As a beginner in the study of Buddhism, I found the learnings in Liao Fan’s Four Lessons 了凡四訓 very useful in motivating me to do more good.
In summary, the four lessons are:
The First Lesson: Learning to Create Destiny
The Second Lesson: Ways to Reform
The Third Lesson: The Way to Cultivate Kindness
The Fourth Lesson: The Benefit of the Virtue of Humility
Here is one English translation that i found useful:
Hopefully, my more experienced friends in this forum can share their thoughts on this so that I can learn from their experience
the main takeaway for me is that our “fate” can be changed. our lives can improve if we continue and persist to create virtuous actions while avoiding non virtuous action.
i still remember that one of my prof told me that there was one student who went to 算命 and the fortune teller told him that he will not pass this module. So the student gave up and did not study for that module and end up failing it.
the student said that i knew it, the fortune teller is so accurate, i am not able to pass that module after all.
leaving everything to fate while not putting in any effort to change will not result in any improvement, if that student put in effort to study, things might be able to improve.
Sharing one of Master Ri Chang’s quote (from his Lamrim commentary Track 023A):
For me it is a good reminder not to keep lamenting on the outcome (or 果）or give up as one thinks one’s fate is already decided, rather one should follow Liao Fan’s example and work on the positive causes (the 因) and be confident that it will ripen into positive outcomes.
Also, Happy Deepavali
Thanks @adrian for the reminder.
I’m trying to remind myself with the following flow daily…
- Do the task with the motivation to help others (悲心)
- When doing the task, do it joyously (欢喜心) by planting the right cause (因)
- Do not get fixated by the outcome (不执着成果)
That said, it is always a work-in-progress (修行). #常败将军
haha, i found a movie on Liao Fan’s four lessons.
It is dubbed in English with Chinese subtitles. Enjoy!
Master Ri-Chang talks about how he especially appreciates the lessons from Liao Fan:
单单这个够不够？不够！我们更要进一步，他是说“畏”，畏什么呢？就是刚才这个。你了解你的根本原因所以贪，为什么呀？还是求快乐，结果你贪了半天的话，不但得不到快乐，反而大大地伤害你，喔唷，那个时候就不但有耻而且有畏。前面哪、旁边哪，都策励你的力量，后面推动你的力量，那个时候你有了这个正确的认识以后，这个正确的认识叫正信，所以“信为欲依”，你那个善法欲就生起来。有了这善法欲，那个勤精进就跟着来了，所以就有一种精进的力量。世间圣人说“知耻近乎勇”，不是就是勇喔，近乎勇！这一点我们在这地方要特别说一下。他现在这地方，对法是如此，对其他的亦复如是。所以关于这一点哪，尤其是一心向上的出家同修们，在这一点务必要三思而行。我们 (p133) 继续下去。
Reference: BW Monastery 吉祥宝聚寺 — 第116卷B面
I read here that Master Ri-Chang brought up 3 values: Sense of Shame, Fear & Courage. These are factors that can motivate us in our practice.
In fact, I know about a school in Singapore that incorporated 2 of these values as part of their school motto - Nan Hua Primary School:
Moral development focuses on family values and the 8 values that are advocated in the school motto. Our pupils internalize these values and are able to distinguish right from wrong. They will:
- Pledge Loyalty to the nation
- Value Filial Piety as the greatest virtue
- Serve Humanity with sincerity
- Demonstrate Love for all mankind
- Show Courtesy at all times
- Uphold Righteousness unwaveringly
- Practice Integrity in word and deed
- Realise the Sense of Shame in wrong-doings and correct them with courage
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