The Transformative Power of
Compassion and Tolerance
Some people may think: “Age is catching up with me. Caring for others takes too much energy. I need to focus on my own health.” Actually, if you want your health to improve, if you want to have more energy and wisdom or attain a higher level of spiritual development, you need to have a compassionate, tolerant and loving heart to attain those aspirations. Without compassion and tolerance, it will be difficult for one to attain enlightenment or fully recover from illness. The reason is that one’s emotions may bubble up at any time in response to external circumstances, and this will slow down recovery. An episode of moodiness could undo all the progress made. When it comes to curing illnesses, achieving good health, gaining great wisdom, having a successful career, and ultimately becoming incredibly noble and refined, having a heart as broad as an ocean is the key. Our hearts and our inner spiritual landscape have an undeniable relationship with our lives.
Understand the Root Cause
Many universities offer professional management courses, but they seldom include discussion on how to become adaptable. You may turn out to be an internationally renowned professional, but it doesn’t mean you can be prosperous. You may work as a manager in a large company, but may not be blessed with success. Sometimes, one might end up losing more than gaining. This brings us to the topic of cause and effect, as well as fortune. These cannot be learned from management classes. Having the knowledge to manage but without the blessings to accumulate fortune is as good as seeing a mountain of wealth from across an ocean — within sight, but unattainable. For example, bank tellers spend every day counting large sums of money, but all they can look forward to is a modest monthly salary. Those who lack karmic merit find wealth to be beyond their reach.
When we recognize that all suffering and disease come from our mental world, we will start to analyze our life from the root of the problem, regardless of whether it is sickness, poverty or worry. What I am speaking of today, no matter how much you absorb, will gradually change your mindset, the way you perceive and manage yourself, and your life will start to change.
My teaching is easy to understand even by young children. Some used to be naughty because they lacked understanding. After listening to my teachings, they picked up the attributes required for being a well-liked person: tolerance, the ability to let go of trivial matters, good organizational skills, care for others, and generosity. When a child demonstrates such traits, others will naturally like him and select him as class leader. After becoming the class leader, he will work hard to achieve good grades. As an adult, it is easier for you to grasp and understand these principles and behave like a noble person.
Dharma looks to solve problems from the fundamentals. When a person has an understanding of the root cause and learns to open their heart, situations will start to clear up and troubles may soon be gone.
Steve Jobs, the late CEO of Apple, made a spiritual pilgrimage to India when he was young and learned about Buddhism. With the inspiration he received from Buddhadharma and meditation, he became a very creative person.
Where is the source of inspiration? Inspiration comes from the realm of emptiness in the deep meditative state, where your consciousness expands endlessly. “Emptiness” does not mean that there is nothing in
that realm. In fact, it is when one is in a seemingly mindless state that inspiration from Buddha arises.
In the past whenever I encountered issues that I was unable to solve, I would stop thinking about them and start meditating. At times, I completed my meditation without finding any answer. I would then continue with my daily work and meditation practice. Usually the best solution to resolve a difficulty would eventually appear; it’s like the solution was directly wired into my brain. Unlike a letter that I have to open, unfold and read, the solution simply presented itself in my brain fully formed, and I knew right away exactly how to proceed.
The answer obtained in the meditative state is given by the Divine. At first, it may seem like the solution does not fit the problem, but after implementation, it turns out to be the most effective way. This is the power of Chan, the meditative state.
Chan and Tao
Chan is not easy to explain. In ancient China there was a great sage named Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, also known as Tai Shang Lao Jun (senior sage). In his old age, he left the central plains for the western region of China. He was a court official and held a position equivalent to a head librarian. A frontier officer received news that Lao Tzu was an extremely learned scholar who had deep knowledge of philosophy, the Universe and Nature. The officer requested that he explain Tao, the Way. This is how subsequently the Tao Te Ching, the ancient 5,000-Chinese-character classic text, came to be. It contains these words: “The Way that can be told of is not an unvarying way.” This implies that it is difficult to explain the Way.
Chan and Tao are very personal experiences. Thus, when it comes to understanding the meditative state or the Way, each has their own manner of comprehending and perceiving them. If you are a fashion designer, you might wish to gain inspiration from Chan to design the most beautiful clothes and sell them for the best prices. Now that you are practicing Bodhi Meditation, you can direct your wishes to the Medicine Buddha or visualize me in your mind, or speak to a photograph of me. It will work just as well. There is much to gain from both Chan and Tao — whatever wish you may hold in your heart, they will bring inspiration to you.
Sincerity Helps Us Reach Our Goal
How can we achieve our goals and have our requests granted? Through sincerity. If you want to be inspired, be sincere. To obtain health, be sincere. To obtain great wisdom, again, be sincere. Your heart must be singular in purpose; this is the way I practice. I may not fully understand the Buddha, but I believe in his all-encompassing compassion, and that is enough reason for me to follow faithfully in his footsteps. Buddhism is rich with literature, but it is this single key point that can render you a brilliant life. Even an ordinary, modest life can undergo a tremendous transformation and fill with beautiful colors. Such is the magnificence that Chan can create.
Be compassionate, be tolerant; meditate with sincerity to gain wit and wisdom, to become a person of charisma, and to live a life that is rich and fulfilling.