Teaching of the month - Feb 2020

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32 Chi Lian Guan Yin

The Kuan Yin disciple must go through all kinds of life’s pains and experiences to practise skilful means and wisdom to discover the paths that will lead to the perpetual happiness.

- True happiness is absent from worldly situations as happiness of the externals are only short lived
- To live in disguise with a mask of happiness when one is unhappy is ignorance
- Apply the right understanding of the Four Noble Truths to end the causes of one’s unhappiness (suffering)


The seriousness of living rightly and nobly must be before the mind of all who claim to be adherents of the Path. One must not allow a deluded mind to take over or the clear mind will not surface, and then true happiness cannot be realised. How many are able to know the way of attaining true peace and happiness but are unable to realise it because of the weak mind that gives way to the evil tendencies that arise constantly. Those who are seriously on the path must guard the mind well and this calls for the necessity of practising awareness. Each time a thought arises and you are caused to think and to act, you must stop and think over the result of each thought and act. It is easy to give advice to do so, it is easy to know the value of being so, but it will be most difficult to be so!

Happiness of the externals are only short lived and will always end up in dissatisfaction or even unhappiness. There is no need to cling to them and one way of learning how to detach oneself from them is to reflect on the many happy incidents of the past, instead of recalling just the period of happiness, try and recall the moments when such happy times ended, and you will begin to understand that true happiness is absent from worldly situations. But try sitting and reaching the state of peace of mind through any method and attaining to the state of a quiet mind, the bliss of silence will pervade your entire self! This total joy will far surpass all other kinds of external joys which are dependent on others and therefore impermanent. This kind of true happiness is always within your own self which you can bring forth. You must always remember that only you yourself is able to bring true happiness on your own self, you are able to attain the perpetual happiness which, once gained, will lead you to developing the wish to generate peace and happiness to others as well! The beginning of practice is therefore always difficult. It will require patience and effort, and until you have experienced true peace of mind, you will not really be of real help to others. This is the most important practice which will lead to wisdom because the quieted mind will dwell clearly on the truths of life, will bring about clear understanding on the realities of life.

How many who seem happy are really happy in spirit? Just like the mind which hardly appear in its true state of being, our outer appearances are often disguised with a mask of happiness. One must learn to face the truth and live truthfully. When one is unhappy, one should not put on a face of happiness with the view of hiding the truth otherwise no one will be able to help him and then he will become more unhappy. This is the result of pride which is caused by the ego. Wanting others to reach you, you must reach others which requires sincerity and humility. To live in a mask of falsity is ignorance which will create more sufferings. More important than being what you are when you are in the state of unhappiness is to find the cause of ending it at the same time. This calls for deep contemplation on the causes of your unhappiness and the actions to go about removing them. It will naturally end up with the application of the understanding of the Four Noble Truths, otherwise the solution will not be permanent. But many are not prepared to remove the causes of sufferings because of clinging and stupidity and these are the main causes of the continuity of suffering. There may be some who are really serious in hoping to find the solutions to their unhappiness and are ready to cut the links to them. But they are often hampered by a clouded mind, an ignorant mind which is not able to see things as they really are. Emotions are the great causes of unhappiness which even envelop the minds of great practitioners. In the name of love many grave wrongs are done which bring about much unhappiness to self and others because selfishness, which is the main cause of it, is not easily seen to be around. How many are suffering needlessly because of unfulfilled love because of the mind refusing to see the truth even though they have understood the Law of Karma? Even with deep reflection one is liable to arrive at the wrong views when the presence of selfishness has not been recognised. This leads the mind to contemplate wrongly at the start so that one will find it unbearable and unfair that life should be so painful for him. Once you are caught with wrong understanding, once you start with self-gratification as its aim, how can the truth come?

Be ready to bear the pains that others may be happy, if this view is not held and you are claiming to be a devotee of Kuan Shih Yin, then you have practised quite uselessly because you have failed to realise that there can be no real happiness for yourself when others around you are suffering. It will be impossible for one who is walking the Bodhisattva Path to be truly happy when only he is happy while others are not, or when he is the cause of others unhappiness just because of his own personal satisfaction.

In this respect love is absent even though all that are brought about out of love are present. Selfish love is not love but a form of gratification that will do more harm than good, that will always end up in misery. It is really ‘desire’ in disguise and he who suffers long out of this delusion is filled with ignorance. He must change his views and begin to contemplate on his problems with a different perspective, bearing in mind that there can be no true love arising out of tainted feelings of love which is in actuality, “craving”, which is truly the cause of all suffering. Realising this truth, then all suffering, which are self-caused, shall cease and one is able to be on the path of cultivation to seek the calm and happy mind. Remembering that obstacles will be many and in all forms, either gross or subtle, the Kuan Yin disciple must practise wisdom and skilful means to free himself from the shackles of suffering. He must free himself before he can free others and that is why he must go through all kinds of life’s pains and experiences so that he may understand the pains of sufferings and discover the paths that will lead to freedom. There is no other way to learn. Kuan Yin practice is not the easy way but the most difficult way, yet it is the most meaningful way and also the most beneficial way that will lead oneself and others to happiness!

Thursday, 27th December 1984
11th Moon, 6th Day

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