Teachings by Dharma Master Cheng Yen
Translated by Dharma as Water Development Department, Tzu Chi USA
Time passes continuously outside of our awareness. When asked how many seconds are in a day, those who listen to my teachings can quickly answer: 86,400. I know this because I have counted every second and minute.
As I walked down the stairs just now, each step took me one and a half seconds. After I took one step, I carefully took the next, and this also took another one and a half seconds. Time is the number that really matters in life. We should count every second and cherish every moment, rather than taking issue with profit and self-interest.
It takes one second to exhale, and another second to inhale. Our breaths take place among the seconds, as do our heartbeats. This continuum of life is important, but I have always reminded you to take inventory of your life to assess your value to the world.
We must always be mindful. Let us contemplate whether we have benefited others, or have we let the day pass in vain, being unaware? If that is the case, we have lost our value. The most important value in our lives is having the strength to give. It does not matter how much strength we have; what is more important is that we possess the intention to care about the world.
On a smaller scale, we should do our best for our family and have a proper career. Regardless of our career, we should also give back to society. In this way, the money we earn becomes more valuable. As we take profit from this world, we must be conscious of giving value back to the world; what we create are “blessings.”
We are able to earn money by working hard because we planted blessed conditions in our past lives. In this life, we were met with the right conditions; we chose the right career and made money. This is the result of time aligning with fortune and fate. Therefore, these are conditions that are the result of blessings accumulated in the past.
The kind of tree we planted in the past will bear seeds of its kind accordingly. Thus, “time and fate are the causes and conditions” that help the seeds grow. We should quickly sow the “causal seeds” while this land is replete with sunlight, water, and soil. Blessed causes and conditions will come to fruition, and we must diligently sow the seeds of goodness and benefit the world in time. This is where we will find the value of life.
Compiled from Master Cheng Yen’s teachings at the Certification and Year-End Blessing Ceremony for the Northern Region of Taiwan on December 3, 2021