Two or three days after the trip to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas, the sound of the assembly reciting Sutras and chanting the Buddha's name was still echoing in my ears. It was so beautiful in the Buddha Hall, and it seemed that all my afflictions had been left behind, outside the City. Despite the lack of sleep during the two-day trip, I felt I learned a lot of valuable principles about how to be a person.
For example, I had been rather frustrated prior to the trip to the City, because of some unpleasant incidents at home and because I was falling behind in my studies. I began grumble to God for being so unfair and making life so difficult. This state of despair persisted for several days. I used to always blame everything on other people and on God, but now I understand why the Dharma Masters reminded us to reflect upon ourselves. I understand that I am simply receiving the retribution I deserve for the things I did in the past, and my karmic hindrances are being eradicated in the process. Some people might think of this as a defeatist way of consoling myself; however, this outlook has allowed me to face my problems calmly instead of trying to run away from them.
During the small group discussion, I began to realize how important filiality is. "Of all good deeds, filiality is foremost." If we help others but neglect to be filial to our parents, none of our good deeds can make up for evil karma of hurting our parents. Filiality is something we should practice all the time. Even when our parents don't get along with each other, we should try to find a way to resolve their conflict. My parents are divorced, and it's not easy for me to have a chance to talk with my mother. I haven't seen her for several years, and when I talk with her on the phone, she keeps telling me to take good care of myself and make sure I get enough nutrition. My father works very hard to support my college education and has to worry about both his job and the family. He has to make business trips often, but he always manages to return to help me out whenever I have to move or have some other important project. It is truly difficult to repay my parents' kindness. All I can do is work hard, not cause them to worry, and try my best to make them happy.