhi has mentioned – in every youth’s heart there lies a dream, be it big or small. However, we see that there is a trend whereby those who have just graduated, or have just started working are getting increasingly disillusioned. They realise there is a huge difference between their dreams and what they face in society. Hence, they become depressed and troubled. For instance, one internet user has a question for Master; she is a student who has just graduated and now has to face society and work. However, she is fearful and dares not face society as she finds it very much different from her ideals. Master, would you please give her some advice?
Grandmaster JinBodhi (Master): Oh, this is very simple. The only thing I can tell her is “Child, first and foremost, once you have stepped out of your comfort zone and begun to move forward bravely, you are on the path towards a successful and perhaps great life. Staying at home and worrying needlessly is the real failure.”
Host: Master, can you please share with us how you realised your dreams during your own youth, when you were in your twenties?
Master: This topic is rather broad. I think that there is not much difference between most kids and myself. The only difference is that I had set a goal in my life, and in order to achieve this goal, I was not afraid of any difficulties, setbacks or suffering that may come my way. To say that I was unafraid does not mean there was an absence of fear. Instead, what I mean is I strived to bear all kinds of pressure, misery and ridicule despite all my fears. Of course, I did appreciate and enjoyed the help, love, care, concern and guidance that I had received along the way. Let me give an example; say I was training myself in running. Even when I felt tired and fatigued, I managed to persevere as I knew that I was doing so to achieve my dreams. After persisting for some time, I realised that my stamina had improved and I was able to endure for a while longer. Therefore, once I had such a mentality, I transcended my limits and I was able to withstand up to or more than four times my usual capacity. I was able to do well because I could stick with it. This tenacity is a momentum that arises from my strong conviction in my dreams and goals.
Additionally, I did not compare myself with others. Many young people have a tendency to compare themselves with their classmates, friends and peers. For instance, they place great attention on those who find good jobs, study in prestigious schools, or have found good partners, and often make comparisons. Do not compare. From what I have been through, I think the experiences that we often find difficult and tough are actually extremely precious. These experiences are our grindstones. Any rare and precious sword has had to undergo refinement countless times. It is repeatedly placed under a lot of stress – heated to high temperatures and then immediately doused in ice-cold water. After which, during the forging process, it is heated and thrown into oil repeatedly. Through this process of forging, the sword becomes more flexible and malleable. Lastly, the blade is hammered over and over again. You may not understand this analogy; you might think “What has a piece of metal got to do with me?” Now, imagine you are that piece of metal. Each ‘hammering’ could be a blow to your soul, a setback that you have experienced. All these ‘hammerings’ essentially represent your sufferings, your pain.
So, in order to achieve your lofty ideals, you have to be able to withstand such sufferings. Once you have gone through this, you will be able to embrace any hardships that you may encounter. Let’s say, one day your mother has fallen ill and you are trying to find a remedy for her. That remedy can only be obtained by crossing a single-plank bridge. If you can’t cross it, your mother will suffer or even die. Would you go? If I tell you that it is very dangerous, would you still go? Of course you would. It is a road that you must walk, there is no other way. There is no turning back. Therefore, I tell you, my friends, there is no turning back in our lives, no leeway for negotiations. Also, there is no way you can redo or repeat anything that you have done in life. So, make sure you have a firm goal in mind and then you will be able to persevere.
During the process of growing up, I adhered to my firm beliefs. Classmates and friends found my life goal really laughable. Why? They found it absurd that my goal was to alleviate the sufferings of all sentient beings. They thought: “That is the work of Buddha, that is the work of God, what difference can a mere child like you possibly make?” But that is my dream. Then, I could not speak clearly, had not much cultural knowledge and my stamina and physical strength were only a little greater than others. Everyone judged me: “So, what ability do you have to say you want to liberate all sentient beings from misery?” Honestly, weighing myself in all aspects, I truly was not very capable at that time. However, that is my aim and my success lies in this firm conviction and resolve towards my aim.
No matter what happened, I never stopped persevering and believing in my dreams. I refused to look back, because I know life is a road of no return; there is no escape route. Just like the single-plank bridge, you have to keep walking. Whether you are feeling scared or brave, you have to continue walking; you have no choice but to keep moving forward. The only escape you have is death, and dying before you are supposed to is a crime; it is a crime against your parents, against the grace of Heaven, against Nature. It is definitely wrong. Therefore, go forth confidently.
Host: Thank you, Master for answering the questions from our Internet users.
Master: It is my pleasure.
Host: Shall we name this first session of the Youth Forum ‘Follow Your Dreams’?
Master: ‘Follow Your Dreams’! Oh, good, very good! We must follow our dreams faithfully. Only when we have a dream, then do we have the willpower to follow through with it; only then do we develop confidence, tenacity and patience. And progressively we will gain creativity, inspiration and even spirituality. A life of inspiration and spirituality is a life of clear perception. When you are equipped with knowledge, clear perception and determination, you will definitely succeed! I await good news of your success. Goodbye!