吉祥宝聚寺好文共赏：耕心 • 耕新
Everyone's heart is a piece of rich pasture, and each individual treats it differently.
Those who are ignorant are unable to cultivate it. Thus, helpless.
Those who are lazy, do not wish to cultivate the field. This is most unfortunate.
Those who planted only a single species repeatedly, caused the pasture to be exhausted.
Some practiced crop rotation, enriched the pasture and harvested abundantly.
Some only did their best in cultivation, and are not concerned about harvesting.
So I asked myself, which type of farmer am I?
A farmer of the heart needs to virtuously cultivate, then will one have a life of creations.
25 years ago, when I was first ordained, Master Jih-Chang told me to watch my heart - to observe the motivation behind everything I do.
Master said, "When you wake up in the morning, touch your head and ask why did you get ordained? This would be the first action daily after waking up.
During mealtime, looked at the food and questioned, "Why do I eat this meal?"
Sometimes, in the midst of a meal, Master would look in my direction, as if telling me, "You are consuming greed", and I realised I had eaten too much.
When sweeping the floor, Master would say, "Sweep the floor and cleanse our hearts. Sweeping without cleansing our heart is sweeping in vain." The heart was also swept away.
Before I started carrying out tasks, Master would always remind me, "What is your motivation?" Upon completion, Master would ask, "Did you focus only on the tasks itself? Did you watch your mind?"
Once on a journey, Master said, "For every step we take, we have to watch where our mind is."
"Heart mind". What is it?
One day, I was feeling down, Master hit the table and questioned, "Why are you here?" (I realised) Oh yes, aren't I here to learn the dharma? So why do I get caught up being calculative over small matters? Master said, "Moody everyday; twisting with afflictions!"
Once, after completing a task, I reported it to Master.
Master asked, "What is your motivation in this task?" I said, "To attain Buddhahood, to benefit all sentient beings." Master replied, "You are doing it for yourself."
I felt wronged; Master had misunderstood me.
When I was in secondary school, I read a comic which described about a youth who was very self-centred, and took advantage of everything. Everyone in the village disliked him and he had to leave, wandering from cities to cities. However, he was reluctant to change. After many years, he was so poor and desperate that he returned to the village. One old villager raised his crutch and told him, "Human do not live just for themselves!"
If it is not for myself, then what is it for? Since then, I was troubled by this question for many years.
Now that Master said I was doing it for myself, I was even more puzzled and troubled.
I had carried out the tasks given by Master diligently and happily, in order to lighten Master's burden, so why did it become 'I did it for myself'?
Master no longer replied my question but said, "You should reflect more!"
I could not think of any satisfactory answer. Circumambulating the Buddha statue, round and round, I kept thinking, "what am I after? Did I do it for myself?"
I did my task diligently, I wasn't lazy. Where could be the problem?
I put my mind to the task, and completed them well, what was the problem?
After completion, I quickly reported the results. Was that a problem?
It seemed to be alright!
So what was the problem that Master mentioned about? Was it my mind? The issue still lied with my thoughts and motivation.
In the day, whenever there was time, I would circumambulate the Buddha statue and contemplate about the matter.
What was going on in my mind? Desire to complete the task allocated by Master.
Why did I want to complete the tasks? It was to make Master happy.
Why did I want to make Master happy? Because Master's wish was to benefit all sentient beings.
Did I think of all sentient beings? No, I only thought of Master.
What about thinking of Master? I wished to make Master happy.
Why was it important for Master to be happy? Because he would praise me.
So did I work only to desire Master's praises? It seemed like it, and it also seemed not...
In the silent of the night, I grabbed the opportunity to search deeper. What was I seeking for?
If Master did not praise me, would I do those tasks? I would, but not earnestly.
So now, the strong urge to complete the tasks was because I desired for Master's praises? The answer was yes.
So I carried out the tasks for praises? The answer was yes.
I was after the praises, not for Master's concerns for all sentient beings' sufferings and happiness.
I did it for myself. I wanted the happiness from praises, and forgot about the sufferings of all sentient beings.
That was why Master reprimanded, "You did it for yourself!" I was seeking for fame and gain.
After reporting on my path of reflection, Master said, " We, ordinary folks are bound deeply by the concept of 'self', and only thinking of 'self' day in day out."
That reflection journey was a very great reminder for my future cultivation and learning.
In my path of learning, I continuously reflect deeply on my mind and motivation.
I continued with the tasks that needed to be done, and cultivated on my heart pasture too, never dared let it to waste.
Cultivating while completing the tasks - adjusting the motivation every now and then. From the surface, I was seen as working courageously, yet in my heart I was silently adjusting to the right motivation.
I was deeply moved by every adjustment to the right motivation, it was so wonderful.
Diligently cultivate our heart pasture, and it would reap wonderful results.
Every reflection and adjustment allowed my life to continuously renew to greater heights.