Meditation & Health #5 – How to Walk Out of a Quandary

Meditation & Health #5 Contents

How to Walk Out of a Quandary

Excerpted from Grandmaster JinBodhi‘s Online
Q&A Session and Dharma Talk, January 2012

A pot of mild tea evokes….
An indescribable mood
and stream of thoughts…
Sparking off nostalgic feeling
and stirring emotional currents.
A sigh of regret seals it all.
Time passes, leaving behind
a trail of emotional scars.
Let our thoughts go with the flow.


Host: Setbacks experienced by a friend have left him feeling disappointed, listless and unmotivated to do anything. Despite his desire to overcome his spiritual quandary, he is unwilling to face his problems. Under such circumstances, how can we help him?

Grandmaster JinBodhi: Your friend is currently going through a period of mental struggle and suffering. Having faced many setbacks, he has grown disappointed with everything. I find this latter statement very interesting. This problem presents to me as: Having faced continual setbacks, your friend is now disappointed and lacks motivation to do anything. I view this disappointment and lack of motivation to do anything as two different matters. The disappointment he is facing is not necessarily towards an object, perhaps it is towards certain people. I too once had this incorrect perception when I was a child.

Not wanting to do anything can be a choice of life. In reality, there are many ways to get out of this quandary. I would say to your friend: without adversity, no one can achieve enlightenment! Just look at the classic ‘Journey to the West’! Though the adventures of Tang Seng and his followers are rather unreal, his long journey to obtain the scriptures was indeed real. Nowadays, even riding a plane, a train or a car has its own dangers and difficulties. Think of the dangers and difficulties of travelling by foot from China to India, when there were no other means in ancient time. His life was at stake! It was indeed a difficult journey. In truth, such dangers, weariness, sufferings and adversities are exactly what we need to overcome in our Path to enlightenment.

I hope everyone knows that even an apple or pear has to experience varying weathers for its delicious taste. In the morning, the weather can be so cold that frost appears, yet it can be blistering hot in the middle of the day! As many of us know, staying in the sweltering hot sun for two hours may cause our skin to flake. So, even an apple has to undergo much difficulty in order to become delicious and favoured by people.

The life of Man, be it decades or more than a century, holds many difficulties. In fact, everyone faces continual setbacks and disappointments. Sometimes, after undergoing these negative experiences, we stay away from people and the outside world by locking up ourselves within a tiny space of the house, thinking that there are only bad people in this world. Of course, this is not the case.

We should have the courage to step out, get a job to earn a living and continue to live! Once you have taken the first step, you will receive acceptance and praise, your life will be filled with sunshine – in fact, not just only sunshine; your life will also be filled with rain and storms, happiness and sorrows. This is the reality of life! Our life is incomplete without any of these. Those who feel disappointed with life after experiencing setbacks are too fragile. Strive first with the purpose of earning a living. Step out to brave the world, and you will realise that the outside world is like a boundless sky! So strive hard daringly!

Speaking about this, it reminds me of my mother. She was illiterate and had a weak constitution, but she performed whatever hard and dirty work imaginable. She survived through these circumstances, coupled with all the pains and humiliations. At times, after having been beaten up and not being able to continue doing the most degrading job, she would wipe away her tears and return to work the next day. Since the children were very young, and entirely dependent on her, my mother could not hide herself away. For the sake of her beloved children, she continued to struggle and fight for their survival; a spirit that truly makes a perfect and honourable person.

I think those who choose to hide after facing some difficulties are not only not heroes, but also lack the courage that is fundamental to being human; although this is not a shameful matter, it is certainly a mistake. Step out! Everyone has had the same feeling of despair, just like you. Just step out and you will discover: Ah! Life is so beautiful; many people empathise with you, love you, and many are your future friends!

Meditation & Health #5 Contents