BE KIND TO YOUR PARENTS
My question is about the third of the Ten Shaolin Laws listed on your web page: “Required to be filial to parents, be respectful to the elderly, and protective of the young.” Could you please elaborate on the first part — “be filial to parents”.
-- Aaron, USA
To have your parents still alive is one of the most blessed things that can happen to you. To be filial to them is one of the best things you can ever do. It will bring you a lot of blessings. And it is highly spiritual, more spiritual than praying to God in a church or temple.
It is actually easy to be filial to one's parents if he really wants to. Be kind and loving to them. Do not go against their wishes even if their wishes are in conflict with yours. This is a small sacrifice to repay the tremendous debt you owe them for bringing you to this world and for bringing you up. Do not argue with them. If you need to disagree with them, do so gently and politely.
Many people want to work hard to earn a lot of money so that they can make their parents comfortable. They want to buy their parents expensive gifts or send them for holidays. In their busy schedule they often forget about their parents.
What their parents want are not expensive gifts or comfortable lives. No parents would ever mind if their children are poor, or their lives not comfortable. Indeed when their children were small, they would sacrifice anything for their children. They would gladly go without food so that their children could eat better; they would gladly withstand cold so that their children could keep warmth with their blankets. Now that their children are grown up, all they want is to have their children visit them often, hold their hands and talk to them.
Your parents cannot be with you forever. One day they have to go. Be kind and loving to them when they are still around. You have only one chance. Make the best of this one chance so that in the future you can tell yourself and your children you have done your best to be kind and loving to your parents.
I have had difficulty relating with both my parents since my early teens (I'm now age 27). In the past decade especially, we have been cordial but rather distant with each other. I have some confusion on this. In the past I blamed them, then blamed myself. After I stopped blaming, I wondered if this was karmic, i.e. it was somehow in the natural order of things that for some or all of my lifetime, I do not have a strong connection with my family.
Now, I love, respect and accept them, even though we are not close. I would like to be closer to them, though I feel conflicted on this. I will be very grateful if you have the time to answer this question.
Earlier you could not relate with your parents due to your ignorance, arrogance or other factors. But now you are different. You have made a tremendous realization. You realize it is futile to blame anybody, and most important you want to be close to your parents, to make good what you could have done in the past.
It is easy to be close to your parents — physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Sit close to them, hold their hands. Genuinely feel for them, let your heart throb with theirs. Think of them, think of the kindness they showered on you when you were small, and think of the kind things you can do for them now when you have grown up. Every night as you go to bed, say a prayer to bless them, wishing them good health and longevity.
Karma is cause and effect. Karma is never static, it is always evolving. If it was karmic that you did not have a strong connection with your family, it was due to some causes in the past. Those causes have been enacted out. Now you are building new causes, which will have new effects for the present and the future.
Karma is operated through thoughts, speech and deeds. When you think kindly of your parents, speak kindly to your parents, and act kindly to your parents, you will create good karma resulting in a loving family. You and your parents will be close to each other.