Why does a good man always have illness and suffering?
Illness is not the only suffering tormenting a good man. He has many other sufferings too. Why? All sufferings and setbacks and etc, are like debts owed by you, attributable to your deficiencies or wrongdoings committed previously (not necessarily this life). Be a good man means you have savings and assets, with which to repay your debts. Once you have cleared all your debts, good time would be in store for you.
Many good men died of illness or in accidents. They or their relatives would blame god and man. They do not see that life is an endless band. They are just after instant well being in this life, and would not accept misfortunes of life. Therefore when good men meet with their sufferings or predicament, we should sympathetically give them our blessings and wish them to be free of sufferings in their next life.
I was told that I have to be nice to those people who have not been good to me. I don't really agree with this. I feel upset and depressed. What should I do?
If you cannot be nice to those people who have not been good to you, then try being nice to yourself first. Watch your own emotions. If you are about to run into bad emotion, don't bother finding out who have not been good. Your priority is to pull yourself together.
My best friend cheated me. Should I take revenge?
If you have been cheated, treat the experience as a gain instead of a loss. But what is the“gain"?
(1) Now you have seen the other face of this person clearly;
(2) You will never be cheated again by this person;
(3) You have learned to protect yourself;
(4) You should have considered yourself fortunate that you have not yet put your revenge plan into action;
(5) You know how much people would suffer from the evil deeds of others, so you need to cherish everybody around you.
When I was young, I had an abortion, not knowing that it was a very serious matter. Now I realize that it was a grave sin, what should I do?
Of course you committed a sin as it was a life after all. However, the important thing to do now is not to repent but to remedy:
1. In Ching Ming Festival every year, or when there is ceremony held at a monastery, you secure a place there to expiate your sins under the words (Unobrn child of XXX);
2. If you can, chant a sutra or Buddha's name, and return the merits of chanting to the unborn child. You can use any of the Buddhist sutras; when returning the merits of chanting, your heart should be filled with love and compassion, and you should bless and instruct him to embark on the right track to go for a good destiny;
3. Do charity work every month on his behalf, either by donation or providing service to those in need.
I am always unhappy and unconfident. I have great attachment to the self. I feel miserable. Am I a good person? How should I deal with someone who is like me?
Being attached to the self is being self-centred. Even when others come up with some good idea, people who are self-centred will object to it with their own thinking. They do not care about others feelings, therefore they are troubled very easily and that will also affect the people around them. They are not bad people but they are certainly unhappy. When they deal with someone who is of the same character, both will insist on their own thinking and will end up unhappily. If they are family, they will become distant and alienated, and cannot enjoy each other’s love. When you are young and energetic, you can still support your stubbornness with strong determination. But when you are old or sick, your physical and mental efforts will decline. It will be miserable for you to insist on your stubborn thinking. If you want to be happy, it is simple. Let go of your self-attachment, transform your habitual thinking, and be more considerate. It’s not difficult to be confident in yourself. Try doing something you are capable of first, you will be able to have a good taste of what a happy and flourishing life is like.
“The sun rises at the East Sea and sets at the sky in the West; Whether you are sad or happy each day, time will pass anyway. If you don’t push yourself into a dead corner when faced with difficulties, your body will relax and so will your mind”. Master, what does this mean?
This comes from respectable Mr. Zhao Pu Chu’s Kuan Xin Rhyme (寬心謠). It is simple, direct, and instructive. Each day passes with the Sun rising at the East and setting at the West. Whether you are worried or sad, you have to live the day all the same. How you live each day depends on your own choice. It is very common that we have good times and bad times in our life. We should avoid pushing ourselves into a dead corner, otherwise we cannot get out of it all our life. Only if you can keep calm and relaxed in adversity, and stay easy and let go, then naturally “your body will relax as well as your mind”.
I feel very sad about the disasters that happened in recent years. Is there anything I can do? Can the chanting of sutras help?
You can chant any sutras dedicating to the casualty and the survivors. Dedicate your compassion and kindness sincerely and heartily; wish those passed away reborn with a good destiny, and the survivors get help and return to their normal life soon. You can make donations if you are able to. You can join the Thrice Memorial Ceremony or other Buddhist services held by monasteries and dedicate the merits of the chanting to those who suffer with the united power of the assembly.
Is the year 2012 the end of the world?
Don’t worry about whether it is the end of the world. If it is, it is not a disaster to an individual. It is a disaster to the whole world. You should treat every day as the end of your days as well as your birthday. Treasure every day and live it full.
Some people like to buy various items, say for example, skybeads, to improve their luck. What are the principles behind these items and what would be the negative effects of using such items to change one’s luck?
The Earth breeds various matters and articles, and definitely they would possess certain natural power. This sort of power would change the magnetic field around us and has an impact on one’s physical as well as psychological response; such influence could be good or bad. However, one can never exclusively rely on such power; otherwise those who sell such items would be enjoying a heavenly life before you know it.
The biggest power is the power of one’s mind. One may not be facing the most satisfactory conditions but if he can have control of his own mind and learn to face difficulties from a different point of view and often maintain a positive mindset, no doubt this would be the best course of action.
My eyesight is getting poorer and poorer. I am very upset. I find it useless although I have learnt the skills to cope with visual disability and joined an organization for visually disabled. What should I do?
Eyesight problem is a heredity one. You know it well it’s unavoidable and a hard fact that you can’t turn back when your eyesight is getting poorer and poorer day by day. We can’t change our physical change but we can always adjust our mind. You can take this opportunity when you can still see to train yourself by putting your daily commodities at the same locations and learning identifying directions. You can choose to worry your future but you can also choose to treasure and cherish what your present moments and get yourself prepared for tomorrow
How should I get along with a person who is active, impetuous, insists in her own views and always feels good about herself?
Every one has his own personality and the ways of doings therefore vary. If her attitude and decisions are acceptable to most people, what’s the problem about it? Assuming there is really problem with her, you are in no position to change her. Throw your prejudice out against her and be friendly with her. At the same time, remind yourself to be respectful to others and understanding.
My friend has called and wept over the phone, saying that her medical report is unfavourable and she has to receive another round of electrotherapy treatments. Even leaving aside the physical discomfort, her mental suffering is beyond imagination. I cried together with her but don’t know what else I could do to pacify her. What should I tell her to cope with her illness and with what attitude I should keep her company?
If you are satisfied with things as they are, you will be grateful. If you are not, you will feel miserable and think you’re suffering. You can never cease suffering with suffering. You cry beside her when she cries, the feeling of misery doubles. You should lead her to think this way: it is fortunate for me to become ill after I have brought up my children, it is fortunate for me to receive medical treatment, it is fortunate for me to have my friends’ support… … be positive when you keep her company. You are able to be with her to overcome the hardship from the illness together only when you have positive thinking and attitude.
I appreciate that every one has his own life to live and has to experience his own success and failures, and bear the consequences for what he has done. However, how could I have the heart not to stop him when he does something wrong knowingly it is wrong? Was my decision a right one?
Some people would never listen to others' advice or would deliberately ignore others' kind words at certain times. If you really mean to do something for his good sake, please let it go after you have given him the advice for three times. Maintain your harmonious relationship with him and wait until the right timing arises some day when you can help him with better resources and more positive energy.
It is not easy to help when he is a person of rather strong 'self-consciousness'. It requires our vast love and patience. Haste brings no success. I believe that being blessed with your love, he will come out from the cul-de-sac gradually.
I think my view and advice are very good. If you don't listen to mine, it makes no difference when he doesn't listen to yours. Is it right?
I have been ill for a long time and been seeing doctors frequently. But my health does not improve very much. Whenever I am at odds with my husband and children, my health becomes even worse. How should I treat my illnesses?
Whenever you are let down by your family, you must not get angry. On the contrary, you should smile more and love and care for them even more. Anyone would like to get close to a mother and wife who always smiles and cares. Don’t focus all your attention on your husband and children. Try to channel your energy to those around you who need your care and love. If you can do this, I believe that your illnesses would be cured very soon.
A friend of mine of over twenty years was diagnosed of lung cancer last year. She declined all the visits from friends during her treatment period. I was very worried about her conditions and I hope I could visit her so as to chat with her and make her feel less lonely. But she declined boldly. All I can do now is often send her SMS messages and dedicate the merits to her in my morning and evening devotions. However, whenever I think of her, I feel sad and I weep. I feel sorry that I can do nothing to ease her pain. I can just pray to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and wish her good health. Dear Master, please teach me what else I could do.
We have to respect everyone. Don’t just do something you want to do. We should do what the others need. Perhaps your friend wants to be left alone to recuperate. More probably she cannot face the reality of sickness. No matter what, you must bless her and relieve her of the pressure of having visits. Dedication of merits to her is the best. Do you know what dedication of merits is? It is sharing of what you have with others. You often feel sad for her and weep, all she receives from you is sadness and tears. The positive energy can only arise when you feel the joy and have the faith when you chant sutras and dedicate merits to her. Bless her with your true love and sincerity and wish that she would accept your visit. If you want to do something for your friend’s good sake, go and care for others who are sick. Do it to make your two hearts closer. When your mind is at ease, so is hers. Do give it a try with efforts. As long as you are sincere enough, you may get a pleasant surprise. Your friend must be able to feel your love, kindness and compassion.
I am now in my fifties. I have a comfortably-off family where my children have all grown up. My work has been smooth too. I am supposed to be satisfied but I sometimes feel unhappy and don’t know what I lack in my life.
You are really a lucky person. There may be two reasons for you to feel unhappy sometimes:
1. Did any unpleasant ever happen on you in your life? If there was any, the incident might have stayed in your mind and impressed deeply in your memory. You need to deal with the feelings and impact generated from it. Or
2. You have contributed all your efforts to yourself and your family in your whole life. What you care is the few persons at home only. Now, try to expand the scope of your love and care. Go and serve the needy without expecting any reward, the value of your life will certainly be enhanced. Do something which can benefit yourself and others, you’ll become a happier person. Life itself is imperfect. There must be unhappiness elements in pleasure. When you know this law of nature, you can take it easy no matter what you encounter.
I don’t have any friends. For various reasons, I don’t trust people anymore as I am afraid of being hurt again. I don’t even have a person whom I can confide to. Luckily, I am leading a happy life and can talk myself out. Nevertheless, I often talk to myself to rebut my discontent. Do I need to consult a doctor? Am I abnormal?
When you are afraid of being hurt, you actually hurt yourself easily. Each of us has our own and unique personality, and extraordinary ability to protect ourselves. If you really know how to communicate with yourself, you must know all kinds of emotions in your mind. Since you have chosen such a life style, why don’t you accept it with ease? Do you need to consult a doctor? Well, do you trust him?
Some people say: From the date you were born, your fate has been set and there is no way to change it. I’m from a single-parent family and really long for a partner in my life. However, many things in our lives just don't go along my wish. A fortune teller said to me that I will not be married. So does it mean that I cannot really change my fate at all?
Do not completely believe in fate or the fortune tellers. Go to serve others and establish healthy and friendly relationships with others. It will change your life and opportunities gradually. Happiness and joy do not necessarily come from marriage but also from friends with common interests.