I Shall Be Writing "Listening Quietly
to the Voices Within"
- From TBN, issues 434 and 456
- By Living Buddha Lian Sheng, Sheng-yen Lu
- Translated and Edited by True Buddha Foundation Translation
After completing my 166th
book, Accounts of Spiritual Travel, emotions welled up in me, for
there is still much to be said. Therefore, I decided to write a
book that records my inner thoughts, and the result is my 167th
book, titled, Listening Quietly to the Voices Within, subtitled,
Enrich the Dream of Life with Radiance and Color.
I live a quiet life in Leaf Lake, watching the first rays of sunrise
and the evening sky of sunset every day. Frankly speaking, my life
once shone with radiance, [and] I was showered with love and glory.
I was received by tens of thousands of people at airports; I conducted
dharma ceremonies attended by just as many; and I received their
And today, I am living alone, in seclusion.
I have never set plans about what I want to do in the future, such
as moving back, returning to Seattle from Leak Lake, or perhaps
returning to my childhood home in Kaoshiung [in south Taiwan], or
going back to Taichung [in central Taiwan] where I spent my growing-up
years. Or will I be spending the rest of my life at Leaf Lake?
After completing the book, Accounts of Spiritual Travel, there was
a night when I was taking a meditative walk [walking quietly while
chanting a mantra or a Buddha's or Bodhisattva's name, with full
concentration, becoming one with the Buddha or Bodhisattva] along
the mountain under a full moon. I was gazing at the far horizon,
at an ocean of fog which permeated everything, when I felt the doors
of my heart suddenly open. I closed my eyes for a moment and listened
to the inner voices within me.
These voices felt joyous, and yet melancholic. Was it joy or sadness?
I could not really tell. Anyway, it had the same emotional feeling
that one would get when one reached the top of a mountain and was
enjoying the view of a rolling sea of clouds.
It was much like the feeling of leaving Kaoshiung where I had spent
my childhood; leaving Taichung, where I had spent my growing-up
years; leaving Seattle, where I had spent the prime of my life;
and if I were to leave Leaf Lake, where I am now in my retreat.
Should I react with joy?
Or should I react with sadness?
If there be a day when the Three Holy Sages of the Western Paradise-Amitabha
Buddha, Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, and Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva-and
the assembly of holy beings receive me, [they will] welcome me with
a great dharma ship adorned with all kinds of precious jewels, glowing
with an all-pervading radiance. And they will place necklaces of
pearls and jade around my neck and adorn my body with precious gems.
They will come with canopies decorated with hundreds of thousands
of colours to welcome my returning, and there will be wonderful
celestial beings whose haloes of light illuminate one another, radiating
their lights into infinity in all their magnificence, and everything
will be dignified and solemn. They will arrive to welcome me back
to the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds, which resides on the other shore.
My six media senses will be purified and I will be free from all
emotional afflictions, abiding in the never-receding realm where
one achieves Buddhahood.
The question is:
"Can I quietly reach the other shore from this shore, and then forget
all the disciples whom I dearly miss, and leave without any feelings
of worry or concern?"
Wouldn't I be sad?
Wouldn't I miss them?
What about the five million disciples in the Samsara world?
I realize it is impossible for me not to miss my disciples when
I leave this world.
However, my remaining in this world inevitably leaves me in sorrow.
There is pain in leaving, and pain in staying. My heart says very
simply, "Who is free from regrets?"
Perhaps I have scattered too many emotional pieces of friendship
in this world which I simply cannot gather up, and my heart feels
so heavy that I doubt that even the radiant dharma ship can carry
Let me pen a poem on Listening Quietly to the Voices Within:
No one can hold on to the time in their life forever
And I have already spent several decades in this world
When the time comes to board the returning dharma ship
How can I ever hold back my tears?
Because, simply, the baggage of friendship weighs heavily upon me
Those voices [the dharma teachings I have given to my devoted disciples]
I speak again and again
A sudden surge of sorrow fills my heart
I find myself turned into a naked child [having given everything
I have to my devoted disciples]
There will come a day
There will come a page
I will write [my] very last page
Reflect upon this
Please listen quietly to the words of my vow:
I truly wish to take all of you,
To bring everyone along [to the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds]
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