Suffering of being together with the despised ones


Translated By Tara Lau

The lay follower asked with anger: “We are family living together, aren’t we supposed to help and love each other? Why are we becoming so calculative and revengeful?”

I said: “The distant cause of the resentments between relatives and family members can be traced back to the karma of our previous life, and the proximate cause is due to the relationship between kinship and living together. 

The Compassionate Repentance of Emperor Liang says: “The root of our grievances in the past three generations originated from our relationship with our family. All grievances start from there. There will be no resentment if you are not blood related. If we can separate ourselves from this relationship, there will be no resentment…”

“During the period of courtship, man and woman will make an oath of love and respect each other. They hide their own flaws and shortcomings. Once they get married and live along with each other every day, they start to show their true characters and treat each other with less tolerance. Hence resentment accumulates.

“Just imagine if two people live together and fight constantly, they are planting roots of resentment.  The more time they spend with each other the more misunderstanding they will have, resulting in growing resentment. If the couples can live in separate places and do not meet often, things will become better over time. If one moves away, there will be no more resentment. Many disputes are caused by being too close to each other and they irritate each other.

“Gu Guyun: “If love does not exist, it will not give birth to Saha (note).” People are reincarnated and reborn in the human realm because of the entanglement of love. Love does not only refer to the love between men and women, it includes parents, children, brothers and sisters, relationships between aunts and uncles. Why do resentments start in the family? When children are young, they listen to their parents’ teachings, regardless if they are right or wrong, and there is no resentment; when they are older, they may make mistakes, but they are still loved by their parents. Parents are always very affectionate, they give their children their words of wisdom, but from their children’s perspective, they often find their parents annoying, which leads to resentment in their hearts. We are all mortals, even though we are family, we all have our own tempers and habits. If we do not have more tolerance, , it is easy to lead us to greed, anger, and ignorance.”

The lay follower said, “I don’t understand. Affection amongst family members should be a good thing and it is an expression of love. How can it turn into a bad thing?”

I said: “Family love is like water, ‘water can let a boat float, but it can also capsize it’! If handled properly, family love can be inspirational and gives us drive and motivation, just like the winter sun melting the ice and moistening the earth. It can inspire the truth, goodness and beauty of human nature; but if handled improperly, it will result in indulgence, doting, selfishness, suspicion, jealousy and other foolish behaviours. It will not only cause trouble and pain to the family, but may even lead to hatred and death due to resentment. 

“The Confessions of the Emperor Liang of Mercy says: “Family members have their own expectations towards each other. Parents blame their children and children blame their parents. Brothers and sisters are the same. When there are problems they just point their fingers at each other. If there is a treasure, they would fight for it. 

The more they have the more they become greedy and they are not grateful. 

“Expectation and responsibility” refers to the expectations they have on each other. The expectation can be in form of material things, such as demanding for more wealth and property; it can also be in emotional form, such as expecting others to give care and respect. Our relatives and dependents, everyone has responsibilities implicit in their family relationship: for example, husband and wife should respect each other; brothers to help each other; parents should be responsible for educating their children; and children must have the virtue of filial piety. This responsibility is an invisible commitment. However, in real life, these promises and expectations may not be fulfilled.  Even they are fulfilled they are still not happy. The resentment in the family is often caused by their expectations on each other. 

Note: “Saha” is the transliteration of Sanskrit Saha, which means enduring hardship. “Saha” is the abbreviation of “Saha World”, which refers to the world we live in now. There is a lot of suffering, and all living beings are accustomed to endure it without knowing it.

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