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Choices

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Before returning in the spring, I eagerly anticipated seeing a tree in full bloom, abounding in radiant white pear blossoms. And yet, upon my return what greeted my eyes were only a few branches, with nothing to adorn them but sparse flowers amidst a light misting of green leaves. Last year, the pear tree had blossomed copiously, with many bustling bees... But this year, that enchanting scene had disappeared. Astonished, I asked why. As it happened, the branches had been pruned for the sake of harvesting more pears, leaving the tree looking forlorn.

Standing quietly under the tree, I could not help but reflect: Everything is not as it seems, for only in the end do we know the truth.

If in coveting the luscious blossoms and precious buds in spring, we do not have the heart to prune the branches, there will be no delicious pears to enjoy in autumn. If in youth all of our time is spent investing in objects, accolades and guises–the things that we have and not the things that we are–then we will be consumed by the superficial, refining only appearances. Eventually, in the autumn of our lives, we may find our past hollow and devoid of meaning. Therefore, let us not allow temporary pursuits to engross our minds. Let us enrich ourselves positively, grow virtuous, and become wise. We must not ignore personal cultivation for the sake of pretense. Or else, come autumn, we will only envy the pears hanging abundantly from our neighbour’s tree, mouths watering in vain.

What needs to be surrendered, should immediately be let go; what needs to cease, should immediately be stopped–lest time pass us by, echoing only regret in our hearts. Of course, when it comes to the pear tree, some would rather admire its flowers in the spring, and buy its fruit elsewhere. But regarding our lives, if we indulge in the frivolous and fail to plan for our futures, I fear that come harvest time we will find ourselves lacking even a smattering of sweetness. Such a loss will not just be the sacrifice of a few pears, but of our future peace and happiness!

In A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, it is written: “What is it within me that causes this confusion?” Usually, when we are dazed by the fleeting pleasures of the world, we are enchanted only by what is before us. Thus engrossed, we find ourselves unable to progress spiritually as we forgo long-term planning for our futures. Instead, we carelessly waste extraordinary opportunities for growth, concentrating only on what is before us.

Great yogi Chang-chup-rin-chen once said, “Now is the time to set ourselves apart as humans.”

As humans we have the exceptional abilities to learn and to choose. We have the potential to grow beyond our greatest aspirations.

To be good. To be kind. To be moral. To be ethical. To be merciful. To be forgiving. To be compassionate.
And,
To be loving.

We cannot afford to let these moments slip away.

Choices|Lotus Recollections

Translated by Amrita Translation Foundation
Author: Zhen-Ru
Translator: Kacy Lin
Chief Editor: Ven. Alick
Editors: Ven. Yvonne, Ven. Sabrina, Ven. Joanna, Ven. Elena, Ven. Sonia, Ven. Tina, Lori Wu, Jingli Wang

Readers’ Messages

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  • Angela

    Thank you for sharing “Choices” English version! The version is good on its own. Rejoice the great translation job

  • 赵静

    老师的话平实而有智慧,在一种宁静中石破天惊!此刻的我刚刚经历了一次听闻,看到自己选择安住听闻很欢喜,看到自己会被杂事打扰而无奈,祖师的那句话:我内在是什么导致了我的无明?我的心中到底被什么东西牵畔了呢?老师说:我们粗心大意地浪费了非凡的增长机会,只专注于我们面前的事情。----感恩老师教诲!學生我一定要努力再努力,祈请您加持!

  • Patty S.

    Such beautiful words and meaningful thoughts! It truly helps me to look at things further down the road, not just the present pleasure! I would share this poem with my students and discuss with them. Hope we will keep the inspiration in mind and make better choice for the future! Much much appreciated! Thank you, Master Zhen-ru!

  • Daryl Chan

    Appreciatoon of what i have learned the core of "Buddhisattva Way of Life" learnings.
    Indeed benefit endlessly. I will keep on learning.
    Thank you to my Teachers & Masters

    10 Reply
  • Kate

    Thank you for this message!!

    11 Reply
  • Liz LAM

    Thank you my dearest teacher for always reminding me that it's my treasure to have the exceptional abilities to learn and to choose. Cultivating better qualities with compassion and wisdom really matters to my future and lives after lives. I am so grateful that I can follow in your steps.

    13 Reply
  • Maurice Tong

    Thanks master for reminding us that we should wisely plan our time and efforts on our future long-lasting happiness over some short lived pleasures misguided by our senses. Please continue to look after for us and guide us.

    13 Reply
  • Pin

    Every choice we make in each moment shapes our lives. It's crucial to grasp the truth of things, ponder the reasons behind our current situation, contemplate the consequences of our actions, appreciate the joy resulting from good causes, and the pain resulting from bad ones. If we thoroughly ponder before deciding and take responsibility for ourselves, we’ll ensure a wise and regret-free choice, embracing a life of happiness and joy.

    13 Reply
  • Gordon Ho

    "In A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, it is written: 'What is it within me that causes this confusion?' Usually, when we are dazed by the fleeting pleasures of the world, we are enchanted only by what is before us."

    This hits home hard.
    Indeed, what is it within me that causes confusion?
    What is so dazzling/mesmerising that eclipses what is important?

    This written piece echoes questions that have puzzled me deep down since I was young.

    13 Reply
  • Choo Bee Eng

    “As humans we have the exceptional abilities to learn and to choose. We have the potential to grow beyond our greatest aspirations. ”
    We cannot afford to let these moments slip away.
    The words is so reflective and its really hits me hard. Has I been wasting my human like away?

    14 Reply
  • Eileen Goh

    Choo Bee Eng

    Thank youdearest Teacher Zhen Ru for the inspirational & wise words so that in future l can make better choices. Greatly appreciated of what l have learnt the core of Bodhisattva Way of Life learnings. Always be mindful of what we do in life and once again be thankful to all the Great Masters, Teachers to guide us all the times. Thank you.