Manage your time mindfully
We can manage our time mindfully in our daily life. By using our time mindfully, every minute and every second of our life will not go to waste. If we failed to manage our time wisely and pass the days without any purpose, we would not be diligent in our spiritual cultivation. Therefore, it is our mind that decides how we lead our life, either meaningfully or let it go to waste.
To practice Buddhism, we must learn to focus on everything we do at the present moment. If we are not focused, our days are wasted even if we spend our time busy at work, socializing and enjoying leisure activities. Samantabhadra Bodhisattva said, "Your life gets shorter as the days go by.” The passing days signify the diminishing time we have in our life. With the shortened time we have on earth, we are left with even lesser time to serve others and cultivate merit. If we can’t create merit, we will only be exhausting our blessings!
Buddha said that among the six realms in the cycle of birth and death, the human realm is the only realm to cultivate merit. For example, although the days in heaven are long, heavenly beings are only enjoying life with no opportunity to create merit. Therefore, we should seize the time we have and devote ourselves to meaningful work.
Although we are all born a human, different people are living different lives with different living conditions. Some people have no clothes to wear, some have nothing to eat, some are struggling to cope with daily needs, which makes it hard for these people to find time to cultivate merits. Whereas some people who are living an abundant life are busy socializing for business and feel that they have not enough time to cultivate as well. However, there are also contented people who are practically seeking knowledge and learning, they are making full use of all their time. This shows that different people are leading life with different mentalities, and these differences stem from the mind.
Always be kind
There is a large group of people with “loving heart” in Taiwan. “Loving heart” means to love and look after one’s heart by having kind thoughts all time. In doing so, one is creating merit every day, which is equivalent to spiritual cultivation.
Some people think that giving or donating something to others is being loving, however, that is merely an act of kindness. Besides taking solid actions to help others, we must also be grateful to those who give us the opportunity to help them, because it is them who taught us to love and take care of our mind by doing good at all times and not to have any evil thoughts. Therefore, having a loving heart is not about giving material aids to others, instead, it is to cultivate our wisdom and compassion through helping others. Without the manifestation of suffering by others, it is difficult to inspire one’s great compassion and great vow through reading and reciting the words in the sutras.
Serve others with a grateful heart
There are many volunteers at Tzu Chi who do not hesitate to devote their time and money to serve others. They are grateful to patients who show them what suffering is in life as it helps them to practice the vow of bodhisattva in everything they do. Because of that, these volunteers are joyful when they help others, and a joyful mind is the mind of a bodhisattva and an enlightened mind. All these stems from a “loving heart”. Therefore, those who unleash “loving heart” are wise people who sow merit cultivate blessings for themselves.
There are some who became calculative by thinking that “I am doing this for you” after serving and caring for others. Such thoughts are troubling to the mind, and it is unwise to not see the truth that helping others is actually benefiting ourselves.
Besides, those who give conditionally will only reap the blessings of “human and heavenly realm” at best. Buddhists should cultivate our blessings with wisdom and understand the true meaning of love. We need to realise that giving love is a form of spiritual cultivation. We should always maintain this practice and not to have any evil thoughts due to greed, hatred and ignorance. Be grateful when you can help others and do not harbour the thought of seeking repayment. Then only we are practising pure love with wisdom.