Give People Hope
A lotus friend who regularly attends the activities of Shandao Library sent me a WeChat message today, saying, “All of your very existence is a hope for many people.” This lotus friend had not previously established belief in Buddhism, but was torn in the midst of hard work and struggling to make ends meet for many years. It was only later on that she came to the library and participated in activities, and the Dharma gradually took root in her heart, when she came to know that there was an Amitabha who loved and cared for her in the world. She began trying to examine the past from a Buddhist perspective, organized her thoughts, and planned for the future; finally, she felt that everything suddenly became clear, and her mind was at ease. So, when she told me about being a beacon of hope, I am sure she meant it from the bottom of her heart.
One of the ten items in the “Worldly Attributes of Pure Land School” says: “Give people peace of mind, give people joy, give people hope, and give people benefits.” Every time I heard and read these four phrases, my heart throbbed gently, and I felt how wonderful it would be if I could be such a person in this life! I never thought I would be scoped like this today. It made me feel ashamed, baffled, and even blushing; at the same time, I felt honored and relieved for having done something worthwhile.
What a blessing and miracle that one’s existence can become the hope for someone else!
The most painful thing in life is not necessarily mental or physical torment, not even the blow experienced at the moment, but the loss of hope for life, even survival. As a philosopher once said: “Once the lamp of hope is extinguished, life suddenly becomes dark.” As long as there is hope in your heart, you can endure even the most painful moments; if there is no hope in your heart, even one lives an extravagant life and everything goes smoothly, it is tantamount to walking as a dead person.
Hope, in this way, is of great importance to people, yet just one thing is enough to prove that this world is a miserable place: the end of life. It is when all hope is destroyed and shattered to nothing, for there is no way for anyone to take a chance and compromise. As the English literary scholar, Hazeltine said: “Death is the greatest evil because it cuts off all hope.”
Fortunately, there is the Buddha.
“Who will light the long night of man and the darkness of the universe?” The light here refers to the light of hope for all sentient beings, and the Buddha is the one who lights this sacred flame of hope. In particular, when the light of Amitabha’s deliverance shone from Shakyamuni Buddha’s mouth into the hearts of all sentient beings, the door of hope to transcend death was widely opened, and countless sages transcended life and death and reached eternal bliss.
Is there any greater hope in the world than that of not dying? By attaining that hope, the hope of Buddhahood, one’s curtain of life will be changed entirely: darkness to light, anxiety to peace, and fear to joy.
It is common sense that those who give hope to the hopeless must first have love and then have the ability. For example, a father represents hope to his children, a doctor to his patients, a teacher to his students, a guide to those lost, and a wise man to the bewildered. Fathers, doctors, teachers, guides, and wise persons - all represent love and ability.
But when I look at myself, I have neither enough love nor any physical, technical, or intellectual ability, so how can I give people the slightest hope?
After thinking much about it, I realized that if there is one thing that can give others hope, perhaps it is that Amitabha resides in my heart. As the sun shines on a dirty mirror, it reflects the light in all directions as the mirror rotates. Amitabha’s light of hope shines through my impure self, enabling those who have a karmic relationship with me to feel it too. Not only are they grateful to Amitabha, but to me, the small mirror, as well.
At this moment, as the Buddha’s heart consoles us, our hearts rejoice; when our hearts rejoice, the Buddha’s heart becomes free-flowing. The relationships of people with each other and with the Buddha are indescribably subtle and beautiful. It’s hard to imagine unless you experience it yourself.
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Eddie Cao)
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings