Turning Around and Going Ahead

On the path of life, sometimes we need to go straight ahead, other times we have to make turns in order to reach our goals. If we do not turn around when we need to, we will not “see the other shore.” But when we need to move ahead and we do not, we will miss a prime opportunity.

When we have to make a turn on the road of life, we have to decide whether to go right or left. We cannot make the wrong turn. And in moving ahead, we need to know if we are going to move fast or slow, close up or far away. 

Regrettably, when we need to go ahead on the path of life, some choose to make a turn. But when it is time to turn, they charge straight ahead. Thus, they create many difficulties for themselves in life.

There are many examples in Chinese history where battles were lost and dynasties fell because emperors and generals failed to make the proper turn when required, or stopped when they should have charged ahead. As a result, they failed within reach of success. 

Of course, there were others who made all the right moves at the right time and gained an eminent place in history.  Venerable Master Chien Chen voyaged to Japan seven times in his life. He was undeterred by the first six failures. By going ahead, he finally succeeded in bringing Buddhism and the Chinese culture to Japan and was honored as the father of Japanese culture. Venerable Master Xuan Zhang went straight ahead on his path to India and was successful in bringing Buddhist sutras back to China. Sakyamuni Buddha was determined to achieve Buddhahood and finally reached his goal.

Confucius never intended to take up an official position. But he realized that the power of politics could help in fostering academics and education, and so was willing to take up a post with the imperial court. His is an illustration of someone who knew how to make the right turns in life.

In the battlefield, sometimes we need to charge bravely ahead. Other times we have to re-route our strategy. In opening a highway to the top of a mountain, we need to wind and turn around the slopes. We cannot go straight up, without winding and turning. 

As the saying goes, “There are many doors of convenience, but only one truth to reach for.” On the path of life, as long as we can reach our destination, why should we be attached to any single way? When the road ahead is blocked, why not detour to another one? Therefore, we need not be confrontational in our attitude toward others. Not giving up an inch does not necessarily bring us victory. If we can sail according to the winds, and make proper turns along the way, then the path of life ahead will be smooth sailing.

This article was originally published in Between Ignorance and Enlightenment, written by Venerable Master Hsing Yun.

Image from Pixabay.

More Featured Articles

Among our many relationships, many forms and types exist. There are friendships, family connections, teacher-student bonds, marriages, relationships with and between monastics, and many other kinds. How we choose to develop, nourish and manage these specific relationships determines our own joy and contentment, as well as that of our fellow Read more
While the Four Noble Truths explain the phenomena of the universe, the Buddha expounded on them mainly as a guide for life. It is inadequate, however, to merely learn the Four Noble Truths. We must resolve, cultivate and practice accordingly. We must end the causes of suffering, practice the path, Read more
Sages from all religions who serve the multitudes without any monetary reward or recognition are volunteers of human society.  An ancient sage once said: “Before one can become a prominent figure in Buddhist circles, one has to be a horse and an ox for all sentient beings.” Another said: “Before Read more
True stature is not created by form or ornament; words spoken out of jealousy and greed oppose it. Only when evil has been stopped at its roots, and when there is wisdom without anger is there true stature.— Dharmapadavadana Sutra The False Stature of This WorldEveryone wants to be well Read more
Trees have their roots, and people have their origins. As hu­man beings, we must endeavor to increase joy in the world for the sake of everyone in the world, and we also must ensure that life will sprout flowers and bear fruits as strong and stur­dy as the peach. “Mother” Read more
We should always try to see the good in others, not the bad. On the samsaric level of this saha world alone, back-biting and faultfinding are known by most people to be totally counter-productive. Not only does faultfinding produce nothing but anger and mistrust, but the effects of negative speech Read more
It is enough for most monks to only have the ability to chant and teach the Dharma, and of course I too can chant sutras and teach the Dharma. But only being this kind of monk was not something I was willing to do. I wanted to become a monk Read more
It is only through loving-kindness and compassion that we can find room in our hearts to forgive others. It is only through our willingness to let go of resentment that we can find a way to magnanimity.  Read more
The Avatamsaka Sutra says, 'The mind controls everything.' In order to properly control body and speech, we must come to understand our minds. If we can control our minds, we can do anything.Master Xingkong (780-862) wrote a wonderful passage that expresses this point very well. He said, "The practice of Read more
The first realization of The Eight Realizations of a Bodhisatttva Sutra is concerned with what is generally called the Buddha’s view of this world. This first realization is a description of the basic features of the world we live in. The points made in this realization are made in many Read more
Equality is a truth of human life within the universe, it is an aim of humanity, and it is also the basis of Buddhism.The Avatamsaka Sutra says:“All sentient beings are equal.”The Great Perfection of Wisdom Treatise says: “From the very highest level of all Buddhas to the low level of animals, all are Read more
Meditation is not about sitting quietly with your eyes closed—this is just one method for developing meditative concentration. What matters in meditation is being able to contemplate and focus the mind.  Read more