In the past, most parents tend to hope that their children would take care of them when they became old. But our society has changed. The western culture has deep influence on our social values that the children today seem to be less concerned about their parents. The social value of filial piety is deteriorating one generation after another. So, I would advise the parents to learn from the Bodhisattvas, to just give but ask for nothing in return.
A great parent will just give but not ask his children for anything in return. The day will come when your children become independent and decide to leave you. By then you will not feel sorry. Otherwise, you will feel sad. It is fine for your children to come back to you, and it is also fine if they don’t. It is fine that they are filial to you, help you and give you money, but it is also fine if they don’t. We parents should develop the right mindset. If you don’t, and expect your children to pay back your kindness in return, then you will feel sorrowful. You will feel the pain when you don’t get what you expected.
Some parents worry about their son getting married because they might lose him to his wife. In the end, their children became their greatest pain. We had better learn from the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas - just give. The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are very compassionate, like our kind parents: no matter how bad the children became, they welcome their return with open arms, or let them leave at their own will. The parents always love their children, expecting nothing in return. The Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas know very well that it is indeed a very formidable task to help the sentient beings realize their innate quality of enlightenment. So, like our kind parents, they unselfishly help the sentient beings, life after life, and generation after generation.
There is a saying: “One saw the Buddha right before him in the first three days of his practice. One saw the Buddha right at the end of the horizon after three months into his practice. One could not see the Buddha anymore after three years into his practice.” There are many practitioners who lose their perseverance over time, getting further and further away from the path to enlightenment, and finally completely giving up on his practice. So, on this first day of 2008, I wish all of you keeping your aspiration for enlightenment firm and strong. It is very easy for one to lose his aspiration due to the numerous temptations in the world. If you do not stay alert, you will easily lose your aspiration to enlightenment. Practice is very important. So, please practice with vigor and perseverance.