It is easy for a practitioner to chant the mantra and do the meditation during the prayer sessions. However, it is not easy for him to practice in his daily life, between the sessions. Actually, spiritual cultivation is not related to meditation, mantra chanting, sutra recitation and empowerment. If you do not know how to transform your mind, it will be fruitless for you to do the numerous sutra recitations, meditations and receiving empowerments for high practices.
It is mentioned in the Lotus Sutra that even if you are able to enter a state of meditation for millions of eons, as long as your mind has not been transformed (free of delusions), you will remain an ordinary man, not to mention your inability to sit still for a short meditation that lasts for only two hours. The most crucial point of cultivation is the transformation of every single thought of ours into an enlightened thought – the purification of our mind. When every single thought of yours arises for the sake of benefitting others but not yourself, you can forget about reciting the sutras or the mantras. It is that easy, but no one is able to do so.
Sometimes I tend to ask myself this question, “Should every practitioner go through a critical illness in life?” One will only let go of his worldly attachments when he is about to die. On the other hand, most people tend to just let go of their worldly attachments temporarily when they are critically ill, but returning to the same old habitual self soon after the illness is healed. So, cultivation is no easy task.
If a practitioner keeps thinking about “Why do I have to tolerate this? Why is he treating me in this way? Why should I give in?” you will never enter the path to enlightenment.
You must attain the state where there is no “I”, there is no “you”, there is “nothing”, there is “no one who is giving in” and “no one who is taking advantage”, there is “no one who is being misunderstood”, there is “no one who tolerates…” You must let go of all these worldly concerns completely in order to gain the chance of liberation from the cyclic existence. If you keep asking, “Why? Why?” you will be wasting your time chanting the mantras.
You only have to change your mindset from asking “Why?” to saying “It’s alright.” “It is fine for my boss to treat me well.” “It is also fine that my boss does not treat me well.” You must break free from an egoistic mindset in order to break free from the cyclic existence. If you are worried about your family everyday: worrying about your husband, worrying about your wife, worrying about your son, worrying about your daughter, worrying about your job, you will never be able to break free from the cyclic existence. No matter how many million recitations of mantra you have chanted in the past 20 to 30 years in your life, you will not be able to attain enlightenment. Please ponder this question. Spiritual cultivation is about eradicating one’s ego, and to have the interest of others in mind no matter what happens - this is the only way to succeed in cultivation.