Have you ever been on a rollercoaster or a ferris wheel? You find yourself quickly moving from peaks to dips. On a roller coaster, the experience is so abrupt you get the sensation of your heart jumping out of your chest. The same feeling comes with riding a ferris wheel: you find yourself making a complete circle from the highest to lowest point. I often suggest to students who have lost confidence and find themselves in difficult times to try one of these rides.
Life is actually quite similar to riding a roller coaster or a ferris wheel: the ride is brief and filled with highs and lows. This comparison may be difficult to grasp right now because we are so attached to the eight winds (eight worldly concerns). We still have expectations, hopes, goals and dear ones who influence our decisions, for better or for worse. At times it may seem to you that life is quite long, that it drags on. But as soon as your understanding of this comparison deepens, you will see that life has two main characteristics: it is cyclical and has its highs and lows.
Only a lion can be the king of the forest. Apart from their powerful and ferocious appearance, they only attack after careful and serious deliberation. Ordinary people are pulled along by their karma, but for those with a high level of practice and self-cultivation, any temperament can be overcome. You must have a courageous spirit and the absolute resolution of a soldier in battle; only then, regardless of worldly or spiritual matters, will you not be restrained by your destiny. Your mind is the master of your destiny: it is the ruler. When the mind is settled there is peace in the kingdom, peace in society, peace in the family.
Victory is only decided in the last moment. If Shakyamuni had relented to the demon Mara in those final moments under the bodhi tree, there could have been no attaining of Buddhahood. Success and failure are common things in this world. Just like the path of the ferris wheel, if you never reach the lowest point, how can you attain the highest?