Dharma Practitioners Make Use of All Situations to Cultivate Their Minds
We Dharma practitioners should make use of any situation to cultivate our minds. When we are flattered, we should not get big-headed. When we are wrongly criticised, we should not be resentful. Those who are being unreasonable to us are our good teachers, who are there to help us learn to be patient, eliminate our karmic obstacles, and let our merit and virtue grow. If we cannot rise above a challenging situation but get knocked down, we will never improve. If we are never placed under trying circumstances, we will always stay where we are. Therefore, we must thank those who are being mean to us.
Driven by karma, no one deliberately causes trouble. Fools blame each other, and wise people are compassionate and sympathetic. The reason why people behave unreasonably towards us is because they are suffering from ignorance and are plagued by afflictions. Therefore, we must be compassionate and merciful towards their foolish and pitiful behaviour. Why would they act like that if they were not ignorant and unreasonable?
Being Dharma practitioners who cultivate the Mahayana and Bodhisattva Way, we always give things that are good, happy, joyful, and successful to those who wrong us, and keep the things that are bad, unsuccessful, and depressing to ourselves. We even privately send blessings to those people. We feel happy and comforted if they are made even slightly happy and comforted.
When we are interacting with people, we must be humble, bearing in mind that we are inferior, and others are superior. I may have some strengths, but I have far more shortcomings. Although others may have some shortcomings, their virtues are plentiful. This is what Confucius said: "When three people are walking together, I am sure to find teachers among them."
When it comes to Dharma cultivation, both the Sacred Path schools and the Pure Land school value the same attributes and that is to be disparaging about oneself and quick to admit fault. Otherwise, where is the cultivation? The difference between the schools is that a practitioner of the Pure Land school knows he cannot achieve enlightenment on his own, so he aspires to be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss and he relies on the power of Amitabha Buddha for that purpose; while a practitioner of a Sacred Path school believes that he can be emancipated through his own practice, so he does not aspire rebirth in the Pure Land.
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team; edited by Householder Fojin)
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