A Life of Pluses and Minuses
Between Ignorance and Enlightenment IV 迷悟之间 (4)
“Life is like the tide,” writes Venerable Mater Hsing Yun, “rising and falling with its pluses and minuses.” This reflects the Buddhist concept of impermanence, or constant change. Some changes, Venerable Master says, are for the better, so they are easy to accept. But even changes for the worse – “minuses” – have their place. Life’s setbacks can improve our characters. And when we experience them we can learn to realize that minuses prepare the way for better things. “Without destruction there is no new construction,” Venerable Master writes, “and we do not get a plus where there is no minus.”
In the essays in this book, Venerable Master demonstrates with warmth and wisdom how to put the Buddha’s teachings into practice in order to be a positive force in the world. He writes about the potential of “one seed,” and how hardship and sickness can be vehicles for a better life: “Without suffering,” he quotes, “one cannot attain Buddhahood.”
As in all Venerable Master’s works, these essays contain fascinating illustrations and tidbits of historical fact. Information on pioneering Chinese monastics like Xuanzhang and Fahsien; glimpses of the life of the Buddha; lessons learned from the history of China; references to the fabled Shaolin Monastery – Venerable Master weaves together modern life and ancient wisdom into a fabric of challenge and encouragement.