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The Importance of Sticking to the Path You Choose

August 30, 2018

 

I know it’s always very difficult to stick without question to the path you chose at the beginning. When you are driving on a freeway, you might think the next lane seems faster or when you are standing in the checkout line, you might think only your line is slow. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. In my childhood, I envied other kids who were taking some extracurricular classes so much that I, too, started learning many things such as soccer, skiing, calligraphy, swimming, piano and painting. But after a while, I quit everything before giving myself enough time to develope my skills. Although I didn’t show any improvement for a long time, if I had continued learning, I might have acquired a certain specialty. 

 

Master Rennyo taught the importance of continuous listening by the parable of the raindrop that bores its passage through the hardest rock by continuall falling. There are many things that will be revealed to you by continuous listening. Let’s read one chapter from Something You Forgot… Along the Way.

 

 

One night, a mouse fell into a bucket. At first he tried mightily to jump out, but the bucket was deep, the task hopeless. Next he tried to gnaw a hole in the side of the bucket, but the wood proved too hard and too thick for him to gnaw through. Giving up, he moved frantically to another place and tried gnawing there for a while, but the results were the same. Again he gave up and tried a different spot. The stout wood was impervious to his efforts. 

 

After gnawing in vain all night long, toward dawn, worn out in body and spirit, the mouse collapsed and died. If only he had kept gnawing at the same spot the whole time, he might have gnawed all the way through and escaped. The world is full of people who cannot afford to laugh at the story of the hapless mouse. Failing at one job, they try another and fail again, changing their job over and over. Such people may be called weak-willed; yet weakness is a general human failing. 

 

Sticking to a single path in life is hard to do. It requires a will of steel and ceaseless effort. The more you waver, the more your life’s efforts go to waste. Since this is the case, the thing to do is weigh your options carefully to begin with, make a careful decision, and carry it through with firm and unremitting effort. The entrance to a commuter train at rush hour can be so crowded that it seems impossible to squeeze another person on board—yet if you push on through, you’ll often find there is plenty of room further in. No one should ever despair because the entrance to his or her chosen career path is clogged. 

 

There is an ancient saying: “The persistent drip wears through stone.”

(From Something You Forgot...Along the Way, Sticking to a Single Path in Life)

 

Satoshi Hasegawa, Satoshi’s Book Club

 

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #25 | 2013, The importance of Sticking to the Path You Choose

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