We are in a bind, please help us. Our entire family is Buddhist and try to cultivate every day so as to improve ourselves. However, my father forbids my mother to cultivate too much because he feels that Buddhism is too abstract. He does not really understand. Perhaps he does not want to understand. He took refuge with the Triple Jewel, goes to the temple but he refuses to cultivate.
Each time that my mother returns from the temple, he would pick a fight with her although she fulfills her responsibilities of a wife and mother, thus poisoning the atmosphere in the household. Each week, my mother can only go to the temple once or twice, and recites the Buddha’s name at home. Each time that she goes to the temple, she is afraid that he will yell at her and could destroy his own blessings. She has had a very hard life. Now she only wants to cultivate to end suffering but my father still is against her cultivation even after a lifetime of devotion to the family.
My father is not willing to listen and does not believe in Buddhism. Therefore he does not want my mother to worship the Triple Jewel too much. My father is a good man and is virtuous but he forbids my mother to cultivate. Although we all tried to explain to him and brought up many examples or facts, he still refuses to believe nor does he want to understand. Now, my siblings and I do not know what to do to change our father’s mind because our mother is very unhappy. We all recite the Buddha’s name, recite sutras and transfer the merit and virtue to our father. Unfortunately, perhaps his obstructions are so heavy, it does not seem to have any effect. Please tell us what to do to change our father’s attitude about cultivation. Thank you for your guidance.
That is suffering! I heard so many similar stories.
This is truly a case of old enmities and past creditors. Your mother has been paying her entire life and it’s still not enough. If she obtains liberation, how can he make a claim on her?
Please stop ganging up on him and try to explain to him.
One way to resolve the problem is to continue to patiently endure it. She should also seek a good knowing adviser to learn from. Why? Because she can continue to cultivate at the same pace but can make more progress. Why does she need to progress? To prove to your father that cultivation makes her a better person for real (in other words, so far your father is unimpressed with Buddhism because your mother’s Buddhist cultivation is useless to him).
At the same time, you should create a lot more blessings for your father in order to help your mother pay him back, just like you have been doing.
So what is the difference? The difference is that with the guidance of a good knowing advisor, the blessings will multiply. The more blessings he receives, the quicker the debt is repaid and the sooner she is freed.
It’s not uncommon for your loved ones to create severe obstructions to your cultivation. Let me tell you a story which has been more difficult to resolve than your mother’s case.
One of our disciples used to go to another well known temple to plant her blessings on the weekend and she did this continuously for ten years. She then came to us by referral because she needed help with one of her illnesses. We taught her meditation and that sickness went away in two months. She brought forth the resolve to leave the home life. Her husband and two twenty-something daughters objected violently. They counter proposed that she was free to do as she pleased but she should cultivate at home. However, she truly wanted to practice the left home people’s Dharma in order to more quickly escape suffering and attain bliss. Her husband said no in no uncertain terms. That if she left the home life to be with us, he will follow her to the temple and “destroy” us.
She was desperate and felt like giving up. She came to see me and asked for advice. I advised her to pay her debts more quickly. She requested three Medicine Master Buddha plaques for her husband and two daughters. Furthermore, she patiently continued to go to the temple once a week on the weekend to cultivate. Her family decided to follow her to the temple to take a look at me to see what kind of cult we had here. That’s when I realized that the husband and youngest daughter were at Third Dhyana even though they did not cultivate, whereas she was at zero Dhyana. After six months of hard work, she attained Fourth Dhyana and changed a lot: she became more patient, softer in demeanor, healthier, happier (less temperamental), more virtuous, wiser, etc. A year later, her husband agreed to allow her to leave the home life. The youngest daughter is no longer as violently opposed to it as before.