I’ve changed a lot since I began studying Buddhism. This is especially because the Venerable Master untied a mental knot that I’d had for many years. How is this?
In 1993, I worked as an usher in the first Celebration for Respecting the Elderly held by the Venerable Master. During his talk, the Master said that since he had not been filial enough to his parents, he would treat all elderly men as his fathers and all elderly women as his mothers. This statement made me feel very ashamed of myself. In my view, only those who bore me and raised me are my real parents, and they are the only ones to whom I ought to be filial. As for my mother-in-law, though I have never been unfilial to her, deep down in my heart I have always thought:
“Why should I be filial to someone else’s parents?
They didn’t give birth to me, nor did they raise
My mother-in-law is eighty-eight years old this year. She was widowed at a young age. I have never talked back to my mother-in-law, and I always appear to be respectful to her. People all say that I’m the most filial daughter-in-law. But I’ve always felt that she demanded too much from her children and from me, so I am never genuinely sincere when I do things for her.
After hearing the Venerable Master’s lecture, I was very gentle and filial to my mother-in-law when I went to visit her in Taiwan last year. I called her,
“Mother!” I said, “Mother, I have not been filial to you. I have not treated you well...” I am glad that even though she is over eighty, she still has a very clear mind and could hear me repent. She said to me,
“You are very nice, very filial...” Her words put me at ease. As I held her hand, sliced some fruit for her to eat, and watched her eating the fruit with relish, my heart was greatly comforted.
“All men are my fathers, and all women are my mothers.” These words of the Master’s have profoundly touched my heart. This is the most treasured teaching the Master has given me. In the past, I could never understand why people always asked for more and criticized me when I had already given so much. Now, I no longer ask from other people as I used to. On the contrary, I try my best to give, and I always have a very satisfactory outcome.