A Mother's Advice
(Originally In English)
A daughter who was betrothed to her husband went far away, and then before she left for her husband's house her mother gave her very, very good advice. The mother didn't cry and did not let the daughter cry. Instead she said, "You must listen to me. This is a very happy day. God has blessed you with a good husband , (everyone laugh), who doesn't gamble, who doesn't fool around with other women, who doesn't drink, who doesn't cheat; but who's honest, charitable, gentle, moral, virtuous and handsome (everyone laughs) inside and outside." Inside he was more beautiful than outside. Inside he is white, even though outside he is black. (everyone laugh.) So the daughter was smiling and listening with care, love and attention to the mother.
And the mother said, "Now, you go to your new home. Treat your relatives in-law as your own. Respect your mother and father in-law as you have respected me and your father. Respect your husband as your only God, friend, protector, and the most beloved and respected person on the Earth planet; so that later you'll make a shining example for your children and bring glory, happiness and pride to your new family. You owe that to your husband, to myself and your father and all your sisters and brothers in our family to fulfill this duty. And you owe it to yourself as well as your husband to glorify all of us in this way.
Take care of your family, your husband's property and business so that it'll prosper, and it'll bring loftiness, security and abundance to your family so that your children will live in comfort. There's nothing to be sad about today, there's only the exciting future and new challenge waiting for you. To be loved by a husband is the most beautiful thing in the world. You should endure to be a good wife, so that you have all this happiness and success in your life."
So the daughter said, "But, what can I do to fulfill all these noble obligations and this beautiful duty that you have just told me about?"
The mother said, "You must eat well, dress well, and sleep soundly everyday." The daughter said, "Yes, mother, I understand."
So when she went to the family in-law, she did exactly that: Slept well, ate well, dressed beautifully everyday. All the family members in-law were so happy with her. She raised beautiful, obedient, clever, hard working, hard studying children for the husband and the family in-law.
Other people came and asked for her secret, "How did you make it? You came from such a far away place, you knew nothing about the customs of this land, and yet, you did so well. How did you do it?"
The daughter in-law, now mother of three, matriarch of the family, (everyone laugh), female boss of the husband's company, secretary in chief, housekeeper of the whole household, ( everyone laugh) a nurse to the elders and fragile mother and father in-law, a family leader for the younger brothers and sisters in-law etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, and an assistant but loving mother of three beautiful, healthy intelligent children said very humbly, "I achieved all this due to the loving advice of my mother."
So everyone of course said, "Give me, give me please - tell me, tell me, tell me." "MMy mother told me before I came here a sad bride, that I should go to my family in-law: sleep soundly, eat very well, and dress chic." ( everyone laugh.) So everyone said "What? What kind of advice is that? And you did exactly just that to run your family?"
She said, "Y"Yes, I did exactly just that: ate well, slept soundly, and dressed chic everyday. That's what I did." They said, "H"How? What do you mean? By just enjoying this, you ran your family and everything went along well? Please explain to us. Are you joking or something?"
She said, "N"No! No! What my mother meant by eating well was that I must take care of the whole family, feed them all, including the guests, until they are all full and satisfied, then I eat myself what is left over; because after everyone is satisfied no one will disturb me anymore. I'll be hungry by then (everyone laughs) -- having run around -- so whatever is left over, doesn't matter what, will be very tasty, delicious (everyone laughs); nourishing and will have a lot of blessing power. I pray to Buddha before I eat (everyone laugh) and Buddha blesses my food. So whatever I eat becomes nectar. My body is strong, my palate is satisfied, my heart is contented; so I can offer my best service to my family after I'm well fed, satisfied and have enjoyed a delicious meal in all quietness and tranquility. When everyone is satisfied and full, they also love me and of course their loving feelings also bless me as well because I took care of them very well. All their good wishes and their contented feelings will also bless me, and I share the merit of their happiness; I share their happiness as well. So that's the secret of: eating well."
Then they said, "Y"You sleep every night soundly? You just worry about sleep?" She said, "N"No! What my mother meant by sleeping well is that, after everyone is asleep, I take care of all the doors, turn off all the lights, make sure everything is in place and secured so that the thieves do not come in, take care of all the family members that everyone is well, sound asleep; and then I don't worry. Then my heart is very calm and relaxed because I know they are all well taken care of and warm in their blankets; that they sleep all night long and they will never get up and disturb me, ask for anything, or be sick; then I don't have to worry. Then I sleep myself very soundly too because there's nothing else to do. (everyone laugh.) That's what my mother meant."
And the others were feeling very surprised and impressed about the wisdom of the mother, as well as the wisdom of the daughter. Of course, like mother like daughter.
"AAnd now about the last one, please, about the last one. Oh! Why do you have to dress well?" So she said, "Y"Yes! Dressing well means you have to be always properly dressed and tidy. You dress yourself with a big smile when you wake up in the morning and the last thing before you go to bed. You dress yourself with all the loving kindness that God has bestowed within your heart. So when people see you, they see an angel, they see love written in your face, they see blessings shinning in your eyes, they see God in your benevolent smile. That's what my mother meant by dressing well.
"SSo that's how I dress myself everyday. That's how I feed myself to health everyday. That's how I sleep to sweet dreams every night. And if all of you do that, your family members, your in-laws, will be also as well as mine right here!" So everyone of course bowed, clapped, smiled, dressed themselves well, and went home.