I dreamt of Acho Rinpoche recently. I was standing before a big ocean when I heard Acho Rinpoche calling me. He said to me, “Let’s swim across the ocean.” I hesitated because I did not bring my swimming gear. The sea was very deep – how was I going to cross it over? I hesitated and could not make up my mind. Then I saw Acho Rinpoche plunged right into the sea, so I had no choice but to follow suite. He swam in front, with me following behind. While swimming, I felt a sense of tranquility. Then I saw beautiful corals and fish swimming nearby. And suddenly I saw a fish getting too close to me that I was afraid of hurting it and so I told it to move away. Finally, I reached the other shore with Acho Rinpoche. When I woke up from my dream, I had a realization: Life resembles an ocean of sufferings. In order to cross this ocean of sufferings and reach the other shore of freedom, we will have to let go of our attachments to the numerous things in life. If you are worried too much, you will never make it to the other shore but remain starnded forever at where you are now. ─ Dharma Brother Ren
A Discourse by Acho Rinpoche
What we can tell from the dream of Dharma Brother Ren is that we have to be prepared, for time is running out. You have been practicing for many years, so you should not wander without a sense of direction and not letting go of your attachments to the numerous worldly concerns. When the time comes, you are not given any choice - you cannot bargain that you still have many unfinihsed tasks...
Let me tell you this, you will still have many tasks undone by the time you face death - the work can never be finished. Some people may want to bargain that his house loan has not been fully paid yet, and his daughter is still young and needs to be taken care of… Such concerns were already there since the beginning of mankind. Every 50 or 100 years, those talking about it died before they finihsed talking. 50 years later, his kids grew up and repeat the same talks: blah…blah…blah. And they too died before they finished talking. Another 50 years, 100 years… These issues had never been resolved since the beginning of mankind. People just keep talking, “Wait till I’m done...” Wait till you are done - you would have already repeated your reincarnations umpteen times; you would have continued to struggle in the ocean of sufferings and be reborn umpteen times in the Six Realms of Existence; you will never make it to liberation!
What I wish to tell you is that, take Dharma Brother Ren’s dream for example, when you are told to swim, just swim! No need to keep looking for this and that reasons. None of the reason matters! Often, in my dreams, I would just go, without even having my clothes on. Let go of your clothes, let go of all things, just go! Why hesitate? There is nothing to hesitate about! Don’t wait further! There is no time for you to wait further. If you think about waiting, you will continue to wait for a few hundred years more, a few thousand years more, you will continue to wait, wait, wait… I’m not sure how many lifetimes have you been waiting ever since?
The key point is about “now”! Instantly, you should liberate yourself and let go of your worldly concerns. Do not feel attached to the past – it is already over, it will not return! Do not feel attached to the future – it has not come, and you will not know what the future will hold! Grand Master said in the past that something more threatening than SARS might appear in the world that could wipe out mankind by the millions! You would not know if you or your family would end up being one of the victims. So, let the past pass and do not dwell on it because it is useless to do so; do not dwell on the future either because the future has yet to come.
Liberate yourself now - do not dwell on the past, do not blame others, for these are useless tasks. Reflect and train your own mind, for your own mental afflictions came from you alone. You created your own mental afflictions, not me. Your feeling of anger is completely meaningless. The key point is “reflection”. Do not look outward and criticize others. Instead, look inward into your own mental faculty and change your own behaviors. Look after your own mental faculty well and let go of all your worldly attachments. You will then be able to liberate yourself from the sufferings –this is the only important thing that matters. I hope you will contemplate the meaning of his dream and learn to free yourself from the endless cycle of birth and death.