Workers carrying heavy loads lighten up once they put down their burden. People shouldering heavy responsibilities heave a sigh of relief upon completion of their mission.
In our daily life, we are often stressed out because we do not know how to let go. We are unwilling to let go of money, love, reputation, and power. Consequently, they become a heavy burden for us to carry, leaving us breathless from their weight.
If we are unable to let go of fame, wealth, and high status, our moral integrity and dignity will be mired in them. If we are too attached to our desires and cravings, our life will be dominated by them. If we cannot overlook the vexations and problems in this world, we will live in misery. If we cannot be indifferent to gains and losses, we will always be under their influence.
It is not easy being human. Due to our nature, we are swayed easily. We are unwilling to let go for many reasons. It may be due to a person, an issue, a few words, or an object, and if we do not let go when we should, we will find ourselves forever bound in worldly matters. Furthermore, it is not only wealth and social positions that we need to learn to let go of. We should also practice detaching ourselves from matters of life and death.
Once, a young lady was meditating in the meditation hall when she was informed of her success in obtaining a scholarship from a prestigious college overseas. She thought of “letting go” and “don’t be bothered” of a Chan practitioner and she was instantly enlightened.
The famous scholar and poet, Su Dong-puo, thought he had reached a good understanding of Chan. However, when Chan Master Fo Yin refuted him, he was infuriated and failed to hold his ground against the “eight winds” of profit and loss, defamation and fame, praise and blame, and suffering and joy. Because he could not let go, he was unable to truly enter the Way.
Many people are unable to let go because of the notion of self. Chan practitioners often teach, “We are actually running around all day carrying a corpse.” Our refusing to let go is really tiring. Therefore, we should live life like a suitcase. We take it with us when we need to and put it right down when we do not. We can only be at ease when we let go.
The following is a verse Buddhists use to describe Maitreya Buddha.
“ Big stomach can bear any matter the world can offer.
Laughing face can laugh off any sorrow anytime anywhere. ”
If we could be like Maitreya Buddha, being able to bear any matter, we need not worry about being unable to let go and be at ease in life!