Tending Life’s Garden Between Ignorance and Enlightenment VI Written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun [Updated Nov 3, 2014]

A garden of plum blossoms and lush willows will look forlorn if they are surrounded by withered branches and dead leaves. When our morals and character are flawed, we cannot win the respect of others no matter how great our accomplishments. Therefore, we should never stop tending to our life’s garden, trimming and ridding it of its impurities and decaying matter. In Tending Life’s Garden, volume six of the popular Between Ignorance and Enlightenment series, Venerable Master Hsing Yun meditates on this theme of tending to life with wisdom and compassion. He charts a sound and empathetic course for tending to the causes and conditions of human suffering. This volume also offers ways to celebrate and enhance the beauty in the garden of life, inspiring people of all generations and walks of life to realize their potential for growth. Tending to life’s garden is ultimately about renewal, just as trimming a rose bush is about expecting it to bloom more beautifully. Venerable Master Hsing Yun captures this spirit when he reminds us, ‘When we pour our life into the stream of the universe, the whole world will jump and dance with us. Then, any season, any age can be the spring of life.’

Review by by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Master Hsing Yun present ideas on ways to tend our moral, emotional and spiritual gardens. Here is an excerpt on attention.

“The mind is like tangled silk that needs sorting to be in good working order. It is like an ancient mirror that requires a good polishing in order to shine, or a wild horse that needs to be tamed. The mind is our master, leading the daily activities of our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body. Within our everyday activities, a single thought may ruin our lives or reputations, or help us gain success and fame. Buddhist sutras compare the ungoverned mind to the likes of thieves, vicious beasts, monkeys, and kings. Therefore, it is absolutely critical to govern the mind! So what kind of power can we use to subdue the mind? The following are three suggestions that anyone can follow.

“1. Know how to cultivate the mind. We repair furniture when it is broken, water pipes when they leak, and clothes when they are torn. If the mind has become smeared by greed, ignorance, and arrogance, how do we repair it? We need the instruments of compassion, joy, generosity, meditation, morals, and practice to treat it.

“2. Know how to calm the mind. The mind is like a monkey or a horse. If we are not careful, it will commit all kinds of unwholesome deeds. Ming Dynasty scholar Wang Yangming said, ‘It is easy to capture a bandit in the mountains; it is difficult to catch the thief in the mind.’ Calming the mind is like soldiers apprehending bandits or the police arresting thieves. Where are our soldiers and police? Right thinking is our soldier and right view is our police. We have to make good use of them in order to calm our minds.

“3. Know how to use our minds. We are often manipulated by the mind but do not know how to use it properly. It is said that the mind labors for its physical form. It is often influenced by our desires and external circumstances. It is driven by sight, sound, smell, touch and perception from outside. The greed, anger, and ignorance of the mind keeps pushing and working against us. So we must master our minds.”

2014_03_29 Fo Guang Shan Founder Master Hsing Yun

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Richard Ingate
    Jul 16, 2012 @ 07:32:24

    I find the gardening metaphor to be useful for so many contexts in life. Personally I prefer it to some of the other metaphors in self development, such as the ‘warrior’. I suppose at different times different metaphors ‘hit the spot’.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: