Once Oyasama instructed a follower to grasp Her wrist and squeeze it as hard as he could, saying, “Put your strength behind it.” As he did so, he found that the harder he squeezed, the more his wrist hurt. She said:
“You do not have any more strength, do you?”
Anecdotes of Oyasama, no. 118
Imagine a huge temple bell that is bigger than you. Some people simply walk past it, while others stop to admire its impressive appearance.
A bell of this size does not make any sound when simply tapped with a finger. Even when knocked with the knuckles, it only makes a small noise, which some people find disappointingly unimpressive. They dismiss the bell as unworthy of their attention and leave.
Yet someone is excited to imagine the tremendous sound the bell may make. He stands in front of the bell and, using a rope attached to a huge log hung from the ceiling, he strikes the bell with all his might. The bell roars thunderously. He almost dances with joy. The sound can be heard for miles around. The true worth of the bell cannot be appreciated until it is struck with sufficient force.
The same idea applies to Oyasama’s teachings. If we only scratch the surface, we will only understand them at a superficial level. If we take the teachings seriously and inquire deeply into them, we may be surprised at how completely they are packed with guidance and nourishment. The extent to which we can avail ourselves of the guidance and nourishment will depend solely on our efforts. Their bounties are unlimited.
Our life and the world in which we live can also be likened to the giant bell. What we do with our life and the world determines whether they will make a feeble sound or a deep booming sound, as it were.
Some draw a hasty conclusion after living only a few decades and think: “Life is unfair. Bad people have everything their own way, injustice goes unchallenged, and honest people lose out. It is hardly worthwhile putting effort into life.” They give up on themselves and abandon their dreams after just a few setbacks. What a shame!
If our innate potential is stifled, it can start rotting. If we ourselves prevent the natural flowering of our talent, we might suffer emotionally. Our vision will narrow and make us pessimistic about everything.
Our life’s full potential is unknown. None of us knows what kind of sound our life can make.
Putting more and more effort into life may result in a totally unexpected, beautiful sound. We may find that we can produce a unique sound no one else can and might feel, “Yes, this is IT!” Such an experience can make us feel that life is a great deal of fun.
Behind all this is Oyasama, who responds with twice our strength.
Trusting in our potential and the world’s potential, let us throw ourselves into living as fully as we can, so that our life will make rich, beautiful sounds.