- Master Hsin Tao’s journal collection from 2010 retreat
At first, I thought the spider was about to die. Surprisingly, it didn’t. The spider was moulting and the exoskeleton was hung on the web. It seemed very exhausted… I changed my assumption about the other two spiders. They seemed to be its children. Both were guarding the big spider. The smaller fella tried to keep it awake while the other was circling around.
On the very last day, two spiders were gone, leaving one small fella and half-broken web. I was caught off guard at first, the verse, "Magical illusion, dewdrop, bubble, Dream, lightning or a cloud" from the Diamond Sutra came to mind. All actions and conditioned phenomena are transient and unseizable like lightning or dewdrop. Contemplate and analyze on how impermanent life is. Our mind would not be as attached, narrow, or entangled. An important thing in life is to recognize the suffering, emptiness, and impermanence of this world. That way, our mind begins to part from delusions, attachments, and afflictions. Everything degenerates, may it be one’s love life, career, family, friends, country, etc. This is very “normal”.
When we see this, our mind begins to shed off many attachments and covetousness. All phenomena are nothing but suffering and impermanence. All are empty by nature. That being said, our daily thinking process would become stress-free without greed, attachments, and stubbornness. When afflictive thoughts come off, we’ll find ease. Be mindful at all times.
Besides suffering, emptiness, and impermanence, there is “egolessness”. This body is merely a fabrication. There is no reference point to validate “ego”. This physical body generates a false perception of a substantial “I”. Yet, “I” am transient because “I” am made up of suffering and emptiness. We should let go of attachments for this body. Contemplate on insubstantiality of self so to see the original face. I’m encouraging you all to contemplate on “emptiness”, that original face before birth. Be inquisitive with life, including impermanence, suffering, emptiness, and egolessness. When we become habituated with such contemplation, we’d come to the realization. By realizing “unarising”, we can be liberated from the samsaric ocean.
Besides the contemplation on suffering, emptiness, impermanence, and egolessness, we must cultivate an altruistic intention towards people, animals, even tables and chairs. Do not take “lifeless objects” lightly. When you maintain gentleness and love, your mind is tender. That way, you’re immersed in spring-like smoothness at all times.