I remember when I first entered school when I was young, the homework that the teacher gave us was writing. I had to write a traditional Chinese character of “learn” in an exercise book with large squares. This was nothing difficult for children who had gone through one to two years of kindergarten. However, due to a family crisis, I only went to a kindergarten for a bit more than a month and could not hold the pencil properly. To be asked to write such a difficult word, I was so anxious that I almost cried.

I remember what my mother asked me then. “My dear son, did you have a hard time climbing the hill that day?”

I answered, “It’s hard to climb the first time. It’s tiring! There are lots of grass and the road is not well-marked. There’s even a little steep slope and I sweat and pant a lot!”

My mother continued, “How did you feel when you reached the top of the hill?”

I replied, “Mother, it was flat on top of the hill and I could see quite far out. When the breeze came, I felt very comfortable.”

My mother said, “Dear son, everything is difficult at the beginning. As long as you can learn slowly and patiently, it won’t be difficult later on. You won’t get the results if you do not put in hard work. Dear son, learn properly. I know you can do it!”

When I had the opportunity to bring my disciples to climb and wade in the snow mountains, I remembered what my mother told me when I faced my first challenge in life. She taught me not to retreat when I face problems but rather overcome the obstacles wisely and patiently.

Dear disciples, hold on and persevere! The direction and method given to us by the Buddha are the best.

On days without me, remember to let the Buddha’s teaching light up your life!

You’re all good. Keep it up!

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