The Man Who Longs For His Homeland
- From TBN, issue 438 and 481
- By Living Buddha Lian Sheng, Sheng-Yen Lu
- Translated and Edited by True Buddha Foundation Translation
I confess that I am someone
who longs for his homeland. Do you still remember the poignant poem
that we learned when we were little?
Before my bed the moonbeams brightly shine
Gleaming like frost upon the ground
I lift my head to see the moon so bright
Then lower my head with heavy heart and thoughts of home
While living in Seattle, USA, for twenty years, I would think back
to the scenery of my homeland, this kind of yearning making me feel
like a fool. I would often drive to Seattle’s west coast and
gaze at the vast ocean, knowing that across the ocean was another
coast that was my homeland. I would feel confused and lost.
When I was in Seattle, I told Mrs. Lu, Master Lian Xiang, "It
looks like we're going to grow old and die here in Seattle, doesn’t
I remember what someone once said long, long ago:
"Never be a wandering, lonely spirit. If you are going to die,
better that you die in your homeland."
But is this possible? I think that most of the time it is not possible.
The world is more wide-open to modern man. People emigrate to different
parts of the world, settle down and plant their roots there. Some
of them don’t even remember their original roots, so what
is there to talk about returning to one's home country, like a falling
leaf returning to its roots?
About being a foreigner—who is not a foreigner? Everyone is.
When you ask around, everyone is a foreigner. When you return to
your hometown, there are no old friends; everyone is now playing
the role of a foreigner, traveling away from their homeland to make
a living, generation after generation, wanderers in foreign lands,
no way to return. And even if they do return, everything is foreign.
As to my homeland, what I feel is unfamiliarity and a fear of not
finding a familiar face. It is really true that as one approaches
one’s homeland, one feels apprehensive. It is indeed a sad
and disheartening feeling!
Today I finally understand:
The human life is one of drifting in a suffering ocean of birth
One’s homeland is no more the place where you were born.
And neither is it the place where you will die.
Even though Leaf Lake is the place of my retreat, I feel it is so
familiar and yet so foreign. Will I grow old and die at Leaf Lake?
I understand that within our inner heart is really where our true
homeland is, that deep within our heart is where our homeland has
always been, within our original nature, within the realm of the
True Buddha, within the Maha Twin Lotus Ponds, within the pure land
of Buddha’s country.
That is our eternal homeland!